A decision to turn down Supermac's boss Pat McDonagh's proposed investment in Longford has been met with with disappointment locally
With news that An Bord Pleanála have overruled planning permission for the proposed construction of a Supermac's plaza at Lisnamuck, Longford county councillors have expressed their disappointment.
The proposed development, which would have included a service station, a Supermac's restaurant, a drive through, retail units had previously received the green light from Longford County Council and a four star hotel was mooted as part of stage two of the development.
Cllr Seamus Butler described it as a disappointing decision.
He stated, “I think that it'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 opened in May of this year.
“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 views were echoed by Cllr Joe Flaherty who said the council would now have to renew their collective focus on bringing new businesses to 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.”
In conclusion he said, “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.”