LEADER readers were very vocal in their reaction to NIIRTA’s sudden about-turn in their opposition to the construction of a Tesco superstore at Bridgewater Park.
Many welcomed the decision to drop the Judicial Review of the planning permission which was granted 18 months ago, but some felt it should have been done a lot sooner.
Noel Meara said, “Too little too late, as usual.”
Emmalene Magill agreed, saying development in other towns during the delay may have harmed Banbridge.
“This may have been good news some months ago, but will the building of the new Tesco store in Newry and the new ASDA stopre in Portadown mean that Tesco will continue with the planned store at the outlet?”
Stephen Henry said, “A bit late in the day I would say. The whole argument from Mr Roberts was that a large Tesco at Bridgewater would decimate the town centre. Well Tesco didn’t appear and yet the town centre still continues to go downhill. Just look at the “For Sale” and “For Let” signs on the main street.”
Stephen Wilson expressed his disappointment that NIIRTA had given up their fight to keep the out-of-town development away.
“Banbridge has one of the best town centres in the Province at the moment.” he said. “However, with this development that might change dramatically. I don’t want to see an out of town Tesco at Bridgewater. I’d prefer to see Asda sited beside the Rugby Club just off the Newry Road. This would be much better for the town as a whole.”
But David McCandless said he is keen to see Tesco opening its doors as soon as possible.
“Now to start building, we have the biggest outlet centre of its kind in Europe and its struggling,” he said. “Tsco would save it and increase footfall in the town centre.”
John McMaster said, “Who asked NIIRTA to represent the people of Banbridge? If it was some local retailers, can we have a list, so I’ll know who to support and who not to in the future.”
The Leader appraoched NIIRTA some time ago requesting a full list of their members but they chose to keep the information private.
Philip Mackey said he has high hopes for more compeition in the area.
“I think it would be good if ASDA did decide to build on the Newry Road providing they got planning permission, as it would give the shoppers a bit of a variety rather than just a Tesco monopoly so to speak.”
Kate Crossey spoke for many when she said, “NIIRTA have finally realised that Banbridge needs investment to survive these uncertain economic times.”