Northern Irish independent retailers aim to block the development of a 46,000 sq ft Tesco after scuppering the multiple's plans to open what would be its biggest store in both the province and the Republic.

Traders in Crumlin met this week to discuss their campaign, days after a proposed 130,000 sq ft Tesco Extra in Banbridge was refused after protests by independents.

At the Crumlin meeting, attended by local retailers and politicians, traders said they were afraid that dozens of smaller shops would be forced to close if Tesco's plans went ahead.

"Traders reaffirmed their opposition to a 46,000 sq ft Tesco at the edge of our village and are forming a committee to take our campaign forward," said Gerard McAdorey, spokesman for Crumlin Traders.

"While it was a different situation, we are very much encouraged by the rejection of the application and will launch a petition to build upon our support from the local community."

Tesco's application at Banbridge was rejected by Northern Ireland environment minister Sammy Wilson. The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association said it had warned that the store at the Bridgewater Park complex would cripple the town centre. "This is a victory for common sense," said NIIRTA chief executive Glyn Roberts. "The minister deserves considerable credit for supporting local retailers in Banbridge."

Tesco said it and its developers had yet to be informed of a final decision.

NIIRTA has also raised concerns over multiples' plans in Ballyclare and Larne.

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