Retail strategy to be reviewed after Minister rejects zoning

An emergency motion was passed by Mullingar councillors on Monday which will lead to a review of the retail strategy for the town, after a ministerial direction ordered the council to reverse a zoning decision for Clonmore.

Cllr Johnnie Penrose called on the council to take immediate steps to review the current retail strategy for Mullingar in light of a decision by former Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Jan O’Sullivan.

She had directed that the council reverse their decision to change the zoning on the Cleary’s Electrical site in Clonmore from enterprise and employment to retail warehousing. Councillors had based this decision on the fact that there was no other suitable premises available in the town for Cleary’s.

Cllr Aidan Davitt, who seconded the motion, said he was “extremely disappointed” to hear the Minister’s directive, which he said “demeaned the job of councillors”.

“The recommendations we have given have been dismissed. It is bitter news, and I wonder how in touch [the department] is with people on the ground. If we had a flood of these facilities in Mullingar it would be different,” he said.

The council’s director of services David Hogan confirmed that the council will write to the Department, and that a review of the retail strategy can be initiated, which will take approximately six months.

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