FOLLOWING a leave hearing in the High Court this afternoon (Thursday), the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association’s case against the decision to grant a major out of town Tesco Extra store at Bridgewater Park in Banbridge has been granted leave for Judicial Review.
The store was given outline planning permission in March of this year.
Despite a last gasp plea from Banbridge District Council to NIIRTA to step back from the legal challenge the hearing went ahead and leave was granted. Councillors believed the granting of a Judicial Review would have serious economic consequences for Banbridge and could delay investment in the town until a final outcome is reached.
“This action by NIIRTA means that Banbridge will be mothballed in terms of investment for one to two years. All investors will want to see what decision is made before they decide to invest,” said Councillor Jim McElroy.
Glyn Roberts NIIRTA Chief Executive said: “We are pleased that after hearing from the legal teams of NIIRTA, DOE and Tesco, the Judge believes we have an arguable case to be head in Judicial Review.
“NIIRTA’s legal team successfully argued that the Minister’s decision could be subject to legal scrutiny.
“NIIRTA brought this case because we have major concerns that this proposed out of town hypermarket would remove £18 million from Banbridge Town Centre, resulting in small independent traders closing and the net loss of hundreds of jobs.
“Banbridge has one of the best town centres in Northern Ireland and we are committed to protecting it and ensuring it goes from strength to strength.
“We hope that this Judicial Review will be resolved as quickly as possible.”