Call to reject Lidl shop appeal

by Gazette Reporter

Fingal County Council has said that it intends to draw up a new urban centre strategy for Castleknock Village. This statement was made at a recent Castleknock/Mulhuddart area committee meeting.
Cllr Roderic O’Gorman (GP) has contacted An Bord Pleanala urging them to take this fact into consideration when deciding on the appeal made by Lidl to grant them permission to build there.
FCC refused permission for a mixed development, including a Lidl store, in Castleknock Village this summer.
Lidl had been using the old UCS as a basis for its application for planning permission. Cllr O’Gorman believes that An Bord Pleanala should reject Lidl’s appeal based on the fact that the old UCS no longer has any support.
He said: “At the Castleknock/Mulhuddart area committee of Fingal County Council, an official from the council’s planning department stated that the council was prepared to undertake a new urban centre strategy for the village, involving consultation with local residents and elected officials. This is good news and represents the first acknowledgement by the council of the need to rewrite the flawed urban centre strategy from 2008. However, this move will only give real benefit if An Bord Pleanala follows the lead of the council and rejects the appeal by Lidl regarding their proposed development at the flower shop site.
“I have submitted an observation on the Lidl appeal to An Bord Pleanala, calling on the board to uphold the rejection by the council. The Lidl application does not make provision for adequate car parking for future shoppers, nor did the application take sufficient account of the large volume of traffic in Castleknock Village.
“Myself and other local representatives have worked hard to ensure that any development in Castleknock village is appropriate. With this plan to rewrite the urban centre strategy, we have an opportunity to do just that. However, this is dependent on An Bord Pleanala making the right call and rejecting the appeal by Lidl.”
Cllr Jack Chambers (FF) had put down a motion at the area committee meeting to abolish the urban centre strategy, “due to concerns underlying its creation and continuation”.
He said: “One of the senior planners at the [recent] meeting stated that they would agree to review it after the An Bord Pleanala decision regarding Lidl. That’s very welcome and it [the strategy]is something that no one in the community wants. It’s important now that an important and genuine period of public consultation occurs in 2015, whereby the community’s needs and wants are respected.
“What happened in the previous strategy is that three of the professional consultancy firms that had input into the strategy are the same three firms that were hired by the Uxbridge developers at the time.
“That breached all forms of corporate governance by the planning department. It’s important that we get full accountability for what happened in the first place.
“I had a very forthright motion at the meeting trying to bring accountability to that original plan and that won’t be the end of me trying to get accountability for how it happened in the first place.”
A spokesperson from Fingal County Council responded saying: “The Castleknock urban strategy was prepared by council planning officers with inputs from the professional consultants dealing with the Uxbridge development.”

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