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Green Party Communications | 03.05.2012 | Back to News | News Archive
New Retail Planning Guidelines a backward step...
Larger out-of town-super stores will damage town centres, shut down local retailers and will cost us jobs.
Green Party Planning Spokesperson, Tom Kivlehan responded today to the changes to the Retailing Planning Guidelines that Minister of State for Planning, Jan O'Sullivan has announced.
Mr. Kivlehan stated: "While some aspects of the Guidelines are welcome, the increasing in size of the retail cap to 4,000 square metres, which has been lobbied for by a number of large international retailers, will damage small and medium sized Irish businesses. Our high street retailers are already suffering in the present economic climate and this will be a further blow to their prospects of remaining in business. Such closures will mean that we end up with less choice for the consumer."
The Guidelines have loopholes and are open to abuse, as the caps are net retail space rather than gross unit space. The Greens believe that an opportunity has been missed to strengthen retailing in our main streets and to protect our town centres, but this Government seems intent on facilitating the large multinationals like Wal-Mart and Tesco which are causing so much damage to sustainable retailing in countries where they operate. This is also a problem for local suppliers who will find that they will have less opportunity to sell their produce as the number of retailers diminishes.
The FG/Labour Government objective of supporting small and medium business falls flat on its face with the publishing of these Guidelines.
"We must learn the lessons from mistakes made in other countries. Retail caps were relaxed in many European countries, but this decision was quickly reversed because of the impact on local businesses and employment. Our Government seems to have learnt nothing from such bad planning experience," concluded Mr Kivlehan.