Dispute over culvert led to Aldi dropping Monaghan plans

It announced it wasn't proceeding with the plans last month.

Disagreements over a culvert under the site planned for Monaghan’s new Aldi supermarket led the company to drop its plans.

Documents released to The Anglo-Celt under Freedom of Information Act (FOI) show discussions had taken place between Monaghan County Council and the German retailer.

Planning permission was granted for the development in 2018. It was planned for McNally's car park at the junction of the Cootehill Road and Broad Road.

Twenty conditions were attached to the approval, including that Aldi engage with the County Council over the culvert that runs under the site.

The documents released under FOI show those discussions took place but broke down earlier this year.

Emails between the local authority and representatives of the company show the Council hoped Aldi would complete all works related to the culvert, including those outside of its site.

An email from Engineer Gareth McMahon to Council CEO Eamonn O’Sullivan on January 22 said the “overall goal” was “Aldi delivering the culvert from end to end”.

However, another email on March 23 showed the Council hoped Aldi would contribute to the works but it had been unwilling to do so.

The Council had asked that Aldi complete works on the site and “leave a spur” that it would then tie into to complete the culvert “when the funding becomes available”.

Aldi however said it would rather the works be completed in one go, with Assistant Senior Executive Engineer Kevin West describing it as “a risk that they are not prepared to take”.

Discussions continued during the summer but representatives for Aldi informed Monaghan Municipal District in early August that it would not be renewing the Council’s lease on the site. It had been operating a car park which subsequently closed on September 30.

The documents released show the Council only became aware of Aldi’s decision to drop its plans after reports in The Anglo-Celt. Municipal District Coordinator Donal McElwain queried the comments after being sent the article by a local Councillor.

However, Aldi is said to be interested in opening a supermarket in Monaghan town. In another email to Council executives on May 31, Engineer Kevin West said he had been told that “if a viable site became available they would proceed with this option, rather than proceed with the current proposed location”.

A Spokesperson for Aldi told the Celt that it is “disappointed” that the plans are not going ahead. They, however, did not confirm if a new site has been identified by the retailer but said “a new Aldi store would bring investment and employment opportunities to the local economy and would provide unbeatable value to shoppers across Monaghan”.

“We are still committed to opening a store in the town and we will continue to work to reach a fair agreement with Monaghan County Council.”