Retail giant says Unipork site ‘only viable option’

RETAIL giant The Range has written to the local Council stressing its commitment to coming to Enniskillen, and stating the controversial proposed development of the old Unipork site was its “only viable option.”
In a letter to Council chief executive Alison McCullagh, head of property at the Range, Mike Cotter, said the company had been given “confidence” Enniskillen would be a strong trading location by the strong public support for the proposed Lakelands Retail Park. He said after considering other options in the town, The Range had concluded the proposed Cornagrade Road development was the only site that would be suitable for the store.
Mr Cotter said The Range would create around 80 full time jobs as part of its £2.5 million investment in the town, and estimated its annual wage bill would be in the region £2.36 million. Frank Curran of Elm Grange, the family run Tyrone company behind the proposed development, also pointed to the apparent benefits to the local economy.
“What we at Elm Grange have proposed is a £15.5 million investment in the town and the creation of around 350 new full-time and part-time jobs at this site with The Range as the anchor tenant,” said Mr Curran, welcoming The Range’s letter to the Council.
“This is an amazing opportunity for the town and one that I would encourage everyone with an interest in Enniskillen and Fermanagh as a county to get behind.”
A final decision on whether to approve the controversial development at the old Unipork site, which has divided public opinion locally, was deferred by councillors in December. While there is strong support among many in the local community for the development, others feel it would pose a major threat to the town centre and existing businesses.
In their report on the application, planner officers had recommended refusing approval of the plans, quoting the suggestions of local business owners who had argued there were more suitable sites available for the Range in the town. For example, they said TP Topping’s, the Railway Hotel or the long-proposed Station Green development at Hollyhill would be more suitable.
The letter from The Range to the Council asserts this is not the case, with the Cornagrade Road site its “only viable option.”
If given the go ahead, other features of the development will include a ‘moviebowl’ complex from the same Donegal family which owns Brunswick in Derry.

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