THE president of the Cork Business Association (CBA) Kevin Herlihy has expressed concerns after the planning minister Peter Burke recently sided against objections from the Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) with regards to the development of a Kildare Village style centre in Carrigtwohill.
The OPR had previously instructed Cork County Council not to allow Rioja Estates to develop the proposed €100m retail outlet.
The saga has seen Cork County Council take two successful cases to the High Court, which ruled it had acted properly in agreeing in principle to the proposed development.
Mr Burke has now recognised the High Court rulings which upheld that Cork County Council made its decision on the project in line with all retail planning guidelines.
Mr Herlihy said the proposed development which is due to be located off the N25 between Glounthaune and Carrigtwohill, would not be good for retailers in the city centre.
“Overall, we would not be in favour of it. We are hearing this from everyone including businesses owners and retailers. There is a consensus around the city that this is not good for Cork city.
“It is going to take business from the city and with everything going on now we need everything that we can get in the city,” he said.
“It is also going to rip the soul out of the east Cork villages that have so much going for them. You have towns and villages like Midleton, Killeagh, and Castlemartyr who have a real local vibe going. If you walk down the main street in Midleton there is a great vibe, with beautiful shops and restaurants whereas, these commercial centres are quite soulless.
“It is also going to cause a lot of unnecessary traffic congestion down in east Cork, so from that perspective it is not a good idea either. If this goes ahead it will draw people away from the likes of Midleton and Cork city,” he added.
Mr Herlihy said the Kildare Village style centre in Carrigtwohill would have a knock-on effect in terms of the BusConnects Cork project, economic spend, and footfall.
“Bus Connects is a huge part of the future of Cork city, and they are ploughing a lot of money into it. People will be using BusConnects for shopping in the city.
“There will be less people using BusConnects if they are going to the centre in Carrigtwohill. I would be worried about a lack of footfall, and this would have a knock-on effect in terms of less economic spend in the city.”