BELFAST based developer Suneil Sharma has confirmed that he has lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanala in the hope that his €100m plans for a shopping centre on the Dublin Road may yet succeed.
Speaking to the Limerick Leader this Friday, Mr Sharma confirmed an appeal has been lodged in recent days, but he would decline to comment further until the board at national level assesses the planning refusal by the local council.
An Bord Pleanala also confirmed it has received the first party appeal, and that a copy has been sent to the local authority.
Mr Sharma had sought to modify the plans to the partially built site, originally known as Parkway Valley and renamed as Horizon Mall, but it was turned down by the amalgamated Limerick City and County Council last month.
Thirteen objections, representing more than 60 businesses in the city and surrounding areas, had been lodged against the plans. A variety of businesses, including pubs, hotels, other shopping centres, a museum, and even a hospital had objected to the plans, which sought to reduce the size and scale of the development from 73,142 square metres to 63,712 square meres, with its height knocked down by nine metres to 33m.
The revised plans were to include two anchor tenants will remain - one being Marks and Spencer’s largest store outside Dublin - as well as 37 smaller outlets, down from 75 units when the project was first mooted.
His larger plans for the site were granted by the then Limerick County Council in 2007, but the current planning permission under this application lapses in 2016.
Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Michael Sheahan, who met with Mr Sharma prior to the refusal to discuss his plans for the site, said it was “a relief in that it has been rejected” but warned that the city cannot rest on its laurels and needs investment.
“There is no point stopping the outside bodies (coming in), if we don’t do something in the centre ourselves, ” he said.
The mayor claimed that Mr Sharma, who originally sought to develop the Opera Centre site but sold on his interests, “doesn’t want to look at the city”.
“He claims that M&S won’t come to the city because he is able to give them a deal on commercial rates - he can carry them for three or four years.
Helen O’Donnell, chair of the city business association, also welcomed the planning refusal.
“We are very happy because we fought a tough battle and produced a very significant and accurate report and put up a very good argument (against the development),” she said.
- For more see Monday’s Limerick Leader