Wednesday 21 January 2009

Concern over opposition to retail centre

LIMERICK City Council have been warned their persistence in opposing a huge suburban shopping development will cost 2,000 jobs and €10 million in lost revenue.

The council has turned down an application by Chieftain Construction for a major extension to the Coonagh Cross shopping centre on the Ennis Road.

The head of the company, Ger O’Rourke, addressing members of the council’s planning strategic policy committee yesterday, said his proposed development would create more jobs than will be lost at Dell. He said his proposed development could also yield €1.25m in rates to the city council and planning contributions would come to €6m a year.

He told committee members: “I believe that Coonagh Cross to be a catalyst for development in the area, with other developments wrapped around it.”

Mr O’Rourke said the planning objection by the city council had resulted in other developments valued at around €370m being put on hold. These he said, could provide 3,600 direct and indirect jobs.

He said: “If we walked into any other city in Europe, doors would be opened. We hope the same will happen in Limerick.”

Limerick City Council are opposed to new shopping malls being built and existing ones being extended in the suburbs as they fear they would create a doughnut effect with a decline in city centre retailing.

The city council objected to a huge Marks & Spencer development at the Crescent Shopping Centre in Dooradoyle and An Bord Pleanála will shortly hear oral submissions on this. The city council say it should proceed in the city centre where the €350m retail Opera Centre is to be built.

Irish Examiner

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