THE planning application for the John Lewis store has been withdrawn, it was announced this morning (Friday, February 1).
The Sprucefield Centre Limited (comprising Westfield and Snoddens Construction) and John Lewis can confirmed that they have taken the decision to withdraw the planning application for the store and new shops at Sprucefield.
In a statement the firms said: “This decision follows the Minister for the Environment’s recent announcement that he intends to change the current policy and now confine further development at Sprucefield to bulky goods only, therefore excluding the new John Lewis department store.
“With the deadline looming to submit evidence to the Planning Appeals Commission, The Sprucefield Centre Limited and John Lewis have been forced to accept that the uncertainty over BMAP planning policy means they cannot proceed to Inquiry at this time.
“The Sprucefield Centre Limited, together with John Lewis, was committed to invest over £150 million into Northern Ireland and create over 1,500 retail jobs. Additionally, John Lewis would have opened a distribution facility in Northern Ireland resulting in further investment and jobs.
“Over the last nine years John Lewis has clearly and consistently stated that, having reviewed all available options, Sprucefield is the only suitable location to develop a new full line department store in Northern Ireland.
“The Sprucefield Centre Limited and John Lewis will review their position once the Executive has considered the BMAP policy and there is clarity on the role of Sprucefield as a regional shopping centre in Northern Ireland. John Lewis has reiterated its continued interest in opening a new department store at Sprucefield.”