Facelift plans for Portlaoise Shopping Centre and Dunnes

Planning application lodged to expand Dunnes Stores at shopping centre off Mountmellick road in Portlaoise

Facelift plans for Portlaoise Shopping Centre and Dunnes
By Ryan Dunne ryan@leinsterexpress.ie @laoisnews

A plan to revitalise Portlaoise Shopping Centre by extending Dunnes Stores and enhancing the appearance of individual shop units has been submitted to Laois County Council by the Dunnes Stores group.

The company has made a planning application to Laois County Council to construct an 800 sqm extension and modification to Dunnes Stores Licensed Supermarket at the Green Rd / Mountmellick Rd in Portlaoise, to provide a new supermarket layout.

The plans are to upgrade the supermarket's existing elevations and replace the elevation signage with the erection of a new totem sign. The reconfiguration of the existing car park layout is also proposed, along with all associated ancillary site layout alterations and site service works.

The company says that the primary purpose of this application is to upgrade and modernise the existing Dunnes Stores supermarket located within an established neighbourhood centre, located along Green Road, also known as Portlaoise Shopping Centre.

The proposed works will involve a modest extension to the existing supermarket which will allow for improvements to the supermarket’s internal retail space and external environment.

The company states that it hopes to “improve the quality of the supermarket’s retail space to provide existing customers with a pleasant shopping environment”.

More space will be provided between display shelves and around the checkouts and additional checkouts will be installed to clear queues more quickly at peak times.

The internal lighting will be enhanced, as will the appearance of the physical structure as presented to the public road.

The site, which covers 1.23 hectares, is served by an extensive car park area providing 243 car parking spaces, but it is proposed to reconfigure the car park to provide 192 spaces.

In addition to the current proposal a subsequent application is to be made to enhance the external appearance of the shopping centre’s individual shop units - this application is to be submitted by the owners of the shop units. At present, a number of units within this shop parade remain vacant.

Both applications collectively will result “in an improved and revitalised neighbourhood centre which will benefit the local community,” claim the company, whose directors are Mrs Margaret Heffernan and Mr Francis Dunne.

The opening hours of the store are 9am to 7pm Monday to Wednesday, 9am to 8pm Thursday/Friday, 9am to 7pm Saturday, and 11am to 6pm Sunday, with a total of 41 employees.

A decision on Dunnes Stores' planning application is due from Laois County Council by May 28.