The development company behind a new £47 million development at Carnbane Way in Newry has accused Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade of sending out the message that “Newry is closed for new business and investment”

An artists impression of the new proposed development at Carnbane Way.
An artists impression of the new proposed development at Carnbane Way.

In a Press Release issued yesterday the company accused the Chamber of preparing to close the city for business by pushing ahead with a hugely expensive court action in a desperate bid to block and delay a £47 million development at Carnbane Way.

A spokesman for the Hill Partnership, the development company behind the scheme said over £750,000 will be wasted on legal fees and £7.9 million in wages for local workers will be put on hold as a result of the Chamber’s “cynically selfish legal action.”

Neil Armstrong accused the Chamber of adopting a “selfish legal route strategy” that will delay the employment dreams of 800 local people

“By trying to protect their own interests these people have shown that they are prepared to jeopardise Newry’s position as the top destination for cross-border shopping’” he said. “The decision by the Chamber to seek leave for a Judicial Review of the £47 million development is a blatant attempt to protect vested interests.

“But by doing so it is effectively sending out that Newry is closed for new business and investment. 

“Meanwhile their short-sighted action has to be viewed against the backdrop of Banbridge celebrating the arrival of a new Tesco store at The Outlet and the fact that it is attracting huge numbers of cross-border shoppers and shoppers from Newry.”

The Hill Partnership spokesman said it was clear that ‘selfish and self-serving interests’ were prepared to try and manipulate the legal system in a bid to simply delay work starting at Carnbane Way.

“There are people, sadly, that appear to want to put self-protectionism above the greater good of the Newry community,” he said. “By trying to hold up a £47 million investment, 800 jobs and £7.9 million in annual wages they have clearly shown they are prepared to sacrifice that level of human and financial investment going directly into the local economy.”

He added: “Just a few weeks after it was confirmed that nearly a hundred more jobs have been lost from our city as a result of the closure of the HMRC offices we have the astonishing news that the Chamber, at all costs, is determined to pursue its own agenda.

“Against that sad backdrop there can be no logical reason for backing a campaign that will cause further economic hardship. It simply defies belief.

“There are hundreds of workers in the construction industry that have to travel as far afield as Dublin as well as across the water in order to get work.

“Let the Chamber explain to those workers and their families why it makes sense for the Carnbane Way project to be stalled.

“Let the Chamber explain why they are delaying upwards of 400 construction jobs over a two year period, and a further 400 jobs on completion, generating £7.9 million in wages initially and a further £7.1 million in wages per annum going forward.

“Many more millions will be pumped, year after year, into the local economy both in wages and spending power once the single retail unit and business park complex is completed.

“Indeed let the Chamber explain to its members why it’s spending hundreds of thousands of pounds of their money on a futile exercise; money that could be better spent in support of Newry rather than delaying job creation.”

Neil Armstrong described the campaign of opposition against the new development as a “smokescreen of misinformation built around scaremongering.”

“One has to ask who is actually pulling the strings within the Chamber and who the puppet masters are actually working for?” he said. “Is it really for the benefit of the people of Newry or is it to help a select small number of individuals?

“Despite claims to the contrary not every member of the Chamber supports the spending of considerable sums of money in a bid to destroy jobs.

“Yet they are being asked to defend the indefensible in the face of public opinion.

“They realise that totally independent opinion polls have shown that 97% of the people of Newry want the development to go ahead.

“Our project has been subject to the most rigorous examination at every level of the planning and legal process over the last five years.

“Nobody will be fooled by this pathetic last ditch attempt to delay an ambitious plan capable of bringing massive levels of investment both in the medium and long term to the wider Newry area.

“We are confident that our application, which already has been given full planning permission and has full Ministerial support, will deliver for the entire community.”

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