Supermarket retailer Asda has been given the nod to build what will be its largest store in Northern Ireland after nearly three years of awaiting a planning decision.

Asda will now develop the 54,000 sq ft store at a cost of £25m at outlet centre Junction One in Antrim.

The decision to allow the development to go ahead was made by environment minister Sammy Wilson last week with the support of Antrim Borough Council.

Asda first submitted the plans in June 2006.

“This has been a long process, possibly longer than it really needed to be,” said an Asda spokesman. “But we are now looking forward to making progress on site and developing the store.”

It will trade its food and household ranges as well as fashion brand George, electricals goods and entertainment.

Asda will commence construction of the store at the beginning of 2010 and aim to be trading by the end of the year.

The Asda spokesman added: “The inclusion of the Asda store in Junction One will really underpin its place as Northern Ireland’s premier retailer destination and we would like to thank local people and local representatives for their support in bring this forward particularly at a time when the creation jobs is so vital.”