Dunnes Stores refuses to dismantle Newbridge's "Great Wall of Dunnes"

Company challenges council

Niamh O'Donoghue

Reporter:

Niamh O'Donoghue

Email:

niamh.odonoghue@leinsterleader.ie

Dunnes Stores refuses to dismantle Newbridge's "Great Wall of Dunnes"

The "Great Wall of Dunnes" from the Retail Park side. Photo: Tony Keane

Dunnes Stores has accused Kildare County Council of acting outside its legal parameters in the way it has dealt with its planning application to revamp its Newbridge store.

The council had asked the company for clarification on its plans, including the status of the “Great Wall of Dunnes.”

Last Wednesday, April 18, Dunnes Stores submitted its response, and expressed its increasing concern at the manner in which the application was being handled.

It said it was making no modifications to the plans, despite the council’s insistence that the wall be taken down.

It said the development would not give rise to an unacceptable traffic hazard and would be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

On March 31, the local authority asked the supermarket to address the serious concerns it had about the wall between Dunnes Stores and Newbridge Retail Park. KCC had asked the store owners to provide details of the reinstatement of the gap.

The council said the wall “may endanger public safety by reason of a traffic hazard”.

It also said it reduced connectivity between the shopping centre and the adjacent retail park.

In response to the local authority’s previous demand for further information, the supermarket said the shopping centre got planning permission as a standalone unit.

It said planning permission had never been sought for a vehicular access/pedestrian link to Newbridge Retail Park.

The concrete block wall was built in September 2015, just days before the neighbouring SuperValu store opened.

Appeals were made for it to be taken down, but Dunnes stood firm.

Cllr Paddy Kennedy and fellow local councillors called for it to be removed, saying the structure was not in line with the local area plan.

He said the access point had been open for 14 years prior to it being blocked up.

A Facebook page was set up to campaign for the destruction of the wall.

Dunnes contended the majority of the adjacent retail park was vacant and used for bulky retailing goods only when he gap was open.

It said more traffic was generated more units were occupied and this is why it was closed.

It has also said it does not own the land the other side of the wall and has no legal right to open up an access point to it.

A final decision is due on May 15.