BY BRIAN MOORE
THE planning process for a new supermarket in Bantry is well under way, but many in the town have voiced their concerns at the proposed site for this much needed superstore.
Multi-national supermarket chain Lidl, have lodged a planning application for a store at a site just under one kilometre outside the town on the Ballylickey and
The site at Newtown has already seen a planning application for another superstore in the past, but Lidl’s choice of site is causing concern among many people who feel that a site closer to the heart of the busy town would be much more suitable.
Local businessman Aiden McCarthy told The Southern Star that while he welcomes Lidl’s plans to set up in Bantry, he is concerned that the chosen location outside the town is the wrong choice.
‘This new Lidl would give people much-needed choice and also much-needed competition.
A lot of households are on strict budgets and this choice and competition will be good for the people of the area. Indeed, when stores like Lidl or Aldi locate next to existing supermarkets, such as SuperValu, they end up complementing each other,’ Mr McCarthy said.
However, he said that Bantry must be able to compete with other towns in the area on an equal basis: ‘Bantry is competing with towns such as Skibbereen, Dunmanway and Kenmare, all of which have supermarkets developed in or at the edge of these towns and are all functioning well.
If Bantry followed the same template for development then the sites at the Harbour View, which are within the town and are mostly owned by the local authority, could be utilised for up to two supermarkets.
‘There is also undeveloped and redevelopment potential at the Boys’ Club area and there is existing planning in place for a discount store at Bridge Street, which is on offer for sale to both Lidl and Aldi,’ Mr McCarthy said.
Meanwhile, the Planning Department at Cork County Council have confirmed that a number of ‘observations’ have been lodged in connection with the proposed Lidl development at Newtown.
‘Development all or some of the sites within the town that I have mentioned would stimulate and improve the viability and vitality of the existing town centre and these proposed developments would be fully in accordance with the retail planning strategy of Cork County Council,’ Mr McCarthy concluded.