PLANS to open a Tesco in a Cork town are on hold because the owner of a neighbouring supermarket has lodged an appeal to An Bord Pleanála.
Retail giant Tesco had been granted planning permission last month by Cork County Council for the development of a new store in Fermoy, but the owner of the SuperValu across the road from the site has appealed the decision.
Last year, Tesco purchased for an estimated €1.5 million a plot of land on the south-eastern side of the town, consisting of a disused field across from the old Cork Marts site on Mill Road, and the adjoining former Barry’s Timber Yard site on Courthouse Road, which has been empty since the yard closed in 2005.
Late last year Tesco lodged an application for planning permission for a single-storey outlet with an off-licence, café/restaurant, and a smaller retail unit on the site.
The proposed floor area of the supermarket would be 3,739 square metres, while the outlet would provide 150 car park spaces as well as a click-and-collect area.
In its planning application, Tesco claimed the new supermarket would “contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of the town centre, generate employment and economic development and provide a mix of uses supported by the town centre zoning objectives”.
Despite concerns about the possible impact of the proposed development on existing local businesses and upon the environment, planner John Tierney recommended its approval.
Mr Tierney wrote in his report that the development would constitute “the reuse of an existing brownfield site in the town centre” and noted that “the regeneration of such sites” is encouraged in planning policy.
His report said the authority had been satisfied with further information supplied by Tesco regarding environmental, ecological, and flood risk concerns.
A submission has been made to the appeals board by consultants Brock McClure on behalf of their client, Michael Riordan, who owns Riordan’s SuperValu on Courthouse Road.
Tesco had claimed in a retail impact statement that the supply of convenience retail outlets in the Fermoy catchment area was not matching demand.
However, Brock McClure’s submission noted that Fermoy already had four large supermarkets in close proximity to the proposed new Tesco outlet, as well as a fruit and vegetable shop, two florists, three butchers and newsagents.
The submission maintained there was “insufficient demand” for an additional retail outlet, saying “an additional large supermarket would pose a serious negative and economical effect on these local businesses”.
The submission made on behalf of Mr Riordan also expressed concern that extra traffic generated by the new store would exacerbate existing traffic congestion in the town.
Furthermore, the submission claimed, there was potential for possible adverse ecological impacts given the site’s close proximity to the River Blackwater Special Area of Conservation.
An Bord Pleanála is expected to give a ruling on the appeal by mid-December.