Anger has been expressed in Shannon following the decision of Clare County Council to deny Aldi planning permission for a new store in the town.
Late last week, Clare County Council refused planning permission for the two storey outler which was to create 25 permanent jobs and up 80 during the construction period.
Zoning, lack of pedestrian linkages to the town centres and the contravening of objectives in the Shannon Town and Environs Local Area Plan were listed as areas for the decision. It was claimed in the Chief Executive’s Order that the development “would seriously injure the amenities of the area”.
Existing vacancy levels at the shopping centre in Shannon and “the nature of the development which is primarily to serve car borne traffic” were also referenced in the order signed by the acting senior planner Helen Quinn.
Aldi have confirmed they will appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála. “We are committed to bringing our fantastic prices, value and greater choice to shoppers in Shannon and will be appealing the decision to An Bord Pleanala”.
Revised plans were lodged by the discount store in April. “Our revised plans for the new store feature several facilities that will benefit the wider Shannon community, including a dedicated connection to the town centre for pedestrians and cyclists, the addition of a two storey café or restaurant unit with associated external terrace area and free-to-use electric vehicle charging points,” the spokesperson added.
Clare County Council previously denied Aldi planning permission for a Shannon store in 2017, a subsequent appeal to An Bord Pleanála in August 2018 was unsuccessful.
An online petition has been launched by residents of the town who have criticised the decision of the local authority. Speaking to The Clare Echo, Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) confirmed that he and Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF) have rowed in behind the appeal.
Flynn admitted he was surprised with the outcome. “Aldi would bing more business to Shannon, business we’re not getting now. It is up to SkyCourt to entice them across the road, the more footfall you have the better it is for shopping centre. I fully expected they would have got planning permission. I thought the time had come”.
He felt common sense was lacking when it came to the decision and believed the planners were guilty of “inward thinking” by refusing commercial developments in close proximity to the shopping centre. The Shannon resident outlined, “for years, the planners have protected the shopping centre but that has come at a cost”.
“I think it is ridiculous that all the focus is on the capital town of Ennis, I’ve no problem that it has to be minded but all we’re hearing now is Ennis 2040 and ploughing more money into it, what about the rest of the county. I think Ennis is being prioritised at the expense of other districts. Ennis is a lovely town, it is our capital town, I like going there and I spend money there but equally I think the second biggest town in the county deserves support, until they change the policy of not allowing enterprise outside of the football from the town centre, this won’t change,” Flynn concluded.