CORK Business Association (CBA) president Eoin O’Sullivan has warned of the impact that the proposed retail outlet centre for Carrigtwohill would have on city centre trade.
The CBA is opposed to proposals for the €100m project which requires a variation to the County Development Plan in order to go ahead.
Mr O’Sullivan said that the retail outlet centre proposed for Killacloyne in Carrigtwohill would damage city centre trade and encourage people to travel out of the city centre by car.
He said that, as the newly-elected president of the CBA, the issues surrounding the proposed outlet centre would be one of the main challenges facing him.
“A lot of our members are extremely worried about the impact that it’s going to have on the city centre so I think that’s going to be a big challenge for us going forward and I think it's something that I personally am going to have to get behind as well as the CBA president.”
Mr O’Sullivan said that the proposed outlet centre, which has been compared to that of Kildare Village, would also be a threat to shopping centres in the city.
“It is not the same scenario as the Kildare outlet centre, because the Kildare outlets are an hour outside of Dublin so you’ve to travel out there, Carrigtwohill is only 15 minutes outside the city.
“You already have big shopping centres like Mahon Point, Wilton Shopping Centre and Blackpool that, I would say, wouldn’t be very happy either with this move.
“For us as an organisation, we need to protect the indigenous businesses that are the core of the city and this outlet centre would take from that. That is one of my challenges going forward, and the organisation does oppose it and we have been public about that.
“There’s over 150 hectares of space now in the docklands where we could develop an outlet centre there instead of moving it to a different site outside of the city. It’s creating another carbon footprint that doesn’t need to be created,” he said.
The development is predicted to create 850 jobs and attract 220,000 additional visitors to the region, according to Rioja Estates, a UK-based retail specialist.
The Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) has urged Minister of State for Housing, Damien English, to intervene and overturn Cork County Council’s decision to clear the way for the retail outlet centre after Rioja Estates made a formal submission to vary the Development Plan.