Cherrywood rebuff dashes IKEA’s hopes

by Gazette Reporter

HOMECARE and furniture company IKEA will not be included in the Cherrywood strategic development zone (SDZ), it was announced recently.
Calls made by the furniture giant to amend the master plan for the Cherrywood SDZ to facilitate large-scale retail warehousing on the site have fallen on deaf ears, as the plan was approved without any alteration by An Bord Pleanala.
The planning authority made the decision to accept the master plan in its present form without any accommodation being made for large warehousing units such as IKEA’s proposed flagship store on the site, following recommendations made by senior planning inspector Tom Rabbette.
IKEA sought to be included in the Cherrywood SDZ, as the company is seeking to expand its presence in Dublin and Ireland and the Cherrywood site was seen as the ideal location due to its proximity to the M50 and the Luas Green line.
The company’s proposal was for a retail warehouse on a .8ha site, with parking for 1,500 cars and rezoning off Wyatville Link Road for the development.
Cllr Denis O’Callaghan (Lab) said: “I welcome An Bord Pleanala’s decision to approve the Cherrywood SDZ as is. The plan was never intended to accommodate large-scale retail warehousing.
“I proposed a motion which was passed by the council – that the manager would look at other suitable sites along the M50 within the remit of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council for such retailing.”
Over the years since the passing of the Cherrywood SDZ by the council in 2009, there have been 16 submissions made for developments of varying kinds and sizes by developers to be included in the master plan, which would necessitate modifications to it.
This latest decision by An Bord Pleanala not to include IKEA or any other large retail warehousing on the Cherrywood site is in line with the wishes of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown councillors, who in May, 2012 refused IKEA permission to locate at the site.
Following the council’s refusal to allow for such large-scale warehousing to be part of the SDZ, the company subsequently made an appeal to An Bord Pleanala to overturn that decision in February last year.
A council spokesperson said: “Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council notes the decision of An Bord Pleanala to approve the planning scheme [as is] for Cherrywood.
“The council envisages that Cherrywood has the potential to accommodate significant growth in the county, including homes and businesses with the necessary supporting amenities and facilities, and that the planning scheme provides the framework for the delivery of this development in a coordinated manner.”
Cllr Jim O’Dea (FG) said: “I voted against the SDZ at the council level as I felt that the SDZ, as it stands, is a lame duck. We had an opportunity to get Cherrywood up and running with a large-scale company, which might have encouraged other companies to follow suit.
“This is the typical chicken-and-egg situation. Some people wanted housing first to be followed by commercial businesses later. I take the view that if you have employment in the area, then a demand for housing will follow.
“If we build the houses first, can we count on businesses following? Personally, I don’t think so.”
A spokesperson for IKEA said: “IKEA is committed to expanding in the Irish market and have been identifying sites for a potential second store. However, we have no further plans to confirm at this point in time.”

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