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Aldi confident of winning planning appeal as county council sticks to its masterplan

AN Bord Pleanála is due to give a decision by next Tuesday on Aldi’s appeal against a Clare County Council decision to refuse planning permission for a Shannon store.
Despite not having planning permission Aldi is evidently confident about the pending decision, as it released a statement saying the development will be going ahead.
“Aldi will open a new store in Shannon as part of a €320m Irish expansion drive in a bid to further grow its share of the Irish grocery market,” the statement said.
“The investment drive will see Aldi open 30 new stores across the country, building on the €1.6 billion Aldi has already invested in its 149 Irish store and distribution network.
“Aldi will increase its investment in Ireland by more than 75% over the next three years compared to 2019-2021.”
In a submission to An Bord Pleanála, Clare County Council asked that its decision to refuse planning permission be upheld.
It stated that a new masterplan is being created, while it claimed that while the Aldi proposal includes a cafe, something that wasn’t in an earlier application some years ago, that in itself was not considered strong enough “to provide for a sufficient draw or synergy between both areas of the town centre”.
The Council also stated, “In terms of layout and setback of the building it is acknowledged that the wayleave to the front of the site restricts the development of a streetscape at this location.
“Given that this is a pivotal site within the town centre it is considered that a building of multiple storeys is required to provide for appropriate definition and form at this location.”
The Council also said “The site is considered to be detached from the existing town centre area and the proposal would serve primarily car-borne traffic.
“As the proposal is not functionally linked to the existing town centre, and noting the division of both sites by the R471, it is not considered that safe and appropriate links between both sites is achieved.”
It claimed that the development would be bad for the Town Centre and be contrary to the aims of the next masterplan.
“It is also considered that the proposal would detract from the vitality of the existing town centre site and fail to relate satisfactorily to same, and would prejudice the comprehensive development of the lands within the town centre site itself and the lands north of the R471.
“A key concept of the masterplan is for the consolidation and enhancement of the existing town centre site and it is considered that the development of an Aldi store on that site would help to achieve this aim.”
The opposition from Clare County Council to Aldi’s plans has been a controversial matter within Shannon for several years, with a feeling among many local people that the local authority are more of an impediment to the development of the town than a support to it.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.