Thursday 15 January 2009

Major blow for Dunne's shopping centre plans

DEVELOPER Sean Dunne has been refused permission to build a multi-million euro shopping centre in Co Wicklow.

In a major setback for the high-profile businessman, yesterday An Bord Pleanala refused permission for a district shopping centre and retail warehouses at a site at Charlesland in Greystones saying it would conflict with national retail guidelines.

The €1bn development, proposed by Zapi Properties which is made up of Mr Dunne and businessman Sean Mulryan, proposed a 20,000-sq m shopping centre, offices and 260 new homes on an 80-acre site outside the town centre.

The application came after local councillors agreed to change the zoning of the site to allow mixed-use development in return for a number of community facilities being handed over.

It was unclear last night if the community facilities would go ahead, given that permission was refused for most of the ambitious project.

In its decision, the board granted permission for houses, offices, an enterprise centre, petrol station and car showrooms.


"The proposed district centre, which would be located in an out of centre, greenfield site would conflict with national policy as contained in the retail planning guidelines which favours the siting of new retail development in town centres or edge of centre locations," it said.

The development would have an "adverse impact" on the viability of the existing town centre, and Greystones required a smaller shopping centre to cater for "local needs".

Major developments were better placed in Wicklow and Bray, and the developer had not demonstrated that alternative sites closer to the town's shopping area were not suitable for development.

A public hearing into his plans was held late last year, where a rival developer seeking to build a shopping centre in Bray outlined their objections following the collapse of a "gentleman's agreement" where both parties agreed not to object to each other's schemes.

Pizarro Developments, which includes developer Paddy Kelly, Durkan New Homes and Pierse Construction, objected to the Greystones scheme. It proposes building the new Bray Town Centre shopping complex, and a decision on that plan is due at the end of the month.

Local councillor Derek Mitchell (FG) said the decision would result in jobs being lost to Wicklow.

Zapi was not available for comment last night.

Paul Melia
Irish Independent

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