Bring new retail centre to city, says economist

Bring new retail centre to city, says economist

“Locating this development in the city would be a win-win outcome for the wider region,” UCC economist Frank Crowley said. 

An economist believes a retail outlet based in Cork City would be far more beneficial to the region than one in Carrigtwohill.

Frank Crowley, economist in the Spatial and Regional Economic Research Centre at Cork University Business School made the comments after a British company submitted plans to Cork County Council for a retail village to be built at Killacloyne, Carrigtwohill, just off the Fota Junction on the N25 in East Cork.

“Locating this development in the city would be a win-win outcome for the wider region,” he told The Echo. “We already have a critical mass and cluster of retail, restaurants, bars, tourist attractions, hotels and so forth, where a retail development such as this would complement the other offerings within the city.

“We also have the population density and critical mass of people there. There is less need for travel. And in terms of dealing with increased visitors, tourists and commuters, the city area will further have the transport infrastructures that are planned in the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy to cater for additional growth and visitor traffic.”

The possible new retail outlet centre, akin to Kildare Village, has been met with mixed reactions since the news broke last week. Environmental campaigners have already signalled their intention to object. While backers say the development is predicted to create 850 jobs and boost tourism, Dr Crowley believes the negatives far outweigh the positives.

“Of course, the development will create jobs and create tourism for the chosen locality. But these types of developments often just lead to a regional displacement effect,” he said.

“One area gains while other areas like Cork City and surrounding town centres will lose. Taking an overview of development in the region, this type of development doesn’t make economic sense as the displacement cost from lost jobs and spending in other areas, along with the social costs from congestion, car- based pollution, road deterioration etc should well offset any of the benefits.

“A metropolitan region continuing with such developments that encourage car use is foolhardy, not least due to climate change, but it will also significantly undermine our competitiveness as congestion, pollution and sprawl are a drag on productivity.”

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