A highly ambitious and comprehensive planning application has been lodged with Thurles Town Council which proposes the construction of a brand new supermarket and drive through restaurant on the site of the old Erin Foods factory at Slievenamon Road, with costs estimated in the region of 8 million Euro.
The application by Baycross Developments Limited, which is owned by Richard and Ann Quirke - promoters of the 460 million Euro Tipperary Venue in Two-Mile-Borris - seeks to demolish the existing Erin Foods building and construct the supermarket, complete with 397 car parking spaces at one location, and a drive through restaurant on another portion of the site.
The site would be divided by a roadway consisting of cyclepaths and footpaths and would come out opposite Clongour. It is designed complete with two roundabouts and will provide the perfect start for a proposed inner relief road, linking Mill Road with Clongour. A bridge over the River Suir, close to Butler’s Island, will be required and The Tipperary Star understands that plans are at a very advanced stage at the present time to continue the link road. The Town Council has, for many years, sought to identify a second river crossing and this development is being touted as just the ticket, especially with the Thurles By-Pass project having been put on hold by the National Roads Authority.
DH Ryan Architects, Liberty Square, Thurles have applied for full planning permission for demolition of the former Erin Foods factory, associated buildings, front boundary wall and riverside boundary fence. To improve sightlines they are seeking to relocate the entrance gates to the Riverside Walk and demolish front boundary wall of neighbouring house to the south of the site.
The 6709sqm supermarket is divided into a 2017sqm non-food zone and a 2000sqm food area with the remainder for storage etc. The fast food restaurant with drive through facility will have a 332sqm gross floor area with vehicular and pedestrian, access and egress arrangements, to the site, and to the site of dwelling house to the south of the former Erin Foods Factory.
There will be considerable road re-alignment required in the area also and the planning application cites the need for further retail in the Thurles catchement area, with much leakage of custom to South Tipperary having been identified - especially to Cashel and Clonmel.
The supermarket facility would add significantly to the commercial life of the town and though fears have been expressed about the impact of such a development on the continued viability of the town centre, it has, nonetheless been welcomed.
Tesco Ireland have a long standing application in place for construction of a large supermarket further out the road at Turtulla. However, this proposal has been delayed for many months due to planning issues relating to the proposed By-Pass route selection process, which is due to be completed very soon -the route selection stage can continue to completion eventhough the By-Pass has been put on the long finger by the NRA. There is no indication at this stage as to who the anchor tenant for the proposed new supermarket would be.
The project proposes the use of massive water retention tanks which would provide for the slow release of storm water into the River Suir thereby helping to prevent downstream flooding which has been a major feature of winters in the nearby lowlying areas.
A planning application of this scale will require considerable consideration by Thurles Town and North Tipperary County Councils. It would create considerable local employment at construction stage with significant benefits set to accure, should it get the go ahead.