THE owners of Riverside Retail Park have expressed disappointment and frustration at the refusal by Causeway Coast and Glens Planning Committee to allow them to continue to develop by replacing part of the previously consented and implemented development to create a 40,000 sq ft bulky goods retail warehouse unit along with an adjacent 8,000 sq ft Garden Centre.
"It is hugely frustrating that an application that was in the planning system for over two and a half years has resulted in this outcome," said a spokesperson for Riverside Retail Park on Thursday.
"We have demonstrated throughout the application that the retail space has previously been consented, a fact accepted by CC&G Planning Department and illustrated by our team at the Committee Meeting.
"Effectively, all we had been seeking was consent to combine the four units and the addition of an 8,000 sq ft garden centre.
"We had been close to securing terms for a national operator who wanted to invest in Coleraine and had indicated they could create 80 full and part time roles, in addition to a much needed rates income up to £1million over five years, which no other single development can deliver.
"Unfortunately, their investment will now be redirected to another location in the UK.
"Our aim at Riverside is to improve the Park in these challenging economic times, to strengthen the retail offering provided within the borough and to avoid retail spend being diverted to Ballymena and Derry/Londonderry.
"Ultimately, this was for a bulky goods retail warehouse, on a bulky goods retail park that it has been demonstrated and accepted by the Planners that it cannot be accommodated within the town centre.
"We will continue to progress with our investment plans for Riverside, which this week has seen the opening of Tim Hortons with 40 new jobs created and we intend to commence construction imminently on the existing consented space to develop three new units in an extension of the existing terrace," added the spokesperson.
Causeway Coast and Glens planning committee voted against the 40,000 sq ft Riverside Retail Park scheme on Wednesday after hearing it could damage the viability of Coleraine town centre.
More on this developing story, including what happened at the council meeting, in Tuesday's Chronicle newspaper.