Three-month consultation on plans for new Asda store

Three-month consultation on plans for new Asda store

27 March 2024

A THREE-MONTH community consultation on plans for a new multi-million pound Asda store in Downpatrick is underway.

Today, at a special event at the St Patrick Centre, computer-generated images of what the new superstore will look like will be on display, with consultants and Asda staff on hand to answer questions from residents and the business community.

The six-hour event, which starts at 1pm, is a key component of the detailed planning application process.

Permission is being sought to bulldoze the existing Asda store at the Downe Retail Park which suffered catastrophic damage as a result of devastating flooding last November.

A new 9,000 square metre store is proposed while three adjoining retail units – which were home to Harry Corry, Peacocks and Poundstretcher – will also be razed to the ground as part of the major redevelopment programme.

A new petrol station and shop also forms part of the planned development.

Celpark, owners of the retail park, hope that if formal planning approval is secured, building work on the new stores and garage could start this October and open for business 12 months later.

Celpark director, Barry Comer, said the next 12 weeks will be “crucially important” in the planning process.

He said the outcome of community engagement with local residents and liaison with stakeholders “will be pivotal in the company’s plans to redevelop the retail park and give the local and wider community a landmark shopping destination.”

An Asda spokesperson said in the months since the closure of the Downpatrick store as a result of the devastating flooding, it has seen at first-hand how much of a key role the plays in the local community.

“Whilst we are pleased that the temporary store is now up and running, a long-term solution is required. 

“That’s why we’re excited to embark on the first stage of the planning process for a new permanent store which will bring the full range of Asda services back to Downpatrick, including provision for a new fuel station attached to the store,” the spokesperson added.

South Down MLA Patrick Brown said Asda remained committed to Downpatrick.

“The store provides an invaluable service to our town and I will be supporting its plans as they develop over the coming years and I would encourage people to attend today’s consultation event,” he added.

The current Asda store was condemned by structural engineers following a forensic examination of the building when it was engulfed by flood water several months ago.

In December, a planning report submitted as part of the bid to secure approval for Asda’s temporary store revealed structural engineers discovered 31 defects in the wake of November’s devastating flood.

Defects uncovered during the detailed examination of the building – which Asda leases – included an issue with the foundation floor which included what is believed to be a large sink hole.

Large cracks also appeared in walls with damage reported to interior ceilings and floors.

A website – – which will allow people to view the proposals and provide feedback went live on Monday and remains accessible until April 20.