The owner of a SuperValu store in Fermoy is seeking to block the development of a new Tesco outlet in the North Cork town.
Michael Riordan, the proprietor of Riordan’s SuperValu on Courthouse Road in Fermoy, lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against the recent decision of Cork County Council to grant planning permission for a new Tesco store on the other side of the road to his premises.
The British supermarket chain has secured approval for the development of a store with an off-licence, café/restaurant, and smaller retail unit on the former Sawmill site between the Courthouse Road and Mill Road in Fermoy.
The proposed floor area of the supermarket will be 3,739sq m while the outlet will provide 150 car park spaces as well as a click-and-collect area.
Tesco, which bought the site for about €1.5m in 2020, said the new development would lead to the regeneration of a vacant brownfield site and would allow for the appropriate sequential expansion of Fermoy’s town centre.
Tesco claimed the new supermarket would “contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of the town centre, generate employment and economic development and provide a mix of uses supported by the town centre zoning objectives”.
A retail impact statement submitted by Tesco claimed the supply of convenience retail outlets in the Fermoy catchment area was not matching demand.
However, consultants acting for Mr Riordan said there were already four large supermarkets in close proximity to the proposed Tesco store as well as a fruit and vegetable shop, two florists, three butchers and newsagents.
“An additional large supermarket would pose a serious negative and economical effect on these local businesses,” they claimed.
A submission made on behalf of Mr Riordan also expressed concern that the new store would result in a significant increase in traffic in the town centre, which already experienced extreme congestion on the N72.
In addition, it claimed the location of the Tesco store on a site close to the River Blackwater was “potentially ecologically sensitive” and could suffer a negative impact during construction works on the new supermarket.
A ruling by An Bord Pleanála on the appeal is due by mid-December.