Mart site developers get their way on amendment to town plan
The developers of the old mart site in Fermoy have succeeded in having the site included in the area identified as the future ‘retail core’ of the town.
At a meeting of Town Councillors on Tuesday evening to discuss the proposed variation to the town development plan, members expressed concern that the developers weren’t going to be accommodated. Blackpool Developments Ltd had made a submission during the public consultation phase seeking to have the wording of the proposed variation changed to include the sentence “the retail core will expand to include the former mart site.” They were also seeking to have that reflected in a diagram that accompanied the proposed variation.
Senior planner Patricia Griffin said the site was included in the area designated ‘town centre’ but Blackpool Developments wanted it included in the ‘retail core’ to avoid any obstacles to planning when they advance their plans. Ms Griffin said it wasn’t possible to include the wording requested by the developer, that it wasn’t a minor change and would require that variation plan to be scrapped and a completely new review of the plan. She stressed that the variation didn’t alter the Council’s support for the development of the site.
Members’ sympathies however lay with the developers whom most wanted to support. “It’s essential to the future development of the town,” Cllr Seamus Coleman said, warning that councillors were being put in a position where they’d vote down the variation if the developer couldn’t be accommodated.
Town manager Katherine Walsh requested a ten minute break to discuss the matter with Ms Griffin and senior planner Andrew Hind. When the meeting reconvened members were informed of a compromise – that the wording would be changed to reflect the inclusion of the mart site in the retail core of the town, as requested. The map couldn’t be changed however as it had been subject to public consultation. Instead it is to be omitted from the variation document. That was quickly agreed by members and the variation was accepted on the proposal of Cllr Tadhg O’Donovan seconded by Cllr John Murphy.