Monday 14 October 2019

Ergo: Menton's R&D facility plan hits planning hurdle at airport

A proposed 15,000 sq m development by Colm Menton, Europcar founder, has been rejected
A proposed 15,000 sq m development by Colm Menton, Europcar founder, has been rejected

Europcar founder Colm Menton's proposal to build a research and development (R&D)campus close to the end of the runway at Dublin Airport has been rejected by Fingal County Council.

Menton, who sold the Irish Europcar franchise to its French parent company in 2016, had lodged an application to develop two new buildings that documents suggested could house close to 300 researchers.

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The two R&D buildings, with a total gross floor area of over 15,000 square metres, were planned for the existing Collinstown Cross Industrial Estate on the Swords Road, which is currently home to a number of car sales and other businesses.

But the planning authority raised concerns that because a tenant had yet to be secured for the proposed facility it was not clear how many employees would ultimately use the campus should it get the go-ahead.

The planning application had indicated that the site could be similar to the high-tech Kerry Foods facility in Naas, Co Kildare or the APC Labs facility in Cherrywood.

But strict planning guidelines in place in zones around the airport mean there are tight controls on the types of development allowed. The planning authorities also raised concerns about the impact of the development on traffic, with roads in the vicinity of the airport already coming under pressure at certain times due to the substantial increase in passenger numbers experienced in recent years.

Customer experience business bucks Brexit trend

Eleven, an Irish services company specialising in customer experience advice, has expanded its operations in the UK, with a new office in England's Tyneside.

The Dublin-headquartered company, which is run by one of its founders, Albert Keating, made the decision to buck the current business trend of retreating from the UK in advance of Brexit by setting up a new office there.

The company first expanded into the UK in April 2018, generating revenue of over €1m in the first 12 months.

Said Keating: "On foot of our UK success, we've now opened new offices in Newcastle, in the north-east of England."

Dunnes Stores has shut up shop in Larne, Northern Ireland, according to a number of reports. The shop was in the town for 50 years and was considered one of its main anchor stores. Around 50 people were working at the shop.

According to the retailer’s website, the group now has 15 shops in Northern Ireland.

The group, headed by Margaret Heffernan, retreated from England and Wales last year, but remains committed to Northern Ireland.

This brings its UK locations to three as it also has a presence in Wales.

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