Kildare County Council has asked for further information on a planning application which could be crucial to the construction of phase three of the Kildare Village retail outlet.
Value Retail Dublin applied in August for a revision on their planning application for phase three for 29 new shops, two new restaurants and 460 car parking spaces.
The latest proposal includes a 30th unit (called unit 104) for an anchor tenant; however An Bord Pleanála wanted the owner to use the space outlined for the 30th store to create a walkway into Kildare town, connecting the town centre with the Village.
The idea of the link way was to improve the economic benefits for the town centre and to create a chance for local businesses to capitalise on some of the two million plus visitors to Kildare Village each year.
One of the aims, according to the original plans, was to “achieve greater linkage and synergy with Kildare town centre and the offers and attractions of Naas and Newbridge.”
However, Value Retail Dublin is now seeking to amend that planning approval in order to include the 30th shop unit for a flagship store.
The company behind Kildare Village has indicated that the project will not be commercially viable, unless it is given permission to build this store.
They stated in their revised design concept that the omission of the unit would not only lessen the footfall along this street, but also lessen the footfall that would continue to Academy St and Market Square in Kildare town. They also stated that without the anchor tenant in place, the street will be long and linear with no reward at the end — adding it would “feel too long to walk” and deter the shopper.
“It would be uninviting for people as there is no draw to encourage people to walk down this route,” it states. They are also concerned about the possibility of wind tunnel consequences and an unpleasant environment exposed to inclement weather conditions.
Mayor of Kildare Suzanne Doyle said that for Kildare town to be a destination tourist town there is a need for the retail unit to be linked to the town centre. “Linkage is key to that,” she said.
“This is the third phase of the retail unit and at all phases they were to deliver linkages to the town but that has never happened. We’re now on the third planning application. If we want to be real about bringing vibrancy to Kildare town, and as they function, in a town centre zone they should be linked to the town.”