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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Are plans progressing for Home Bargains in Ballymena?

"What about Home Bargains?"

Since Love Ballymena revealed almost two years ago, that one of the UK's favourite discount stores had plans to open a local store, it has been one of the most highly-anticipated new arrivals in the town.

Home Bargains submitted a planning application to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council in April 2022 with proposals for a new-build store in the Harryville area of Ballymena.

The 39,160 sqft store, represents an £8.9M investment by brand owner TJ Morris, to be built in a derelict site off Queen Street - previously used by Ballymena Construction Company.

Located on a 4.5 acre site that includes 30,000 sqft of retail space with an attached 7,620 sqft garden centre facility. The space also includes 145 car parking spaces, and 10 cycle parking spaces, as well as a service yard.

The new store is expected to provide an economic boost for the area, initially creating around 70-80 construction jobs, and when built the company predicts it will offer around 80-100 jobs, paying approximately £800-900k in wages per year. It is anticipated that the store site will yield annually about £210,000 in rates.

The new store proposal received the green light from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council's Planning Committee members in February 2023, though to date, no construction has yet commenced at the site much to the disappointment of local bargain lovers.

So what is going on?

When planning permission was granted by Council, a number of conditions were attached to the approval. These are requests or stipulations by the local authority, guided by consultations held with other partner agencies such as Department for Infrastructure Roads, and others.

These range from Condition (1), which stipulates that construction of the development must begin within five years of the approval, to Condition (16) which requires a programme of archaeological work before construction commences, to be carried out in a bid to identify and evaluate and archaeological remains at the site.

The good news is that TJ Morris have been working to fulfil these conditions over the last 13 months. In reference to the requirements of Condition (16), this was met and discharged on 9th February 2024.

As well as meeting the requirements of Planning Conditions, TJ Morris has also made a number of minor changes to the design of the new store, each of which have to be submitted to the local planning authority.

More recently on 19th December 2023, TJ Morris submitted a detailed Programme of Works with Associated Maps, showing traffic management proposals and an associated risk management assessment. This was subsequently approved by Planning and Condition (6) was discarded.

Love Ballymena understands that Woodvale Construction, based in Omagh, has now been contracted by TJ Morris to build the new store in Ballymena, with onsite work expected to commence soon.


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