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Consultation closes on Spires restaurant and decision expected soon

A decision on whether or not a major new Costa Coffee restaurant will be given approval for the Spires Retail Park in Armagh could be known before the end of the summer.

Friday marked the last date for public submissions, both in favour of and opposed to the plans, after the formal process of advertising the planned development.

Armagh I exclusively reveals plans for the development last month and there was a huge response from our followers on both Facebook and Twitter.

Scores of comments followed our Facebook post and over 1000 registered their overwhelming support for the new restaurant by clicking ‘Like’ on our status.

Costa Coffee is the second largest coffeehouse chain in the world next to Starbucks.

And, as we reported last month, all of the necessary documentation – including a full traffic impact study – is now with Department of Environment Planning Service, which should help fast-track the application and lead a speedy determination on whether or not it will be allowed to proceed.

The application had been submitted early in June by the Spires Unit Trust.

The development, which would see a newly-built 2,000 sq ft outlet constructed, would also come complete with toilets, including disabled provision, something which has long been a sore point for visitors to the Spires Retail Park.

The application for the café also goes hand in hand with a major reconfiguration of the Spires Retail Park car parking, with an additional 56 spaces increasing capacity to 297, which includes 12 disabled bays.

All of the neighbouring units and those likely to be affected by the proposed development were written to in advance and the period of public consultation has now closed.

The application is actually for a restaurant/coffee pod and revealed that, while the applicant is listed as the Spires Unit Trust, it was understood the intended tenant is Costa Coffee, which also has an outlet at the Rushmere Shopping Centre in Craigavon, among its wide range of locations.

The agent for the development is TSA Planning Ltd.

If approved, Costa Coffee will increase the great variety of household names already on offer at Spires, including Marks & Spencer’s ‘Simply Food’, Iceland, Lidl and Heatons.

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