Monday 3 October 2011

Businessman wins €5m retail planning battle

A WEST Clare businessman has emerged victorious in a planning battle with two other businessman over the provision of a new retail space in Miltown Malbay.

Earlier this year, John Jones secured planning permission for a €5 million retail development in spite of opposition from rival retailers Jim Shannon and Michael Gleeson.

Mr Shannon and Mr Gleeson had their own planning application for a rival retail development on Miltown Malbay’s Main Street.

However, An Bord Pleanala yesterday refused planning permission to their proposal, pointing out that the John Jones plan has provided Miltown with adequate retail space.

In its ruling, the board stated that it is not satisfied that there would be sufficient retail capacity to accommodate the proposed development by Mr Shannon and Mr Gleeson without adversely impacting on the vitality and viability of the existing town centre.

The board said that giving the development the go-ahead "would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area".

The inspector in the case said that the permission granted to Mr Jones "effectively undermines the credibility of conclusions in the retail impact assessment submitted in the support" of the application by Mr Gleeson and Mr Shannon.

The inspector said that he doesn’t consider that the retail impact assessment lodged with the planning application demonstrates that there would not be an adverse impact.

Mr Shannon and Mr Gleeson had lodged an appeal against the John Jones development that was unsuccessful.

Mr Jones lodged a submission to An Bord Pleanála concerning Mr Shannon and Mr Gleeson’s appeal to the appeals board.

In the submission, Mr Jones requests that the appeals board uphold the decision of Clare County Council to refuse planning permission.

The submission by Mr Jones stated that the Shannon/Gleeson plan "appears to be speculative in nature with no guarantee of it being brought forward".

In their appeal against the County Council decision to refuse, consultants for Mr Shannon and Mr Gleeson stated that "the application site is sequentially the most suitable and viable location for the proposed development".

They state that "having regard to location, architectural design approach, masterplanning and pedestrian connectivity to the town centre, our clients’ development at New Line Lane comprises the optimum location for retail development in Miltown Malbay".

They state: "The current application on site is the most suitable and viable location for the proposed retail development and the scheme will have a positive impact on Main Street by increasing commercial activity, synergy and acting as a catalyst to the planned expansion of the town centre."

Irish Examiner

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