Monday 18 June 2007

An Bord Pleanála defer verdict on Tesco petrol station appeal

An Bord Pleanála has deferred its verdict on an appeal to Tesco's bid to build a petrol station beside their Arklow supermarket.

The planning regulator was due to decide on an appeal to Tesco's plans, but have delayed their decision until July 24.

Arklow Town Council approved the company's plans for the petrol station, but an objection was lodged with the Bord in December.

At the time, Tesco chiefs said the objection had come from rival fuel-seller Petrogas (who own the Applegreen station and lease the Discount Fuels station, both near the intended Tesco Wexford Road site).

Tesco Ireland Development Support Manager Michael Sullivan said he believed the Bord Pleanala objection was more about restricting a possible competitor than concern for planning and urban development in Arklow.

At the end of the day this seems to be a strange situation where we have two Petrogas stations on one road very close to Tesco, but the objection comes from Petrogas in Gorey.'

The Bord Pleanála objection is in the name of Adrian Giffney, a Rathnew resident, who is the franchisee of the Discount Fuels station in Gorey. (Petrogas is the leaseholder.)

But both Mr Giffney and Petrogas director Michael O'Loughlin said in February that Petrogas had nothing to do with the objection.

Mr Giffney's appeal is based on the grounds that the Tesco station underutilises prime town centre space and is contrary to Arklow's Development Plan.

The proposed development is contrary to strategic planning principles because it will result in the waste of over an acre of land for a petrol filling station that is commercially driven and anti-competitive through the use of discount fuel vouchers,' the appeal documents state.

The appeal also claims the development is located on lands not zoned for that purpose and could create traffic chaos on the Wexford Road.

Our own experience of Tesco's petrol filling station is the traffic havoc that regularly occurs at their Dundrum and Clarehall stations where motorists queue from the public road network to the station forecourt.'

Wicklow People

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