Clonard Dealz gets planning reprieve
The Dealz store in Clonard Retail Park has been given a reprieve after a planning enforcement action taken by Wexford County Council against the premises over selling non-bulky goods, was struck out at Wexford District Court last Friday.
The case which was specially listed for hearing before Judge Gerard Haughton did not go ahead after counsel for the local authority asked for the proceedings to be struck out.
The development brought to an end a two-year period of uncertainty for the Dealz shop which had been pursued by the Council over an alleged breach of planning in that Clonard Retail Park is zoned for the sale of bulky goods only.
Poundland Limited, trading as Dealz applied unsuccessfully to Wexford County Council for permission to continue operating from the premises with employees of the store also making submissions to the local authority, raising concerns that their jobs could be lost if the shop closed.
The Council argued that its decision was taken to protect businesses on the Main Street, where Dealz has a second Wexford outlet.
The company appealed to An Bord Pleanála, arguing that there are several firms within the retail park that also do not comply with zoning regulations.
It pointed out that Aldi supermarket and KFC were prevously granted planning permission to trade in the area through material contraventions of the Town Plan.
An Bord Pleanála upheld the County Council's decision, with an inspector deciding that Dealz had not provided evidence that the store 'would not have a detrimental impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre'.
The Council which had received a complaint from a third party, followed up with a court action, taking a planning enforcement case against Dealz which was due to be heard last Friday.
In a surprise development, the local authority asked for the case to be struck out with no order for costs, prompting Fianna Fail councillor Lisa McDonald, a practising solicitor, to call on Council officials to provide a written report on the case, how much it cost and why it was struck out.
'I welcome the fact that it was struck out', said Cllr. McDonald who attempted to table a motion at a Council meeting earlier this year, asking for the non-bulky goods policy to be changed to facilitate all the premises in Clonard Retail Park, but was advised to withdraw it, pending the drafting of a new Development Plan.
'I see it as evidence of the fact that they should have adopted that motion in the first place. But it doesn't absolve them of the need to provide certainty for all the businesses in the retail park in the future'. she said.
A similar case against Mr. Price in Clonard was adjourned for mention at Wexford District Court to the end of January.
Cllr. McDonald said there are 60 jobs between Dealz and Mr. Price.