Critics hit out as Lidl gets Douglas go-ahead

Cork County Council has granted conditional planning permission for a Lidl supermarket in Douglas that had a previous application rejected by An Bord Pleanála.

Critics hit out as Lidl gets Douglas go-ahead

By Joe Leogue

Cork County Council has granted conditional planning permission for a Lidl supermarket in Douglas that had a previous application rejected by An Bord Pleanála.

Local representatives say the infrastructure in Douglas does not have the capacity to adequately service another supermarket in the village.

Last year, the local authority gave the green light to the supermarket on a two-acre site between Carrigaline Rd and Churchyard Lane in the heart of Douglas village, only for the planning authority to overturn the decision.

That came after An Bord Pleanála had received objections over traffic, parking, and the visual impact the proposed supermarket would have on the village. The site is located in a designated Architectural Conservation Area.

Lidl made another attempt to secure permission to develop the site, and this week, Cork County Council announced it has given the go-ahead for a development entailing a 2,251 sq m supermarket and a separate 1,351 sq m three-storey mixed-use building with a cafe/restaurant, offices, and five apartments.

Peter Horgan, the Labour Party representative in the area, who submitted an objection to the latest proposal, said he was disappointed that the county council, which is relinquishing responsibility for the Douglas area to its city counterpart next year, granted permission for the site.

“Douglas is oversubscribed with multinational retail outlets,” said Mr Horgan. “The infrastructure around the site in question cannot, in my opinion and the opinion of residents I’ve engaged with, handle a significant influx of traffic on the road in question.

“That we have never seen a supermarket in this State use housing needs as a way to cement their application is worrying. If the site is suitable for housing then why not seek to put a mixed-use housing development there that would increase footfall in Douglas village?

“The people of Douglas and surrounding areas deserve better than their concerns being fobbed off by the council as has happened on the cinema site. We must work to develop Douglas not just for those in business, but those who live and want to use the village free from the gnarled backlogs of traffic jams that will only get worse.”

Local Sinn Féin councillor Eoghan Jeffers said while the new proposal is better than the supermarket-only development that was ultimately refused permission, he has concerns as to how the narrow, one-way Carrigaline Rd leading to the site would cope with traffic and heavy goods vehicles making deliveries to the shop.

He said that with two shopping centres in situ, and an Aldi due to replace the village’s cinema, the addition of another supermarket in the heart of Douglas will be “disastrous for traffic”.

He also questioned what the development would mean for the taxi rank on the street outside the site.

“It has served both the people of the area and taxi drivers well — what will happen to it?” said Mr Jeffers. “Last time the proposal was to move it over to Churchyard Lane, but no one will go over there to get a taxi, particularly at night.”

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