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Asda store will open, councillors are assured

Local councillors have welcomed a firm commitment from supermarket giant Asda to open its new store at Hillview Retail Park on the Crumlin Road next year.

DUP Councillors William Humphrey and Brian Kingston were speaking after meeting with David Paterson, Asda head of regional affairs for Northern Ireland, last week.

The store was originally scheduled to open this autumn, but Asda say this has been put back due to a legal challenge to the granting of a Beers, Wines and Spirits licence.

It is expected to create around 200 jobs and to attract further big name stores to the area.

Councillor William Humphrey MLA said: “The purpose of our meeting was to impress upon Asda the strong desire within the community that the new store at Hillview should open as soon as possible,” he said.

“We pressed that they should consider opening in advance of this licence being granted in order to benefit from the Christmas shopping period.

“But it was made clear that the store will not be opening until the licence issue is resolved.

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“It was stated that all 371 Asda stores across the UK include an off-licence in order to offer a one-stop shop for customers.

“This delay is deeply frustrating particularly for those waiting to apply for the 200 jobs expected to be created.

“We understand that court proceedings will not be considered until December at the earliest and it is not known when a final decision will be taken. Consequently recruitment is on hold and the store opening will not be taking place until early summer 2011 at the earliest.

“This postponement is regrettable and disappointing. However Asda emphasised their commitment to opening this store and we trust that the current delay will prove to be of little consequence in the long-term.”

Councillor Brian Kingston added: “It is apparent that other well-known stores are keen to open at Hillview once Asda is in place as the anchor tenant.

“This will bring further jobs, retail choice and investment into the area. There is every potential for Hillview to replicate the success of Yorkgate/Cityside Retail Park which has brought significant retail business and employment to north Belfast in recent years.”

A spokesman for Asda told the Community Telegraph: “We are currently trying to obtain a Beers, Wines and Spirits licence for our planned store on Crumlin Road.

“The court proceedings will recommence in December and we hope that all parties will work with us to bring this process to a swift conclusion.”

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