Councillor Uel Mackin and Alderman Allan Ewart have welcomed the acquisition of Sprucefield Park by new owners, Intu, and see this as an opportunity for the potential development of John Lewis department store at Sprucefield.
Mr Mackin, Chairman of the Council’s Planning Committee, said: “The time is long overdue for further development of Sprucefield Park as a key component of this regional shopping centre; instead of always putting Belfast first, which was the attitude of the previous Environment Minister Alex Attwood.
“We will work with the new owners of Sprucefield Park to support the expansion of Sprucefield Park and see a John Lewis department store offering a choice to the shopping public in Lisburn and Northern Ireland and further afield.
“We know the hurdles which were placed in the way of this much needed investment by the then Environmental Minister Alex Attwood to limit new development at Sprucefield to those of a bulky goods nature; and we will continue to lobby for and voice our opposition to that position.
Mr Ewart, Chairman of the Economic Development Committee, said: “When one considers the millions of pounds of investment into the local economy, job creation and retail positioning for the Lisburn area it is very frustrating that so much is sitting waiting to happen, yet the controversial decision to limit development to bulky goods is an untenable position to which we will continue to voice our strongest opposition.
“There is plenty of opportunity in Lisburn for development in both the city centre and Sprucefield. No one sector should be forced to stand still,” he concluded.