Tesco and An Taisce appeals help end Aldi Ardee move
Aldi’s bid to build a new supermarket at Cappockgreen on the outskirts of Ardee have been dashed by An Bord Pleanala – after appeals from An Taisce and rival supermarket chain Tesco led to their conditional planning permission award being overturned.
It has been revealed that the decision to award conditional planning permission, which was granted by Louth County Council last autumn, has been overturned by the planning appeals board, striking a fatal blow to the German retailer’s hopes of opening an outlet in the town for a second time.
Rival supermarket giant Lidl already has a store in Ardee, while the town is also home to Super Valu and Centra franchises, run by Paul Lanney and Raymond O’Gorman respectively.
As revealed by ThisIsArdee.ie in September, Tesco Ireland lodged an appeal to Aldi’s intentions to build the new premises at Cappocksgreen. Their official concerns included:
- the out of town location of the proposal as well as it’s size would have a negative impact on the viability and vitality of the Town Centre of Ardee
- the design of the proposal was inward facing and offered no active frontages onto O’Carroll Street or the N33.
- the significant under provision of car parking would result in overflow parking, increased congestion and may lead to traffic hazards on the surrounding roads.
The development would have consisted of ‘the construction of a single storey supermarket (to include off licence use) with a gross floor area of 2,950 sq.m. (net retail area 2,000 sq.m.) The proposed development would have been served by 146 car parking spaces and 26 bicycle spaces.
One of An Taisce’s issues was that the supermarket’s location would increase ‘car dependency’ – meaning that the out-of-town location would encourage a greater use of private transport to the new store, contrary to previously proposed government and council policies of supporting sustainable transport and lowering emissions nationwide.
During the appeals process, an objection was also made by RGDATA, who represent independent, family owned grocery outlets. It also argued that access was not appropriate, fearing that the proposed access points would “interfere with the safety and free flow of traffic on the national road network.”
In the written reasons and considerations for the refusal to grant planning permission to Aldi and Moffett Property Management, An Bord Pleanala cited the above consideration of safety and free flowing traffic around the N33 Link Road. It also cited the provisions of the Ardee Local Area Plan 2010-2016.
That states that it is a ‘key strategic objective to consolidate and protect the role of the town centre as the principal retail and commercial centre of the town.’ The planning board deemed that Aldi/Moffett failed to demonstrate that the town centre would not be aversely affected by any new development.
‘It is considered that the proposed retail development would adversely impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre of Ardee to an unacceptable degree,’ the decision read.
The failure of Aldi to secure a site in Ardee for a second time will come as a major hit to the company and will be seen as an employment blow for the town by many.
The decision will also be considered a blow for future developments, with the potential for this to be a major precedent in future cases of big business looking to build retail or industrial developments in the town.