A MULTINATIONAL discount giant can proceed with plans to develop a multi-million Euro foodstore in Westbury after An Board Pleanála dismissed a planning appeal.
Lidl has been given the green light to construct a new discount retail outlet, coffee shop and car park in a major new development, subject to 16 new planning conditions.
The supermarket discount store has estimated the new store and adjoining coffee shop could generate approximately thirty jobs in the local area.
The development also includes the provision of 87 surface car parking spaces to the front of the site.
The discount foodstore, which incorporates a sales area of 1,192 square metres will also accommodate a small café area, bakery, preparation area and staff ancillary spaces.
A large chiller/freezer area together with a delivery and storage area is also to be incorporated within the building.
The delivery area is to be located at the northern end of the building. The main public access is to be located at the southeastern corner of the building. A separate access is provided to the café area.
A large retail centre, The Westbury Centre, is located on lands to the immediate south of the site. This centre accommodates a bar that is currently vacant), a pharmacy, a fast-food takeaway facility, a Tesco Express and other retail units and community services.
Lands on the eastern side of the R463 directly opposite the site are exclusively occupied by residential dwellings and part of the Westbury residential estate. The site is located within the 50 kilometre speed limit associated with Limerick City.
Clare County Council has previously grant planning permission but the development was put on hold following a third-party appeal by Brickiln Limited of Rock Street, Tralee, County Kerry.
An appeal submitted on behalf of Brickiln argued that the retail impact assessment submitted with the application incorporates very material shortcomings and omissions.
These include an arbitrary identification of the catchment area, no baseline assessment of the viability or vitality of existing centres in proximity and no assessment of the existing or permitted floorspace in the catchment area.
Concerns were also expressed that traffic impact assessment was undertaken in June, 2018 during a period of school holidays.
It was also noted that the traffic projections do not take account of increased traffic anticipated when the Limerick Northern Distributor Road and the University of Limerick Northern Campus Projects are realised.
However, in his response on behalf of Lidl, planning consultant Tony Bamford questioned why a company based in County Kerry would have any interest in a neighbourhood foodstore proposal in County Clare.
Mr Bamford noted that the original observation to the planning authority was restricted to traffic issues only.
However, the current appeal is more expensive introducing a range of issues, which were not raised in the original objection.
It is considered that the area assessed as appropriate given the lack of family food shopping opportunities within the defined area.
It is also suggested that due to the good road networks in the area that the site can serve villages to the north like Parteen and Ardnacrusha.
Mr Bamford outlined the provision of a Lidl store would serve to strengthen the existing neighbourhood centre and would provide more sustainable multipurpose trips to the commercial area.
He argued that the proposal would facilitate and fulfil the land use zoning objective in terms of facilitating the provision of additional amenities, which would contribute to the quality of life and sustainability of the area.
Deputy Cathal Crowe welcomed the decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant permission to Lidl to construct a new store in Corbally.
The Fianna Fáil Deputy noted the new development will be located across from the Westbury estate which is the largest in the county with almost 1,000 homes and a sizeable population.
The development will also see junction improvements carried out at the site, which was one of Deputy Crowe’s key aims in seeing this project progress.
“I am delighted to see that the concerns I raised about the access road to Limerick City have been addressed,” said Deputy Crowe.
“This is already an extremely busy main artery into the city from the Clare side and without these necessary works, I would not see any way in which Lidl’s development could proceed.
“These road improvement works will be part-funded by Clare County Council with the remainder of the bill footed.
“This supermarket will be on my own doorstep and while there has been a mixed reaction to the development from the get-go, I know many of those in my locality are excited about the new retail options it will bring, along with the job creation,” he stated.