Tesco warns Limerick City Council over proposed development plans

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

RETAIL giant Tesco Ireland has written to City Council warning an “overly restrictive” approach to development management could undermine Limerick’s future.

RETAIL giant Tesco Ireland has written to City Council warning an “overly restrictive” approach to development management could undermine Limerick’s future.

This week, councillors were asked to pass an amendment to the Limerick City Development Plan 2010 - 2016.

This strategy focuses exclusively on city centre development, with big developments precluded outside the urban area.

This is in order to reverse the declining level of footfall into the city.

But in a submission to this plan in 2010 – made public this week – Tesco Ireland warned against this approach, saying that the role of “designated suburban District Centres” must be recognised.

In its letter, representatives for Tesco – which has four out-of-town stores in Limerick as well as a city centre unit – warned the plan could be “overly restrictive.”

“It would also undermine the ability to respond to local community retail requirements, and would add to planning costs and challenges. Suburban centres are a core component within the retail hierarchy and an essential community resource. They provide an important function in meeting the retail needs of consumers,” the letter continues.

The submission concluded by warning: “The application of an overly restrictive approach to development management in the short term may undermine the future vitality and viability of retail centres and increase trade leakage to adjoining retail centres outside the County area.”

However, this was rejected by the manager at the time, who wrote: “The proposed core strategy is entirely consistent with the retail strategy in promoting a city centre led economic model. No amendment to the document is considered necessary.”

The six year strategy carries a number of goals, with the core vision being Limerick “continues to grow as the centre of economic, social and cultural development for the Region.”

When it was put together in 2010, it projected an increase in population of 10,000 people by 2016.

The Department of Education said this would mean a need for three new primary schools and a 1,000 student secondary school. This was rejected by City Council. The plan was proposed by Cllr Maurice Quinlivan and seconded by Cllr John Gilligan.