Plan to ex­pand Lidl store in Mitchel­stown is ap­proved


The Corkman - - NEWS - BILL BROWNE

THE move by Ger­man dis­count gi­ant Lidl to ex­pand its North Cork op­er­a­tion has been given a boost for the sec­ond week in suc­ces­sion after a plan to de­mol­ish and re­build its Mitchel­stown store and re­place it with a larger one was ap­proved.

The news comes just a week after An Bord Pleanála gave Lidl per­mis­sion for a sim­i­lar pro­posal in Kan­turk, which had also been re­ferred to the ap­peals board fol­low­ing an ob­jec­tion from RGDATA, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive body for in­de­pen­dent Ir­ish re­tail­ers.

In Fe­bru­ary, de­spite an ob­jec­tion by RGDATA, coun­cil plan­ners ap­proved an ap­pli­ca­tion to tear down the ex­ist­ing 1,768 sq me­tre store on a 2.7 acre site at Brigown, Mitchel­stown, and re­place it with a new 2,680sq me­tre store rang­ing in height from one to two storeys.

The ap­pli­ca­tion made pro­vi­sion for new ex­ter­nal sig­nage, a trol­ley bay and park­ing for 122 cars and 28 bi­cy­cles and mo­tor­cy­cles.

While the plan made pro­vi­sion for the main ve­hic­u­lar en­trance from the Fer­moy Road site to re­main in place, it also in­cluded a ded­i­cated new pedes­trian ac­cess point ad­ja­cent to its north­ern bound­ary.

Coun­cil plan­ners did im­pose 16 con­di­tions re­lat­ing to is­sues such as road and traf­fic safety, the pro­tec­tion of ex­ist­ing ameni­ties both dur­ing and after de­mo­li­tion/construction, the dis­posal of waste and noise pol­lu­tion.

Lidl was also or­dered to pay €44,660.54 un­der the coun­cil’s De­vel­op­ment Con­tri­bu­tion Scheme.

The de­ci­sion was re­ferred to the ap­peals board fol­low­ing a fur­ther sub­mis­sion by RGDATA, whose di­rec­tor gen­eral Tara Buck­ley wrote that the size of the pro­posed new store would have a detri­men­tal im­pact on ex­ist­ing shops in the town cen­tre and sur­round­ing ar­eas.

The sub­mis­sion went on to list other rea­sons for ob­ject­ing to the de­vel­op­ment, in­clud­ing its zon­ing, say­ing it would con­sti­tute a “sig­nif­i­cant and un­nec­es­sary” in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of re­tail pro­vi­sion that would have a ma­jor im­pact on the nearby res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment and limit fu­ture res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment of the area.

It fur­ther pointed out there were cur­rently 12 va­cant re­tail premises in the town cen­tre, ex­press­ing con­cern that the “over-de­vel­op­ment at this site” would re­sult in a loss of foot­fall in the town and more re­tail out­lets clos­ing their doors.

They also con­tested that the num­ber of re­tail out­lets op­er­at­ing in the town was “more than suf­fi­cient” to cater for cur­rent de­mand.

How­ever, in their rul­ing An Bord Pleanála in­spec­tors said the de­vel­op­ment would not “ad­versely af­fect the vi­tal­ity and vi­a­bil­ity of Mitchel­stown town cen­tre.”

They fur­ther ruled the de­vel­op­ment “would not se­ri­ously injure vis­ual ameni­ties of the area and would be ac­cept­able in terms of pedes­trian and traf­fic safety.”

“The pro­posed de­vel­op­ment would, there­fore, be in ac­cor­dance with the proper plan­ning and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment of the area”, read their re­port.

The ap­peals board did im­pose 12 con­di­tions that Lidl must ad­here to for their rul­ing to be valid.

These in­cluded that the new sales area not ex­ceed 1,424 sq me­tres and dealt with other is­sues in­cluded open­ing and de­liv­ery hours, the noise lev­els, im­pact on vis­ual ameni­ties and that no ad­di­tional de­vel­op­ment could take place above roof level with­out prior plan­ning per­mis­sion.

A plan to de­mol­ish the Lidl store in Mitchel­stown and re­place it with a larger one has been given the thumbs-up.

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