THE Planning Regulator has rejected a proposal by Cork County Council to allow the development of a major retail outlet centre in East Cork, a decision welcomed by West Cork TD Holly Carins (SD).
However, Deputy Carins and the Social Democrats find themselves at odds with the views of the majority of county councilors, both in West Cork and across the county.
‘I’m against the proposal because it will take business away from adjacent towns and villages – a point local business and community organisations agree with me on,’ Deputy Carins said.
‘The County Council should be focusing all their efforts on supporting family run shops and small business in towns and villages right now.’
Local cllrs who voted in favour:
Cllr Gillian Coughlan (FF): ‘I support the development for such a retail centre. The potential benefits to the county are something we can’t ignore. However, I feel we now have a ‘Planning Czar’ in place which is extremely anti democratic.’
Cllr Alan Coleman (Ind): ‘I voted in favour of the proposed plan and I am highly disappointed with the regulator and this anti-democratic decision. This retail centre would be another string in our bow here in Cork and would attract more people to the county. However, there is a wider battle to be fought here when it comes to county development plans and the local authorities.’
Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG): ‘I am fully supportive as Cork is the perfect place for this development. We have sites available and if Cork doesn’t do it another county will.’
Cllr Sean O’Donovan (FF): ‘If this doesn’t come to Cork, will go somewhere else. This development will draw people in to the county, this will create construction, tourist and overall local jobs for people.’
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF): ‘I am fully in support of this proposed development. There were bus loads of people going up to Kildare to the retail centre there and Cork is a perfect place for such a centre, it would provide jobs and be a major tourist attraction. The regulator should not be interfering here.’
Cllr Karen Coakley (FG): ‘A retail centre would bring people in and all of Cork will benefit. We must contest the ruling by the regulator as this is a decision taken by the democratically elected members of Cork County Council.’
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind): ‘I want to see this retail centre in Cork. If we don’t do it some other county will and it will provide employment bringing more people into the county. The only thing is I wish it could be in West Cork.’
Cllr Paul Hayes (Ind): ‘While I supported the decision, I have concerns and feel that more effort must be put into supporting local businesses in our towns and villages. And I would prefer if decisions such as this one are made at the local level without interference by a regulator.’
Cllr Deirdre Kelly (FF): ‘This would be a very good addition to Cork and I am in favour of it going ahead. This would enhance the county, bring more people in and generate jobs.’
Cllr Katie Murphy (FG): ‘I am in favour of having a retail centre such as this here. This would be good for the county, however, I feel the powers of the elected councillors and the local authority are being over stepped by the regulator.’
Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF): ‘I voted for this proposal. Why shouldn’t it be in Cork? This will draw more people into the county and will be good for employment. But the regulator has overstepped his brief and we have to contest the decision.’
Cllr John O’Sullivan (FG): ‘I voted for this development and there was a democratic decision made by elected representatives. I am furious that an outside body has come in to undermine this decision. This is an affront to local democracy.’
Cllr Marie O’Sullivan (FG): ‘I fully support the decision and the chief executive. This development would be good for Cork and if we don’t do it some other county will. The regulator has no place undermining the local democratically elected representatives.’
The lone dissenter:
Cllr Ross O’Connell (SD): ‘I voted against this. We need to have more supports and energy put into local businesses. Urban centre vacancy and dereliction is a countywide problem. A development like this will only exacerbate the problem, sucking consumers out of our urban centres and into this artificial village. Job creation is good, but not at the expense of other jobs.’