Supermac's boss Pat McDonagh
An Bord Pleanála have revealed their decision on the proposed construction of a Supermac's plaza at Lisnamuck, Co Longford.
The proposed development, which would have included a service station, a Supermac's restaurant, a drive through, retail units and a four star hotel as part of stage two of the development, had received the green light from Longford county council, however, an appeal was lodged by Liam Madden and others in objection.
Liam Madden confirmed to the Leader that An Bord Pleanála had overruled Longford county council’s decision to grant planning and says he is delighted at the news.
He said, “I am overjoyed that the cholesterol intake of Longford citizens will remain at normal levels.”
An Bord Pleanála referenced the Ministerial Guidelines on 'Spatial planning and National roads guidelines for planning authorities' in written correspondence to Mr Madden, which states that to permit the development would be contrary the government planning policy on retail and town centres set out in Retail planning guidelines 2005.
Continuing they stated, “The proposed development would be contrary to the Ministerial guidelines and be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”
At a recent chamber meeting of Longford county council, Cllr Seamus Butler expressed his disappointment at the news.
He stated, “An Bord Pleanála has refused planning for the Plaza on the bypass.
“I think that’s disappointing.
“It could have been a major investment in Longford, especially moving forward with the hotel,"
Cllr Butler questioned the decision, noting that it would have been located in a similar location to the plaza in Kinnegad, which was officially opened in May of this year.
He said, “I think it is worth noting they are in similar locations right throughout the country.
"Kinnegad has only opened in the last number of weeks and is already doing very well."
His sentiments were echoed by Fianna Fáil councillor Joe Flaherty. Cllr Flaherty said the council would now have to take on board the decision of An Bord Pleanála and renew their collective focus on bringing new businesses to the centre of Longford Town.
He said, “The decision made by An Bord Pleanála to overrule the determination of the council is disappointing. The prospect of employment and jobs for this region is something I relish and the proposed development of a four-star hotel on the site would have been a wonderful addition to Longford.
“Nevertheless, we have to take on board what An Bord Pleanala have said, that it would be to the detriment of the future prosperity of Longford Town Centre, this should be the push needed for a renewed focus on enhancing the town centre.
“I have spoken with many business people in the area who would like to develop and grow in Longford Town. Commercial rates along with the rising costs across a range of other inputs such as insurance, labour, rent and utilities, are all cited as deterrents to opening a business in the town.
“We have a development plan review coming up and I think that these matters need to be the focus of that meeting. As a collective voice we also need to put greater pressure on the Government to act on the cost of insurance. Businesses are folding under the cost of public liability premiums and business insurance. Vacant and boarded up premises cannot be the norm – we need vibrant town centres”, he concluded.
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