New extension to Erneside is radical downsizing of orginal plan

erneside redevlopment2
ERNESIDE Shopping Centre looks set to get  an extension – but it’s radically smaller than the proposed £40m development planned in 2012 which was to include a cinema, hotel and retail units. released back in 2012.

The modest new application, currently out for consultation, is for an extension to the two storey Next unit creating an additional 1390 sqm of gross retail floor space on the two levels and includes roughly an extra 20 -25 parking spaces, with most of these replacing those lost through the development.

It is a far cry from the previous application, which encompassed 10,047 sqm of additional non-food retail space, a cinema, a 58 hotel bed unit and a new pedestrian footbridge due for completion in 2015.

In fact the lavish original plans are now in doubt with project architect Colin Robinson stating that it has been put on the ‘slightly longer finger’. At the time of going to press he was also unable to give a definitive date on when or if the £40m development would ever see the light of day.


He explained that the original plans have met difficulties after analysis of the roads infrastructure in the local area.

“It’s not that it wasn’t going to get anywhere, but progress was slow and we decided to reduce the application to get us on site and moving.

“It’s not that it couldn’t have come through, as we have talked to Roads Service and planners, but with the difficulties they outlined about the scheme for us it was about getting on to site with an intermediate phase of the project.”

When – or if- the original £40m extension will ever be built Mr Robinson said he was ‘optimistic’, but there was some way to go.

“We would hope so, we are coming together with a revised proposal.”

When asked if this would be a more scaled down version to the original plans Mr Robinson did not rule out the possibility.

“It could be, we’re not quite sure, the marketplace changes all the time and analysis from that will give us the information to know what way to go forward.


“It has been put on the slightly longer finger, at this stage it is just the extension to Next. Don’t get me wrong through we want to build that along with the other scheme.”

Mr Robinson is in no doubt though that the extension to Next, if approved, will provide a retail boost for Enniskillen.

“It should provide a great boost to the local economy and will certainly increase the attractiveness of the centre.

“We’re almost shovel ready with this scheme and we hope this very much reduced planning application gets through council.

“It is really a very limited proposal, but you never know how things go.”

Should planning permission be approved Mr Robinson hopes builders will be on site during March for the work scheduled to take ‘at least a year’.

He reassured the people of Enniskillen though that the Next store would trade as normal during this period.

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