TESCO Ireland’s attempts to open a supermarket in Ardee have been dealt a massive blow after a bid to gain outline planning permission was refused by Louth County Council last week.
The grocery chain had hoped to open a foodstore on the Drogheda Road, promising to bring hundreds of jobs to the Mid-Louth town.
However, their application was rejected by the council on four counts. The council said that the development contravened the zoning objection of the land as set out in the Ardee Local Area Plan and that it would adversely affect traffic on the national road network. They also expressed their fears on the development’s impact on an area which is largely residential and had concerns over possible public health problems after Tesco failed to submit remediation and site restoration plans for land that was previously subject to unregulated waste disposal.
This was the third time since 2005 that Tesco have applied for planning permission on the site. The first was initially granted by Louth County Council but that decision was subsequently overturned by An Bord Pleanala.
The grocery chain applied again soon after but that application was withdrawn in October 2009 before their most recent application which was refused at the start of this month.
The debate over whether or not a Tesco store would be good for Ardee or not has divided many locals in the past few years. Many were hopeful of securing the many jobs the store would have created but others feared that such a largescale development on the outskirts of the town would take trade away from its centre.
Indeed, that was reflected in many of the submissions made against the development. Tim O’Callaghan of Deeside Motor Factors on the Drogheda Road said that if the Tesco store got the go ahead it would have an adverse affect on his business, which has been operating since 1994.
Stoney Lane resident Shirley Magennis also expressed her concern that the proposed store would cause “significant damage to the town’s small vibrant community.”
Amongst others to raise concerns at Tesco’s plans were the NRA, the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Escadia in Market Street and RGDATA, the representatives for independent family owned grocery outlets nationwide.
Explaining the decision to reject Tesco’s application, County Manager Conn Murray said that to grant permission would be “contrary to proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”
He said the development “lies within an area which is zoned in the current Ardee Local Area Plan with the objection ‘to protect and/or enhance existing residential communities and to provide for new residential communities’. Within areas so zoned it is the policy of the planning authority that only limited uses are open for consideration. It is considered that the propsed development by reason of its location and scale would materially contravene the zoning objective in the Ardee Local Area Plan.”
The County Manager in his assessment also said that “the applicant has failed to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the planning authority that the proposed development will not seriously injure the amenities or depreciate the value of properties in the area by reason of vehicular noise and disturbance.”