A south Armagh village is to benefit from a major retail investment.
The local shop in Jonesborough will become double the size, with integrated Post Office services.
But not only that, what has been likened to a ‘mini retail park’ will be constructed on land alongside.
It will consist of five separate units, all available for letting.
A planning application for the development – estimated to cost in the region of £700,000 – had been submitted to planning officials at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council for consideration.
The authorities have been assessing the proposals – brought forward by Edentubber Developments Ltd – for almost a year.
But now it has been recommended the the shop and retail units be allowed to proceed.
The new development will be built adjacent to, and to the west of, the existing village shop.
The Costcutter premises is located on Finnegan’s Road, close to the local primary school.
The planned retail outlets, meanwhile, will be constructed in two separate blocks, on a site for which planning permission for 11 houses had previously been granted.
During the course of correspondence between the applicant’s chartered architect and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, it was revealed that the retail units would be likely to have opening hours similar to the convenience store, which is between the hours of 6am and 11pm.
It is not known who would occupy the units but the “intention is they will complement the convenience store”, such as a hairdressing salon.
The proposal is to replace the existing shop with a bigger unit – increasing from 244 sq metres to 561 sq metres.
The five retail units will have a total floorspace of 339 sq metres.
No objections have been received from the statutory agencies, such as TransportNI and Environmental Health, and there have not been any representations made by members of the public or neighbours.
A professional planning assessment points to the local service delivered by the store.
It states: “There is no other convenience store in Jonesborough. The nearest one is in Meigh, some three miles to the north. There was a small village shop on Dromintee but this has been closed for a number of years.”
The proposal, it is revealed, includes 38 parking spaces on site.
The official report adds: “The five commercial units will be of a design that resembles a small retail park with units to let.
“They are clearly aimed at providing accommodation for retail businesses or retail services such as medical or legal practitioners.
“It is unlikely that they would be used for food retail, as all local demand for such products are likely serviced by the existing unit and its proposed replacement.”
The overall development will represent a huge boost to the local area, providing an economic spin-off for the area, with jobs created initially through construction and upon completion when any units are brought into productive use.