There’s a rumour flying around that John Lewis – thwarted in its attempt to develop a major store at Sprucefield because of Northern Ireland’s bizarre planning processes – has acquired Bow Street Mall in Lisburn.
I’ve no idea if this is true, but it would be great news for Lisburn’s truly dreadful downtown experience. The town has lost a vast number of retail frontages over the last few years and new retailers are hardly clammering for space in a town synonymous with crazy Saturday hell and brimstone preachers and ugly public spaces.
Bow Street Mall itself has become a chav-mecca, with the main mall thoroughfares cluttered with gaming machines and nasty bargain stalls.
If the news is true then we live in hope that John Lewis will redevelop the ailing Bow Street Mall and bring some sense of pride back to the city centre – one that has been plagued by moronic planning and a city council more obsessed with religious observance than restoring any sense of vitality to a down-beat has-been of a town.