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Councillors clarify Tesco position

News
Claire Egan

Councillors clarify Tesco position

LOCAL COUNCILLORS in Ballinrobe have dismissed recent reports of opposition to a  proposed Tesco development at Friarsquarter West.
A statement was issued by all three councillors, Harry Walsh, Patsy O’Brien and Damien Ryan, last week on foot of an earlier outburst by Walsh against Tesco at a Ballinrobe Electoral Area meeting. The British multinational company is seeking to establish a single-storey development in the south Mayo town.
During his attack on Tesco, Cllr Walsh accused multinational chain stores of ‘damaging the livelihood of existing grocers’ and lambasted the business practices of the company and their land purchasing strategy. But late last week, all three councillors, including Walsh, moved to dismiss suggestions of opposition to the development. Furthermore, they said that all decisions by the three councillors would be considered in the context of ‘a new development plan’ for Ballinrobe,
In order for the Tesco development to proceed a material contravention of the Town Plan is required. At present the land which Tesco is seeking permission to build on is zoned an industrial area, while the Tesco development is of a commercial nature.
It is believed that all three councillors are wholly dissatisfied with the practice of a material contravention and have called on officials of the Ballinrobe Area and Director of Services, Mr Ray Norton, to draft a full and comprehensive town plan.
“We want a comprehensive Town Development Plan, taken with submissions from the public and we want a plan which is fully comprehensive and avoids the practice of material contravention decisions further down the line. We don’t want to be changing and going back on decisions. We have had to take two material contravention decisions in the past year and we want to ensure that the next town plan is fully comprehensive,” explained Cllr O’Brien.
Mr Ray Norton, Director of Services, said that a decision on the material contravention issue will be issued following a meeting of Mayo County Council in March.
Planning decisions are expected shortly on two major  commercial developments at The Neale road and Clonbur road. Both areas had previously required a material contravention decision.
An application for a commercial development of a supermarket, off license, coffee shop, office units and retail units by the Neale Road Development Limited is currently the subject of An Bord Pleanála investigation with a decision expected by February 27.
A second commercial development, proposed at a site on the Clonbur road is also the subject of a planning appeal procedure and is due for decision on March 30.