COUNCILLOR Gerry Flynn has criticised An Bord Pleanála after it rejected the advice of its own inspector, to turn down Aldi’s application for a store in Shannon.
He said it is not the first time the body has done something like this regarding a Shannon proposal. “That has happened before, if you remember, it was the same with the crematorium. I don’t know why they have inspectors at all, the powers that be seem to see them as surplus to requirements at time. If an inspector comes out that has the knowledge and expertise to make a decision on a proposal, would you not think that this is the expert you have to listen to?
“The board can say that even though you went out and did your job and gave us your recommendation, we have the power to overturn it and we can decide yay or nay. It’s a regular occurrence that an inspector’s report can be overturned or overlooked or dismissed,” he stated.
Councillor Flynn said he wants to see the area where Aldi wanted to locate the store being developed. “I’m always hoping to get more development on the northern side of An Bóthar Mór. We have already dotted development along it, you have Atlantic AirVenture, you have the Oakwood, you have the filling station with a shop, you have McDonald’s. You have a lot of developments already dotted along there and anything we can do to fill in the gaps, I think, would lead to the development of a main street. For the council or the senior planner to be telling us about conformity, what conformity is on that side of the road? Or, in fact, on the other side of the road when you look at it? If the senior planner is waiting for high rise buildings, which might be his vision of a street, it ain’t going to happen.”
He said in any town in Ireland there is “a mish-mash” and there arealready businesses in the area located in a variety of different sized buildings.
The council is not helping his town, he feels. “ I think it’s a bad policy coming from Clare County Council and it has stymied the development of Shannon. It has led to the situation we have now where Shannon is stagnant.”