DESPITE huge public support in north Kerry for a new Tesco supermarket in Listowel, An Bord Pleanála has rejected plans by the retail giant to open in the town.
Listowel mayor Pat Loughnane yesterday said locals were very disappointed, pointing out that a petition with 1,500 signatures had been gathered in support of the retail chain’s plans.
Tesco’s proposal was to build a 4,000sq ft (1,220sq m) store on a greenfield Ballybunion Road site.
Listowel Town Council had granted planning permission, but the application was forwarded to An Bord Pleanála after submissions were made by RGDATA, the retailers’ lobby group, and the Garvey group, which has a supermarket in Listowel.
The Garvey Group maintained that any out-of-town developments would hinder the progress of the town centre.
An Bord Pleanála said the development would be on a site 800 metres from the town centre and its location would conflict with a policy which favoured the siting of retail development in town centres.
It also said the proposed development would represent poor-quality development in terms of visual amenity.
But mayor Pat Loughnane said there wasn’t a town centre site available that would accommodate a supermarket.
In a statement, the Garvey Group said the planning process was very transparent and ensured all applicants were fairly treated.
Meanwhile, Tesco is still awaiting a decision from An Bord Pleanála on its plans to open a 2,480sq m supermarket on the Limerick Road, Castleisland. In February, Kerry County Council voted against a material contravention of the local area plan for Castleisland which would have cleared the way for a planning application by Tesco.
An appeal was then lodged with An Bord Pleanála by Tesco.
Castleisland FG councillor Bobby O’Connell, a strong supporter of the Tesco plan, said there was massive support in the Castleisland area for the plan.