Tramore Town Councillor Lola O’Sullivan has been left wondering if An Bord Pleanala is anti-Tramore after the appeals body overturned permission given by Waterford County Council for an Aldi store at Crobally Upper.
Raising the subject at the Town Council’s January meeting, she said she was posing the question in light of a series of recent decisions by the board relating to Tramore.
An incredulous Cllr Ann Marie Power was of like mind. She felt the site in question was ideal for an Aldi store and was zoned for the purpose
But Cllr Joe Conway, although disappointed also, felt that maybe the board was actually doing the town a favour in that a better location might be found.
The board reversed the County Council’s decision on the grounds that the proposed development would be intrusive and inappropriate to the area in question; it was unhappy about the design and layout and also felt other possible sites had not been fully investigated by the applicants.
“Maybe their reasons are justified and we should not be shooting the messenger”, he suggested.
But Cllr Power was not for changing her attitude. “I did and I will and I will continue to do so”, she said in reference to her support for the project at Crobally. “What message are they trying to send us? Is it not to build in Tramore, where jobs and services are so badly needed”?
Cllr Blaise Hannigan said anyone establishing business and trying to create jobs in Tramore should be encouraged and those arguing otherwise were not doing the town or its people any favours.
Cllr O’Sullivan said that clearly An Bord Pleanala was aware of other sites that might be suitable, but why did it not identify them. “We should ask for the alternative sites and if it fails to respond we should write to the Environment Minister asking why”, she submitted.
Town Manager conceded that the board’s decision was one of a number of disappointing ones handed down recently. At the same time its views had to be taken into account.
But Cllr Power was adamant she could not accept that if the board was not open to scrutiny and there was nobody to whom it was accountable. “My concern if for those seeking jobs”, she added.