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Council has no shame over John Lewis

Not content with the success of its efforts in depriving Lisburn of the national stadium, Belfast City Council apparently has no shame in trying to sabotage the proposed John Lewis store at Sprucefield.

It is unfortunate that John King, the chief executive of the House of Fraser, has been used by the council to bolster its demand for John Lewis to switch the location of its store to Belfast. I am sure the John Lewis Partnership is quite capable of deciding where best to locate its store without the gratuitous advice of Mr King.

I quite understand the reason for his call for a “level playing field”, as John Lewis will, through the benefit of lower business rates in Lisburn, save an estimated £350,000 per year.

Mr King's invitation to John Lewis to relocate to the centre of Belfast seems to be a poorly disguised effort to significantly increase the store's costs.

Instead of trying to deprive Northern Ireland of an investment of £150m and 1,200 well-paid jobs, Belfast City Council should apply its energies to reducing the burden of its costs upon its businesses.

Cllr Ronnie Crawford


Lisburn City Council.

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