Locals block Mayo scheme

 

Business people in Swinford, Co Mayo, have blocked a shopping and residential development that they claim would "drain the lifeblood" from their "dying town".

An Bord Pleanála has refused permission to the west's biggest co-operative, Connacht Gold, to build a 1,672 sq metre (18,000 sq ft) supermarket and residential development on a 2.2 hectare (5.5-acre) site that was used as an agricultural mart until some years ago on the outskirts of the town.

Mayo County Council granted planning permission for the multimillion-euro development earlier this year but local retailers, the Chamber of Commerce and a group representing farmers appealed this decision to An Bord Pleanála. Their appeal was successful.

In its reasons for overturning the decision, An Bord Pleanála cited "conflicting traffic movements", the adverse impact on existing small retail units in Swinford town centre, and lack of amenities for occupiers of the planned residential units.

Swinford businessman and council member Joe Mellett said he regretted that badly needed residential units were being lost to the town.