Councillors have criticised Minister for Planning Jan O’Sullivan for attempting to “micromanage” the Mullingar Local Area Plan, as they voted to go ahead with changing the zoning of a site in Clonmore, Mullingar from enterprise and employment to retail warehousing.
In spite of the advice of the Minister that the zoning should not be changed, councillors voted to zone the Cleary Electrical site in Clonmore as retail warehousing.
In line with two submissions received from members of the public in favour of the change in zoning, they argued that there was no other suitable premises available in the town for the business.
“I don’t know of any business centre or building capable of accommodating retail warehousing - because of the type of product being sold, heavy vehicles couldn’t access buildings in the town,” said Cllr Mick Dollard.
“Twenty yards across the road there is a smilar unit - I can’t understand why it can’t be zoned retail warehousing.”
He was supported by Cllr Johnnie Penrose, who said he couldn’t see why the Minister had turned down the proposal in the Local Area Plan.
Cllr Aiden Davitt pointed out that there are other retail units in the business park.
“The amount of glass on buildings in that estate... the horse has bolted. How would the Minister have such an influence on a site in Westmeath?” he asked.
Cllr Denis Leonard felt it was important to have sites for retail development both within the town and outside it.
“I support Cleary’s being allowed to remain at that site,” he said.