THE promoter of contentious plans for a €34 million retail development for Ennis is making a late bid to win the hearts and minds of the public ahead of a crucial vote on the development.
Seamus Lynch said yesterday his retail plan will create 300 construction jobs and "between 180 and 200 permanent sustainable jobs at a time when unemployment is at its worst in Clare since the 1980s".
The company lodged the planning application for the retail plan in January and councillors proposed a rezoning of the site in June to allow for a district retail centre at the location.
Now, ahead of the nine-member Ennis Town Council vote on the rezoning at their Monday meeting, consultants for promoters Michael Lynch Ltd and Co were presenting their plan to the public at the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis yesterday.
However, independent retailers’ group, RGDATA has joined with the Ennis Chamber of Commerce and other associations in opposing the plan.
Consultant for the Ennis chamber Michael Leahy said the proposed rezoning to allow a district centre at the site "could have a potentially ruinous effect on the retail balance within Ennis".
However, managing director Seamus Lynch said the proposed application was for a food store and not a shopping centre.
He said that a purpose-built community centre to house a much needed library will be handed over free of charge to Ennis Town Council.
Mr Lynch added: "The objective of our proposed development is to help stem the haemorrhage of retail expenditure to Limerick and other centres and to help sustain local jobs in Ennis."