Construction of a €10m Tesco outlet in Bantry, Co Cork, is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2013 after An Bord Pleanála gave permission for the 25,000 sq ft facility at the weekend.
Developers Richard Coffey and Donal Hunt hope Tesco will be in a position to open the shop, on an eight-acre site at Newtown, by next Christmas.
Mr Coffey, a Bantry native but based in Blackrock, Dublin, said as many as 150 full-and part-time jobs will be created when the outlet is up and running, putting €3m in wages annually into the local economy.
“We see this as great news for Bantry as it will help stop the leakage of shoppers out of town and be a catalyst for major development in the area. A recent survey showed that 46% of people did their shopping outside Bantry,” he said.
Mr Coffey said the new store would provide local producers with an opportunity to supply Tesco, which, he said, is the largest purchaser of Irish food and drink in the world, buying €1.5bn per year from Irish suppliers.
“I look at it as a great opportunity to lift Bantry Town forward over the next number of years. It is my view that Tesco Ireland will attract additional consumer activity in Bantry. There will be great job opportunities from the outset for the local community, not only when the project is complete but during the construction stage.
“Bantry needs additional jobs at this moment in time when the country is attempting to come out of the economic and financial crisis that we are experiencing and this opportunity has now presented itself,” he said.
Mr Coffey paid tribute to Cork county manager Martin Riordan and the planning department for their efforts in considering the application since it was lodged in Dec 2007.
“Bantry has the potential to be the destination town in West Cork if the proper facilities are developed. Bantry Town is not there just to serve the local community, but to facilitate the communities from the Mizen Head, Sheep’s Head, and Beara Peninsula. Bantry needs to offer first-class facilities in all aspects to the communities in Kilcrohane, Durrus, Caheragh, Bantry, Kealkil, Glengarriff, and Adrigole if it is to achieve its potential,” Mr Coffey said.
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