A £5 million shops and residential development in the heart of Newry city centre has been given the go-ahead.
Proposals were submitted to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council a year ago and this was followed up with a reserved matters application, which has now been approved.
The scheme will create around 85 jobs – 18 when the shops are up and running and 67 during the construction phases.
The earmarked location is on the car park located to the east of 41 Monaghan Street, and opposite 1-23 Railway Avenue, Newry.
The site also takes in ancillary buildings in the Monaghan Street area and the development would consist of a number of retail units – one measuring 463 sq metres and the other 191 sq metres – at ground floor level.
The plans – by Cregagh Developments Ltd – also include a total of 43 modern and stylish apartments in three multi-storey blocks commanding views over the city centre.
The apartments will be made up of five one-bedroom units, with the remaining 38 being two-bedroom properties.
There will be a total of 43 car parking spaces, deemed “more than sufficient” to service the site, incorporated as part of the plans, while there is also “numerous on-street metered car parking spaces in the surrounding vicinity”.
There will be three separate access points to the residential blocks located on Railway Avenue and Monaghan Street.
There are also balconies, as well as communal rooftop terraces and gardens.
The first apartment block is at the corner of Monaghan Street and Railway Avenue. It contains a retail unit at ground floor with four more storeys of apartments above, the fifth floor being ‘stepped back’ to provide a terrace.
Blocks two and three include retail at ground floor with three storeys of apartments above these. The fourth floor on one of these two will also be stepped back to provide a terrace.
The apartments throughout the development are described as being “generous” in size and range from 63 sq metres to 89 sq metres.
According to the submission to planners: “The blocks have been designed in order to improve the outlook from each apartment and improve solar gain into the residents’ communal garden.
“Two terrace areas are located at level one, which are approximately 190 sq ms. A third terrace is located on the roof of ‘block one’ which is approximately 93 sq ms. And the fourth landscaped terrace is located on the roof of ‘block three’ which is approximately 68 sq metres.
“This provides a total of 351 sq metres in communal areas.
“Each apartment has also been provided with a private balcony. The typical area of this private amenity space is seven square metres.
“Many of the apartments will also benefit from having a dual aspect, with views over the city. Care has been taken during the design process to provide a positive outlook and natural light for all apartments.
“The proposed layout also avoids any overlooking into existing residential amenity areas. The blocks have been adequately set back from any boundary in order to avoid this.”
A supporting statement pointed to the Newry City Centre Masterplan’s assertion which identified that ‘development opportunity sites’ should be the “subject of mixed-use development, following best practice urban design principles”.
It added: “These sites present the opportunity to introduce good quality retail space on ground floors, with office and/or residential accommodation on upper storeys.
“The redevelopment of this site is identified as high priority for the regeneration of Newry City Centre.”
The statement says “vacancy and dereliction” are ongoing issues within the centre of Newry.
And it continues: “High streets are suffering and the injection of 100+ residents into the area would have a massive positive impact on footfall and boost to local retailers.
“The development proposed has the potential to contribute to the social housing need in the area.”
The application has now been formally approved.