Aldi suffers blow as rural store plan knocked back
Aldi's continuing expansion here has suffered a blow with plans for a new supermarket refused.
Last year, Aldi, which is sponsoring high profile TV3 show 'The Restaurant' announced it would create 400 jobs with the opening of seven stores this year to add to its 122-strong network.
Last August, Clare County Council gave the firm the go-ahead to build a new store on Abbey Street in Killaloe opposite the existing SuperValu in spite of local opposition from local retailers. Aldi said the business would have generated annual revenues of €9m by 2018 and account for 22pc of the available convenience turnover that is estimated to be at €40.8m within the catchment.
Two appeals were lodged against the council's decision. One, lodged on behalf of retailer John Daly, claimed that there is no capacity in Killaloe for the net proposed increase in convenience floor area.
Consultants for Mr Daly said it was impossible to justify an additional 1,140 sq m of net convenience retail floorspace in a such a small market town.
In response to the appeals, the council said the proposed development was acceptable in principle and would provide a natural extension to the town centre core and is consistent with planning policy and objectives.
A rebuttal submission lodged by Aldi stated that no objections have been made by local residents and that the appeals lodged are anti-competitive, coming from other commercial retailers.
Aldi claimed that the proposal will help revitalise the heritage town's centre and provide an anchor retailer to assist small retailers and bring more shoppers to Killaloe.
But An Bord Pleanála stated that the proposal would seriously injure the visual amenity and character of the streetscape on the southern approach to Killaloe.
The board also concluded that the proposal would have a seriously detrimental visual impact on the character of an adjoining protected structure, The Deanery.
The appeals board also stated that the proposal would contravene a zoning objective of the Clare County Development Plan.