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Clare hurling boss says second Aldi store ‘good news’ for Ennis

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PLANS for a new Aldi store in Ennis are “good news” for the county capital insists hurling legend Brian Lohan.
The Clare hurling manager alongside Inch businessman Martin O’Malley are behind plans to develop the Westpoint Retail Park on the Kilrush Road. If given the go-ahead, the discount store will be an anchor tenant in the second stage of Westpoint’s development, with a HSE Outpatients Department already on site.
Mr Lohan has lodged a planning application to Clare County Council for a change of use from retail warehouse to a discount food store at Westpoint.
According to Aldi this new store will create 30 new permanent jobs at the store, and up to 50 construction jobs, if given the green light. It aims to open the 1,000sqm store in late 2023.
Mr Lohan told The Clare Champion that they have been working in partnership with Aldi for a number of months ahead of lodging this planning application.
He said he believes this part of Ennis is “underutilised” when it comes to providing a grocery offering.
“We think there is an opportunity there for a grocery to do well, and to do well for the local people in the neighbourhood. There have been a lot of new housing developments that have gone up in the Kilrush Road and the Kilmaley Road area that would all be local to Westpoint.”
He added that there has been “significant investment” in Westpoint with the proposed store the second stage in the overall development of the site.
Acknowledging that future plans for the site are dependent on the decision of Clare County Council, he said if given the go-ahead the development will include works to update the facade of the building.
“We want to invest in it and we want to provide a better offering for the people in that area.”
He also pointed to the employment boost the development could bring to the local area.
“Aldi have said there will be 30 full time jobs, and then there is all the work that we would be doing. It’s all local contractors that have been working in there, we’ve already had Pat Carmody construction doing the work for the HSE. It’s all local people involved and that feeds into the local economy.”
He is hopeful that the planning authority will look favourably on the proposal saying, “I think it’s a good news story and we are hoping that it is seen as that by the County Council, and will be seen as that by the local community as well.”
The planning application seeks a change of use of part of the ground floor level and subdivision and change of use of part of the first floor level within the existing Westpoint building, from retail warehouse to a discount foodstore, including off licence use.
“Other works include a reconfiguration of the car park layout and removal of the existing service yard.
According to Aldi the new store will be environmentally friendly, powered by 100% green electricity.
There will be 96 dedicated customer car parking spaces provided, while Aldi will be providing four electric vehicle charging points outside the store.
Speaking following the announcement of the new plans Colin Breslin, Aldi Regional Managing Director said, “This is great news for Aldi shoppers in Ennis and the surrounding area.  Our Francis Street store is one of our busiest and most popular stores in the country.”
Aldi currently operates four stores in County Clare, with stores in Ennistymon, Killaloe, Kilrush and on Francis Street, Ennis.
Both Mr Lohan and Mr O’Malley, under Clare Car and Tractor Parts Ltd & Lohan Property Ltd, had previously sought to develop a mixed use neighbourhood centre and medical service at Westpoint.
However the plans, lodged in 2017, were refused by An Bord Pleanala having previously been given the go-ahead by Ennis Town Council.
In 2018 Clare Car and Tractor Parts Ltd & Lohan Property Ltd were granted permission for the change of use of part of the building from retail warehouse to medical services, paving the way for the development of the Outpatients Department.

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