Supermarket gets planning approval
Planning permission for a controversial out of town supermarket near Banbridge was given the green light by the government tonight.
Environment minister Edwin Poots announced he had given the go-ahead for the retail development at Bridgewater Park which will incorporate one of the largest Tesco stores in Northern Ireland.
Traders in Banbridge town centre opposed the proposal and less than 18 months ago Mr Poots turned down another application by Tesco to build on the site.
The planning permission granted is for a smaller store than originally envisaged.
It is also subject to a legal agreement which includes a clause that two new retail warehouse outlets and an industrial unit must be constructed before the Tesco store and a commitment from Tesco that it will keep its shop in Banbridge town open for the next 10 years.
The firm has also agreed to fund an environmental improvement scheme in the town.
Mr Poots said the decision was "great news" for Banbridge.
"It represents major inward investment and will bring significant economic, social and environmental benefits to the area, including nearly 400 new jobs," he said.
"With the site's excellent road linkages, this development will boost visitor numbers to the area by enhancing the retail offer that exists at Bridgewater Park.
"The proposal will have wider impacts in the local economy by helping to stimulate interest in the rest of the Bridgewater Park site. Up to 2,000 new jobs could be created if Bridgewater Park realises its full economic potential."