Rezoning to help transform derelict site into retail area

 The derelict Seafield factory in Youghal, Co Cork.

An East Cork town council intends amending its Town Development Plan to facilitate a planning application for a major retail development.

Youghal Town Council wants to alter zoning at the derelict 20-acre Seafield factory site in the Strand from small-scale ‘neighbourhood centre’ to ‘retail convenience’.

The intended amendment follows a meeting between the council and representatives of Seafield Partnership Ltd, the consortium leading the retail proposal on the town’s western approach.

Planning permission granted in 2011 was overturned by Bord Pleanála, who deemed the projected “three single-storey retail units of 934 sq. metres” to be too large and contrary to the 2009-15 Town Development Plan’s commitment towards promoting the town centre as “the primary location for retail”.

Retail giants Aldi were mooted as anchor tenants and remain so. That application proposed 215 car spaces and a fast-food restaurant with drive-through facility. It is unclear whether these will be mirrored in any new application.

The main objector to the original permission was a Galway resident, represented by Limerick consultants HRA Planning Limited, who in turn were believed to represent a major retail group. Brookes’ SuperValu is the town centre’s only supermarket, with Tesco and Lidl on the town’s eastern approach. Centra remains the Strand’s sole store.

The Strand area is seen as hugely underdeveloped, but the recently opened boardwalk at Claycastle now attracts large numbers, with plans to extend it two miles further to Redbarn being progressed by Cork County Council. Aura Leisure Centre, Youghal Greyhound Track and about a dozen smaller businesses also trade in the area, while Youghal Town Council has lodged a planning application for a mobile home park facility.

While up to 30 former retail units lie idle within the town centre, Youghal mayor Sammy Revins believes that developing the Seafield site would bring major economic benefit not just to the Strand but to the town.

Youghal Town Council’s proposed Town Development Plan amendment will now undergo six weeks’ public consultation.


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