BID TO LURE LEWIS TO CITY CENTRE AND CREATE 1000 JOBS
by JULIE ANN SPENCE
THE man behind a plan to transform Bow Street
Mall into Northern Ireland's biggest shopping centre has said he
hopes to be sitting in the new 389,000 sq ft extension, enjoying
a cup of coffee, in as little as three years time. Michael
Herbert, who is joint owner of the Mall, is hoping a �60 million
extension announced this week and which will create 1,000 new
jobs, will lure John Lewis from Sprucefield into a 260,000 sq ft
Development a 'massive vote of confidence' in
The key elements of the proposal
260,000 sq ft department
540 additional car parking
30+ additional retail units
improvements on Antrim Street and Bow Street
infrastructure improvements on Antrim Street
Improved access to Bow Street
mall car park on Thiepval Road, including new
Benefits for the city
Estimated 500 new jobs during
Estimated 1000 new jobs
bringing the total Bow Street Mall job numbers
Estimated E1.5 million in
additional annual rate payments
Millions of new visitors to
Lisburn city centre
However, even without them, he said the
department store will go ahead with House of Fraser believed to
be considering a Lisburn outlet. After weeks of gloom on the
high street with fears over the future of Woolworths and MFI,
the investment is being hailed as a massive vote of confidence
in Lisburn city centre.
The scheme would mean the demolition of
existing buildings along Antrim Street and part of Bow Street to
make way for the development. "We've invested considerable time
and resources in the preparation of this application to ensure
that everything on offer at the out-of-town Sprucefield site can
be accommodated in Lisburn City Centre," said Mr Herbert.
"Everybody in Northern Ireland wants to keep
city centres vibrant," he continued. "Why should Lisburn be any
different? This will be the biggest ever investment in Lisburn.
"Any department store should be right in the centre of Lisburn.
John Lewis recently opened a city centre store in Cambridge,
which is attached to a shopping centre much like the Mall. If
they can do it in Cambridge, why would they not do it in Lisburn?
"More than two years ago the John Lewis
Partnership said it would look to the Republic of Ireland if it
didn't get planning at Sprucefield. It has now announced its
intention to open in Dublin and yet it says it still wants to
come to Sprucefield. We believe that if the flexibility and
willingness exists to open at least two stores on the island,
then with support from everybody in Lisburn, the John Lewis
Partnership can come the extra few miles into our city
centre.Lisburn needs to have confidence in itself and our
politicians need to become persuaders for the city centre,"
continued Mr Herbert. "Lisburn City Centre has so much to offer
and we shouldn't be settling for a sub-optimal solution at
Sprucefield. Our proposal can bring proper regenerative benefits
to the city centre and still give the department store owner
broadly the same shopping catchment and opportunity as exists at
"And while our target is the John Lewis
Partnership because it has said it wants to come to Northern
Ireland; we will also be targeting other major retailers at home
and abroad and have already spoken directly to one other UK
retailer as well as making contact with the John Lewis
Partnership," he added.
"This is a genuine plan to transform Lisburn city centre into
a prime retail destination by securing a major department store.
Lisburn has the opportunity to make that transformation and Bow
Street Mall stands ready to make the investment required to make
Mall development a 'golden opportunity'
THE local business community have voiced
their support for the Bow Street Mall development, calling it a
'golden opportunity' for Lisburn.
Prominent businessman Rowan Black, who owns
Greens Foodfare in Bow Street, has in the past expressed concern
about the John Lewis development at Sprucefield and has called
on the Assembly to publish PPS5 which sets out the planning
guidelines for out of town development.
He has given a warm welcome to the Mall plans
and has asked on all politicians in the city to do likewise.
"This is very much a viable opportunity and
an alternative to the Sprucefield application," said Mr Black.
"We welcome the increase in footfall and the jobs being created
in the city centre. It will be invaluable for Lisburn.
This is a golden opportunity from a private
investor wishing to invest a large amount of money in Lisburn
city centre and it is not an opportunity that should be wasted."
Mr Black called on all local politicians to
support the business community by welcoming the proposal and
"throwing their weight behind it at all levels."
Mayor and MP are keen to view plans
LISBURN Mayor Councillor Ronnie Crawford and Lagan Valley MP
Jeffrey Donaldson have both said they are keen to view the
proposals for the multi-million pound extension to the Bow
"I have always been supportive of development
of the Bow Street Mall and I will look very carefully at this
latest proposal," Mr Donaldson commented.
However, he stressed the importance of developing Sprucefield
and said he understood no direct approach had been made to John
Lewis about locating a store in the Bow Street Mall. Lisburn's
Mayor, Councillor Ronnie Crawford said: "I have concerns about
the accommodation of the extra traffic in the city and about
what impact this development will have on the rest of the city.
"However, I will be very interested to see the plans."
Chairman of Lisburn City Council's Economic Development
Committee, Councillor Allan Ewart added: "Lisburn City Council
has always encouraged any development which will enhance the
Scheme will 'integrate' with city
THE designers of the Bow Street Mall scheme,
Bryson Architects, say the extension will integrate with Bow
Street and revitalise the entire city centre.
Along with the proposed 260,000 sq ft
department store, other key elements will include an additional
540 car parking spaces and 30 new retail units all integrated
into the existing Bow Street Mall.
Also proposed is a major new access point for
the shopping centre and environmentally-friendly transport
initiatives are included to reduce traffic pressures currently
experienced on Antrim Street and elsewhere in the vicinity of
the city centre.
This will include a new feeder underpass that
will have direct access to the car park at Bow Street.
Paul Gillespie of Bryson Architects,
explained: "The new development provides a great opportunity to
revitalise this part of Lisburn city centre. It creates a new
focal point entrance directly at the end of
the pedestrianised Bow Street which will help to integrate the
mall into the centre of Lisburn.
"The new mall starts at this new corner
entrance and continues internally to link up both ends of the
existing mall in a loop arrangement," he continued.
"Further linkages are provided at first floor
gallery level back to the existing foodcourt, and a major atrium
core containing feature lifts and escalators rises up though all
retail levels to the roof car park above.
"Externally the development provides live
shop frontages on all sides which is made possible by providing
a basement service area.
This will take away all on-street servicing and together with
the improvement to the road alignment will help to make Bow
Street and Antrim Street more pedestrian friendly."
A warm welcome from City Centre Management
THE Chairman of Lisburn City Centre
Management, Alderman Edwin Poots (pictured), has given his
support to the Bow Street Mall plan, saying he welcomes "any
proposals to further develop Lisburn City Centre."
"Clearly a development of this scale would
have a huge impact and if the Bow Street Mall are successful in
identifying a major anchor tenant, it would be beneficial to the
footfall of the general area," said Mr Poots.
Mr Poots also said he would not be attempting
to influence John Lewis on the location of their proposed
Lisburn store but added that he would be seeking the further
development of Sprucefield, as well as the Bow Street Mall.
"It is entirely a matter for John Lewis to make
their own commercial decisions and I would not be seeking to
influence the company as to where their store should be located
within the Lisburn area.
"Ultimately we would like to be going forward
developing both - Sprucefield and Lisburn City Centre and more
importantly developing connectivity between the two areas."
Mr Poots stressed the importance of developing
Lisburn "in its entirety" to ensure it becomes a "stronger
"I have been asking the private sector to make further
investment in the city centre for some time, therefore this
application, if it gets approval and proceeds to development, is
something that would be welcomed by the majority of public
representatives in the Lisburn area."
Plans published - so what happens now?
owners of the Bow Street Mall have submitted their major
planning application on November 27. So what happens now?
According to joint owner Michael Herbert, the
Mall already owns some properties in Antrim Street, which will
be demolished to make way for the multi-million pound extension
and they are in the process of negotiating with the remaining
However, if they fail to reach agreement this
will not mean the end of the road for the development.
Mr Herbert has indicated that the Department
for Social Development have been made aware of the development
and are currently looking at the proposals. Should the Mall be
unable to secure the remaining
premises in Antrim Street, the developers
could ask the DSD to vest the land, as they did with the
Victoria Square development in Belfast.
The owners of the Mall have also been
garnering support for the development from local businesses, and
will be meeting with politicians in due course to discuss the
"We have met with traders on an individual
basis," said Mr Herbert, "and we have requested a meeting with
the Lisburn Chamber of Commerce and with Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey
Donaldson to explain our proposals.
"We hope to gain their support, after all, why would anybody
not want a �60 million investment in Lisburn? anybody
How Antrim Street could look in three years time