Council concerns delay Penneys expansion plans in Cork city

Cork City Council said the retailer hasn’t yet sufficiently addressed the concerns it has regarding the impact on the built heritage in the area
Council concerns delay Penneys expansion plans in Cork city

The retail giant is seeking planning permission for a major increase in space at its city centre shop in Cork city. Picture: Andy Gibson

Primark’s plans to expand its Penneys store on St Patrick's Street in Cork city have received a setback, as Cork City Council has requested further information before casting its final say on the project.

The retail giant is seeking planning permission for a major increase in space at its city centre shop, adding 17,000 square ft to its existing 37,000 sq ft.

If approved, it would take in a sizeable section of St Patrick's Street and stretch from Robert Street to Cook Street, and from St Patrick's Street to Oliver Plunkett Street. In effect, it would take up the entire block.

In its most recent correspondence with Penneys, Cork City Council said the retailer hasn’t yet sufficiently addressed the concerns it has regarding the impact of the development on the built heritage in the area.

“It is recommended that a conservation architect should be engaged by the applicant to guide the design team of the scheme to address the concerns raised [...] in terms of impact of the built heritage,” the council said.

Revised internal floor plans should incorporate “a more sensitive approach to the historic structures”, it added.

The application was first lodged in August, and Cork City Council wrote to Penneys in October expressing concerns it had about the proposed development.

In response, Penneys said that approving its application would help to reduce the number of vacant premises in Cork city centre.

It said: 

Smaller retail services may not be able to compete with the convenience and variety of online shopping and it is therefore imperative that Cork city responds to changing shopping habits and combats further vacancy by providing attractive alternative uses.

“[Penneys] only provides in-store shopping and therefore offers the optimum platform to draw customers into the city centre and compete with online shopping and out-of-town retail centres.” 

Penneys said the development would also help to attract more visitors to the city centre.

It also included a report from estate agents Lisneys, which said there is an adequate mix to satisfy the demand for shopping and restaurants in the city centre and that the Penneys development would have no material impact on the diversity of units in the city.

A Primark spokesperson said: “We remain engaged in the planning process and are fully committed and looking forward to the redevelopment of our Patrick Street store.”

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