Belfast Telegraph

Latest retail outlet approved

Minister green lights third major development in as many weeks

By Margaret Canning

Environment Minister Alex Attwood has given the green light to the third major retail planning application in as many weeks.

Nama debtor PBN has won planning permission five years after applying to knock down its existing shopping centre in Carryduff and replace it with 19 shops and 150 apartments above.

The firm was set up by Neil Adair, a former head of Anglo Irish Bank in Northern Ireland, and Paddy Kearney, one of the so-called Maple 10 of borrowers given money by the same bank to buy shares in it in 2008.

Belfast Office Properties, a company formerly linked to Belfast-born developer Paddy McKillen, also named as one of the Maple 10, last week won planning permission for an extension to Ards Shopping Centre in Newtownards.

Conor Devine, principal at property partnership GDP, welcomed the planning permission for Carryduff but said bank funding would be crucial.

"I think this is great news for the people of Carryduff, the wider community and the developer who had the vision to regenerate the centre," he said.

"What we need now is for our banks to step up and fund these developments, which will not only stimulate the economy but get the property market moving again and create the confidence the market is crying out for."

Mr Attwood said: "This is a boost for Carryduff. It will help revitalise the area. A more vibrant town centre will be much welcomed by shoppers, traders and visitors. Apartments to create town centre living will ensure that it is not a shopping centre by day and a ghost town by night."

Two weeks ago Mr Attwood granted planning permission for the Royal Exchange retail development in Belfast city centre.

PBN's Bank of Ireland loans were acquired by the 'bad bank' towards the end of 2010.

In accounts for 2009, the company said many of their projects had been "mothballed" due to the slump in the market and banks' failure to lend.

Nama refused to comment on the planning permission given to PBN's Carryduff bid.

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