Work has begun on the site of the Lakelands Retail Park.

There has been a noticeable presence on the site for a number of weeks, with heavy machinery working on clearing the site.

A spokesperson for Elm Grange Limited confirmed the works to The Impartial Reporter, and said: "Site clearance is currently under way at Lakelands Retail Park. We look forward to making a further announcement in the new year on the timeline for construction, as well as future retail tenants for Enniskillen."

The former Unipork factory site in Enniskillen was bought for development by Elm Grange Limited and will involve a £15.5m investment capable of creating 450 new jobs.

The proposal comprises six retail units, a 54-bedroom hotel, cinema, bowling alley, petrol station and a food outlet, as well as more than 750 parking spaces.

So far, The Range, Brunswick Movie Bowl and Tim Horton's have confirmed they will operate on the site.

Planning permission was granted back in June, 2021; however, a‘holding direction’ was issued on June 24, 2021, by The Department of Infrastructure to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council under the provisions of Article 17 of Planning Order (NI) 2015.

This holding direction was later lifted in March, 2022.

The retail park is controversial as many believe its construction will lead to the decimation of existing businesses in the town centre.

Others welcome its establishment for the variety of offerings and the redevelopment of a site that had been dormant for more than 20 years following the closure of the Unipork factory.