RGDATA, the retail grocers’ representative association, is a longstanding advocate and supporter of proper planning and sustainable retail development. This is the best way to ensure that Ireland has vibrant towns, villages and retail zones.
RGDATA is fully supportive of the Government’s Retail Planning Guidelines and is the only retail trade association that is active in ensuring that the Guidelines are applied in the best interests of vibrant town centres.
Commenting on an RGDATA appeal to An Bord Pleanala regarding a proposed retail development in Athenry Galway, Tara Buckley, Director General RGDATA said:
“There are currently two applications under consideration for discount stores in Athenry in Co Galway. RGDATA has objected to an application for an edge of town stand-alone store with car parking on a greenfield site detached from the town centre. We believe there are serious planning issues with this application that it does not comply with the Retail Planning Guidelines and, if it is approved, it will impact adversely on the viability of Athenry town centre.
“RGDATA has not objected to another application for a discount supermarket in Athenry on a site that is zoned town centre.
“It is vital during these challenging times for many rural towns and villages that new retail developments are directed into sites that aid town centre regeneration rather than merely suiting the operating preference of a particular retailer,” Buckley stated.
“The global retail giants that consistently apply to build out of town or edge of town stores on standalone sites need to be challenged to come into the town centre and develop existing zoned sites, derelict sites or disused town centre buildings. Then they will actually create footfall, competition and a vibrant retail zone in the centre of towns instead of a counter attraction that will further suck the life from the town centre.
“RGDATA makes no apologies for objecting to retail applications that do not comply with the Retail Planning Guidelines. Too many citizens are the victims of bad planning as they sit in traffic jams, have to travel long distances to work, schools or to shop, face the challenges of finding affordable housing, deal with flooding problems, can’t walk around their community or have derelict, downbeat town centres with empty buildings surrounded by vast soulless, out of town retail developments,” Buckley added.
An Bord Pleanala is an independent planning authority that will assess the proposed development and its suitability and will make a decision if it is in the best interests of proper planning and sustainable development. Those who consider a proposed development to be good, sustainable planning can make their own observations to An Bord Pleanala. It is a transparent, democratic system.
RGDATA believes that there are strong planning grounds as to why the edge of town discount store in Athenry should not be granted planning permission at that location. Others may disagree with us. The best forum to determine these planning grounds is An Bord Pleanala. RGDATA believes that it is important that the planning experts on the Bord make an independent determination of the application.
“Properly thought out, well planned retail development is in the best interests of all citizens, the vibrancy and vitality of town centres, proper competition and quality and variety of shops,” said Buckley.
Kathleen Cahill MPRII
Rock House, Main St., Blackrock, Co. Dublin.
Direct Line: 01-2887584