Minister of the Environment Edwin Poots officially opened the new eco-friendly Spar forecourt in Lagan Valley – the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Located on the Hillsborough Road, the knock-down rebuild development introduced several eco-friendly solutions that lowers the store’s carbon footprint and protects the surrounding environment.

The new larger store and forecourt will create an additional 30 jobs, and John Dory’s Traditional Fish & Chips have opened an outlet within the development.

The new store incorporates a mature oak tree as a focal point on the site, and the use of Thermo wood cladding ensures that it blends in with the surrounding Lagan Valley Regional Park.

The green ‘Sedum’ roof provides splashes of colour and interest to the roofscape and offers an effective and practical use of space, while helping to sustain and replace lost habitats in the process.

A rainwater harvesting system has also been integrated into the build and it will use the water run-off from the fuel canopy to supply the toilet facilities and jet wash.

Speaking at the opening, Minister Poots said: “This is an innovative and forward thinking approach to the redevelopment of this site.

“It is clear that the new site was designed to maximise environmental benefits such as the installation of the Sedum roof, which improves thermal insulation and offers energy savings in summer and winter.

“The rainwater harvesting system is also a sensible example of putting a natural resource to good use as the water run-off from the fuel canopy will supply the toilet facilities and jet wash.

“I would encourage all businesses to put protecting and improving our environment at the forefront of their activity.”

Mark Adrian, property Director of the Henderson Group, said: “This exciting development will be the first of its kind in the province. It has been a fantastic team effort to deliver such a radical new approach to convenience retailing.”