Planning row over car park use by supermarket shoppers

Peter Sweetman: Claims the supermarket has not met its parking requirements.

A fresh planning row has broken out over the use of a public car park by customers of a supermarket in Bantry.

An appeal has been lodged with An Bord Pleanála against the recent decision of Cork Co Council to grant retention planning permission to changes made to the original, approved development of O’Keeffe’s Super Valu store in the West Cork town.

It followed an application by the owners of the supermarket, G W Biggs & Co, for fresh approval to reduce the required number of parking spaces it has to provide for its customers from 74 to 65, as well as several other internal alternations.

Peter Sweetman, a well-known environmental campaigner, claims the supermarket does not have sufficient legal interest in the adjoining car park, at Harbour View, to claim it is part of its provision of parking spaces for customers.

As a result, Mr Sweetman said the supermarket has not met its requirements to address a parking shortfall for its business.

The council cannot allow car parking generated by a private commercial development to rely on car parking to serve a recreational amenity, such as a marina,” said Mr Sweetman.

The car park is leased by the council, but it is vested in trustees, for the people of Bantry.

Tim Coakley, who also lodged a separate appeal on behalf of the trustees, has called for the entire planning history of the supermarket to be reviewed, given the recent construction of a new roadway, which provides access to the public car park.

“The trustees are increasingly concerned at the extent to which the supermarket development has impinged on the property in their care,” said Mr Coakley.

In 2014, An Taisce and Donal Hunt, a Bantry-based developer who was behind plans to bring a Tesco outlet to the town, blocked the development of a supermarket on the same site, but the project was eventually approved by the planning authorities, in 2016.

The €8m supermarket, which opened last November, also faced challenges over its application to extend its opening hours.

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