MAYOR of Limerick, Fine Gael councillor Jim Long, has accused developer Suneil Sharma of using “bully boy tactics” after he employed senior counsel to send a “warning document” to Limerick City Council over the controversial Parkway Valley site on the Dublin road.
The majority of the €150 million site is in county Limerick and the County Council have given the new owners an extension of time to complete the development.
A small part of the site is in the city and the expiry date for permission was January 9 next. “They have now applied for an extension of duration of the planning permission for a new shopping and leisure complex. But it is unprecedented in how they have gone about this with a warning document from senior counsel. It is bully boy tactics,” said Mayor Long.
The application is from Alocin Limited who used Eamon Galligan, senior counsel to argue their case. “Perhaps this is why the County Council ended up granting permission. I don’t know, but I don’t like the tactics,” said Mayor Long.
“It might be all legitimate but we have never seen this before where you have senior counsel trying to dictate,” he added.
The 15-acre site was originally due to comprise a 39,650sq m (426,792sq ft) retail complex with 50 shops, three anchor tenants and 1,650 car-parking spaces.
The foundations, concrete floors and most of the steel work were completed before contractors pulled out of the development, but city councillors critical of the development said the shell of the site may have to be removed as it could be structurally unsound after being exposed to harsh weather conditions for a number of years.
But the decision rested in the hands of Limerick County Council, and according to a planning official it would have been “illegal” for them to refuse an extension of time to complete the development.
*A full version of this story appeared in the Limerick Chronicle, edition dated January 3, 2012