Lidl Ireland have announced their intention to relocate their current food store in Carrigaline to the Circus Field, which will involve the demolition of the existing site and the construction of a giant 'Public Town Car Park'.
Writes Ciaran Dineen
The application comes as no surprise with it being known for some time that Lidl have wanted to move on from their current location in order to build a bigger store in the nearby vacant space provided by the Circus Field.
Foundations for the application were laid earlier this year after Councillors in the Carrigaline Municipal District (MD) provisionally agreed to the exchange of land between the two parties. Ultimately what this meant was that Lidl would hand over the existing site that they currently occupy, should they be successful in their application to move into the Circus Field.
In their application, Lidl Ireland GmbH have said they intend 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 would 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. This would be accompanied by an additional 139 car parking spaces.
The site that Lidl currently inhabit along Strand Road comprises of 2,540 square metres in total. The intention is for this to be re-developed into a Public Town Car Park, creating 212 surface car parking spaces, along with an ESB substation.
Furthermore, works will also include a significant re-development along the Crosshaven Road and the roundabout adjacent to the Lidl site. The application indicates that this will involve the upgrade/widening of 200 metres of the Crosshaven Road and roundabout. The works would see the development of a pedestrian footpath, with public lighting on both sides of the road.
They note that the current entrance/exit to the Circus Field would be removed, as would the exit from the roundabout that enters the existing Lidl site. Primary access to the proposed Public Town Car Park for vehicles and pedestrians "will be via an enhanced access/new access from the R612 Strand Road".
The application goes on to say that, "secondary vehicular and pedestrian access to the proposed Public Car Park will be via a controlled road access link to a proposed replacement Licenced Discount Foodstore, and dedicated pedestrian access from the R612 Crosshaven Road Roundabout will further enhance pedestrian permeability through the site".
The vision outlined by Lidl is likely to garner a very mixed response. Many will welcome the turning of the existing site into a massive car park but there will also be a lot of opposition to this proposal, given that it would increase the overall net amount of car parking spaces by a considerable amount.
When considering the application it is also worth bearing in mind the forthcoming Public Realm Enhancement Plan, which is likely to see proposals for the redesign of the Owebanue Car Park, involving the reclaiming of the Main Street side of the site and turning it into an open public space, to give Carrigaline the 'heart' that the town requires.
Nevertheless, given that the site is located in the centre of the town it could potentially provide a huge opportunity for local amenities to be developed, especially now that the land will be owned by Cork County Council. One local community organisation, the Carrigaline My Town, My Plan group, have actively engaged with Council officials in recent months over the possibility of building an Arts, Culture and Civic Centre in Carrigaline, requesting a list of potential sites that may be available to develop on. A location such as this, in the heart of the town, could be turned into a game-changing community asset for generations to come.
Plans showing the full extent of works should be available via the Cork County Council website, and submissions on the application are open to the public for the next 5 weeks, at a cost of €20 per submission.