A new £5.5m supermarket and drive-through cafe approved by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Planning Committee is expected to create 13 new jobs in Carrickfergus.
Planning permission was approved for a replacement Lidl outlet at its existing Belfast Road site and demolition of the current premises.
Senior planning officer Kyle Patterson told Thursday committee meeting there is “long-established retail use” at the location where Lidl opened in 2010. Also in the vicinity are retailers Marks and Spencer and Spar.
He indicated the proposed new Lidl store would provide an expansion from 1,047 to 1,499 square metres. The drive-through cafe, he said, would complement existing retail and tourism provision in the area.
New facilities, he noted, would include improved staff facilities, a pedestrian crossing and electric car charging points. The officer reported no objections during a community consultation from individuals or town centre retailers in Carrickfergus.
Dermot Monaghan, planning agent, said the supermarket chain wishes to replace the outlet with a “modern, energy efficient store to improve the shopping experience” with wider aisles and to provide a drive-through cafe.
He stated the proposed development would not have a “significant adverse impact” on Carrickfergus town centre and there have been no objections from retailers to the proposal.
Front and rear elevations of the approved new drive-through
He said construction would represent an investment of £5.5m and result in 35 jobs including the creation of 13 new posts.
Knockagh Alliance Councillor Aaron Skinner asked about traffic management at Belfast Road. He was advised there will be new access into the site but there is no requirement for traffic lights.
Mr Monaghan pointed out traffic impacts were “not deemed to be significant” by Roads Service.
Carrickfergus Castle DUP Cllr David Clarke asked if there would be seating in the drive-through cafe and went on to express concern over traffic in the area during construction.
He spoke of traffic “chaos” in the area during the summer when temporary traffic lights were in operation on the main road, which he recalled, “caused considerable disruption”.
Site plan for new Lidl store and drive-through in Carrickfergus
Mr Monaghan explained Lidl constructors “normally liaise with surrounding businesses and residents to let them know when construction will be starting and inform them when there will be temporary works going on and keep in contact with surrounding businesses during the construction process to minimise any effect on surrounding businesses”.
He also confirmed the drive-through cafe would have seating.
A report to the committee said: “This element of the proposed development will occupy a position along the southern boundary to the site with frontage onto the Belfast Road. There is no requirement for a restaurant or cafe, drive-through or not, to be located within a town centre.
“The proposed cafe will complement the existing retail, tourism, residential and commercial offering at this location and contribute to an enhanced and modern frontage onto the Belfast Road on the approach to Carrickfergus town centre.”
Cllr Skinner proposed the committee accepted the officer’s recommendation to approve the application, seconded by Cllr David Clarke. It was then approved unanimously.