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Rushmere owners served up permission for new restaurants

Plans for two new restaurants as part of an ongoing multi-million redevelopment at Rushmere Shopping Centre will be given the go-ahead next week, Armagh I can reveal.

As we revealed last January, a bid to extend the retail offering at the centre, at Central Way in Craigavon, had been lodged.

It has been in the pipeline for a while as consideration has been given to all aspects of the proposals.

But when Armagh City, Banbridge and and Craigavon Borough Council meets next Wednesday night, the applicant – Central Craigavon Ltd, which owns Rushmere – will be given formal planning approval.

The planning and regulatory services committee will meet in Banbridge to consider the monthly schedule.

It is unlikely that there will be any objections raised by councillors attending and the approval will allow work to proceed.

The two new restaurants would be constructed on a hardstanding area and would also lead to the loss of some existing car parking spaces, although it is felt that the parking facilities offered at present, including underground, is more than adequate to meet customer needs. The loss of spaces would be minimal.

The new restaurants would be constructed as units 44 and 45 and would be side by side. There would also be a mezzanine area.

It is still not known if the units are being constructed with tenants in mind.

Rushere – including the retail park in front of the main shopping mall – already has catering facilities including Costa, Starbucks, O’Briens and McDonalds.

The two new units would be expansive; one would stretch to in excess of 4,000 sq ft and its neighbour to in excess of 5,000 sq ft.

They would bring a significant further element to the overall shopping experience.

The designs for the approved development were drawn up by Pick Everard, the leading consultancy practice working with the property, infrastructure and construction industry.

They were also responsible for the £10 million extensive redevelopment in recent years of the Magowan West Shopping Centre in Portadown.

The actual application for the Rushmere work was for an “extension to shopping centre to facilitate the creation of two new restaurants, minor reconfiguration of car parking spaces and other ancillary works”.

Rushmere boasts of providing the “core shopping for the whole of the west of the Province as well as substantial cross border trade”.

The shopping centre as it stands already extends to over 350,000 sq ft and is anchored by an 82,000 sq ft Debenhams, along with a major Sainsburys unit and many other tenants including Eason, New Look, TK Maxx and Dunnes.

The retail park – which boasts Homebase and Matalan as anchor tenants – provides more than 130,000 sq ft of what is described as fully open consent retail space.

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