Next store gets the green light

NEXT has finally been given the go ahead to develop a new store at Sprucefield and the company says it hopes to be open by July with the creation of 140 full and part time jobs.

Planning permission had been sought for the redevelopment of the former MFI store, however, the application was held up in the planing system for a number of months.

Before Christmas the Planning Service had indicated their intention to approve the application for a new store, which will include an 8,000 sq ft mezzanine extension. However, following a last minute objection by the operators of Lisburn Square, which houses another Next store, the application was withdrawn from the schedule.

It had been expected to appear before Lisburn City Council’s Planning Committee in January but was again delayed.

The store was finally given the green light at this week’s meeting of the Planning Committee. Committee Chairman Alderman James Tinsley welcomed the decision to grant planning permission. “This is good news,” he said. “I welcome the investment being made.

“It is my understanding the company is keen to get the new store fitted out as soon as possible and maybe by this time next year we will a new store in the city.

“We appreciate anyone investing in the city,” he added.

The store is aiming to open in July 2013 and will offer women’s, men’s and kids fashion, plus a small selection of Next Home. A total of 140 full and part time jobs, including four apprenticeship roles, will be created at the store.

A Next Spokesperson said: “We are more than delighted with the approval for this store. We have been trying to get planning permission for some time and the City council has always been very supportive. All the hard work by everyone will now start to paying off.”

The new store will be an addition to Next’s portfolio of stores in the Lisburn area. Next Lisburn town centre, Sprucefield Home and Craigavon Rushmere store would still continue to trade.

This is all part of Next’s continuing programme of investment and expansion in Northern Ireland. Next now has over 20 stores in Northern Ireland, employing over 1,600 people.