THE opening of a new 24-hour SPAR and petrol station on the Crumlin Road in North Belfast promises to be a real “community hub”, says the developer.
As part of the development, six new homes on Cliftonpark Avenue at the rear of the new petrol station and retail unit are nearing completion.
The existing shop and petrol station at Landscape Terrace will be demolished and four additional new private homes built on the site.
This week’s opening bears the fruits of a plan first put forward in 2015 by Gavan Wall, from the Wall Group, who runs a number of SPAR, Subway and Yoggie Berrie franchises throughout North Belfast.
Speaking to the North Belfast News, a delighted Gavan said: “This has been in planning since 2015 when we started doing some outreach into the possibility and support for a filling station on this location as well as some housing.
“We have had great support from the Lower Oldpark Community Association (LOCA) and the wider community.
“We wanted to create something that would have everything that the community needed.
“There are other things coming – so watch this space.
“We have Nugelato ice-cream boutique, famous for their Nougie Pot. We have a daily deli, run by an absolutely amazing team.
“We have Go-branded fuel, which will be really competitively priced, offering great value to the local community
“It is a 5000 sq ft store with glass-fronted fridges and everything customers expect from dairy, grocery, confectionary, lottery and PayPoint.
“The shop will be 24/7, we never ever shut. We are like the fifth emergency service.”
As for progress on the new homes, Gavan says six are nearing completion.
“This site was originally designated for social housing. I put in a proposal to create 30+ new jobs.
“Housing is good but if you don’t have money coming into the area and jobs, who is going to buy the houses?
“Six of the houses are close to completion on Cliftonpark Avenue and four more will be built on the old filling station site when it is demolished. It is a real community hub.
“I took the filling station over in November 2008 which was around 400ft. We now have a site around 12 times the size.”
Lower Oldpark Community Association (LOCA) welcomed the opening of the site.
“The opening represents the completion of a long journey that began approximately seven years ago,” they said in a statement.
“LOCA congratulates the developer, Gavan Wall, who had to overcome many obstacles to reach this point. LOCA is pleased to have supported him along the way and wishes him all the best with the new shop and petrol station.”