THE head of County Hall's roads department has said the development of a new €100m shopping outlet village at Carrigtwohill will not have a major impact on traffic.
Padraig Barrett was speaking about the potential impact on the N25 road network, following the council’s decision to amend the County Development Plan to allow for the construction of a Kildare Village-style retail outlet centre.
UK firm Rioja Estates wants to create a “tourist outlet village” close to the IDA industrial estate at Killacloyne, Carrigtwohill.
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.
It believed the retail park will be accessed primarily by cars, but Mr Barrett said the nature of retail is that it is an off-peak activity and would not hit commuter traffic at peak rush hour times in the morning and evenings.
“You have no issues on 90% of our roads, 90% of the time. If there are 168 hours in a week you probably have five to ten hours that are peak.
“I don’t imagine that those five to ten hours on the N25 will coincide with peak shopping trips.”
Mr Barrett, who spent seven years as a projects director with a large building company, The Shipton Group, said that while he did not foresee chronic traffic problems on the N25 corridor, it would depend on the size of the village constructed.
“I worked in retail and it depends on what you put there.
"If you go for convenience retail (such as grocery shopping), that sucks people much more on the way home. If you put a Tesco there, that would draw a lot of people at rush hour.
"But comparison shopping is a decision, you go and browse and you don’t do that on your way home.
“I’m not going to say it's not going to add traffic, it is going to add traffic, but the nature of comparison shopping is that it adds it at a different time.”
At present, there are no plans to build a convenience retail outlet at the proposed outlet site and it would not be in accordance with the County Development Plan.
Meanwhile, City businesses have said they are “extremely worried” about the threat posed by the development of an outlet centre in East Cork.
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."