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Green light for shopping centre project

AN BORD Pleanála has given the green light to SkyCourt for a new development at the shopping centre.
The proposed development involves the relocation of the Dunnes Stores outlet, the provision of a comparison anchor tenant, dividing the current Dunnes convenience unit into five other outlets, putting in nine retail units where the Tesco supermarket was located and providing a multi-storey car park.
Manager Pat Kelly said that while the decision was positive, the current economic circumstances have to be considered.
“We are pleased with the decision but it will have to be evaluated in the context of the current economic climate.”
Inspector Conor McGrath said the proposed layout would have certain advantages.
“The overall layout of development will improve pedestrian circulation and retail provision and address adjoining roads/streets, thereby complying with the objectives of the development plan. I consider the level of visual integration with the existing town centre to be unsatisfactory, however, primarily due to the elevational treatment and materials used. This is of particular concern given the prominent position of this site.”
Some concerns raised by residents are unfounded, he claimed.
“The nearest houses are approximately 50 metres from the boundary of the site. The proposed development rises to approximately 13.8 metres along the Bealach Bri frontage. Having regard to the height, orientation and separation from residential properties to the east, it is not considered that the development will have negative impacts on residential amenity in terms of overshadowing or loss of light. The development previously permitted on this site was considerably higher than that now proposed and any impacts in terms of light and shadow, would therefore be reduced.
“Having regard to the design and layout of the proposed multi-storey car park and the positioning of the plant room on the eastern elevation, as well as separation from residential properties, it is not considered that the development will give rise to overlooking of the residential properties to the east.”
He did not favour limiting the hours of trading. “The appeal site is at sufficient remove from adjoining residential properties that the operation of the development for retail purposes would not negatively impact on the amenities of those properties. The imposition of a restriction on opening hours is therefore regarded as unnecessary.”
Nor did he feel increased traffic movements was likely to cause a major safety issue. “I note the concerns of the third parties regarding the safety implications of HGV movements associated with the service yard and children playing on the adjoining open space. Bealach Bri is a wide, high capacity road, which already provides one of the main access roads to development within Shannon town. In this regard, it already carries reasonable traffic volumes. The proposed development will result in increased HGV movements between the Bóthar Mór roundabout and the service entrance. However, the alignment and capacity of this road is adequate to safely facilitate such movements. Any increase in noise arising from increased HGV movements during the operational phase is not likely to be material given existing traffic volumes on the road.”
In conclusion, he stated that he was in favour of the proposal. “The proposed development comprises part of the overall redevelopment of Shannon Town Centre, increasing the level of retail provision therein. The development generally accords with the relevant policy documents and the principle of such mixed-use development on the site has already been adjudicated by the board.
“While there will be an improvement in the visual amenities of the area, concerns persist in relation to the elevational treatment and the need to ensure a high quality of development for what is intended to function as the Main Street for Shannon. There will be an improvement, however, in the pedestrian environment adjoining the site. No significant impacts on adjoining residential amenities are envisaged. It is considered that the adjoining roads have adequate capacity to accommodate the development and it is not considered that the proposed development will give rise to the creation of a traffic hazard. It is considered that the proposed development would be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”
Planning was granted for the development, subject to 20 conditions.

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