Arcadia is not an appropriate location for a supermarket, Westmeath’s county manager, Barry Kehoe, told Athlone Town Council on Wednesday evening, September 18.
To change the use of units there to commercial use in the zoning would undermine the retail strategy and investor confidence in the retail strategy.
The town council were meeting with Westmeath County Council to discuss the Athlone Town Development Plan.
Cllr Mark Cooney had requested that two units at Arcadia Business Park be zoned commercial to allow a supermarket to open there; further to this he asked for only two units as opposed to changing the whole emphasis of the park.
Mr Kehoe told Athlone Town Council that in terms of strategy for the town, protecting the vitality and viability, it was of primary importance to have a plan-led retail strategy.
“This includes a good strong offering in the town centre and appropriate retail outlets in neighbourhoods,” he said.
Remote locations for supermarkets had been allowed in previous retail guidelines but that policy has changed, he explained.
“It would now not be appropriate for Aldi to go into Arcadia and it would be a missed opportunity for Aldi to operate in the town centre,” Mr Kehoe explained.
Athlone Town Council members will make a final decision on the issue in December.