SDLP Alex Attwood blocks north Belfast development

THE axe has fallen on plans to build a major development in north Belfast.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood has refused to grant planning permission to a major development on the Shore Road.

The application, by Belfast City Council and Bayshoree Developments Ltd, was for a food store, retail warehousing, filling station, housing, playing pitches and other recreational facilities.

Mr Attwood said one reason for the rejection was that Asda had withdrawn interest in occupying the food store.

“I must say that this would have been a finely balanced decision had Asda remained committed to the store,” he said.

“However, their withdrawal means that the proposal would result in another out of town food store approximately 500m from the existing Asda store on Shore Road and the retail impact of this additional store would be detrimental to existing centres in the area.”

Mr Attwood also said that on balance, the benefits of the development would not outweigh the loss of existing playing fields and parkland.

“This proposal would result in the loss of a significant area of open space which is of value to the residents of the area and the wider public,” he said.

“Accordingly, I consider the proposal is contrary to planning policy.”

He also revealed that the Department of Environment received 1,737 objections to the development and one petition of objection containing 236 signatures.

Asda previously said that more than 1,000 people had signed a petition of support for the plan and that two other community-led petitions, with a combined total of 552 signatures, supporting the new development, had been sent to planners.

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