Claim-complex would turn town core into a‘waste ground’

RETAILERS and residents were among those represented at a pre-determination hearing on a proposed sizeable retail and leisure complex.
Several objectors made their opinions known. First to speak was Ciara McGriskin of Station Green, Enniskillen. 
Ms McGriskin outlined that Station Green has live planning permission within the town centre boundary and when combined with vacant sites on the east side of Enniskillen, “can accommodate everything that this out of town site is proposing”. 
Ms McGriskin made reference to other buildings on the east side of town with potential for redevelopment, namely, TP Topping, the South West College and former Railway Hotel. She said it was untrue that the Unipork proposal could not be accommodated anywhere else in the town centre. 
Ms McGriskin suggested that Station Green would be the first casualty of the Unipork site application. “All the Unipork site has to offer is a leakage. A leakage of jobs, footfall and retailers out of the town centre.” 
Michael Collins representing IMC Cinema said in the past five years it has seen a reduction of up to 15 percent footfall per year. He added that there are plans to refurbish the cinema, adding two new screens and food outlets amounting to a total investment of over £1.5 million, creating 8-10 new jobs. “However, this investment will simply not happen if another cinema gets planning approval less than a mile from your existing cinema,” he warned.
Speaking on behalf of Enniskillen Business Partnership was Jonathan Styles. He suggested that the Unipork site could be better used to benefit the people of Enniskillen and mentioned the possibility of redevelopment of the Lakeland Forum there, or as a site for Holy Trinity PS. 
Mr Styles said that there are up on 50 empty businesses in Enniskillen and suggested the retail park could further impact the town centre. He added the retail park was “simply too far away from the town centre” and would turn the town’s retail core into a “waste ground”. 
Glyn Roberts of Retail NI echoed this claiming that this application would draw trade, jobs and businesses away from what he believes is town centre with huge potential.
Christine Reeves, representing Erneside, said there was no need, quantitative or qualitative for this development. She claimed units could be offered to those already trading in the town centre and that the jobs the applicant claimed would be created would rather be displaced. 
A local resident, Rodney Shaw raised concern about the loss of light to his property as well as an increase in traffic on the near by roads. 

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