THE KILDARE Village outlet centre has been told that selling up-to-the minute fashions is in breach of its planning permission, planning sources have confirmed.
The determination from An Bord Pleanála was sought by rival retailer David Jones, who operates a number of shops at the Whitewater Shopping Centre in Newbridge, Co Kildare.
The board’s decision, taken at a meeting at the end of May, effectively ruled that Kildare Village centre had only planning permission to sell out-of-season clothes at discount rates and that sales of new products and in-season merchandise in the centre “would constitute a change of use”.
The board said the original permission for the outlet centre had been contingent on it not introducing new products which would be in competition with high street locations.
This was in the interest of protecting existing retail cores in towns and villages, in compliance with traffic management and retail planning guidelines.
Kildare Village is home to some of the best-known fashion brands and regularly offers discounts in the order of 60 per cent. Brands include Polo Ralph Lauren, Furla and DKNY, while internationally renowned Irish fashion designer Louise Kennedy has also opened a unit there.
The village is one of a collection of nine such operations across Europe, operated by Value Retail. Founded in 1992, Value Retail has about 900 outlet boutiques featuring leading fashion and lifestyle brands, located close to some of Europe’s capital cities and intended to be destinations in their own right.
The Whitewater Shopping Centre is Ireland’s largest regional shopping centre and is in the centre of Newbridge.
It incorporates more than 70 top stores including Debenhams, Marks Spencer, Zara and HM, as well as well-known high street brands such as Karen Millen, Coast, Tommy Hilfiger and Pepe.
According to planning sources, the determination from the board is not the first time out-of-town shopping centres have been corrected for breaching conditions on the type of goods offered.
However, the sources said enforcement could be problematic, requiring as it would a specialised knowledge of fashion and retail.