The news that The Outlet retail park is to be relaunched with more leisure attractions has been widely welcomed from locals around the town.
An eight-screen cinema, kids’ play area and two restaurants could be added to the mall as it aims to broaden its appeal beyond shopping.
Welcoming the news Councillor Jim McElroy said: “It is tremendous to see such a significant investment into the area, creating jobs and improving the current retail and leisure offerings. I hope that through this expansion The Outlet will attract more people from the wider areas, putting Banbridge firmly on the map as a top shopping and leisure destination”.
Councillor Seamus Doyle said:“I am delighted to hear that an eight screen cinema complex, a children’s play area along with two new restaurants are in the process of planning for new premises in The Outlet. It is fantastic to see new businesses investing in the area, expanding its offerings and encouraging more people to visit Banbridge.”
The Leader asked people through Facebook their opinion on the plans.
Jules Leal-Rolli said: “It’s fantastic news. Very proud of everyone that has been involved in this long, journey - very exciting.”
Joann Clydesdale commented: “Great for the people of Banbridge, lots of new shops on our door steps.”
“Great news for the town an the outlet. It will create employment in the town. And have somewhere for families to go instead of spending outside the town,” said Steven McMahon.
However some people are concerned about the impact it could have on the business in the town centre. Michelle Foster said; “What happens to the current similar businesses that are actually in the town centre? They lose customers. Customers equal money and then they close and people lose their jobs.”
Ande Gray said: “I agree something needed to be done to save The Outlet but does opening a new cinema which will put the other one out of business really help the overall local economy? The same thing has just happened in Antrim - and the local cinema has been put out of business. Locals can now expect to pay higher prices for cinema tickets and food when they attend the cinema. So is this really good news? You can say goodbye to £3 cinema days as well. Just look at Lisburn for proof of that.”
Simon Cooke commented: “The jobs aspect can be a red herring. A lot of the jobs are temporary, part time or low paid. Not what everyone needs, and some town centre shops may end up paying off staff because of competition. However towns are competing for business and footfall and if Banbridge doesn’t provide it Newry and Lisburn will and have.”