Writes Ciaran Dineen
Lidl are one step closer to moving from their current site in Carrigaline to an area in the adjoining Circus Field after a provisional agreement on the exchange of land was passed by Councillors at Monday’s Carrigaline Municipal District (MD).
The proposed move has been touted for some time, and initial plans put forward by Lidl indicate that as part of their move they will demolish their current building and make provision for a carpark which will then be handed over to Cork County Council for public use. However, all of this is subject to planning permission which must first be obtained.
In December, as part of The Carrigdhoun Newspaper’s Christmas Supplement, the forthcoming move was highlighted as a key decision for the town that was coming down the track. It is expected that a number of submissions will be made in lieu of the application, particularly regarding what the space could instead be used for as opposed to turning the whole of the site into a carpark.
Councillor Seámus McGrath (FF) at Monday’s MD understood that the exchange of land is just an initial step but nevertheless he wanted to put it on the record that important conversations need to be had on the future of the current Lidl site, arguing that there was no need for the whole area to be developed into a full-blown carpark.
“Personally I believe that we do not need the entirety of that site for parking. Additional public parking will obviously be welcome but there is significant parking on that site as it is, even with the footprint of the supermarket,” stated Cllr McGrath.
A number of community groups have in the recent past called for Council land to be developed into public amenities for sporting and cultural purposes and this was highlighted by Cllr McGrath.
The Carrigaline My Town, My Plan group have proposed the concept of building an Arts and Culture Centre, gaining significant support following their civic engagement programme run by SECAD. Last March, before the pandemic restrictions emerged, a large group of local community groups and interested parties held a meeting in the Carrigaline Lions Youth Centre to discuss likeminded proposals regarding an Arts Centre.
Meanwhile it is well-known that the Carrigaline Basketball Club are in dire need of a permanent home and Cllr Liam O’Connor (FG) has put forward similar ambitious goals of building a multi-purpose sports complex, that could cater for a number of groups and clubs.
The upcoming study for the Carrigaline Public Realm is sure to include the site as a major piece of land that could a play a key role in enhancing the heart of the town. It had previously been suggested that should the current Lidl site be developed into a public carpark, then the Council would look to develop the front of the Owenabue carpark into a more public realm friendly environment. This would potentially be guided by the recent proposals in the Programme for Government and their Putting Town Centres First policy objectives.
There is a long way to go in the development process but after years of dormancy this key planning proposal is finally awake.