The existing Lidl store on the Dublin Road in Athlone.

Lidl refused planning for new €10m store on Athlone's Dublin Road

Lidl's planning application for a new €10 million store on the Dublin Road in Athlone has been turned down by Westmeath County Council.

The decision comes as a fresh setback for the supermarket chain's Athlone plans, after it saw a proposed new store on the west side of the town, in Baylough, rejected by An Bord Pleanála in April of this year.

The Dublin Road development was proposed as a "state-of-the-art" premises to replace its existing store there.

The proposed 2,494 square metre outlet was due to be located across from the current Lidl, on the site of the Colm Quinn Motorstore.

The company said the development would have resulted in ten additional jobs, on top of the 35 Lidl staff already employed in Athlone, and would have seen around 80 jobs created during the construction stage.

In outlining its reasons for refusing permission, Westmeath County Council cited the "out-of-town" location of the proposed store, as well as the potential traffic it could generate

"The siting of a supermarket on this prominent site would constitute adhoc, piecemeal development at an out-of-town location," said the local authority.

It said the store "would give rise to unsustainable traffic movements, which is contrary to national and local policy on active travel."

While the proposed store was to be located a stone's throw from the existing Lidl branch, the council said the location was "outside any of the retail tiers identified in the retail hierarchy set out in the Athlone Joint Retail Strategy 2019-2026."

Furthermore, it said Lidl had failed to show that there was not a more suitable site available for the store within the core retail area of the town.

The planning application from Lidl Ireland was submitted in late April.

The only submission in relation to the plans was made on behalf of Tesco, and outlined a number of concerns that it had about the development.

* For more, see next week's Westmeath Independent