Lidl works cause a lot of anger in Portmarnock

by Alen McMahon
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LIDL is to host a public meeting for Portmarnock residents as anger mounts over the construction of its controversial new store in the centre of the seaside village.
The move follows a fresh wave of outrage over a photograph posted on social media of an elderly woman walking in the middle of the road alongside a right of way at St Bridget’s Avenue, which is now blocked off.
The Facebook post reads: “Way to go Lidl and Fingal County Council. Forcing the elderly residents of St Anne’s Portmarnock to walk in the middle of the road. #lidlchristmasmoments”.
The development was granted planning permission despite local opposition and concerns over access, traffic congestion and its environmental impact – and against the advice of An Bord Pleanala’s own inspector.
Earlier this month, Cllr Brian McDonagh (Lab) called for an immediate halt to work at the old Tin Church site after a digger damaged an electricity cable, causing a two-hour power outage.
He said: “As a result, residents’ confidence in Lidl and the contractor’s ability to guarantee safety during this development has been completely undermined.”
Addressing the Facebook post, a spokesperson for Lidl told The Gazette: “We reject any suggestions that our actions have caused undue hardship to local residents.
“We would like to point out that there are two footpaths on St Bridget’s Avenue; however, one of these has been temporarily included within the site to facilitate improvement works.
“This means Lidl will be upgrading the existing footpath and widening it to two metres. This was permitted by Fingal County Council as part of our agreed hoarding licence.”
The spokesperson said contractors aimed to have the footpath, along with a new boundary wall, reopened prior to the opening of the new store in spring/summer 2017.
The spokesperson added: “Lidl plans to arrange a local community information evening on Thurs-day, January 5, between 3pm and 9pm in White Sands Hotel, Portmarnock, where representatives of our company, McCallion Construction – our main contractor – and our full design team, will be on hand to answer any queries.”
Fingal County Council said it was satisfied that Lidl was meeting the conditions of its planning per-mission, adding: “For safety reasons, the footpath adjacent to the site is included in the hoarded area.
“There is an alternative footpath on the other side of the estate road. Access along Strand Road is maintained. The situation is being monitored on a regular basis.”
Meanwhile, an online petition on to preserve the right of way to the rear of the Tin Church site has been signed by more than 300 people.

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