New retail planning guidelines welcomed

Retailers have welcomed new retail planning guidelines published by the Department of the Environment.

“Retailers are happy to see the timely publication of these new guidelines and we are supportive of the measures that are contained in the document," David Fitzsimons, Chief Executive, Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) commented.

Among the new measures are:

- The cap on the size of supermarkets in Dublin has been increased from 3,500 to 4,000 sq metres

- The cap on the size of supermarkets in Cork, Galway, Waterford and Limerick has been increased from 3,000 to 3,500 sq metres

- The cap for the rest of the country remains the same

- Out-of-town warehouse retail developments (eg: IKEA) are being permitted in Dublin and the other large cities only

- New retail developments should take place in city and town centres, not in new retail parks and out-of-town retail centres

- The country is being divided up into five retail planning regions, with each region developing a co-ordinated retail planning strategy.

Mr Fitzsimons said that if Irish towns and cities are to have vibrant and healthy retail cores into the future, a “town-centre first” approach to retail planning needs to be applied to all new developments

"It is now down to the local authorities and planning bodies to ensure that these measures are correctly adhered to. It will be crucial to the future vitality of the retail core of most towns and cities around Ireland that these bodies are up to that task.”

REI is the largest retail industry group in Ireland with over 9,500 store members employing over 110,000 people.

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