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Aldi is confident of green light for Shannon

NEARLY 11 months after submitting an application for planning permission at Shannon, Aldi has provided a response to a further information request from Clare County Council.
Despite Clare County Council denying planning permission to Aldi in 2017, (a decision which Aldi unsuccessfully appealed to An Bord Pleanála) the company is bullish about its prospects of getting approval now and a decision is due by May 10.
The proposed development would be across the road from the existing town centre, on the northern side of the R471 (Airport Road).
In the further information submission, it is claimed that Aldi looked at opening in the existing town centre, but that was not a runner.
“The applicant engaged with the owners of the centre twice prior to lodgement of the application to review the potential for inclusion of an Aldi store withn the centre.
“Unfortunately sufficient space was not available to accommodate a store with a retail floor area of 1,315 square metres, warehouse and office area. A significant extension to the building in the area of the existing surface car park would have been required in addition to significant enabling works.”
It added, “Aldi have been seeking a suitable site for a store in Shannon Town for a number of years and have assessed all possible options. The subject site is the only suitable site available in Shannon town centre to accommodate an Aldi store.”
The further information document insists that the new store would be good news for existing businesses.
“It has been demonstrated that Aldi stores can and will continue to operate in a manner that attracts customers to any given town. The nature of their retail offering will draw additional footfall to Shannon and enhance the town centre as a whole, with spin-off benefits for existing local retailers.
“This is a valuable quality which can only increase the vitality and viability of the centre. It is further submitted that Aldi are ready to commence work immediately on the site (subject to grant of permission) and will act as a catalyst for further development.
“It is respectfully submitted that the significance of this investment, combining a cafe and retail use, in addition to the proposed linkages in the form of a new pedestrian crossing will only serve to have a positive impact on Shannon town centre.”
However the SkyCourt Management Company has lodged an objection with the Council.
In a statement this week Aldi said that the store would see the creation of 25 jobs, with up to 80 jobs during the construction phase.
Apparently very confident about the upcoming planning decision, Colin Breslin, Regional Managing Director, Aldi Ireland said: “Shannon residents can now mark July 2023 in their calendars for our fifth Aldi store in Co. Clare.
“The new store will also provide further opportunity for local food and drink producers to work with Aldi. We sourced €2.8 million of locally produced food and drink from Co. Clare-based suppliers last year.”
After Aldi was refused planning permission in 2017 large crowds attended a subsequent public meeting in Shannon, where anger was voiced not just at the decision, but at the long standing failure of the planning authority to deliver a proper town centre for Shannon. There was also huge anger at SkyCourt’s opposition to the proposal.
Since that meeting almost four years ago local anger about Shannon’s lack of facilities has only heightened and the decision of the Council’s planners this time will be of great local interest.

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.