CLAIMS that ‘planners got it wrong’ in terms of the development of Letterkenny have been sharply rebuked by the majority of councillors on Letterkenny Town Council.
Despite claims the town centre had suffered badly since the development of new retail parks the majority of members felt the town had benefited hugely from the expansion of the retail sector.
However, they agreed there needed to be stronger linkages between the Main Street and the new retail parks. As part of the recent publication of Retail Guidelines the council has agreed to hold a workshop type forum to discuss the future development of business in the town.
Raising the issue of future planning at the monthly town council meeting, Cllr Dessie Larkin (FF) said that Letterkenny was the 17th biggest town in Ireland and planning should incorporate a high standard of urban design and good access.
He also called for ‘an implementation team’ to look at the centre of the town, and to speak with landlords and people with vacant properties.
He noted that 15 per cent of employment nationally was in the retail sector and that the three main supermarket chains (Tesco, Dunnes and Supervalu) accounted for 71% of grocery retail transactions.
Interestingly, ASDA and Sainsbury’s (who don’t have a single store in the Republic) have a 1.7% share of the southern retail market. “This shows you the sort of challenge we have,” he commented.
He stressed the importance of having up-to-date data, to be aware of trends and also to have an enhanced architectural street-scape.