NIIRTA withdraws legal bid to block Tesco at Bridgewater Park

THE Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has announced that it is withdrawing its Judicial Review against the proposed out of town Tesco supermarket at Bridgewater Park in Banbridge.

NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said the organisation had decided to do so because the “planning, legal and retail landscapes have changed since the proceedings were initiated last year”.

“NIIRTA is pleased that it is has subjected the Minister’s decision to the full glare of legal scrutiny and decided to move on,” he added.

“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 still have the view that this application will threaten its future viability.

“We realise that our decision will come as a disappointment to the 3,000 local people who opposed this application in a petition and the many local town centre traders.

“While we have withdrawn our legal action we are still committed to Banbridge town centre and its local traders and hope that we can work with the local council to ensure that it does have a future despite the threat of this out of town hypermarket.”

Mr Roberts urged the supermarket chain to reconsider the location of their expansion in the area.

“We are not in any way anti-Tesco and our sole concern was the out of town location for this store and we repeat our call for them to give serious consideration to expanding their existing town centre store instead.”