Discount supermarket chain Lidl has applied to build apartments, offices and a restaurant in Douglas as part of its latest bid to open a supermarket in the urban village.
Planning permission initially granted for a Lidl store at Barry's Field was overturned by An Bord Pleanála in March after attracting a number of objections including one from rival supermarket chain Tesco, who said the development would be an “underutilisation” of prime development lands.
Peter Collins of Barry’s Bar & Restaurant also objected to the development saying the site should be used for a mix of uses rather than a single purpose.
Lidl’s application sought permission to build a 2,871 square metre supermarket made up of a retail sales area, off-licence, and bakery along with signage, trolley bays, and a 110-space car park.
The company has now submitted revised plans for a store spanning 2.251 square metres and 1,351 square metres comprising of the mixed-use element – containing five two-bed apartments, offices and a cafe - along with almost 100 parking spaces and room for over 30 bicycles and 10 motorbikes.
The earmarked two-acre site is between the Carrigaline Road and Church Yard Lane, near Barry’s of Douglas.
The latest plan is more in line with Cork County Council's Local Area Plan which says the site should be used for mixed-use purposes.
Local Councillor Mary Rose Desmond said Douglas is already well served in terms of supermarkets and she would prefer the site be used as an amenity with local sports clubs "crying out" for space.
“[The new plans] are a workaround to be able to proceed with the application for a shopping centre and answering the issues that were raised by including five apartments and making it mixed use.
“As far as I am concerned, it doesn't take away from the feeling that we have too many shopping centres in Douglas village. I don't think we need another one. It's nothing against Lidl, I'd be saying the same thing about any supermarket.
“If you look in the footprint of the village, another shopping centre isn't the answer. It's not how I'd like to see the land being used but it's not Council land so I don't get a say on it.
“This is irrespective of who the supermarket's owner would be, it's not Lidl I have the issue with, it's the fact that Douglas is already choked for traffic.
“We need more greenfield sites, we need more amenity sites in the village as opposed to a shopping centre,” Ms Desmond added.
Local Labour representative Peter Horgan said he feels the plan is designed to “take advantage” of the housing crisis.
“To add five two-bed apartments to their design and a coffee shop does not, in my mind, address the mixed-use zoning of the site. It would still be all owned by the one company. We have not seen supermarkets engage in this area of housing before and have no precedence for the maintenance of such units.
“I will be listening to people’s thoughts on this development and I urge people with observations of any kind to engage with the planning process,” he added.
However, a Lidl spokesperson has said the company worked closely with Cork County Council to ensure the development would be appropriate with the local area.