Lisburn Councillor Alexander Redpath has insisted that the city shouldn’t give up the fight to deliver the John Lewis development to Sprucefield.
“The announcement last week that John Lewis staff would receive a bonus equivalent to 15% of their annual salary is yet another reminder of why we need to deliver this store for Lisburn,” said Mr Redpath. “This development will bring hundreds of high quality jobs to Lisburn in the construction and retail sector. In my view local parties need to make three things clear. First, they have to commit to supporting John Lewis at Sprucefield. The bullying and coercion used by successive Environment Ministers to move the store to Belfast hasn’t worked. John Lewis have made it clear that they want the site at Sprucefield.
“Secondly, there needs to be a commitment to streamline the planning process to make large commercial projects deliverable,” continued Mr Redpath. “This was supposed to be achieved by the new planning bill. Sadly this bill was beset with legal difficulties and was ultimately withdrawn on the advice of the Attorney General. Lastly Alex Atwood’s planning policy on “bulky goods” needs to be rescinded. This policy which limits suppliers of “bulky goods” to opening in Belfast is blatant economic protectionism. Belfast politician are determined to keep any major development in Belfast despite the fact that Sprucefield offers better premises, lower rates and better transport links. Since joining the Council I have made it very clear that my number one priority is to return prosperity to Lisburn. I believe the John Lewis development is a key way of achieving this,” he concluded.