Belfast Telegraph

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan faces legal action over Newry development

By Alan Erwin

The Environment Minister is facing a legal challenge over his approval of a major mixed-used development on the outskirts of Newry.

Traders have obtained leave to seek a judicial review of Mark H Durkan's decision to grant planning permission to the multi-million pound Carnbane Way scheme. Developers, The Hill Partnership, are proposing to build 70 industrial and business units, a supermarket, 14 homes and car parking on land straddling Newry River.

But the Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade has launched a High Court bid to have the planning decision declared unlawful. It argues that the Department of the Environment wrongly concluded the development would not damage city centre investment.

Claiming the scheme conflicts with Planning Policy Statement 5 dealing with retailing and town centres, lawyers for the body have flagged up the potential impact on the Quays Shopping Centre in Newry. Papers filed in the case allege the Carbane Way project would prevent an approved extension to the Quays involving a £25m investment and generating up to 350 jobs.

When he granted planning permission last year, Mr Durkan said he was satisfied the existing city centre retail offering was strong enough to compete with the new supermarket. But Newry's Chamber of Commerce said the department acted irrationally in the weight it gave to any economic benefits.

The judge was told neither the department nor the developer notice party were opposing the granting of leave to apply for a judicial review which will proceed in May.

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