A surprise decision by An Bord Pleanála has left TK Maxx’s shop in a Waterford retail park in limbo and may have implications for other similar parks
THE CONTENTIOUS issue of whether fashion and catalogue multiples should be allowed operate stores in retail parks has been reopened following a decision by An Bord Pleanála blocking the cut-price operator TK Maxx from trading in Butlerstown Retail Park in Waterford.
The company has been operating in the park for about six months and now faces an uncertain future there.
The planning issue came before the board after local property development company, Noel Frisby Construction, objected to the type of goods (cut-price fashion and footwear) being sold by TK Maxx.
Stephanie Taheny, a former planner and a director of Noel Frisby Construction, said that if TK Maxx and other high street traders, such as Argos and Mothercare, were allowed to move to out-of-town locations it would greatly affect Waterford city centre by shrinking the retail market.
She said that planning permission had recently been granted for three retail parks in Waterford city and in all cases conditions were set down limiting their use to the sale of bulky goods and specifically restricting the sale of toys, footwear, sportswear or other clothing.
TK Maxx is understood to be paying a rent of almost €500,000 for 2,415sq m (26,000sq ft) in three adjoining buildings which were amalgamated. The appeals board said that the internal alterations to the units and their amalgamation was not an exempted development.
The board previously ruled that neither Mothercare nor Argos could comply with the current planning guidelines on Butlerstown Retail Park.
The park, which is owned by local businessman Jim Tracey, also has the DIY chain BQ, Halfords, Harvey Norman and Home Focus at Hickeys. Bogle Estate was the letting agent for the park which is located along the city bypass. Jason Millar of Colliers Jackson-Stops advised TK Maxx which already trades in retail parks in Drogheda, Carrickmines, Parkway in Limerick and Blanchardstown.
Ms Taheny, the wife of Noel Frisby, said that two years ago the board granted permission for the redevelopment of Lisduggan shopping centre close by which they own but set restrictive conditions on the sale of clothing, footwear and other comparison goods by one of the tenants, Tesco.