New retail outlets planned for Sprucefield Park as part of a £50m investment will help attract more shoppers to Lisburn city centre, it has been claimed.
After visiting the recent public consultation event to check out the ambitious plans for new shops, eateries and an 80-bedroom hotel at the INTU-owned site, Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said he was given assurances that the type of retail space being proposed for Sprucefield “will not be in direct competition” with businesses in the city centre.
“I welcome this public consultation undertaken on behalf of INTU to invite comments about their latest plans for the further development of Sprucefield Park,” the DUP man said.
“When I called at the consultation event to view the plans for myself, I was impressed with the vision for delivering new retail and hotel facilities that reflect the changing nature of the retail sector in the UK.
“This represents a major investment of over £50m in our local economy and will be a welcome boost for the construction industry.
“We also need the additional hotel beds to accommodate people attending events like the Balmoral Show and visitor attractions such as Hillsborough Castle.”
Mr Donaldson added: “I was assured that the type of retail space being created at Sprucefield will not be in direct competition with Lisburn city centre and will help to attract even more shoppers to the city.
“It is obviously disappointing that John Lewis are not planning to have a store in Northern Ireland at present due to a consolidation of their overall business. With the planned closure of some 100 Marks & Spencer stores (in Great Britain), we can see that even the largest retailers are under pressure as a result of online shopping. Nevertheless, I remain hopeful that we can still attract such major retail outlets to Lisburn.”
According to INTU, the £50 million plan for Sprucefield Park could create over 200 construction jobs and more than 300 retail jobs once the development is complete.
Asked about the public’s response at the consultation event, a spokesperson for INTU said they couldn’t comment until after the consultation period officially closes.
He stressed that responses are still being accepted until June 1.
Anyone who would like to find out more about the plans, or have their say on the proposals, can do so by logging on to intu.co.uk/sprucefield-park