Frying pans to sneakers - Kildare Village Oral Hearing opens

The Village Shopping Centre Kildare.
From frying pans to irons, and sneakers to hoodies and caserole dishes, yesterday’s first day (Tuesday April 30) of the oral hearing into the proposed expansion of the Kildare Village saw it all.

From frying pans to irons, and sneakers to hoodies and caserole dishes, yesterday’s first day (Tuesday April 30) of the oral hearing into the proposed expansion of the Kildare Village saw it all.

Speaking at of the hearing at the Hotel Keadeen, Newbridge, retail expert Larry Brennan pulled out a variety of shopping bags comparing prices and items from Kildare Village and Whitewater Shopping Centre. Mr Brennan, who is an asset manager for one of the owners of Whitewater, claimed Kildare Village has had a detrimental affect on the Newbridge shopping centre. He outlined how sales at the Tommy Hilfiger franchise plumeted by 51% since a Tommy Hilfiger store opened in the Village. Just yesterday, Tuesday April 30, staff were informed the Whitewater Store would be closing as a result. He outlined how some customers even arrived at Clarks in the Whitewater to get their feet measured and then travelled on to the Village to buy their shoes.

Kildare Village has maintained it does not have any detrimental impact on retail trade in Newbridge. Representling the outlet, barraster Michael O’Donnell said they would have to examine the items purchased before making a response.

Kildare Village claims it sells out of season or surplus products while Whitewater contend there is a significant greying of what is considered the outlet market and full priced retailing.

Earlier in the day, Kildare Village put forward its aims to attract more tourists from overseas through the expansion, which would see it almost double in size. It also emphasised it would make refinements to the plans to allow for greater links to Kildare’s town centre. It stressed the development would lead to the creation of 190 part time posts and 190 full time posts.

The hearing continues for the next two days and may run into Friday.

- Niamh O’Donoghue