A rendering of what Aldi’s supermarket in Cootehill will look like if completed.

Aldi granted more time on Cootehill plans

Aldi has been granted more time to submit information on its proposed plans for a new supermarket in Cootehill.

The German retailer submitted a planning application in March for the development, earmarked for a site on Station Road.

The proposed new store will cover 1,315 sqm, with parking facilities for 93 cars and 10 bicycles.

Under the plans it will also be powered by 100% green electricity and will feature four electric vehicle (EV) charging points outside. The store itself will be constructed in Aldi’s award-winning Project Fresh design.

Fifty jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase of the development, with up to 25 jobs in the store itself. Aldi had said it hopes to open the supermarket by 2023.

Cavan County Council was expected to make a decision on the plans in May but requested further information.

Revised designs for the approach road to the store and the provision of cycling and walking infrastructure were requested. Irish Water also highlighted the presence of wastewater infrastructure through the site, which requires works to divert pipes.

Applicants must respond with information requested within six months of that request. However, under planning legislation they can request a three-month extension.

Local authority documents show planning and development consultants John Spain Associates requested such an extension this month.

The council approved the extension.

One submission was made to the council on the plans.

It was submitted by Dundalk-based Town Planning and Development Consultant Stephen Ward, on behalf of retail group RGDATA, which represents independent family grocers.

Among the issues raised in its submission, RGDATA says there is a high level of commercial vacancy in Cootehill and the redevelopment of one of those sites should be incorporated into the plans.

It contends the development is considered contrary to the Cavan Retail Strategy, which prioritises the reuse of vacant buildings.

Last March, when planning permission was first sought, Cootehill Chamber of Commerce gave a cautious welcome to news that Aldi Ireland hoped to open a new store in the market town.

In a statement to this newspaper, the president Mary Lennon said: “We broadly welcome any new development to Cootehill and we are very glad that the development is located in an area adjacent to Market Street and not at an out of town location. We understand that there will be access by foot onto Market Street, which should help retain footfall to existing businesses.”

She said that some Chamber members are “understandably concerned” about the impact of a discount retailer on their businesses.

“On the other hand, we are very aware that considerable numbers of shoppers travel out of the area to local towns to do their weekly shop; so we know it will be a very welcome convenience to residents in the town and hinterlands. And we are hopeful that the nett effect, will be a positive spin-off for the businesses in the town.”

Ms Lennon said, following the pandemic and the closure of Bank of Ireland earlier this month, the business community needs to come together to “fight harder than ever for the future viability of our town”.

The Chamber is calling on Cavan County Council to create back road access to the eastern side of Market Street to give property owners the opportunity to expand their businesses and provide necessary off-street access for parking and deliveries.

Aldi’s existing store in County Cavan is located on the Dublin Road, in Cavan Town.

Last month, the German discounter announced it was dropping plans for a new supermarket in Monaghan Town.

Discussions with Monaghan County Council over the provision of works to divert flood waters broke down, with Aldi closing the carpark at the site at the junction of the Cootehill Road and Broad Road.

Councillors are hopeful of a resolution and have requested a meeting with Aldi.