ENVIRONMENT Minister Alex Attwood today refused planning permission for an Asda foodstore and petrol filling station development on a site at Newry Road in Banbridge.
The application, which proposed a 4,200 square metre foodstore and an unmanned petrol filling station, has been the subject of significant interest from within the local community.
This is another Article 31 (major planning application), one in an ongoing series of large planning announcements made by the Minister.
The Department received 26 objections to the application and three letters of support.
Alex Attwood said: “I have decided to refuse this planning application. I strongly believe this is the right decision. We need to ensure that we get retail development right, particularly the in-town/out of town retail balance. I have diligently applied current planning policy and law and made a decision taking all of that on board together with the need to protect town centre trading.
“Banbridge is a town centre that has traded very well in difficult times. I believe this decision will help Banbridge town to continue trading well in ongoing uncertain times.
“The site is located within a predominantly residential area and my concerns about the proposals are shared by many within the local community. A large foodstore, along with its extensive car parking, would be harmful to the established character and townscape of this area, and will have a detrimental impact on the amenity of nearby residents.”
“Further, I am not convinced by the application that local conservation interests will be protected and that the development will not lead to unacceptable traffic impact.
“Having carefully considered these matters and after taking account of the views and concerns of the local community I have decided to refuse planning permission for this Article 31 major planning application. There are many of these in the planning system. I promised I would be decisive in resolving the majority of them in the next few months and this decision further demonstrates that.”