Planning permission for out-of-town retail development, including new forecourt

Planning permission for out-of-town retail development, including new forecourt
Enniskillen town centre - 'shameful' decision by Fermanagh Omagh Council to pass planning permission for out of town retail development

A new retail park in Enniskillen has been given the go-ahead by councillors. Planning officials had recommended that the proposal be rejected as they said it would have a significant adverse impact on existing businesses in the area – particularly Enniskillen town centre.

The new development will include a new forecourt, plus the Moviebowl, The Range – the large household goods retailer complete with in-store Iceland. Tim Horton’s will also be another key tenant for the development.

Planning permission has now been granted for the development of the major retail park at the site of the former Unipork factory in Enniskillen. The decision was approved by one deciding vote by the committee chair. The decision had been deferred since December by members of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Planning Committee for Elm Grange Limited to develop on the outskirts of Enniskillen – a £15.5 million investment,which they said is capable of creating 450 new jobs.

The planned name is ‘Lakelands Retail Park’. The location earmarked is the disused Unipork site, around one mile from the town centre, which has been vacant for 20 years.

The development proposal comprises six retail units, a 54-bedroom hotel, cinema, bowling alley, petrol station, food outlet as well as more than 750 parking spaces.

Planners initially recommended that the application should be refused. The developer then  launched an online petition,  gathering more than 1,000 signatures, calling on councillors to go against the planners’s stance.

Following the decision by Fermanagh and Omagh Council, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said “This is a shameful decision based upon exaggerated claims of new jobs being created and completely ignored the concerns of local independent retailers and small businesses in Enniskillen Town Centre”

“We believe this application won’t complement the existing retail offer; it is in fact a competing town centre which will decimate what is a well-established and successful Enniskillen town centre. This scheme is a fragrant breach of the ‘town centre first’ policy. It beggars belief that such an outdated business model has been approved by the Fermanagh Omagh Planning Committee”

“As we have seen before with countless other out-of-town retail development, it always destroys and displaces existing town centre retail jobs.”