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Objectors fail to block new TK Maxx shop in Northern Ireland

By John Mulgrew

A new TK Maxx store in Belfast is set to create 35 new jobs, after getting the go-ahead despite objections from the city's council and a major shopping centre.

The discount fashion retailer received the green light from Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council's planning committee this week.

It's now due to be developed at Drumkeen Retail Park in south Belfast. However, it drew significant objections from a number of businesses and groups.

That included Forestside Shopping Centre, which sits across from the Drumkeen Retail Park.

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A letter to planners on behalf of Forestside Acquisitions Limited, owners of the shopping centre, said the company "has serious concerns" over the impact the new centre could have on its own business.

Belfast City Council had also objected to the new store.

In a letter to planners, it said the scheme "constitutes a real challenge to the town centre thrust of the Strategic Planning Policy Statement" and to the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan's "precautionary approach to out-of-centre retail development."

It also claims the main retail impact will be on the nearest TK Maxx store, located at Donegall Arcade in the city centre.

"Based on this prediction it is reasonable to maintain that a fair proportion of the estimated £6.9m turnover of the proposed TK Maxx unit will be diverted from its store in the centre.

"Such a diversion may undermine the viability of the city centre unit", the council letter said.

"While it is recognised that TK Maxx already operates from both Belfast and Lisburn City Centre, this does not automatically mean that it is entitled to develop out of town sites such as this."

TK Maxx has around 10 stores in Northern Ireland.

DUP councillor Nathan Anderson, who is vice-chairman of the planning committee, said: "The planning application was passed eight votes in favour to zero against after a mammoth planning committee hearing lasting nearly two hours.

"I was very pleased to speak in support of the application. TK Maxx will bring approximately 35 jobs into the area, deliver £150,000 per annum into council rates and provide a turnover of £6m each year."

"I believe that it is great that finally the unit is being put to good use.

"This decision will bring many positives to the area and financial benefit.

"It is great to see that popular substantive retailers are wishing to spend money in our council area.

"Lisburn and Castlereagh is very much open for business."

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