Lidl secures approval for new Northern Ireland supermarket
Lidl has been granted planning approval to build a new foodstore in Newcastle.
The German supermarket chain will build the branch on the site of the former St Mary's Girls' Primary School.
The site on Shan Slieve Drive, which was once mooted as the potential location for a council leisure centre, will also feature a new base for the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team.
The former school, which will be demolished to make way the supermarket, was sold to Lidl by the local Catholic parish in 2016.
The supermarket chain will relocate from its current store, next to the Slieve Donard Hotel at Newcastle's listed former train station, where it has operated since 2001.
Conor Boyle, Lidl's regional director, said the company had been seeking a new site in Newcastle for a number of years.
"Newcastle is a vibrant town offering significant growth potential," he added.
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"We have invested heavily in engaging with local residents and representatives on our ambitions and we are delighted that our plans have been formally approved."
"As an important next step, we will continue to work alongside our specialist teams before lodging the final design plans.
"We would like to wholeheartedly thank members of the local community for their positive and constructive engagement during this process and we would like to reassure them again of our ongoing commitment to delivering an outstanding new shopping experience for the town."
Dave Goddard, of the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team, said: "This new base will give us the chance to lower our running costs and increase our capabilities to train more people from the local area who want to join the team.
"Like Lidl, we are very grateful to the local community for their incredible level of support. We look forward to the benefits our new base will bring to the area."