The Planning Appeals Commission refused Tesco development at Leyland Road Ballycastle.
Refusing Tesco's plans, Commissioner McCooey stated;
"I have concluded that the proposal is contrary to Policy in PPS 5 and these matters are important material considerations.
I have sustained the first and second reasons for refusal which are determining in this appeal and the appeal must fail."
The full commissioner report is here and is quite scathing of Tesco's approach. I have summarised the report bellow but I recommend reading it fully.
"At the hearing, the appellant acknowledged that the possibility of linked trips with
the town centre was not relied on as part of the case because there was no
evidence to support the possibility of pedestrian linked trips as envisaged by the
policy. The importance of linked trips for the town centre was emphasised by the
Department. People shopping in the town centre are likely to visit other retailers
at the same time.
The estimates of the turnover of existing stores varied widely between the two
main parties. For example the Co-Op store in Ballycastle was estimated to have
a turnover of £4.9m by the Department and £2.71m by the appellant. This is
partly explained by the fact that the Co-Op has been extended by around 100 m2,
which has not been taken into account by the appellant, it was claimed. Similarly
the out of centre Eurospar store has turnover figures of £5.8m (appellant) and
£3.1m (Department). I have visited both these stores and found them to be quite
busy and so the turnover is likely to be higher than the lower estimates in both
The town centre contains a Conservation Area and several listed buildings.
The argument continued that vacant properties would suffer from lack of
maintenance and dereliction.
The Department’s evidence was that vacancy rates in the town centre have
increased from 8% in 2008 to 17% in 2013. The objectors and the appellant
provided their own surveys of the vacant properties in the town centre. I have
assessed the level of vacancy indicated by the parties and find that the objectors’
survey is broadly correct.
I acknowledge the wide support for the proposal and the employment and
associated investment which would result. I also accept that the proposal would
increase competition in local retail provision and provide a wider range of
produce. The economic considerations however have to be balanced by the
impact the proposal would have on existing businesses in the town centre. The
economic argument for the proposal, including the proposed provision of social
housing, does not outweigh the failure to comply with policy."
What now for Tesco? The PAC have ruled it is not a retail site. Will we see Tesco pursue an application in or around the town centre?
Published by: ciaran in Local News