No multi-storey car park for town

BANBRIDGE will not get a multi-storey car park or new bus station as originally promised by developers of Bridgewater Park who recently gained planning permission for a Tesco Extra store near the Outlet.

The application to build the car park at Townsend Street and the long-awaited bus stop at Kenlis Street is understood to have been removed from the most recent successful application for development at Bridgewater Park.

A well-placed source said the Roads Service had advised the Planning Service that a new car park was not necessary for the town centre. Although the Leader understands that planning permission for both the car park and bus station were approved when the first application to build a huge Tesco store at Bridgewater Park was submitted.

Just last month developers finally won their long battle to build an 80,000 square foot supermarket at Bridgewater Park, and reiterated their commitment to the delivery of both the car park and bus station.

Upper Bann MP David Simpson said he was both shocked and disappointed to hear the latest news.

“I was shocked to hear that the car park was no longer part of the scheme,” said Mr Simpson. “From day one the developers had, in good faith, given their commitment for the scheme on Townsend Street.

“The offer had been made again in the current approval, but for some reason Roads Service have decided that Banbridge town centre does not need either the new car park or the new bus station, that could also have been provided.

“I’m really lost for words – I will now be seeking an urgent meeting with the Roads Service to hear their justification for their position.

“But let’s be clear on this – this is not the doing of the developer, who have shown great commitment to Banbridge over the last 4 years; they made a genuine offer for the town, which Roads Service have refused.”

A spokesman for Banbridge Chamber of Commerce, who had been strongly opposed to the building of the huge Tesco store but supportive of plans for both new town centre facilities, said they would be hoping to meet the council and developers in the near future.

“It’s too early to make any comment about these plans so the Chamber of Commerce will be seeking a meeting with the council and the developers to see how their plans for the new car park and bus station are progressing.”