Fears that Kildare Village expansion will hit other towns

FEARS the proposed Kildare Village expansion could hit businesses in other Kildare towns has prompted Kildare County Council to seek further information on the planning application.

FEARS the proposed Kildare Village expansion could hit businesses in other Kildare towns has prompted Kildare County Council to seek further information on the planning application.

The plans, which would see the outlet gain two new restaurants, 34 new units, a tourist information centre and 409 new car parking spaces were lodged with the council three months ago. Last Tuesday March 27, the council set out a number of issues, which it wants clarified. The company behind the development, Value Retail Dublin, now has six months to respond, although it can apply for a three month extension.

The company has pledged to create 480 jobs between the construction and operation of the new 7,000 sq.m. phased development on the Tesco side of the outlet. In its request for further information, the council quoted the Retail Impact Assessment submitted with the plans, which states; “the proposed development will not result in an adverse impact on any of the identified centres of Newbridge, Naas, Athy and Kildare.”

However, the council point out the assessment later indicates these towns may have trade diverted to the proposed development.

“Furthermore the figures as presented in Table 12.4.3 show a trade diversion of 16% from Newbridge while county town centres as a whole will experience a diversion of 26%, both of which are considered to be significant,” notes the council. The planner is seeking further analysis to support the applicant’s contention that the development would not negatively affect any town centre.

It also wants Value Retail Dublin to provide details of its non-clothing/footwear items and justify how they should be part of a product range at a tourist outlet village as well as assessing the impact of the sale of such goods on other towns.

The council notes the customer survey showed only 15% of visitors visited a tourist attraction before attending the village while only 9% intended to go to a tourist attraction after shopping. The council said this showed “the commercial synergies” as originally envisaged between the outlet and Kildare town had yet to be fully realised. It has asked the applicant to clarify how it intends to provide a more “quantifiable means of assessing the commercial synergy” to raise the profile of Kildare town. It has also asked for more details on the function of the new tourist information centre and its impact on the existing tourist information centre at Market Square in Kildare town. It also expressed concern over the substantial increase in restaurant floor space and how that can raise the profile of Kildare town and enhance town centre turnover on retail goods and leisure activities.

The council also requested a revised layout plan to develop better links with Kildare town including a detailed plan for the proposed pedestrian connection to the existing route within the Tesco car park. The Transportation Department has asked for further information on predicted traffic movements. It has also asked that the Traffic and Transport Assessment be updated to include the recent upgrading of signals to more accurately predict the impact the development would have on the surrounding road network. It has also asked for more details on car parking and proposals for the provision of a CCTV camera at the M7 Nurney interchange. It also wants an updated travel plan with proposals to improve the use of sustainable modes of transport and the potential for improved connectivity between the town centre and the outlet. It also wants more data on air quality in the area and projected vehicle emissions.