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New Newtownabbey Asda superstore will ruin small local traders, council told

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A row has broken out over plans to build a massive Asda superstore and petrol station in Newtownabbey. (Rui Vieira/PA)

A row has broken out over plans to build a massive Asda superstore and petrol station in Newtownabbey. (Rui Vieira/PA)

A row has broken out over plans to build a massive Asda superstore and petrol station in Newtownabbey. (Rui Vieira/PA)

A row has broken out over plans to build a massive Asda superstore and petrol station in Newtownabbey.

The supermarket chain is planning a 40,000 sq ft store at Monkstown industrial estate on the Doagh Road in the borough.

Antrim and Newtownabbey council's planning committee is due to make a decision on the application at a meeting today.

Asda said the project will benefit the community.

But yesterday Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts said the Asda plan should be ditched.

He said: "Retail NI is of the view that this out-of-town superstore application is in clear breach of the current Town Centre First Retail Planning Policy and we are concerned it may be granted for short-term reasons to bring Asda to Newtownabbey.

"Planning policy must be the only criteria."

Calling on the council to bin the Asda plan, Mr Roberts said superstores "destroy" small local retail businesses, and do little to benefit the local communities in which they are sited.

"Retail NI would urge Antrim and Newtownabbey Council to adhere to planning policy and not undermine and prejudice their Local Development Plan, by refusing this application," he added.

"As we have seen before with countless other out-of-town superstores, applications like these always destroy and displace existing town centre retail jobs.

"Newtownabbey has a distinctive retail environment with a significant number of local neighbourhood retailers who are the lifeblood of the community.

"These facilities will be jeopardised, and job losses will occur if permission is granted."

An Asda spokeswoman said yesterday the superstore plan would bring new jobs and better shopping value to the area.

She added: "We are currently at an advanced stage with our planning application for a new 40,000 sq ft Asda store at the Monkstown Industrial Estate in Newtownabbey.

"Our long-running engagement with the local community has been extremely positive and we hope to bring this major investment to the area, creating new jobs and bringing Asda value to consumers in the local area.

"We will continue to engage fully in the planning process and look forward to this reaching a conclusion in due course."

Belfast Telegraph