The development of a mixed leisure and retail development unit, including a 12-screen cinema at the Airport and Outer Ring Road junction near Waterford city has been green-lit by An Bord Pleanála.

The development, which has a total floor area of 12,400 square metres, will also accommodate five single storey retail units and surface parking space for 300 cars.

Basement parking space provision could see the site accommodating a maximum of 535 cars.

Appeals to the development were lodged by G Whitty of 46 Ailesbury Grove, Dundrum and Brendan McCann of 169 Viewmount, Waterford.

McCann claimed that the “excessive amount of retail development” on the city’s outskirts “would have an adverse impact on the retail role of Waterford City Centre” and that the proposed facility would be “visually obtrusive”.

The Whitty appeal suggested that “the location of (a) development on (the) outskirts of the city and the over dependence on vehicular traffic are contrary to the objectives of the National Spatial Strategy”.

Addressing these and other issues raised by the appellants, An Bord stated that the objectives of the Development Plan and Local Area Plan were “consistent with the objectives of the National Spatial Strategy”.

An Bord also felt that the proposal wouldn’t have “a detrimental impact on the city centre” with one of the planning conditions “strictly controlling the type of goods sold”.

In its own response to the appellants, applicants Orst Enterprises Ltd listed 11 separate points, including: “The scale and design of the proposed development reflects the strategic location of the site with the design representing an innovative and contemporary approach utilising the features of the site.”

According to the planning development literature: “An indicative layout for the site, which showed a hotel, conference facilities, medical centre and residential development was submitted in response to a further information request for the remainder of the site.”

Inspector Colin McBride recommended permission for the site on the grounds that it “would not duly impact on the vitality and viability of Waterford City Centre, would not seriously injure the residential amenities of property in the area and would be acceptable in terms of traffic and safety and convenience”.

He concluded: “The proposed development would, therefore, be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

The approval came with 19 separate conditions laid down by An Bord Pleanála.