Sprucefield sale could revive John Lewis proposal

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A deal is underway that could see the revival of the plan to bring John Lewis to Sprucefield.

A £70 million deal has been struck between the owners of Sprucefield Retail Park, Westfield Group and new owners Intu, the company who own a host of shopping centres, including the Trafford Centre in Manchester.

It is understood the deal will be finalised in the coming weeks and that Intu will be looking again at the John Lewis planning application.

Westfield and John Lewis have been fighting for over a decade to get planning approval for a store at Sprucefield but repeated challenges to the application stalled the process.

The final nail in the coffin came when the Environment Minister announced that only “bulky goods” could be sold at Sprucefield.

This announcement caused uproar, with the Stormont Executive stepping in with a proposal to make Sprucefield a designated economic zone, which would allow the application to go ahead.

Throughout the process John Lewis has repeatedly confirmed its commitment to Sprucefield as the only destination for its first Northern Ireland store, and has rejected any suggestions that it set up shop in Belfast. The news that the John Lewis planning application could be revived will be welcome news to many in Lisburn who have been campaigning tirelessly to bring the store to the city.