An appeal to An Bord Pleanala has delayed the building another supermarket in Mountmellick until the end of the year.
Laois County Council approved an application for the 1,475 sq metre building to house a discount supermarket, last June, subject to 32 conditions. However, Mr Jim Harte, who had objected to its construction, and has now appealed the case to An Bord Pleanala.
Kingscroft Development were previously granted permission for a large housing development stretching from the Portlaoise road to the Irishtown road (known locally as the Long Barn), but applied to amend their application last year to only build a discount supermarket.
The development includes a carpark and a roundabout that would link the entrance and that of Grove Park housing estate across the road. Construction would also include the redirection of a stream that runs alongside the greenfield site, which is located between two schools and St Vincent’s Hospital.
Among the many reasons Mr Harte puts forward, are his fears for a negative impact on shops in the town.
“This represents a very real and dangerous threat to its continued vitality and viability,” he says, adding that the the new SuperValu meets for any shortfall in shopping needs. He says it runs against proper planning and sustainable development in the town, and also points out the ecological impact.
“It will have a bland, box-like appearance, not surprisingly, such stores are not renowned for making a positive contribution to the townscape. Coupled with the fact that substantial planting will be removed to make way for its introduction, it can hardly be described as being sensitive to the surrounding area.
“It is patently clear that the proposed discount store fails the key retail policy tests outlined at both national and county level,” he says.
An Bord Pleanala is due to make a final decision on the project this November.