Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce and the NI Independent Retail Association have welcomed the decision of the Planning Appeals Commission to uphold the DOE’s decision to reject a major out of town Tesco supermarket.
Both organisations led the eight-year campaign to oppose the store and late last year gave detailed evidence to the Planning Appeals hearing in Ballycastle.
In a joint statement Glyn Roberts, NIIRTA Chief Executive and Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce said: “This is a very welcome decision which our members will be pleased with after an eight year campaign by both our organisations.”
“It was never about stopping Tesco coming to Ballycastle, but all about the out of town location of their proposed supermarket on Leyland Road. We have always maintained that these types of stores need to be in Ballycastle town centre, rather than in unsustainable out of town locations which draw away footfall, trade and ultimately jobs.”
A Chamber spokesman continued: “Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce and NIIRTA met with representatives of Tesco on a number of occasions throughout this process to work together to find a solution that worked for both Tesco and for Ballycastle town centre. The Chamber worked hard to propose alternative sites and has given its full support to a potential site within the town centre. It is unfortunate that Tesco were unable to accept this alternative.
“The Chamber understands that people’s shopping habits are changing and it welcomes competition. The Original Factory Shop has opened in a town centre site and made efforts to work with the local business community, which the Chamber fully supports.
“Ballycastle town centre should be the top priority for future retail development as it still has a problem with shop vacancies. It is vital that independent and multiple retailers work together to achieve this.
“The Chamber and its members are now keen to look forward and to further improving the retail offering in Ballycastle. TheChamber has supported the Revitalise scheme on Castle Street, which has given those businesses a real boost. In addition, the Chamber has been working hard with Invest NI and our local MLAs and councillors to focus on the important issues facing Ballycastle in terms of tourism, access, support and jobs.”