City businesses fear Kildare Village-style outlet centre in east Cork; 'It is a significant threat to retail and to the city centre itself'

City businesses fear Kildare Village-style outlet centre in east Cork; 'It is a significant threat to retail and to the city centre itself'
A €100 million Cork Tourist Outlet Village is proposed.

CITY businesses have said they are “extremely worried” about the threat of a Kildare Village-style outlet centre in East Cork.

The County Development Plan was amended by county councillors yesterday to clear the way for a British company to lodge a planning application for the €100m ‘Kildare Village’ style retail centre in Carrigtwohill.

Speaking to The Echo, Lawrence Owens, chief executive of the Cork Business Association (CBA), said retailers were worried that it would drag people away from the city centre.

“It will deflect business from Cork city,” he said. “It is a significant threat to retail and to the city itself.

“The city is developing a huge amount of space at the moment and to have something like this on the outskirts of the city is just totally unnecessary.”

The CBA is undertaking a research study to assess whether there is a positive impact on Newbridge from Kildare Village outlet centre in order to see if nearby towns such as Midleton, Cobh, and Carrigtwohill would benefit.

“From what I can see, no one wins out of this, except Cork County Council, who will get rates,” Mr Owens said.

“It is certainly of no benefit to the city.”

Plans for the retail outlet village in East Cork moved a step forward after County Hall cleared the way for a planning application on the project yesterday.

UK firm Rioja Estates want to create a “tourist outlet village” close to the IDA industrial estate at Killacloyne, Carrigtwohill.

The site of the outlet centre.
The site of the outlet centre.

The company says it will create 850 permanent jobs and a further 640 during construction.

County councillors voted 42 in favour and four against the proposal to amend the Development Plan to enable and support the project.

The amendment was put forward by Fine Gael councillor Michael Hegarty from Castlemartyr and seconded by party colleague Anthony Barry from Carrigtwohill.

There was some opposition to the motion, with Independent councillor Marcia Dalton saying she had serious concerns about the project’s carbon footprint and the impact on local towns and villages.

Green Party councillor Alan O’Connor said that the project was a textbook example of unsustainable development.

Social Democrat Holly Cairns said she wholeheartedly objected to the amendment and expressed concerns for the impact on local jobs and also the carbon impact of a retail village that is thought would be 90% accessed by car.

However, Fine Gael councillor Susan McCarthy said a retail village would potentially reduce the number of locals shopping online.

Ms McCarthy, whose husband runs a business on Main St in Midleton, said the project was not a cause for concern for towns and villages.

“These villages cater for people travelling specifically for these items,” she said. “If we don’t provide the brands, people will go elsewhere, with a much larger carbon footprint.”

Mr Barry said it was a fantastic opportunity for East Cork.

“I think this is a huge economic benefit to Cork, where we have huge cruise ship trade,” he said. “It is the perfect opportunity to economically benefit.”

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