Locals vow to fight Lidl appeal

Strong local opposition to proposed move

Locals vow to fight Lidl appeal

Avant Ireland Property has lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against Leitrim County Council's decision to refuse its application for a Lidl supermarket on lands at Attifinlay, Carrick-on-Shannon.

The appeal has not come as a surprise to those who are objecting to the supermarket controversially moving from one side of Carrick-on-Shannon to the other.

One person who objected to the application stated that whatever is feasible would be done to ensure the ruling by Leitrim County Council is not overturned.

Avant Ireland Property had previously been refused permission for the site at Attifinlay by An Bord Pleanala and this led to a revised application being submitted with the local planning authority.

This application was met with very strong local opposition at a public meeting last June in The Bush Hotel. Those attending the meeting voiced their unanimous objections to the relocation on that particular site.

Opposition to the move was based on a number of factors that local people felt would be injurious to that particular area and the town in general.

These concerns included a breach of the Council's own retail guidelines, building on a flood plain, increased traffic congestion in the town, road safety issues and the aesthetics to the approach into the town.

Gerry Murtagh, who has successfully twice objected to the proposed move, said he knew the company would have “one last shot at it.”

Some 126 objections were submitted on the proposed development including a submission from Roscommon County Council stressing the granting of planning permission for change of use of the Lidl business in Cortober “should be in no way taken as an endorsement of Lidl's apparent proposals to close the existing store on site in Cortober.”

Roscommon County Council asked Leitrim County Council to “take a holistic view of Carrick-on-Shannon and consider the overall impacts of the developmental proposal.”

“We have made our objections to the Council and you can make observations to An Bord Pleanála (at a further cost),” Gerry Murtagh said.

“My understanding is that everything on file goes to An Bord Pleanála and you would hope that carries some weight in terms of making their decision,” he added.

Leitrim County Council refused planning permission on two grounds. Firstly, that the floor space exceeds the retail cap in the county as per Leitrim County Council retail strategy 2015-2021, and secondly, that An Bord Pleanála had previously refused the application.

In its refusal, Leitrim County Council also noted the “absence for a robust and comprehensive” alternative use for the existing store in Cortober.

They said the new development would not be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable guidelines of the town of Carrick-on-Shannon as a whole.

At the time, Lidl expressed its disappointment with the decision and said it would assess its options.

This has now led to an appeal being lodged with An Bord Pleanála by Avant Ireland Property with a decision due in the coming weeks.

Gerry Murtagh said he and others “were not going to just walk away from it” and said “we are going to have to come up with some mode of objection.”

Mr Murtagh reiterated a point he had earlier made that Lidl is very much welcome in Carrick-on-Shannon but not on that particular site.

He had previously called on Lidl to drop its plans for a move in Carrick-on-Shannon and said the volume of support for those opposed to the move and the number of submissions made suggested a resentment locally to the proposed use of the site for a supermarket.

At the time, Mr Murtagh said, “forcing through the project will not sit well with the local population.” He called on the owners of the site, Avant Ireland Property, to “step up to the plate” and offer the site to the community.

Fintan Cox, who organised and chaired the public meeting last June that drew much public attention to the application, said he will be joining with other people in the town to put in a submission to An Bord Pleanála.

“There's no point in letting them away with it at this stage. There's not a chance we will give up on it. Whatever's feasible, whatever it takes, we will do it,” he remarked.

He said that if An Bord Pleanála refuse the appeal this time round, “that will be it done and dusted.”

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