A challenge to planning permission for a new Aldi supermarket in Laytown has been dismissed by the High Court. News that An Bord Pleanala had been granted permission for an Aldi store on a prominent site on the Laytown seafront in 2017 divided opinion in the coastal town and strong local objections followed the decision.
Bettystown resident, Alan Kelly brought judicial review proceedings against An Bord Pleanála over its decision to permit the demolition of a disused nursing home at Strand Road and replace it with a 1,729 metre Aldi store and car park.
The board opposed the challenge and Meath Co Council and Aldi were notice parties in the case. Mr Kelly's grounds included that the board inspector limited consideration of a screening report vis-a-vis the affect of the development on special areas of conservation (SAC) to a two-kilometre radius when he was obliged, under EU Habitat regulations, to consider an area within 15km.
The Boyne river coast and estuary SAC is located 4km north of the site. The inspector found no direct interference or loss of habitat would occur as a result of the development but he had applied the wrong statutory test in doing so, it was claimed.
Mr Justice David Barniville ruled Mr Kelly failed to sustain any of the grounds advanced by him.
Cllr Eimear Ferguson has concerns over the decision.
"Aldi coming into the area is fantastic, I just think that it's the wrong site. Their delivery trucks can't come via laydown and Bettystown because of the bridges so they will have come via the Colpe side which means passing five schools. It's going to create extra traffic on a route that is already under pressure. It's also going to impact the small businesses in the area."
Cllr Sharon Keogan says that the news is cautiously welcomed.
"There are as many people for it as against it. There is a lot of support locally for Aldi and many of the residents and the community are in favour of it," she says, adding "It's not an ideal location as the infrastructure is not in place for a store like this at the moment so it's going to present problems for Aldi and for the locals. It does, however, have the potential to create employment opportunities."