Lidl Ireland GmbH have seen an application for a new store in Carrigaline granted by Cork County Council, 15 months after lodging their initial application. Two additional units will also be provided and will facilitate a proposed café and restaurant.
The decision comes after Cork County Council requesting further information from the applicant with regards to their proposed store, which will now be located in the ‘Circus Field’ in Carrigaline, following the decision to grant permission.
In July 2021, Lidl Ireland GmbH indicated their intention to demolish the existing store, which amounts to 1,768 square metres of gross floor space, with a net retail sales area of 1,334 square metres. Their new site will result in a bigger overall unit space, with gross floor space of 2,475 square metres and a retail area of 1,670 square metres. 118 car parking spaces will be provided.
The principle of development is thought to have been generally favoured by Cork County Council, after Councillors in early 2021 agreed to an exchange of lands between the local authority and Lidl, which would see the Council acquire the land currently occupied by Lidl, who would subsequently take ownership of a portion of the Circus Field site. The logic behind this is that a public carpark could then be developed on the current Lidl site, and allow for the redesign of the Owenabue carpark, which would be turned into a public realm area, as part of the wider works involved with the Carrigaline Transportation and Public Realm Enhancement Strategy (TPREP).
However, in September 2021 the Council were not satisfied with the information accompanying the application and requested that additional information be provided on a range of matters. In a slight deviation from what was thought to be the sentiments of the Council towards the development, the case planner argued that the proposed development for the new Lidl store represented an “under-utilisation of an important town centre site, fails to have regard to the Retail Planning Guidelines Design Manual, the Carrigaline Transportation and Public Realm Enhancement Plan (TPREP) 2021 and is contrary to the zoning objective and the proper planning and sustainable development of the area”. Notably, the planner in requesting changes to the original plan, sought the omission of proposals for the town carpark, deeming it “unacceptable”.
Director of Planning, Michael Lynch, in his adjudication of the application, opted to reverse the condition applied by the case planner to omit the public town carpark from the development.
In his decision, Mr. Lynch stated the decision to allow the development of a 212 no. carpark on the site of the existing store was in the interests of Carrigaline’s long-term future, citing changes to come to Main Street as part of Carrigaline TPREP. In his correspondence Mr. Lynch stated, “the proposed development provides for the relocation of the Lidl shop to the immediately adjoining site in Council ownership, sequentially further from the town centre and for the delivery of a new Town Car Park on site of the current Lidl. The Town Car Park will be available for use as a public car park.
In the circumstance it is my view that this is an appropriate plan-led approach and will contribute significantly to the successful implementation of the Carrigaline TPREP. It is my view the success of the highly ambitious Carrigaline TPREP will require the delivery of car parking at the edge of town centre locations that have good road access, such as that proposed in this development.”
The decision from the Council comes during an extraordinarily busy period for development in Carrigaline, after Phase 1 of the Carrigaline TPREP was recently passed by councillors, and follows the opening of the Carrigaline relief road, now known as Pottery Road.
The now granted development presents an exciting opportunity for Carrigaline to continue to develop a new-look town centre. The Town Car Park will facilitate the upgrading of the current Owenabue carpark, the front of which is expected to be reclaimed and turned into a public realm area. The prospect of a potential new café and restaurant granted as part of the development is also something for residents in Carrigaline to look forward to.