Work has started on a major retail development at Lonsdale Road in Armagh.
The plans will involve the construction of a new retail unit together with a coffee shop.
And the existing B&M Bargains store is also to benefit from a new extension as part of the overall development.
The contractors overseeing the construction are now on site to clear the area to facilitate the new buildings.
It comes five months after Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council gave the go-ahead.
Much of the site remains undeveloped but that is about to change.
Gone will be the ‘informative’ surround hiding a derelict plot of land from view of Lonsdale Road, with B&M tucked behind.
Instead, the work will see B&M Bargains Armagh store become one of the discount retailer’s biggest outlets in Northern Ireland.
Floor space will increase from just over 12,000 sq feet to close to 20,000 sq feet.
And in addition to that, the new new coffee shop will be built, facing Armagh Courthouse. A third shop – for an as yet unspecified tenant – is also proposed.
The extension to B&M Bargains will be accommodated on the existing car parking area within the site.
The other two units will be to the Lonsdale Road side and to the rear of the existing church hall property. One will be up against the gable end of B&M Bargains with the other adjoining and overlooking Lonsdale Street – directly across from Armagh Courthouse.
The proposal includes full provision for car parking, landscaping and all associated siteworks and access arrangements required.
The site is described specifically as “lands adjacent to College Street and Lonsdale Road and opposite No3 Rokeby Green, nos7-25 College Street and Armagh Court House, Armagh“.
It is labelled on the submission as “vacant lands within Armagh central core”, for which planning approval has previously been given almost 20 years ago for retail purposes.
A transport survey indicates 84 car parking spaces will be available which should “adequately service” the new development, with additional on street parking and public car park close by.
Both the coffee shop and new retail unit would stretch to 1,250 sq ft each.
With work now underway, it is expected that the development should be completed before the end of the year.