Tuesday 21 May 2019

Green light for Fermoy Lidl expansion plan

A CGI impression of the planned new expanded Lidl outlet in Fermoy
A CGI impression of the planned new expanded Lidl outlet in Fermoy

Bill Browne

A senior executive with German retail giant Lidl has said the company was "delighted" that An Bord Pleanála has upheld Cork County Council's decision to grant the development of a new store in Fermoy.

In August of last year Council planners gave the thumbs-up to a plan to demolish the existing Lidl store and the adjacent 'Touch of Luxury' premises on the Courthouse Road and replace them with larger store on the 2.7 acre site. 

However, a spanner was thrown in the works after an objection to the development was lodged with the appeals board in the name of Michael O'Riordan, the owner of the nearby SuperValu store. 

In his lengthy submission Mr O'Riordan wrote that following a review of the plan it was apparent that the development had the potential to have "a significant impact" on the vitality and viability of Fermoy town centre through a significant increase in convenience retail floor space at an out of centre location. He also contended that the provision of retail development on open space lands was a material contravention of the Fermoy Town Development Plan.  

"There is no specific need for the level of floorspace proposed at this location, particularly at the cost of environmental impact and disposal of lands with a special area of conservation. There are already appropriate lands designated for commercial development in Fermoy and surrounding environs, and further expansion should not be at the expense of areas of conservation, no matter how small," he added. 

Mr O'Riordan further contended that under guidelines within the Cork County Development Plan, priority should be given to promoting town centre and appropriately zoned lands for new retail developments. 

Ruling in favour of the development, An Bord Pleanála said that having regard to the County, Fermoy Town and Fermoy District Local Area Plans the proposal would be "appropriate from a land use perspective, would comply with retail planning policies and would enhance the visual amenities of the area." 

"It would also be acceptable in terms of traffic safety and convenience and public health. The proposal would, therefore, be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area," read their report. 

However, the ruling came subject to 12 conditions addressing issues including retail floorspace, safeguarding existing amenities, the protection of local wildlife and waste management during demolition and construction. 

The ruling can be viewed in full at  Welcoming the ruling Lidl regional director Conor Nagle said the existing store, opened in 2001, "no longer meets our growing customer needs." 

"Despite the planning process being unnecessarily delayed by objections from an adjacent competitor, we are delighted with the positive decision," said Mr Nagle. 

"We are enormously grateful to the overwhelming support received from the local community and the recognition from Cork County Council and An Bord Pleanála of the value this project will bring to Fermoy. Our priority now is to engage a main contractor and deliver on our promise of a superior shopping experience in Fermoy as soon as possible," he added.