LIDL has moved to quell fears that the proposed development of the new state-of-the-art store in Strabane Retail Park is in jeopardy.
Fears surfaced this week that the store would be put on the back burner following news from the company of a planned 50 per-cent reduction in store openings, in order to focus on warehouse capacity.
Following an already-lengthy delay at the Strabane site, Cllr Raymond Barr expressed his concerns, and asked Derry City and Strabane District Council to ‘seek clarifications’ around the issue.
Following a request for clarification by the Chronicle yesterday (Wednesday), Lidl said their local plans remain unchanged.
A spokesperson for the company said, “The redevelopment of Strabane Retail Park and the construction of a new, state-of-the-art Lidl store remains a priority for our plans in the northwest. We are currently working on the execution of this substantial development project, and look forward to advancing construction at Strabane Retail Park in the coming months as part of our overarching strategic plan to deliver a pipeline of projects throughout the region to revitalise and expand Lidl’s existing store network.”
Despite the issuing of that statement, Cllr Barr remains unconvinced.
“The statement is not very inspiring to be honest; the ‘coming months’ could be any time. This whole situation has been badly handled, in my opinion. Planning permission was granted too quickly, and they couldn’t wait to get the bulldozers in to flatten the units we had. If Lidl knew that they weren’t going to be building something on the site fairly quickly – it’s basically a building site now – then they could very easily have allowed those units to keep trading over the Christmas period and boosted the local economy. Instead, they ploughed ahead, with no definite time frame. The way this whole scenario has been handled has been to Strabane’s detriment.”
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