Cavan Chamber agrees to object to Tesco plans

About 40 of Cavan Chamber's 115 members met for an emergency general meeting on Monday and unanimously agreed to formally lodge an objection with Cavan County Council to the application for a new Tesco Store on the edge of the town. Tesco claims it will create an additional 100 jobs for the town but town retailers believe many more could be lost. The size of the proposed development is comparable to almost one third of the existing floor area of retail space in the town core. So if the proposed store goes ahead, it will add over 30% to the town centre retail space as estimated in the County Cavan Retail Strategy 2008-2014. "In good times it might make a bit of sense, but in the present times where retail business is suffering, the last thing anyone needs is more retail space. If you go to supermarkets or smaller shops, none of them are working flat out; they're not at capacity," Jim Burke, president of Cavan Chamber of Commerce, told The Anglo-Celt after the meeting, which was not open to the media. On the invitation of Cavan Chamber, a planning consultant attended the meeting to give an objective view on the proposal and answer members questions. Following the consultant's presentation and Q&A session, members had their own private discussion about how they would act in relation to the application. According to Mr. Burke: "At the end of the meeting there was unanimous agreement among those present to object to the development as it currently stands." He said Cavan Chamber can't see how the proposed store can help the town when it would be taking footfall out of the town centre. "Already 35% of businesses in Cavan Town are behind in their rates," said Mr. Burke. "If they are struggling with their rates that means they are struggling to survive and a large development which is going to take from their business and will extend from the centre of town to an outside area will have a detrimental effect on them." He said members believe that while the proposed lift and walkway will be a link between where shoppers would park for the new store and the town core, they envisage it would be unappealing for practical use. "We believe that the connection for the town isn't really there. It looks very well in plans but from a practical point of view is anyone going to use it? We also believe that the lift and walkway will, in time, be a magnet for anti-social behaviour," said Mr Burke. As well as Cavan Chamber another group of Cavan traders plan to lodge an objection to the propsosed development. Mr. Burke told The Anglo-Celt that the Chamber and the group of traders will be pooling resources to engage a planning consultant regarding their objections, the deadline for which is August 22.