Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Council has cleared the way for a much bigger retail development on land part-owned by developer Michael Cotter in Carrickmines, despite objections from the county manager.
Councillors voted to redesignate the site a "district" centre, increasing the level of retail space permitted by 6,000 square metres to 25,000 square metres. The decision, which was carried by one vote, was made against the recommendation of county manager Owen Keegan, who was concerned the move would lead to retail space well in excess of the area's needs.
The site is just 2.5 kilometres from a 35,000 square-metre retail centre planned for Cherrywood and two kilometres from a proposed "neighbourhood" centre in Kiltiernan. Councillors were warned that redesignating the Carrickmines site might have to be offset by a reduction of both of these developments because the road network cannot support all three. Nonetheless, the change was supported by a combination of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and independent councillors.
The move is likely to lead to the redesign of The Park Village scheme being developed by Cotter's Park Developments and private investors. The site is already home to around 31,000 square metres of retail warehousing with retailers including PC World and TK Maxx on site.
Permission for a "neighbourhood" centre including about 7,000 square metres of retail and retail services was approved in April last year.
The scheme also includes 83,900 square metres of residential space comprising 331 units and 20,783 square metres of offices space as well was provision for a health centre, crèches, restaurants and a gym. However, the council rejected a subsequent application to include a cinema and bowling alley in the development in February.
The redesignation was requested in a submission on behalf of the developers, with the company claiming that a bigger centre would attract quality retailers and create jobs.
"High-profile, quality international-brand potential tenants have expressed significant interest in acquiring units in The Park. However, this is currently not possible due to the neighbourhood centre designation on the site.
"The reclassification of The Park, Carrickmines as a district centre would attract many quality retailers to the centre, greatly enhancing the vitality and viability of the area... It is considered that the redesignation of the centre would lead to immediate job announcements," they state.
Labour Councillor Aidan Culhane, who was among those who voted against the motion, said intensifying the retail offering in the area was unnecessary.
"There is very little evidence that south Dublin needs more shopping at the moment, particularly this kind of 'side of the motorway' shopping. I would be very doubtful that another shopping centre on another motorway interchange is really the way to go," he said.