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Exclusive: Magherafelt superstores planning refusals to be challenged

Patsy Forbes

Patsy Forbes

Appeals are being ‘progressed’ by three developers whose applications for superstores in Magherafelt were turned down by planners, the Mail understands.

Environment Minister Mark H. Durkan turned down four applications for developments at Moneymore Road, Castledawson Road, Thornhill Avenue and Ballyrnonan Road, on the grounds that they were located ‘out of town.’

All were designated Article 31 applications meaning they are of such significance that the final decision rested with the minister.

Now three of the developers are poised to challenge the minister’s ruling, which was welcomed by the Northern Ireland Independent Retailers’ Trade Association (NIITRA).

One of the developers Patsy Forbes, who was proposing to built a superstore on the site of his former furniture factory off Castledawson Road, was of the opinion that his development was not out of town.

He argued that Magherafelt, like every town, needed to expand and progress and development could not be held up.

“It’s been shown that Magherafelt is suffering because shoppers are leaving and going to Belfast and Antrim,” he said.

“We need something which will keep them (shoppers) here and spending money in the town.”

The other applicants that are understood to be in the process of appealing the minister’s decision include the Conway Group, who were the first to lodge their application for a foodstore at Moneymore Road more than four years ago, and Corbo who have proposals for a site at Ballyronan Road.

The fourth application for RSL Developments at Thornhill Avenue/Oakvale Manor is not expected to proceed.

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