Wednesday 17 January 2018

Dunnes says Square plan will hamper its shoppers

A major extension is planned at the Square shopping centre
A major extension is planned at the Square shopping centre

Tim Healy

A 200,000 square foot extension to Ireland's first large shopping centre - the Square in Tallaght, Dublin - is being delayed by an argument with retailer Dunnes Stores, which believes that the new structure will inconvenience its shoppers, the High Court heard.

Dunnes is one of the three anchor tenants in the Square and it is not happy with the plan to put the €30m extension on what is currently a car park.

Dunnes says its shoppers will be inconvenienced and have to travel further as a result of the new extension.

The Square Management Ltd (SML), which manages and operates the freehold of the centre's units, along with National Asset Property Management Ltd (NAPML), which owns lands used for car parking at the centre, and the extension developers, Indego Ltd, are seeking court declarations that Dunnes has no estate, interest, or claim over the car park.

They want declarations the supermarket chain has no right to use the lands for anything, be it car parking or otherwise, beyond a lease it entered into in 1990.

It is also claimed that Dunnes is trying to frustrate the redevelopment.

Dunnes opposes the application and said a notice issued by SML stating it can redevelop the car park has no legal effect or standing.

Gavin Ralston SC, for SML, NAPML and Indego, said that the main part of the case related to how the lease for the Square is to be interpreted under landlord and tenant legislation.

There are 289 spaces on the surface car park, but under the expansion plans, a multi-storey car park with 850 spaces will be built, Mr Ralston said on the opening day of the case.

Dunnes claims it has acquired certain rights to the car park by virtue of "easement by prescription" which allows the supermarket to use it without having to own the property, counsel said.

That claim is denied.

Mr Ralston said that currently if a person was to have to travel in from the farthest corner of the car park, they would still have to travel a distance.

There was also a ramp up to the car park which drivers have to negotiate.

Mr Ralston said there was full planning permission which Dunnes had unsuccessfully challenged in High Court judicial review proceedings.

The case continues before Mr Justice Max Barrett.

Irish Independent

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