A plan to build a major shopping centre just outside Athy Town has been granted permission by An Bord Pleanála, writes Lisa Deeney. This marks the latest development in a saga dating back more than four years.
In that period, the plan has been modified and has moved back and forth in the planning process, being appealed on a number of occasions.
The plan, lodged by the Geraldine Partnership and termed a “neighbourhood centre” involves the construction of a shopping centre measuring almost 2,000 square metres, with four shop units, incorporating an off -licence, rest rooms and other facilities, along with 76 car-parking spaces, at Geraldine Road (Kildare Road) Athy. The Geraldine Partnership includes local businessman Michael Purcell and partners but the proposal has been controversial from the outset.
While many local politicians and the Athy Chamber of Commerce have pledged their support in the interest of generating development and providing jobs, some within the retail sector have been resistant, with the latest appeal by RGDATA, the independent grocers’ representative body. Last week the planning authority gave the development the green light. At time of going to press, the developer declined to comment to the Leader if the project is still going ahead.