GO AHEAD has been this week for a new restaurant and and food takeaway plus a separate cafe selling takeaway waffles, crepes and ice cream in the Tesco Arcade.
This confirms the original decision by Sligo Borough Council planners, which granted ''change of use'' for two shop units but was appealed to Bord Pleanala by Wine Street Bakeries (Hehirs).
The final decision was conveyed to the parties earlier this week and published yesterday evening (Wednesday) on the website of An Bord Pleanala, the statutory planning appeals body.
The original conditions on opening closing hours have been retained by Pleanala -- they will be weekdays 8am to 7pm and Sundays 8am-6pm.
The arcade landlords, Tesco, came in for criticism from the objector, who cited inadequacy in how the mix of units has developed in the shopping centre.
The new cafe, which also has permission to sell food for consumption off the premises, will be sited almost directly opposite Hehirs cafe and bakery in Tesco Arcade.
It will also sell ice cream almost opposite Gerry Conways -- which is listed by Pleanala as a ''newsagent,'' but which has substantially upgraded its ice cream facility this past summer.
The second new site, much bigger and located near the O'Connell Street entrance, will have a restaurant. It will have to close at 7pm on weekdays.
The smaller cafe will have a takeaway option selling ''waffles, crepes and ice cream,'' according to a Report for the Board of An Bord Pleanala.
The Pleanala Inspector Deirdre MacGabhann prepared an 11 page report ahead of the recent Board meeting, which last Friday signed off its decision on the proposed Sligo town developments.
Ms MacGabhann visited the Sligo town site on June 14th last. Her report also itemised the nature of businesses in the Arcade and in O'Connell Street.
Her Report and recommendations were not binding on the Board of Bord Pleanala.Anchor Tenant
The developer, Phillip Property Limited said: ''The occupation of the 'mall' units will help improve the overall shopping experience of customers while ensuring that the vibrancy and vitality of the shopping centre is maintained.''
These new units, claimed the developer, will also ''improve the synergy of the units with other units in the mall area and the anchor tenant,'' Tesco.Wine Street Bakeries (Hehirs) argued four main points:-
1. There is adequate restaurant and cafe facilities for the population attending the centre. It disputed that the viability and viability of the centre would be improved with two additional food outlets;
2. Tesco Properties, said Hehirs, ''have not adequately considered the need for a more varied mix of uses of the units in the centre that would attract a greater throughput of customers;''
3. The development would jeopardise the viability of the existing smaller businesses in the Arcade;
4. The cafe facilities would give rise to an increased litter problem, in the Arcade and immediately outside.
A fifth grounds of appeal was cited by Wine Street Bakeries (Hehirs) to Pleanala.
The sewer Infrastructure ''is currently inadequate'' to cater for the types of businesses proposed.
The Report by Inspector MacGabhann noted, inter alia, that the current Sligo and Environs Development Plan (SEDP) 2010-2016 has a policy to ''prevent the proliferation of fast food outlets....''
The Development Plan, she noted, added that the planners should have regard for ''the impact of hot-food takeaways on the amenities of an area including noise, odour and litter'' and that restrictions may be imposed on opening hours. Key Role
The Inspector also referred to the 2012 Retail Planning Guidelines from the Department of the Environment which, she noted, ''.....seeks to ensure that the planning system plays a key role in supporting competitiveness.....''
Footnote: It remains unclear from the Pleanala ruling if the thorny issue of readily accessible public toilets in the Tesco Arcade will improve.
Link to Pleanala Inspector's Report:- http://www.pleanala.ie/casenum/240479.htm