Lidl and RGDATA engage in war of words over planning

Tara Buckley, director general of RGDATA, has hit back at Lidl's accusations over planning applications
Tara Buckley, director general of RGDATA, has hit back at Lidl's accusations over planning applications

A war of words has erupted between Lidl and RGDATA, the group that represents and advocates for locally-owned conveneince stores across the country. The flash point was when Lidl accused its rivals of purposely lodging spurious planning complaints in order to slow down its expansion.

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27 November 2018 | 0

A public dispute has arisen between Lidl and RGDATA, following the accusation by Lidl that its business competitors, led by the representative group – have been running a “planned and sustained campaign to delay the construction or refurbishment of Lidl stores”.

“While Lidl is supportive of an independent planning system which provides opportunities for concerned parties to make observations,” the discount supermarket said in a strongly-worded statement, “it feels it is appropriate to call out what is plain for all to see as vexatious delaying tactics.”

Naturally, RGDATA was incensed by the accusation, and refuted Lidl’s claims in a strongly-worded statement that set out its own objectives for objecting to Lidl’s planning applications.

“Lidl is seeking to inhibit parties from exercising their rights under the independent planning process,” RGDATA director Tara Buckley said, adding that while it represents retail store owners, the group in no way acts on behalf of symbol group brands. “RGDATA does not represent Musgrave,” Buckley said. “It represents independent retailers including SuperValu and Centra, but many others besides.

“It is a fact that no appeal lodged by RGDATA to An Bord Pleanála has ever been regarded by the board as frivolous or vexatious,” Buckley continued. “Lidl is wrong on this.”

“Similarly, RGDATA has no involvement in planning issues concerning Tesco. RGDATA members compete vigorously with Tesco, Lidl, Aldi, Dunnes and each other.”

Buckley said the real reason Lidl attracts such strenuous objection to its planning applications is that the supermarket retailer builds stores in places that present a threat to the vitality and viability of the towns and villages they purport to serve. For example, the stores’ low employment model reveal that the supermarkets do not add significantly to retail employement in these areas.

Buckley also pointed out that the fact Lidl has been able to grow its market share in Ireland over a short period demonstrates that the planning system does not inhibit or frustrate competition.

 

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