Lucan Avoca looking bleak

by Ian Begley
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Plans for an Avoca store in Lucan look bleak as managing director Simon Pratt revealed that he is not “optimistic” about his intention to open a premises at the former Foxhunter Pub in Lucan.
The site was due to be redeveloped into an artisan food and craft shop following a successful application for a declaration of exemption and was expected to open in March 2015.
A planning application submitted by Avoca’s Simon Pratt last year was granted permission by South Dublin County Council with an anticipated creation of up to 50 new jobs for the area.
However, doubts arose earlier this year when its development hit unexpected delays.
At the time, Pratt remained positive, saying: “It is absolutely our hope that we can still open at the Foxhunter but currently our hands are tied. It isn’t a financial issue but rather a legal/contractual one regarding these premises.”
Now it seems that the prospect for an Avoca store does not look promising.
Lucan Cllr William Lavelle (FG) asked Pratt for an update on the plans for Avoca Lucan at the former Foxhunter premises, in light of the company’s recent sale to US food services company Aramark.
His reply to Cllr Lavelle stated: “Unfortunately it won’t make any difference in [us] being able to secure the Foxhunter for our use. I haven’t completely given up hope but am not very optimistic.”
Commenting on his reply, Cllr Lavelle told the Gazette: “I know a lot of people in Lucan will be disappointed with the ongoing uncertainty and [Simon] Pratt’s lack of optimism. I continue to hope that the matter will be resolved as I believe the development of Avoca at the Foxhunter would be a fantastic boost for Lucan.”
Speaking to the media recently, Pratt said he feels very frustrated by doubts surrounding the sites development, adding that it was never his intention for this to happen.
It was intended to change the pub to a local amenity artisan food and craft shop and maintain the restaurant and ancillary facilities in their existing use.
The existing floor areas were to remain the same and there was supposed to be no structural modifications made to the property either externally or internally.
Avoca currently has 11 outlets across Ireland and employs approximately 850 people and has been run by the Pratt family since the 1970s.
Under the terms of the sale, Avoca will play a separate role within Aramark’s Irish operations with the Pratt family to remain involved in the company.
If the deal is approved, Aramark stated it intends to expand the Avoca brand both within Ireland and abroad.
Despite attempts by The Gazette to contact Simon Pratt he did not respond when going to press.

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