A LOCAL man feels so strongly that John Lewis should be granted planning permission for its first Northern Ireland store at Sprucefield, that he has launched a Facebook group and online petition.
Trevor Kirkwood launched the petition and Facebook group following comments from Environment Minister Alex Attwood which, it was feared, could end the decade long fight to bring the national retailer to Lisburn.
“I started the Facebook page ‘Support John Lewis for Sprucefield’ on Friday January 11 after hearing Alex Attwood on TV trying to lose 1,500 jobs for Northern Ireland,” explained Mr Kirkwood. “I thought to myself you were elected to bring jobs here not lose them. So I decided to see if I could do something about saving those jobs and I set up a Facebook page to see if I could get some support.
“I didn’t think it would be as big as it has become,” he continued. “To date I have 929 likes in just over a week.
“As I started to do a bit of research on John Lewis and Sprucefield, my anger turned to disgust when I read in the Star that the Minister had decided to announce the go ahead for four petrol stations on the M1 and M2 in double quick time, before Lisburn City Council had even passed them.”
Mr Kirkwood has written to the Environment Minister inviting him to visit the Facebook group and share his views but to date Mr Atwood has not replied to the invitation.
“I was looking on the Lisburn City Council website and I noticed a petition supporting John Lewis. However, it was for the 2010 inquiry so I decided to set up my own online petition through Causes on Facebook. In just over one day over 700 people signed the petition.
“If I can do a small bit to save these jobs then great but if not at least I tried,” added Mr Kirkwood.
The group and petition can be found on Facebook by searching ‘Support John Lewis for Sprucefield’.