Outline planning permission has been granted for a new multi-franchise car showroom on the outskirts of Newry which could create up to 60 jobs.
The decision to give outline approval was made by Newry, Mourne and Down Distict Council this week.
And it is a move which would have huge lucrative benefits to the area, council had been informed.
Armagh I exclusively revealed the plans for the development by Shelbourne Motors when the proposals were first brought forward in March of last year.
The location – an expanse of vacant land opposite the Cluan Mhuire Trust site on the Armagh Road – had been zoned for this type of development.
Shelbourne Motors – which was established in 1973 – has plans to establish a new multi-franchise car showroom together with three adjoining showrooms, with provision for displaying vehicles and customer parking within the grounds.
A planning support statement submitted to help persuade officials of the need for the development going ahead had insisted it would “bring substantial ecnomic and employment benefits” to the area.
It has the “potential ultimately to deliver £3.5 million investment in the local area” and would bring “up to 60 highly-skilled jobs with ongoing training”.
The site was chosen as a location which would enable customers to test drive vehicles “without becoming ensnarled in or contributing to traffic congestion in the city”.
The site, between the A1 and A28, is described as being currently in an “unkempt state”. It is accessed by the Craigmore Road which, prior to the construction of the A1, formerly linked through to the Millvale Road and ultimately Bessbrook.
The planning support statement indicated that the applicant had investigated numerous other potential locations but these had been “ruled out for various reasons”.
The statement points out: “The plans to create an iconic car franchise at this location will result in planning gain through delivery of an attractive site on the edge of the city limits adjacent to a major traffic route.”
And it adds: “It will deliver state-of-the-art facilities not only to Newry, but also surrounding areas, something that is normally only seen in major European cities.”
Planners, in recommending outline approval be granted, laid out a number of conditions, including that work would not be started until vehicular access constructed and until a programme of archaeological works has been implemented.