Discount retailer Dealz has had its appeal to change the usage of its premises in Fonthill Retail Park refused, putting 40 local jobs on the line, according to the Dublin Gazette.
The retailer, owned by the UK's Poundland, was refused permission to retain a unit in Fonthill Retail Park by South Dublin County Council last year and the retailer applied to the council for a ‘change of use’ from a warehouse to retail.
However, both the council and An Bord Pleanála have rejected the discounter's appeal.
Retroactive Planning Approval
The store retroactively sought its original planning approval, with over 30 employees in a unit that was designated for the sale of bulky goods, as opposed to a discount shop like Dealz.
The council objected to the store because using the unit as a shop would be a breach of planning policy that aims to keep retail parks selling bulk goods, it said.
In its judgement, An Bord Pleanála said: “It is considered that the change of use to be retained would be contrary to policies and objectives aimed at restricting the role of retail warehousing to the retail of bulky goods and would seriously injure the vitality and viability of existing designated town centres and major retail centres in the vicinity.”
The planning authority added that the change of use would go against the Development Plan for the area and would not tally with proper planning and sustainable development.
It said previously that these regulations aim to safeguard the “vitality and viability of existing designated town centres and major retail in the vicinity”.
The discounter has been involved in several similar planning disputes with local authorities in recent years. For example, Wexford County Council ruled last December that Dealz broke planning laws by opening a store on a site in Clonard Retail Park that was zoned for the sale of bulky goods.
The recent decision came in spite of the discounter collecting 8,000 signatures from locals and local businesses that wanted the store to remain, including from the owner of the retail park, Integrated Development Services Ltd.
The owner said the decision by An Bord Pleanála didn’t give enough consideration to the jobs at stake. In its appeal, the owner said that if the planning laws were “strictly” applied to Fonthill Retail Park, the majority of stores there would have to close.
“It is worth noting that there is no town centre (Liffey Valley is not a town centre) in the vicinity of this retail park and therefore this park has no impact on any town centres,” the landlord of the retail park said.
Further, over 30 third-party submissions were made in support of Dealz, including public representatives and neighbouring stores.
Local councillor Francis Timmons (Ind) told the Dublin Gazette that the decision to close the Fonthill store was a great blow to the area.
“It is very disappointing news from An Bord Pleanála that they have upheld South Dublin County Council’s decision to refuse Dealz retention at Unit 3 Fonthill Retail Park,” Timmons said. “There are 40 staff employed at this very popular store.”
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