John Lewis say: Panic ye not Basil, we’re still planning to come to Sprucefield…

Basil McCrea made the radical suggestion (video clip added) the other day of getting the Legislative Assembly to legislate to make sure the John Lewis store planned for Lisburn was assured of getting its space, suggesting that with progress already taking place in Dublin, Northern Ireland might lose out at a time when both private and public sector capital was in short supply. Yesterday the FT added to the ambiguity when it noted uncertainty around the Northern Ireland end of the operation. How, Slugger has had the following reassurances directly from John Lewis [below the fold]

“In relation to Sprucefield, we remain fully committed to the project. A revised planning application for the project was submitted last year by our development partners Westfield with a request for an Article 31 determination which would include a Public Inquiry. The developers believe that a Public Inquiry will be the most transparent and equitable route for all parties in determining the application and we support them in this regard. We are however disappointed by the apparent lack of progress made to date on processing the application and setting a date for the Public Inquiry.”

“In relation to our proposed store at Dublin Central, we are very pleased with the progress made to date by the scheme’s developer Chartered Land. John Lewis understands that Chartered Land is close to completing the site assembly for the development of Dublin Central, for which it recently received notification of intention to grant planning permission from Dublin City Council. Subject to the successful completion of the planning process, John Lewis understands that Chartered Land expects to commence site works in early 2010.”