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Newry ‘Not Big Enough For Two City Centres’

Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade and Newry BID have supported planners in rejecting a proposal that would pave the way for “an alternative city centre in Newry”.

Colm Shannon, CEO of Newry Chamber and Eamonn Connolly, BID Manager of Newry BID, who represent hundreds of Newry businesses believe planners were wise to recommend that Damolly Developments’ plans for a further £100m retail park to be rejected.

Town Centres are under pressure universally with vacancy stubbornly high and national footfall figures in decline. Newry is no exception facing these challenges. The Chamber and BID believe the proposed new development would inevitably result in further displacement of business from the centre of Newry that would ultimately prove to be sustainable and detrimental to the city’s entire offering.

Both bodies believe that the assumptions in the Minister’s original planning decision have not crytallised and this further proposed expansion would only lead to further damage to Newry when it is, in fact, the council’s strategic aim to regenerate the city centre.

Commenting on the proposal, Colm Shannon, CEO of the Chamber said:

“Newry Chamber has opposed this out-of-town development from the start and this remains our position.”

“A development of this scale would have a long-term impact on the future development of Newry City Centre. The Council itself has just announced ambitious regeneration proposals for a new conference/theatre and civic hub, together with an investment in the public realm.”

“A new out-of-town retail park would undermine the plans to regenerate and revitalise the centre of our city and ultimately not be good for business in Newry.”

Eamonn Connolly, BID Manager of Newry BID said:

“This proposal would all but double out-of-town retail floor space, which would represent well over two thirds of the retail square footage in the city centre.”

“The fact that a new retail park of this magnitude is proposed right next door to the existing Damolly Retail Park and the Fiveways Complex, should set alarm bells ringing. Together they would constitute a real challenge to the city centre.”

“At two thirds the size of the city centre, with associated parking for 1750 cars, it is much too close to a tipping point for comfort. Planners were wise to recommend the application be rejected.”