Councillor Brian Wilson welcomes the Minister’s new policy guidelines on out of town shopping.
Restrictions on out of town shopping will not only limit the expansion of Sprucefield but it will severely reduce other out of town developments. Unfortunately this policy ten years too late and twenty years behind the rest of the UK which gave priority to town centre development and has severely restricted out of town shopping since 1992.
I raised this matter of out of town shopping in the Assembly with a number of previous Environment Ministers but they refused to act arguing that they could not introduce legislation while a decision on John Lewis was pending. Therefore PPS5 in draft form designed to protect town centres has sat on the Minister’s desk while our town centres including Bangor have been decimated.
It is better late than never but for many small, independent retailers it is far too late.