Another planning application as Dealz tries to save its store at Wexford Retail Park
IN the latest episode in an ongoing Wexford planning saga, Poundland Ltd, the owners of Dealz, have once again submitted a planning application for retention of a change of use of the Dealz store in Wexford Retail Park at Clonard.
The discount chain store is at odds with planning regulations as outlets selling 'non-bulky' goods are prohibited from operating at the retail park which also houses Petmania, Aldi, Woodies, Mr Price and Home Focus at Hickeys.
Last September the planning department of Wexford County Council issued a warning letter to Poundland over an alleged breach of planning at their Clonard Dealz store.
It pointed out that one of the conditions attached to the original planning permission for the retail park had been that the use of the floor space in all of the units would be restricted exclusively to the storage and selling of bulky household goods in the following categories - furniture, carpets, white goods, DIY materials and garden products.
On November 16 last, and again on December 19, Poundland applied for permission for retention of a change of use from retail warehousing to shop.
The company was refused permission in February of this year, principally on the grounds that 'the use of convenience shopping in an area with [Retail Park] zoning would materially contravene this objective in the town plan and would have a detrimental impact on the town centre.'
When making the December application, planning consultant Ian Doyle said that the company had been trading in the county since 2012 and currently operates four stores in County Wexford with plans for a fifth in New Ross. It had been in Wexford Retail Park since 2015 after moving into a unit vacant for a number of years, and was reportedly trading well.
Poundland operate another Dealz store on South Main Street in Wexford.
Mr Doyle pointed out that the company employs 117 staff in Wexford who are paid in the region of €1.5 million which goes back into the local economy annually. He said Dealz has invested €1.2 million in capital projects in the county including almost €500,000 refurbishing a historic building on Wexford's Main Street.
Mr Doyle had said that Dealz were committed to trading on the Main Street for the long term. He said consideration should be given to re-designating Wexford Retail Park as a Neighbourhood Centre thereby legitimising current unauthorised uses and encouraging 100 per cent occupancy.
He argued that granting retention would not result in a significant increase in the amount of retail floorspace and would not have a significant impact on the viability of the town's retail core.
Previously Mr Doyle said that Aldi had been granted permission to operate a supermarket in the area by way of a material contravention of the development plan and this decision established a precedent for Dealz to be granted the same and for other uses not restricted to bulky goods to be considered within the retail park.
He pointed out that of the nine retailers located in the park, only three are in full accordance with the condition that 'the use of the floorspace in the entirety of these units shall be restricted exclusively to the storage and selling of bulky household goods'.
He said Wexford Retail Park is essentially functioning as a Neighbourhood Centre in an established and growing area of population with Aldi as an anchor tenant and it is entirely predictable for other similar retailers to want to locate within the same area.
Last week Ian Doyle, acting for Poundland, again applied for permission for the change of use of Dealz at Wexford Retail Park from retail warehousing to shop. Submissions and observations on the planning application can be made to Wexford County Council within five weeks.
Meanwhile, the Wexford Retail Park unit which houses Dealz is on the market with an AMV of €525,000.
Unit 2, Wexford Retail Park, is described by Wexford auctioneer Rob McCormack, of REA McCormack Corish, as a prime investment opportunity which is attacting a current rent of €70,000 a year.
The tenants are unaffected by the sale.