Monday, 21 December 2009

Safety concern over M&S's Dublin plans

The Railway Procurement Agency has objected to plans by Marks & Spencer to develop a 10-storey retail and apartment building next to its existing shop at the Jervis Street centre in Dublin on safety grounds. The agency has told An Bord Pleanála that the retailer has failed "to address the concerns over road user safety which RPA consider will arise from the proposed development".

The RPA objects to the fact that large articulated heavy goods vehicles will reverse on a public road because the "movements are unsafe and impractical and represent a safety hazard to other road users including Luas passengers".

Marks & Spencer wants to develop the building as part of a wider plan to expand and revamp its existing department store.

Dublin city council granted M&S planning approval in October for more than 40 apartments as part of the extension of the building. The retailer was told it would have to pay a contribution of nearly €470,000 to the council and more than €130,000 towards the cost of Metro North.

The retailer announced last month that Marc Bolland, chief executive of supermarket Morrison, will join the retailer in 2010 as chief executive. The group is currently run by industry veteran Stuart Rose.

Earlier this year HSBC analyst Paul Smiddy said the retailer's performance in Ireland "is bedevilled, not just by the major swing in Celtic consumer confidence, but also by over-exuberant past property decisions by M&S", adding later that in HSBC's view "the company has made some poor decisions on locations in Ireland… Marks rode the Celtic Tiger with enthusiasm."

Since then, the retailer has pulled at least two shop openings planned for Ireland, one of which was for the Opera Centre in Limerick which is part-owned by the state through nationalised Anglo Irish Bank.

Sunday Tribune

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