Council shoots down Aldi plans

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LIMERICK County Council has voted against proposed changes to the county development plan which would have paved the way for Aldi to open a new store on the outskirts of the city.

The discount supermarket giant had expressed interest in opening a new store in the Raheen/Dooradoyle area, however this was dependent on the Council agreeing to allow for stores with up to 1,400 square metres floor space.

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Currently, the Limerick County Development Plan and the Southern Environs Local Area Plan allow stores in ‘neighbourhood centres’ to have a maximum of 900 square metres floor space.

If passed, the motion to consider increasing the maximum store size would have gone forward for public consultation, however Fine Gael Councillor Rose Brennan proposed that the issue should not proceed.

A total of 13 Councillors voted in favour of Cllr Brennan’s motion, with 11 voting against.

Her party colleague Leo Walsh had suggested conducting a survey among residents of Raheen and Dooradoyle asking whether they were in favour of having an Aldi store in the area.

However, fellow Fine Gael Councillor Damien Riedy remarked that if the proposal was allowed to proceed it  would be “to the detriment of smaller businesses in the county”.

Cllr Mary Harty, also of Fine Gael stated that the amendment would “create a doughnut effect” in Limerick suburbs and towns.

Tom Enright, director of economic development and planning said that according to advice received on the matter, the proposed amendment “would impact existing retailers” and does not comply with the Mid West Retail Strategy.