Westfield and Snoddon’s Construction, joint owners of Sprucefield in Northen Ireland, have withdrawn plans for a controversial second phase of its scheme.

Westfield had faced opposition for the £150m development, that will include a John Lewis department store, but had been granted consent last year.

Westfield’s plans to withdraw the application comes within weeks of opponents launching an objection.

Opponents include the chambers of commerce in Lisburn and Belfast and owners of shopping centres including the Rushmere in Craigavon, Bow St Mall in Lisburn.

A statement from Westfield said it will work up new plans to meet ‘retailer and customer preferences, and to ensure Sprucefield meets its role as a regional shopping centre.’

Peter Miller, director of development design & construction at Westfield, said: ‘Westfield remains committed to delivering an exciting retail experience at Sprucefield and the substantial economic and social benefits the scheme will bring to the people of Northern Ireland. Together with John Lewis we will be investing more than £150m in the next phase of Sprucefield, which will deliver a significant boost to the Northern Ireland economy.’