WHILE construction has yet to start on the long-awaited Lakelands Retail and Leisure Park, its developers have said they are working hard on the project and are “raring to go.”
After three years in the planning process, including several delays, the £15.5 million Cornagrade Road project was finally given the green light by the Council earlier this year.
Plans for the complex include a cinema, bowling alley, hotel, coffee shops and retail outlets, with big name brands such as The Range and Tim Hortons already signed up.
While the majority of the general public are enthusiastically behind the project, believing it will keep both shoppers in the town and bring shoppers to the town, many in the Enniskillen business community were opposed to the application being granted, arguing it will take people out of the town centre.
After Council’s planning committee granted permission for the Cornagrade Road development last summer, following a close vote in the planning committee and prompting calls for legal challenges by some in the local business community, the Department of Infrastructure (DfI) placed what is known as a ‘holding order’ on the decision to give it the green light.
This holding order prevented elected members from signing off on the planning permission for the development until the Department had conducted a review. At the end of March, the Department announced it had decided not to take the review any further, and the planning permission has now been fully granted.
However, there has been no movement on the site since the application was passed.
Last week, developers Elm Grange assured the local community work was continuing in the background.
“Whilst we realise we’ve been publicly quiet, no news is good news,” said a spokesman. “Please rest assured we are working every hour on the clock on Lakelands Retail and Leisure Park.
“Our dedicated team is working on building control applications, water and drainage designs, electric and lighting designs, tenancy agreements – the list goes on.”
The spokesman added the team was keen to get going after the delays in the planning process.
“As you can appreciate, it was a long road to get this far and we want to maximise the potential of the project to the fullest,” they said. “As soon as humanly possible, we will be on site and raring to go.”
The spokesman thanked the local public for its “amazing support.”
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition