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A general view of the mart site at Ennistymon. Photograph by John Kelly.

March 17 deadline for Aldi planning decision

A decision on whether or not a discount supermarket can be built on the site of Ennistymon Mart is due to be made before St Patrick’s Day.

Clare County Council received an application in the past week from John Spain Associates, on behalf of Aldi Stores, for a proposed shop with 82 car-parking spaces on the mart site at Church Hill and Circular Road.

The site has been the subject of controversy in recent years, with local farmers fighting to keep the mart open.

In December 2014, officers of the Ennistymon branch of Irish Farmers’ Association, in an unprecedented move in the county, resigned their positions. They took the decision to give up their roles in protest over the sale of the mart to Aldi and what they saw as a lack of support from Clare IFA on the matter.

The branch committee members took the united action “to highlight our frustration with the IFA on their approach to the sale of Ennistymon Mart”.

Ennistymon Mart was run by Clare Marts Ltd, the farmer-owned co-operative, which also runs livestock marts in Ennis, Kilrush, Scariff and Kilfenora. It sold the mart site in Ennistymon to Aldi, subject to planning permission, provoking anger among the farming community in the mart’s catchment areas of Ennistymon, Kilshanny, Doolin, Liscannor, Miltown Malbay, Mullagh and Inagh.

Prior to the sale of the 0.58 hectare site, farmers in those areas had threatened to boycott livestock marts run by Clare Marts and even protested outside a meeting of the co-operative.

The planning application outlines that the development will consist of the demolition of the existing buildings on site and the construction of a single-storey discount food store, to include an off license, with a gross floor space of nearly 1,600m2. Of the overall 1,590m2, 1,140m2 would be retail space.

The development would also include the erection of a free-standing double-side internally-illuminated sign and an internally-illuminated gable sign, as well as entrance glass signage. As well as the 82-bay car park the application is also for four bike stands. There would be vehicular access from Church Hill and pedestrian access from both there and Circular Road.

The deadline for submissions on the planning application is February 24.

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