Following on from a number of open forum meetings about the proposed development of the Regency demesne at Indaville in Boherclough, the Chamber of Commerce are to presented their detailed formal objection to the plan to the members of Cashel Town Council.
The chamber members say that if it the proposed plan goes ahead it will see an Aldi store built on the site and the area cut through with a road and a parking lot for 107 cars.
Chamber president Sean Laffey explained the Chamber’s stance, saying such a striking historic site should not be turned into a dull ‘bog standard’ supermarket.
“Given the historic nature of the site, it’s one of the best Regency properties in the town, still on its own intact ground and given that part of the property is bounded by the 700 year old town wall, which is itself a national monument, we believe this site is far too important to be given over to a bog-standard supermarket design,” Mr Laffey said, adding: “The business community has a duty of care for the future built heritage and we’d like to be able to stand over the urban legacy we are passing on to the next generation.”
The Chamber President went on to set out the Chamber’s other objections to the proposed development. “Then there is the effect it would have on an already busy Boherclough. The fact is that the Council’s own Development Plans earmarked the area for a mixed development, of retail, commercial and housing, in order to generate a vibrant community in that part of town. It made us conclude that an ALDI store on that particular site is just inappropriate.”
Addressing the economic factors of another large supermarket opening in the town Mr Laffey said: “We are even questioning whether we have the population or the spending power to sustain yet another convenience store. The last County Retail Strategy concluded that the population of Cashel was already very well served by an excellent range of convenience stores and we can’t see that another one will be of any long term benefit to the town, certainly not in terms of net employment.
“Report after report has stated that Cashel needs more diversity of retail more upmarket shopping to achieve it’s potential as a tourist destination.
Mr Laffey said the proposal should be considered in a wider commercial and tourism context in the region.
“Cashel Town Council are already over pricing the town by charging high parking fees here, for example Ballincollig in Cork is advertising that it has 2,000 free parking spaces. We have to think regionally if we are to be a key tourist hub, and it isn’t fanciful to suggest we are in competition with such places as Kilkenny, Middleton and Adare for the tourist business, all those places are less than a morning’s drive away now.
“The future challenge is to keep town centres viable, and that means attracting people into Main street and allowing them time to shop and enjoy the place. Enticing shoppers to free parking in an off the shelf convenience store won’t do anything for the footfall in town and we will say that to the council at the March meeting,” Mr Laffey said.
Cashel Town Council will hold its March meeting in the coming days.