Do you need alcohol to sell groceries Asda pulls out after alcohol licence setback

16 March 2011

Supermarket giant Asda has pulled out of plans for a branch in north Belfast after being refused a licence to sell alcohol.

A spokesperson for the company said none of their branches operated without a beer, wine and spirits licence. Local business people had hoped an Asda outlet on the Crumlin Road would breath life into the old Hillview Retail Park. The company, however, said it remained committed to investing �100m in NI over the next five years. "Regrettably, the court's decision to refuse Asda a licence to sell alcohol means we are unable to proceed with this particular development," the spokesperson said. 'Re-siting' "We understand the frustration and disappointment that will be felt by the local community who have been supportive throughout this entire process. "However, we remain firmly committed to investing in Northern Ireland, with �100m specifically ear-marked for future developments over the next five years, including new store developments in Derry/Londonderry, and the re-siting of the Shore Road and Newtownards stores." North Belfast DUP MLA William Humphrey said he intended meeting with the company on Wednesday to urge them to reconsider the decision to pull out of the Crumlin Road project. "We are convinced that this still can work and will impress upon them the potential which exists at this location," he said. "The loss of this proposed investment and the promised 230 jobs is a major blow for the local economy. Many people had prepared and were looking forward to applying for those jobs. "We will also be meeting with the retail park owners and will continue to work to try and bring employment and retail opportunities to this part of north Belfast." Asda operates 16 stores in Northern Ireland and employs 4,500 people in the province.