Dealz store in Fonthill facing closure with 38 job losses

By Maurice Garvey 

DEALZ in Fonthill had an appeal with An Bord Pleanála upheld, leaving the store facing closure with the loss of 38 jobs.

Despite strong support in the community for the Dealz store in Fonthill Retail Park, the Board upheld South Dublin County Council’s decision to refuse the retailer planning permission.

Dealz use

Dealz were seeking permission to change the use of its premises from a warehouse to a shop, as it sought to regularise the planning status of the store arising from an enforcement order.

In making a decision to uphold the appeal on February 15, ABP considered the change of use would be “contrary to policies and objectives” in the South Dublin County development plan “aimed at restricting the role of retail warehousing to the retailing of bulky goods.”

The Board said the proposal “would seriously injure the vitality and viability of existing designated town centres and major retail centres in the vicinity.”

In March 2017, Dealz submitted a planning application with SDCC, seeking to regularise the planning status of the store arising from an enforcement order.

Neighbouring businesses, residents and political representatives overwhelmingly supported the proposal, with up to 40 submissions supporting to the planning application.

SDCC rejected the proposal, stating the development of a shop is “not permitted” under current zoning objectives for the site area.

Council planners also said it could “divert trade away from designated retail centres” and “would set an undesirable precedent.”

Among those to support the Dealz proposal were Power City, Eurasia Supermarket, Polonez, Cash and Carry Kitchens.

Many benefitted from the increase in footfall from the Dealz store, which has been in operation since 2015.

Fonthill retailers, including Dealz, collected over 8,000 signatures of support from members of the local community.

An appeal lodged by Ian Doyle Planning Consultant, on behalf of Dealz, said the proposed development would not undermine retail planning policy “any more than currently exists within the retail park.”

“It is accepted the council’s aspirations for the park amount to a bulky goods only. However, this was only legitimized through the adoption of the development plan in 2016 while Dealz was open and trading one year earlier under the presumption that permission was not required.”

Mr Doyle reiterated points from a similar appeal to SDCC, that the zoning of the site proposed under the draft development plan was “far too rigid and inflexible” for business development.

“Fonthill Park does not currently fit within established retail definitions as a result of occurrence of non-bulky retailers, many of which have been ligitimised through the planning process since the establishment of the park in 1999. The presence of Aldi, Polonez, Londis, Elverys Sports, Smyths and other non-bulky retailers all serve to undermine the recent designation via the development plan as bulky goods only retail warehouse park.”

Independent Councillor Francis Timmons said: ‘’ It is very disappointing news from An Bord Pleanála that they have upheld South Dublin County Council’s decision to refuse Dealz retention at Fonthill Retail Park. There is 38 staff employed at this very popular store.’’

The Echo contacted Dealz for comment on what the decision now means for the future of staff and the Fonthill store. They did not respond brfore print.

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