COUNCILLORS in Trim are concerned that objections to a number of proposed retail projects are thwarting the commercial development of the town. Local politicians are appealing to residents not to oppose proposals for a retail park planned for the outskirts of the Co Meath town.
Already, plans to build a shopping complex in the centre of town are on hold, possibly for at least a year, following an appeal to An Bord Pleanala against the SuperValu-anchored scheme. Now councillors fear similar delays in constructing the planned retail park will have a detrimental effect on the town's future development.
There are fears too that the new Office of Public Works headquarters to be build adjacent to the SuperValu centre and by the same developer, could face delays if construction of the shopping complex does not proceed.
"People are worried about that possibility, " says local councillor, Vincent McHugh.
"Personally I don't think the OPW building is in any danger.
But the two projects are part of the same package. If the shopping centre doesn't get the go-ahead then we won't have anything like the development we anticipated.
"As public representatives we're continually hammered for not supporting local industry, " McHugh says. "The shopping centre and the retail park will benefit local traders and the town's growing population.
For years now there's been war over parking in the town.
Making deliveries means blocking traffic and people avoid the town centre for that reason. Here we have an opportunity for traders who need the space to move to a retail park where traffic wouldn't be an issue. There are proposals for a car park with up to 1,000 spaces at the SuperValu centre. That will mean people continue to shop in town.
"We've spent the last 20 years trying to attract commercial development to our town. The population is now increasing rapidly. Ten or 15 years ago there were 3,000 or 4,000 living here. Today the figure is around 10,000 and the estimation is that by 2009 there will be 15,000 people living in Trim. Why anyone would object to a shopping centre to facilitate that number of people is beyond me. It's vitally important to avoid similar delays with the retail park."
From Sunday Tribune