Northern Ireland

Magherafelt out of town retail plans refused by Durkan

Mark H Durkan Image copyright BBC Cinegy
Image caption Mark H Durkan said town centre traders needed to be protected

Four major out of town retail applications in the Magherafelt area have been refused by Environment Minister Mark H Durkan.

All four plans included proposals for large foodstores.

All were designated Article 31 applications meaning they were of such significance that the final decision rested with the minister.

Mr Durkan said he thought the plans would have a detrimental effect on town centre traders.

"Magherafelt has a strong and vibrant town centre, with one of the lowest levels of retail vacancy in Northern Ireland," he said.

"There is already a strong retail provision with a mix of local independent traders and main food providers. This needs to be protected which is why, after careful consideration, I am refusing all four applications."

He said he also considered the impact on road safety and on the environment.