A new Aldi store in Monread, Naas could lead to more business closures and job losses in the town centre, it has been claimed.
An Bord Pleanala (ABP) has given the green light for the store (with a gross floor area of almost 1,500 square metres) even though both Kildare County Council (KCC) and Naas Town Council (NTC) had refused permission.
The decision also ran contrary to the recommendation of Kenneth Moloney, the ABP planning inspector.
Ann Domican, proprietor of Fleming’s Florist at South Main Street, told the Leinster Leader: “The town is already dying a death”.
She added: “People have little enough reason to come into the town; as a result Naas is suffocating. You can park for nothing in Monread and stay as long as you like. An Bord Pleanala does not take account of this or that we have to pay very high rates. You can see there are few people on the street today (December 5) in the run up to Christmas. It’s frightening.”
Ms. Domican added that some traders are holding sales with up to 50% off stock.
Fabucci (Moat Mall) boutique proprietor Deirdre O’Hara predicted the decision will hit the town centre.
“This is a trend but new businesses should come into the town where there are vacant buildings as well as an unopened shopping centre. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen when there is space in the town centre,” said Ms. O’Hara.
KCC rejected the application because of the “restricted size and location of the development”.
NTC turned it down because the location is “peripheral to the centre of the town and in an area which is adequately serviced by convenience stores”.
Mr. Moloney agreed, pointing to the presence of the Tesco store and other retail outlets on the Monread Road and in Sallins, and said the Aldi store would “reinforce a large concentration of convenience retail activity” in Monread. This would seriously injure the viability of the town centre. However the APB board felt that the existing commercial development in Monread was already envisaged in the development plan and Aldi would not hit the “vitality and viability of the town centre.” The store will have 106 car parking spaces.
Meanwhile, the new Tesco store opened in Kildare town yesterday - see page 40 for full story.