Jobs boost with new airport retail venture

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A £2.5 million retail and fuel forecourt is to be built near Belfast International Airport, which will create 35 new jobs.

Thirty construction workers will also be employed on the project after Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council unanimously approved the scheme on Monday night.

The scheme encompasses lands at 175 Ballyrobin Road, between the McCausland and Cosmo car parking companies, with the overspill car park for Belfast International Airport located to the rear of the site.

The application includes a petrol filling station, forecourt and services building which will comprise of one retail shop and three cafe/restaurant units (one with drive-through facilities), a dining mall, seating area, play area, and associated car parking .

In a report from planners presented to the council, it was noted that: “Overall it is considered that the development currently proposed would result in the provision of uses that in principle would normally be found in association with a busy airport such as BIA.”

The airport is enjoying its busiest ever summer and expects to exceed five million passengers this year with further growth anticipated next year.

The new Airport Road facility is scheduled to open in spring next year.

The developer, Dunadry-based Moorefield Contracts, will construct a 10,500 square foot retail outlet with a High Street food retailer, sandwich bar, coffee kiosk, hot food drive-through, children’s play area and forecourt with 16 fuelling bays.

Canice Mallaghan from Moorefield Contracts said: “We are delighted with the unanimous decision by the council in support of our application.

“Our £2.5 million project mirrors the confidence that’s evident at the airport which is enjoying unprecedented passenger growth.

“It’s also a clear vote of confidence in South Antrim and clearly the council has bought into our vision.

“The 35 permanent jobs will inject more than half a million pounds in wages annually into the local economy.

“We are engaged in positive discussions with a number of potential retail operators and expect to successfully conclude our negotiations within a matter of weeks.”