Northern Ireland

Planners behind Erneside Shopping Centre extension

Planners have recommended that a major extension to the Erneside shopping centre in Enniskillen should go ahead.

Centre owners, the Diageo pension fund, plan to build a two-storey extension.

This will add 2,000 square metres of floor space.

Previously they have said it will represent an investment of up to £40m.

The application will be discussed by Fermanagh council on Thursday.

Meanwhile, research by the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC) and the Springboard consultancy suggests that fewer people visited the shops in January in comparison to last year.

Their research showed shopper numbers in Northern Ireland were down by 1.4% on a year ago.

Aodhán Connolly, director of the NIRC, which represents large retailers, said that the figures were worrying.

"When compared against the previous quarter, where shopper numbers leapt up by a promising 14.4%, this drop is bitterly disappointing and signals that continuing violence in Northern Ireland is continuing to impact on footfall and sales," he said.

"Most worryingly, it's damaging the image of the country as a place to invest and do business."