Belfast Telegraph

Dundonald superstore U-turn 'devastating'

By Dave Whelan

Store u-turn 'devastating'

UP TO 1,000 potential jobs in east Belfast have been lost following the announcement that supermarket chain Sainsbury's have dropped plans for a new superstore in Dundonald.

A council delegation is being lead by the Mayor of Castlereagh, David Drysdale to meet with Sainsbury's and ask them to reconsider their "devastating" decision after they pulled the plug on plans for the the former Rolls-Royce factory site on the Upper Newtownards Road.

The site was expected to bring a boost to the local area by creating an estimated £7.7 million in wages at the construction stage and up to 1,000 full and part time jobs once the site would have been fully operational.

"The Council is extremely disappointed to learn of Sainsbury's decision to withdraw from the Dundonald site after securing planning permission earlier in the year. This is devastating news for the people of Castlereagh, East Belfast and others who would have benefited from much needed investment and employment opportunities in the area," said the Mayor.

The retailer had planned to lease a 60,000sq ft unit at the site which is due to be redeveloped by the property firm Lagmar.

There is now serious doubt over the planned 17-acre site, set to include other commercial developments with the Sainsbury's foodstore and petrol station as its anchor tenant.

Last week Sainsbury's development manager for Northern Ireland, Andrew Sanderson announced that the retailer would not be taking the scheme forward describing it as "no longer a viable option", blaming a combination of factors including "the current economic climate, trading conditions and length of time the scheme has taken in the planning system".

Originally announced in 2009, the scheme was only given approval by Environment Minister Alex Attwood in June of this year amid doubts over its edge of town location.

"I would like to lead a Council delegation to meet with Sainsbury's to discuss their decision in order to attempt to address any issues that may assist them to re-consider their position," added Mayor Drysdale.

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