CLARE county councillor Mike McKee has slammed the decision to turn down the planning application by Aldi to develop a store in Shannon.
The local planning authority this week turned down Aldi’s application to develop an outlet on a site on the opposite side of Bóthar Mór to Skycourt in the town centre.
The Sinn Féin representative said the decision is going down badly locally, in a town where many people have long lamented the absence of a conventional town centre.
“The recent announcement by Clare County Council to refuse planning permission to build and operate a store has rightly drawn the anger and frustration of a large section of the Shannon community,” he observed.
“Many are enraged that SkyCourt had submitted a seven-page document objecting to this proposed development, while shop units in the Town Centre remain boarded up due to the failure of the operators of the centre to attract new retailers,” he claimed.
Councillor McKee added, “We had hoped for the first time Shannon could be opened up for business and the hold that SkyCourt currently has on the retail sector in Shannon could be broken for once and for all.”
He has now arranged a public meeting, ‘Where to now for Shannon’, after the Aldi refusal. It will take place next Tuesday evening at the Oakwood Hotel, beginning at 7.30pm.
Aldi had included a retail impact statement with the application, which claimed it would help other local outlets.
“Because Aldi only sell approximately 1,400 lines, compared with, for example, up to 15,000 lines in a large supermarket, Aldi only meet a proportion of customers’ convenience needs. The discount foodstore concept therefore interacts closely with other shops and would add to and complement the existing retail mix in Shannon.”
The Aldi application also said there wasn’t a suitable alternative location.
“While there is a vacant site located south-west of the town centre, due to its size (0.2 hectares) it is not suitable or viable for Aldi.
“The offices located to the plaza area were also vacant. However, this site would not be suitable for Aldi, as it would require demolition of the offices and relocation of existing tenants at ground floor.
“No other significant derelict sites with the potential to accommodate a retail unit of the nature proposed within the subject application are present within the retail core.”
The application had claimed that the Aldi store would employ 15 to 20 people.