LIMERICK County Council has warned it will act if retailers open shops in suburban business park without planning permission.
Director of service Gerard Sheeran said that while the council was aware of some breaches there was little evidence to suggest the problem was widespread.
Last week Judge Eugene O’Kelly dismissed a case against a clothing retailer at the Eastway Business Park, expressing his dissatisfaction with the documentary evidence.
Limerick County Council had sought to prosecute Suits Distributors Ltd for alleged non-compliance with a planning enforcement notice. The court heard that the parent planning permission for the Ballysimon Road business park designated it for light industrial or warehousing use with no retail to be carried out on site.
Mr Sheeran said this week that the regional retail strategy - covering Limerick, Clare and Tipperary - favoured city and town centres above out-of-town business parks for retail development.
“The strong feeling was that there was no need for further retail outside of district centres and the city centre. We are working together to reverse the decline of shopping in the city centre and bring back some vibrancy,” Mr Sheeran said.
While there were many retailers operating out of suburban business parks, most were compliant and were the type of bulk retailers which were permitted.
“We do allow the retail warehousing, the likes of your B&Qs or businesses selling large items such as furniture. But we are trying to control it. If somebody is trying to sell, say clothing or shoes or other small goods to the public, that’s a different kettle of fish,” Mr Sheeran said.
The council received hundreds of planning complaints a year but resources didn’t allow it to “scour whole parts of the county looking into every nook and cranny of every business park”, Mr Sheeran said. But the council would act where there were obvious breaches.