New £50m plan for Sprucefield without John Lewis store

By Julian O'Neill
BBC News NI Business Correspondent

  • Published
A John Lewis storeImage source, PA
Image caption,
The retailer John Lewis has been linked with the Sprucefield site for more than a decade

A revised plan for the £50m redevelopment of Sprucefield near Lisburn no longer involves a John Lewis department store.

Instead, the site's owners, Intu, propose building 13 retail units and an 80-bedroom hotel.

None of the new shop space would be big enough for a John Lewis store.

Sprucefield Retail Park, whose current occupants include Sainsbury's, was bought by Intu for £70m in 2014.

Intu said its plan would "transform an under-utilised" retail location.

Martin Breeden, its development director, added that it would "complement the existing offer in Lisburn".

He said there was already interest "from quality retailers".

None is thought to be John Lewis, which has been linked to the site for more than a decade.

Image caption,
Sprucefield will be transformed by the development, says the retail site's owners

In 2016, the High Court overturned a planning policy that had been an obstacle to a large department store at Sprucefield.

It prompted fresh speculation about John Lewis but the new plan appears to end it.

As well as shops and a hotel, it includes five food and beverage outlets.

After community consultation to begin soon, a planning application is expected to be submitted in the autumn.

Intu said its proposal would support 200 construction jobs, then 300 in retail when the expansion happens.

Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, who had previously pushed for a John Lewis store at Sprucefield, said he was "deeply disappointed it is on hold".

The Democratic Unionist Party representative added: "Further development of Sprucefield is to be welcomed but I would want to examine details carefully before coming to a firm view."