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Fast track planning applications to create jobs - McCann

19 November, 2008 - by Jennifer McCann

West Belfast Sinn Fein MLA and Vice-Chair of the Committee for Enterprise Trade & Investment Jennifer McCann has called on the Minister of the Environment, Sammy Wilson, to fast track significant Planning applications currently in the system as a mechanism for providing employment.

Amongst these applications is the request for permission to build the new John Lewis shopping complex in Lisburn.

Speaking today Ms McCann said:

I wrote to the Minster of the Environment, Sammy Wilson, seeking to clarify how many significant planning applications are currently in the system which would create employment opportunities and also requested that these outstanding applications be dealt with in an expedient manner.

"There are currently 70 such applications in the system. One such application is from Westfield and their partners, which will see investment in a John Lewis store and a number of other retail units at Sprucefield.

"This site is close to the Colin area which makes up almost a third of the population of the Lisburn Borough. It is an area of high unemployment and two of its electoral wards are listed in the top ten of the most deprived wards in the North of Ireland.

"There would be significant benefits to the greater West Belfast and Lisburn area if this particular application were to be brought forward . It would bring over 1500 jobs and training opportunities to the construction, services and retail sectors while costing no public money as it is a private development .

"There is an urgent need for such developments to be brought forward especially in today's economic climate. To miss this occasion for the development of a prime retail proposal would be unacceptable." CRIOCH

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