Work on multi-million pound city centre retail and housing scheme to begin in early June

A computer generated image of the new Smyth Patterson entrance and Clanmil apartments at Wardsborough Road.
A computer generated image of the new Smyth Patterson entrance and Clanmil apartments at Wardsborough Road.

Work on a major redevelopment project at Smyth Patterson Ltd in Lisburn city centre is due to get under way in early June, it has been confirmed.

The multi-million pound scheme, one of the company’s most ambitious in its 82-year history, will transform the department store’s Wardsborough Road frontage, providing a new rear entrance to the building, customer parking and a 28-unit apartment block, which will be owned and managed by Clanmil Housing. The inside of the department store will also get a facelift.

A planned second phase of the project is expected to see a number of small retail units created on nearby Railway Street.

Planning permission for the scheme, which has received cross-party support, was approved by the council earlier this month.

Work on the project will be under the direction of Rapport Architects and Belfast building firm Totalis Construction and is scheduled to commence with demolition at the rear of the Smyth Patterson store in early June.

“The Wardsborough Road entrance will close for two months during which time a new drive and entrance will be created,” company director Colin Patterson explained. “The Market Square entrance will remain open.

“The parts of the building to be demolished are at present where the hardware and toy departments are situated along with other stores. Toytown and the DIY section will be relocated towards the front of the shop.

“The fireplace building and corrugated iron hall on Wardsborough Road will also be demolished during June.”

Mr Patterson said work on the department store’s new entrance is due to be complete by the end of autumn this year, while the completion target for the apartments is late 2019.

Stressing that the project will help boost trade for Smyth Patterson and neighbouring businesses, he added: “They closed off vehicle access to the front of us at Market Square (with the creation of a pedestrianised zone) so a lot of older people and less mobile people just can’t get to us at the minute. This work will mean that people can actually stop at the back of the shop and come in a new, modern entrance and there will also be disabled parking there. It will help us and we hope it will benefit Market Square generally.”

In preparation of the start of the redevelopment work Smyth Patterson will be holding a Renovation Sale, which is due to begin on Thursday, April 26 at 1pm.

The president of Lisburn Chamber of Commerce, Evan Morton, has welcomed the investment by Smyth Patterson as “a huge boost to the local business community and a vote of confidence for retailing in Lisburn.”