Tesco claim ‘overwhelming community support’

NINeTY-five per cent of local residents in the Moyle area who responded to a recent survey have indicated an “overwhelming” support for a proposed Tesco store on Leyland Road, say Tesco.

Tesco say the “positive” response was revealed in comment cards returned to them following an information leaflet drop to more than 6,000 householders in the area.

Tesco said the hand-delivered leaflets informed residents of the “updated and improved” plans for the multi-million pounds development lodged with the Planning Office.

Residents were also encouraged to visit a dedicated website www.tescoballycastle.com and responses also showed that 93% were in favour of changes made to the previous planning application.

Commenting on the survey, Shane Murphy, property manager for Tesco, said: “Tesco is committed to bringing a store to Ballycastle and the results from our survey show that residents of the Moyle area are very positive about the current plans.

“It is important to listen to the views of the community and we have done this through these comment cards and our dedicated website. Our current application has undergone a number of changes due to the feedback we have received from local residents.”

Tesco say further support for the proposed store came from 71% of responses which indicated that residents would be less likely to shop elsewhere if a store was available in Ballycastle.

At the moment more than 60% indicated that they travel to Ballymoney or Coleraine to do their main shopping.

Mr Murphy continued: “It is encouraging to know that local residents would be more willing to stay and shop in the Ballycastle if our application is successful. We believe that providing a store, just 540 metres from the town centre would not only encourage people to stay and shop locally, but could potentially attract customers from the wider Moyle area, thus creating a positive knock-on effect for all town centre shops.

“If the current application is approved, customers will benefit from the variety of food and non-food goods on offer and the local economy will be given a much needed boost with a potential 100 retail jobs, as well as construction positions during the development’s build.”

New images and up-to-date information about the proposed Leyland Road store are still available on the dedicated website, www.tescoballycastle.com, which also allows residents to ‘pledge their support’.

Tesco say those who wish can also write to the Planning Service with their views and should be addressed to Julie McMath, Divisional Planning Office, County Hall, Castlerock Road, Coleraine, BT51 3HS.

Mr Murphy concluded: “We look forward to continuing to work closely with local people and elected representatives to bring our modern, convenient shopping experience to the community. ”

Tesco said the following responses came from their survey.

* Do you support the proposals for a Tesco store on Leyland Road? Yes - 95%; No - 5%.

* Are you in favour of the changes to the scheme as detailed on this leaflet and on the website: Yes - 93%; No - 7% (A number of those who said no indicated it was due to the petrol filling station being removed).

* In which town do you currently do your main grocery shopping? - Ballymoney - 33%; Coleraine - 32%; Ballycastle - 24%; Ballymena - 8%; Others (Armoy/Cushendall/Bushmills/online) - 3%.

* Would the existence of a new Tesco store in Ballycastle make you less likely to leave the town for other purposes? Yes - 71%; No - 13%; Sometimes - 16%.