Plans by Lidl to replace its existing outlet in Fermoy with a large, new store have been approved, despite opposition from a rival supermarket owner.
An Bord Pleanála has rejected an appeal by the owner of a SuperValu store in the north Cork town against the decision of Cork County Council to grant planning permission for the development of a larger store for the German discount retailer.
The plans provide for the demolition of the existing Lidl store and the disused Touch of Luxury carpet and furniture store on Courthouse Rd, Fermoy and their replacement with a large new supermarket extending to 2,167 m² in size to include an off-licence and bakery as well parking spaces for 140 cars.
An Bord Pleanála said it considered the project would, subject to compliance with a number of planning conditions, be an appropriate form of land use and would comply with retail planning policies.
The planning appeals authority said it would also enhance the visual amenities of the area as well as be acceptable in terms of traffic safety, convenience and public health.
The board said it was satisfied the development of the new Lidl store would not adversely affect the EU protected areas of the nearby Blackwater River and Blackwater Callows.
Michael Riordan of Ballinahena, Fermoy — the owner of a nearby SuperValu store — was the sole member of the public to make a submission on the development to the council and subsequently to appeal the development to An Bord Pleanála.
The businessman claimed the new Lidl store would result in a significant increase in convenience retail floor space in an out-of-centre location which would have “a significant impact on the vitality and vibrancy of Fermoy’s town centre”.
Mr Riordan claimed part of the proposed site was zoned open space which meant Lidl’s plans represented a material contravention of the local area plan.
He also expressed concern about part of the site lying within the Blackwater River special area of conservation.
Lidl claimed the SuperValu owner had raised different objections in his original submission to the council opposing the development.
Lidl said 30 out of 168 commercial properties in the town centre were vacant due to an array of factors and claimed it was too simplistic to blame it on an oversupply of retail floor space.
Lidl has already secured planning approval for the expansion of two of its other outlets in north Cork — Kanturk and Mitchelstown.