DESPITE numerous local objections, Aldi Stores Ireland Ltd have been granted planning permission for the demolition of existing buildings at Ennistymon mart and the construction of a new discount foodstore, including off-licence, with a gross floor area of 1,590m2.
Clare County Council granted their application subject to 21 conditions. These include a requirement that the development only operates between 9am and 8pm between Monday and Saturday and only between 10am and 7pm on Sundays and public holidays. There is also a requirement that there be no deliveries between 11am and 7am.
The decision will be appealed to An Bord Pleanála, Pat O’Donoghue, chairman of the Save Ennistymon Mart Committee, confirmed on Wednesday.
“We have decided to appeal and we have applied for an open forum because it’s much bigger than a farmers’ mart issue, there’s a lot of local residents quite unhappy with the location. There’s a lot of people who are employed in the town who are concerned about their livelihoods and their jobs.
“We don’t know if An Bord Pleanála will grant an open forum. What we’ve been told is they usually do but they don’t have to,” he said.
If there is an open forum, Mr O’Donoghue said it could hear from interested parties over a couple of days.
If the store is ultimately built, it will result in job losses across North Clare, he believes. “My strongest feeling is that it will have a very negative effect on employment in Ennistymon and in the wider area. I think it’ll take jobs out of Lisdoonvarna, Miltown Malbay, Lahinch, Inagh and Kilfenora. I think it’ll have a very negative impact.”
He said local residents will be adversely impacted also. “Where Aldi want to build is at the back of the site. I think their reasoning is that it would be less visible from the road but it would be within 30ft of houses on Church Hill.”
Having an Aldi store nearby would have implications with regard to loss of light for neighbouring houses, he said, as well as a visual impact, while the noise of lorries would be another negative.
“What they’ll be listening to from the early hours of the morning will be beep, beep, beep. It won’t be from an alarm clock, it’ll be from a lorry that you can’t turn off or turn down,” he concluded.
Church Hill resident, Geraldine O’Halloran said she is “absolutely gutted” with the county council decision.
She also claimed that residents were treated coldly by the council’s planners. “We are the people who live on Church Hill, our people have been here before us for 120 years, please God our children will be here after us, but we’re just treated like a reference number, that’s all we are.”