LOW-COST supermarket chain Aldi has been refused permission by An Bord Pleanála to build a branch on the Portmarnock coast, opposite one of Dublin’s most popular beaches.
Last March, Fingal County Council gave approval for the supermarket in the grounds of the White Sands Hotel on the Strand Road opposite the Portmarnock Martello tower and beach, despite having received more than 50 objections to the application.
The supermarket and off-licence development would have had a 75-space car park, and involved demolition of some hotel buildings.
However An Bord Pleanála has this week overturned the council’s decision.
In its decision, the board said the construction of the supermarket would have been contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area. It also found that the development would have contravened the Fingal County Development Plan.
The applicants had failed to prove that there were not more suitable sites for retail development within Portmarnock village, on the outskirts of the village, or on other appropriately zoned lands in the area, the board said.
The development, by virtue of the amount of floor space and the intensity of use proposed, would not complement the primary use of the site, which was as a hotel, it said. For this reason the board found that the decision contravened the county development plan.
Local Labour county councillor Peter Coyle said the supermarket should never have been granted permission by the council.
“There was major outrage amongst the general public about the decision . . . planning permission at the White Sands Hotel site was clearly contrary to the objectives of the county development plan.”
Mr Coyle said he had made this point in his appeals to the council, before permission was originally granted.
He said he had also appealed to the county manager David O’Connor on a number of occasions to become directly involved in the case.
Mr O’Connor had been been director of planning with the council when the development plan was being drafted and adopted.