Proposed discount store in Galway faces planning issue

RGDATA director general Tara Buckley
RGDATA director general Tara Buckley

A proposed discount store in Athenry, Co. Galway has been delayed pending a decision on its planning application instigated by retail representative association RGDATA



24 June 2015

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Plans for a discount food store in Athenry have run in to trouble with an appeal against the development being lodged with An Bord Pleanála by the Retail Grocery Dairy & Allied Trades Association (RGDATA).

The Connacht Tribune reports than planning permission  for the development at Church Street, Raheen, Athenry had been granted by the Galway County Council, but RGDATA stepped in to point out some issues with the application, including failure to show whether the new centre would have a negative impact on existing retailers in the area.

RGDATA also pointed out the fact that the zoning of the land in question had been changed from “business and enterprise” to “commercial”, indicating that “the land use plan for the area does not support the development.”


Tara Buckley, director of RGDATA said her organisation believes there are serious planning issues with the application, including the fact that it does not comply with the Retail Planning Guidelines and will, if approved, impact adversely with on Athenry’s viability as a town centre.

“It is vital during these challenging times for many rural towns and villages that new retail developments are directed into sites that aid town centre regeneration rather than merely suiting the operating preference of a particular retailer,” Buckley said. “The global retail giants that consistently apply to build standalone sites on the edge of towns need to be challenged to develop existing zoned sites, derelict sites or disused town centre buildings. This way they will create footfall and competition amid a vibrant retail zone in the centres of towns instead of a counter attraction that threatens to suck the life out of a town centre.”

In her strongly-worded statement, Buckley went on to say that RGDATA has no regrets about objecting to planning applications that fail to comply with guidelines. “Too many citizens are the victims of bad planning as they sit in traffic jams,” she said, “as they travel long distances to  work, schools or to shop, face the challenges of finding affordable housing, deal with flooding problems, can’t walk around their community or have derelict, downbeat town centres with empty buildings surrounded by vast soulless, out of town retail developments.”

“Properly thought out, well planned retail development is in the best interests of all citizens, the vibrancy and vitality of town centres, proper competition and quality and variety of shops.”



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