Belfast Telegraph

Drink licence row halts Asda Belfast store

Supermarket chain Asda has pulled out of a planned site in north Belfast, with the loss of over 200 potential jobs, after it failed to secure a liquor licence.

In December the Recorders Court for the Division of Belfast refused Asda a Beers, Wines and Spirits (BWS) Licence for the proposed store at Hillview Retail Park on the Crumlin Road.

Asda first announced its plans to open the 25,000 sq ft store on the Crumlin Road in September 2009.

While the supermarket has announced it is not able to proceed with its plans, a spokesperson said the company "remains fully committed" to Northern Ireland.

"We believe it would be wrong to prolong this process, which has already taken more than 18 months, any further and we have withdrawn our appeal and informed our landlord of the decision," said the spokesperson.

"Whenever we open a new store our customers tell us they expect to be able to get their entire weekly shop under one roof.

"In fact, at no point have any of our 386 shops across the UK operated without being able to sell beers, wines and spirits.

"Therefore opening without a licence was simply not an option.

"We understand the frustration and disappointment that will be felt by the local community, who have been supportive throughout this entire process."

North Belfast DUP Assembly member William Humphrey has expressed his disappointment that Asda has announced that it will not be proceeding with its proposed store and will be meeting with company representatives to urge them to reconsider this decision.

"We are convinced that this still can work and will impress upon them the potential which exists at this location," the MLA said.

"The loss of this proposed investment and the promised 230 jobs is a major blow for the local economy."

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