by JULIE ANN SPENCE
LAST week Lisburn City Council appealed to the people of Lisburn to make their voice heard over plans to bring a John Lewis store to Lisburn. The Star and the Council have been inundated with responses from local people, with the majority in full support of John Lewis coming to Sprucefield.
The Mayor of Lisburn, Alderman Paul Porter said: "I am not surprised at the level of support the people of Lisburn have shown in favour of the John Lewis development coming to our City.
"Through the Ulster Star and the Councils petition the public are showing how they feel and this is crucial due in the run up to the Public Inquiry, where the views of everyone, including the objectors will be presented.
"The strength of feeling on this issue is clear and the Council is
delighted that so many people have
responded positively in supporting our petition."
Councillor William Leathem, Chairman of the Council's Corporate Services Committee, added: "In only one week we have seen hundreds of signatures added to our petition. Again I would urge people to make a point of adding their name to this worthwhile campaign.
"It only takes a few short moments to sign your name and write your opinion.
"You have the right to have your voice heard and join the majority in supporting this development.
"The petitions are located in Lagan Valley Island, Lagan Valley LeisurePlex and the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum," he concluded.
The Mayor also spoke about the pre-inquiry, which was held on Wednesday (September 8) and said the indications were that the public inquiry would go ahead as planned on October 5.
"There was a very technical debate at the pre-inquiry about regulations and the status of the environmental report," explained Mr Porter. "However the Commission appeared confident that any issues could be dealt with at the public inquiry.
"Clearly there are objectors and the public inquiry will be the venue for all of the objections to be aired and for everything to be put in front of the Planning Appeals Commission.
"The Planning Appeals Commission certainly intend for the public inquiry to go ahead on October 5, although you cannot predict what the objectors will do at this stage.
"Hopefully this will be the opportunity for everything to be heard for the benefn of Northern Ireland, as well as Lisburn."
Chairman of Lisburn City Council's Planning Committee, Councillor Ronnie Crawford added: "I attended a pre-meeting of the Public enquiry in Belfast, which lasted some two and a half hours.
"The public inquiry is to start on October 5 but no doubt further attempts will be made to delay it at that stage."
Fed up with the ongoing delays
OF course we want John Lewis. Everyone wants John Lewis and we are all absolutely fed up with all the procrastinating and ridiculous delays on this project.
It is surely a no-brainer that we should welcome such a prestigious company to Northern Ireland.
The number of jobs, construction and subsequent retail posts, will be a real boost to our economy at this time.
This development will bring people up from the South. If our planners waste any more time I can see John Lewis give up on us and take their business into the Republic. Our shoppers will surely follow them.
Please do whatever you can to show the planners that John Lewis is very welcome in Lisburn.
Ann and Brian Ferguson
In favour of John Lewis development
I WOULD be in favour of the development for John Lewis to come to Sprucefield.
Also my mother-in-law, Mrs Mary Friel, who is 82 years young, welcomed the idea when she first heard John Lewis was to come to Sprucefield.
Hoping we all wiI1 hear some good news after October 5
Mrs Elizabeth Moffett
What shopper would not want such a good store?
WE are looking forward to John Lewis coming to Lisburn - what shopper would not want such a good store at Sprucefied?
Who goes for a look round the shops in Belfast anymore?
Belfast council must be making plenty out of the car parking charges.
Appreciate store being sited close to Lisburn
FOLLOWING the recent debate on the John Lewis store at Sprucefield, we would appreciate the store being sited so close to Lisburn.
Ian & Doris Crossett
Scheme's opponents need to think again
THOSE continually objecting to John Lewis being allowed into Sprucefield should think again.
Several years ago I warned that if past experience was anything to go by
we would witness countless arguments which would last for years. Sadly this
has so far proved the case. Despite the forecasts by the same voices of
objection, Lisburn continues to do well. It is an area with half
a million customers within half an hours drive.
I have no doubt there is a growing demand for John Lewis at Sprucefield, the most lucrative retail complex in Northern Ireland.
One can only assume the objectors clearly hope their time wasting
manoeuvres will result in defeat for the John Lewis projects. It is
therefore essential the general public make their voice heard.
We should never forget all parts of Northern Ireland suffered during the terrorist campaign and we have a lot of catching up to do in attracting business so objectors to John Lewis should seriously reflect on their actions.
Alderman Ivan Davis
Hillsborough resident is totally against further development at Sprucefield
AS a resident of Hillsborough I am totally against John Lewis coming to Sprucefield, mainly because I think both the Planning Department and the Roads Service not fit for purpose.
Hillsborough as no longer the 'picturesque village' it used to be. The granting of planning permissions on green field sites in the area seems never to end but the roads seem not to be improved to cater for the increased numbers of homes and drivers. Another 100+ houses have been given the go ahead on Carnreagh Road beside the primary school but I am unaware of any improvements to the roads.
As it stands now, in the mornings the village is brought to a standstill with vehicles from the Newry direction on the A1 taking a shortcut through the village so they miss the queues at Hillsborough roundabout on the Al.
This means it is then nearly impossible to get through the junctions into Lisburn Street from either Ballynahinch Street or Culcavy Road.
In the evening heavy traffic from the M1 direction along the A1 means motorists trying to leave the village via the Hillsborough roundabout suffer lengthy queues due to the volumes of traffic coming from the M1 direction onto the roundabout.
On many occasions getting out from Harry's Road and Eglantine Road onto the A1 to travel in either direction is nigh impossible and indeed dangerous.
To allow John Lewis to locate their store in Sprucefield would create more traffic chaos in this area and make the problems I outlined above even worse and bring increased misery for those living and driving in these areas.
This should have been settled long ago
I have always thought that the whole question of whether or not John
Lewis should come to Lisburn could, and should, have been settled a long
time ago. Sprucefield has always seemed the logical place for the
development; and, whilst I can understand the reservations of some
of the Lisburn City Centre traders, it is up to them to attract the public to their premises. Life is competitive.
We should be glad that the prestigious John Lewis wants to come to Northern Ireland and I think that we should be doing everything we can to accommodate them.
Sprucefield would appear to be their preferred location, and many would agree that that is a much more suitable site than anywhere in Belfast.
Let's hope that good sense will prevail