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It's so disappointing, say store's loyal legion of DIY-ers

By Lesley Houston

Published 30/09/2015

Aiden Hughes
Aiden Hughes
John Spooner
Terence McGrory

DIY fans have been floored by the news of the impending closure of five branches of the store that sells everything from simple screws to wall-hung fireplaces.

At Sprucefield's cavernous B&Q depot yesterday, customers used to getting everything they needed under one massive roof lamented the loss of convenience that the closures posed.

Derriaghy man Aiden Hughes said he was "very disappointed" to learn the news.

The 50-year-old clinical engineer, who has bought two kitchens from the store, said: "I'm a DIY buff, so I'm always here for bits and pieces."

Left with the option of using B&Q's surviving outlets at either Holywood Exchange or Newtownabbey, he said: "Either way, it's a long way to go for a packet of nails and you'd be fighting traffic the whole way."

He said that he believed the long-running rows over the John Lewis store proposed for an adjacent site might have had a negative effect on the retail park.

Retired joiner John Spooner (80) praised the quality of the goods and the staff.

"They employ tradesmen, plumbers and the like and they're able to tell you what to buy," he said.

"If you want a door or an electric drill, there's as good here as anywhere else."

Lisburn couple Mark Boyle (33) and his wife Lee-Anne (31) are also regular customers.

"We've been coming for years and we've got everything from wooden floors to paints and tiles here," said electrician Mark.

Nicholas Chance, a 31-year-old chef from Lisburn, said finding alternatives will be tiresome. "If you have to go to the shops in town with children and have to find a parking space, it'll be very inconvenient."

Retired Ballynahinch couple Michael and Beth Porter, agreed. "We'll have to go to more than one shop, so we'll support the local shops in Ballynahinch," said Beth (64).

Terence McGrory (62), also from Ballynahinch, said he'd rather do without than travel too far for DIY items. "There's no way I'll be travelling to the other side of Belfast," he said.

David and Sarah Spratt said they'd travelled to Holywood Exchange and found it simply too far away from their home in Lisburn.

"If you hit traffic it will take a good 45 minutes one way," said sales assistant Sarah (49).

Matthew Tinsley (38), a greenkeeper from Lisburn, bought a house last year, and now makes regular visits.

"I didn't know what DIY was before - but I'm here often enough now," he said.

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