RGDATA’s moves to block discounters’ aggressive expansion

RGDATA has again called on government to tackle bogus insurance claims, which are harming small businesses
"Unless we take radical action to address reduced footfall, increasing vacancies and declines to commercial activity, we risk exacerbating the economic downturn in towns throughout the country," says RGDATA’s director general Tara Buckley

RGDATA has successfully appealed against the development of two new German discount supermarkets in Louth and Kilkenny, citing concerns over their impact on other local retail businesses.

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22 March 2017 | 0

In the current issue of ShelfLife Tara Buckley of RGDATA outlines her organisation’s plan to breathe new life into town centres in rural Ireland through a series of Town Centre Health Checks.

Part of this plan is to stem the aggressive proliferation of discount supermarket chains, which are actively drawing customers away from independently-owned convenience stores in those town centres to big-box supermarkets outside those areas.

On that front, RGDATA has successfully appealed to An Bord Pleanála regarding the permission for a new Aldi store at Graiguenamanagh in Kilkenny and a new Lidl in Drogheda, Co. Louth. The plan for the Drogheda store involved Lidl demolishing its existing building there and constructing a new store, which the objection letter said was excessive.

Buckley, who is director of RGDATA, told the board that these developments would draw trade from a wide area and have a “significant impact” on the commercial viability of Drogheda town centre.

Meanwhile, RGDATA has recently opposed two proposed German discount supermarkets, in Ardee, Co. Louth and in Greystones, Co. Wicklow. Permission for the latter was granted despite those objections.

RGDATA’s method of objecting to retail planning applications is based on Retail Planning Guidelines. “We assess retail applications to ensure they comply with these guidelines,” Tara Buckley tells ShelfLife, “particularly in relation to ensuring the viability and vitality of town centres, and the self-sufficiency of village.”

According to Buckley, sustainable retail development is in the best interests of a vibrant, competitive retail sector. “We only object to applications that we believe contravene planning policy and guidelines,” the RGDATA director says.

Read more about RGDATA’s efforts to boost towns and villages’ commercial viability in the March issue of ShelfLife.

 

 

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