AN BORD PLEANÁLA has refused planning permission for a shopping centre which was to be at the heart of a large-scale development on the outskirts of Greystones, Co Wicklow.
The planning authority granted permission for other elements of the town centre style scheme on a 100-acre site at Charlesland, some 3km from Greystones town centre, including offices, an enterprise centre and sites for a proposed new Garda station and primary school.
The scheme, which was to be located beside the existing Charlesland development of 1,500 homes, was to consist of 20,000sq m of shops, 26,000sq m of offices, 16,000sq m of retail warehousing, 11,500sq m of motor showrooms, as well as light industrial units and 260 new homes.
However, a report by an An Bord Pleanála inspector said the shopping centre would conflict with national policy contained in the Retail Guidelines for Planning Authorities Act of 2005 which would favour the location of such a facility in the town centre.
The report also said the development would undermine the designated role of Bray to serve the county’s retail needs.
“The proposed development would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area,” it continued.
The development was proposed by Zapi Ltd – a property company controlled by Seán Dunne of Mountbrook Homes and Seán Mulryan of Ballymore.
Zapi was to contribute €100,000 towards the development of a Greystones heritage centre and €500,000 towards the cost of a recycling facility for the town.
Wicklow County Council approved planning permission for the development in December 2007, but three appeals were subsequently lodged against the scheme.
The cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Derek Mitchell of Fine Gael, said he was disappointed by the decision and believed that in the current economic climate, the development was unlikely to go ahead without the shopping centre.
Cllr Mitchell said the arrival of big name retailers and an enterprise centre would have generated much needed employment for the area and reduced Greystones dependency on commuting.