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Councillors clash with planners over Skycourt Centre road

Another row has broken out over the ongoing development of the Skycourt centre in Shannon after a local councillor accused Clare County Council officials of giving "preferential treatment" to the developers.

The issue arose during this week's meeting of councillors from the Shannon electoral area.

One of the planning conditions for the development of the next phase of Skycourt is that a road to the rear of the shopping centre must be closedsomething which must be approved by Clare County Council.

However, when the Council's head of environmental services Ger Dollard suggested that this would be brought before this month's full Council meeting, it elicited an angry response from Cllr Gerry Flynn, who claimed local area councillors had not seen details of the proposed plans.

He said it would be "totally out of order" for Mr Dollard to bring the matter to the full Council before the local councillors had had a chance to review it.
He suggested that Mr Dollard was "rail· roading" the development through.

"What we are talking about here smacks of preferential treatment and I do not like it," he said.

However Mr Dollard said that Cllr Flynn was "totally out of order in his comments and they are totally inaccurate". He pointed out to the

councillors that they needed to balance the extinguishment of the right of way against the development potential of the town.

He said that, as the development was driven by tax incentives which will be reduced at the end of this year, there was a time element to be taken into account.

However, after Cllr Tony Mulcahy also called for more time for local councillors to discuss the issue, Mr Dollard agreed to defer bringing the mat· ter before the full Council until next month.

After the meeting, Cllr Flynn said that many of the traders in the area had concerns about the road closure. "I do not want a situation to exist where some people get Rolls Royce treatment while other people get yellow pack treatment," he said.

The development of phase four of Skycourt by developers Beaux Walk Properties, which incorporates a department store, 18 retail units and a 400 space multi-level car park, was given the go· ahead by An Bord Pleanala earlier this month.

The managing director of Beaux Walk Properties, Barry Boland, said this week that he hoped the Council would make a decision on the road closure soon.

"We are up against a timeline in the sense that the capital allowances available to any anchor tenant will decrease dramatically at year end. We would urge the County Council to make a decision as quickly as possible to minimise the effect of that decrease," he said.


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