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Out-of-town shopping centres so damaging

IT was pleasing to read more good news for Lisburn last week. After the millions being invested in the public realm scheme, the £300,000 for city-wide wi-fi and other projects was positive news.

But after reading Donald McFetridge's analysis of the investment (News, April 15), I felt I had to write.

Some of his conclusions beggar belief.

Out-of-town development damages town centres. Just ask the residents of Sheffield. To say that the internet holds more of a threat to Lisburn than a John Lewis development is crass.

The internet has the same effect on Lisburn as it has on every town, or city, across the country. However, a massive new retail development on Lisburn's doorstep is clearly a different matter.

This is even more incredulous when you read Mr McFetridge's conclusions on the report he authored for NIIRTA in 2008, when he wrote: "Far too much out-of-town retail development has already taken place in Northern Ireland. We have reached superstore saturation point."

Not only does Mr McFetridge disagree with himself, he also disagrees with Minister Mark H Durkan, who has just refused permission for four out-of-town developments near Magherafelt, on grounds they'd have a detrimental effect on town-centre traders.

Towns and cities are not against competition. We thrive on it. Bring developments into our centres and give us a level playing field.

RETAILER

Lisburn, Co Antrim

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