£5.5m supermarket plans could herald 75 new jobs

£5.5m supermarket plans could herald 75 new jobs

18 November 2020

PLANS have been unveiled for two new supermarkets in Downpatrick and Killyleagh as part of a £5.5m investment proposal that will create 75 new jobs.

The Henderson Group is planning to redevelop the former St Patrick’s Boys’ Primary School site at the junction of John Street and St Dillons Avenue in Downpatrick to provide a new Eurospar and redevelop an existing petrol station and store at the Downpatrick Road in Killyleagh.

The grocery giant has unveiled major proposals for a £3m development in Downpatrick to create a petrol station, two retail units, food outlet and car park at the former school site which also borders the Ardglass Road.

A proposal to develop the brownfield site — which adjoins playing fields, housing and St Mary’s High School — was submitted to local planners last month, with hopes that the new supermarket could open in 2022 creating 35 new jobs.

The Henderson Group has submitted its development plans to Newry, Mourne and Down Council for two new community supermarkets, bringing new jobs to the area.

A 6,250 sq ft supermarket — which includes 55 car parking spaces — is planned for the former primary school base with the Henderson Group confirming that it is working Downpatrick businessman, Martin Connolly, who owns a nearby store in Edward Street, to develop the Ardglass Road site.

A design and access statement submitted as part of the planning process confirms that the concept for the Downpatrick store evolved following “careful and sensitive appraisal” of the existing site and surrounding area context.

The retail giant said the architects’ brief was to provide a retail development that met the needs of the Henderson Group and to develop an abandoned site which will further enhance the area it is situated in.”

Planning papers say the design team in charge of the project have been through many layout options and alterations to ensure the planning of the site has been well thought about to ensure easy accessibility from all sides of the site for pedestrians in the neighbouring area.

Proposal designers say the aim is to develop a building that contributes to the character of the town and reflect the surroundings, with the inclusion of a pitched roof and brick walls added to reflect the typical residential dwellings commonly found in the area.

Meanwhile, planners are recommending that the £2.5m Killyleagh proposal which is expected to create 40 jobs should proceed, with their recommendation due to be discussed at today’s meeting of Newry, Mourne and Down Council’s Planning Committee.

The Henderson Group is seeking conservation area consent to demolish the existing Spar retail unit and petrol station along with an existing dwelling at the Downpatrick Road and an extension to a building in Irish Street.

The development proposal includes plans to extend the existing forecourt and rebuild the Spar store to create 5,800 sq ft of retail space, a three-pump forecourt and 44 parking spaces.

It also hoped that work at the Downpatrick Road can begin in 2022.