By Eoin Ryan
Plans for a new Lidl in Dunboyne have faced criticism by local residents due to proposed changes for the build site’s surrounding area and traffic issues it will cause in the village centre.
An online meeting discussing the plans took place last month with councillors and many attendants feeling dissatisfied afterwards. Residents thought the meeting was arranged in a way that only promoted the project with little room for critiques.
The development will bring up to €12 million in local investment to the community, with 30 new jobs in store and 100 during construction and development stages, according to Lidl.
Their plans include a supermarket and car parking, with an area for other stores at the front.
Despite this, current plans outline changes to an area outside Brady’s pub including the removal of a tree and taking away a disabled place to widen the road. Lidl also proposed to extend footpaths to the church entrance and landscaping that area.
Cllr. Damien O’Reilly has expressed concerns about the pending Lidl plans, as he believes it may cause ‘urban warfare’ similar to the Lidl site in Kells. Residents in Kells, much like those in Dunboyne, want a Lidl in their town, but not at the site they own and Councillors rejected this by 27 votes to 2.
O’Reilly says the community “is enraged and will use every tool in the planning system to stop this application in the planning system including judicial review in the High Court.”
This plan also goes against the Dunboyne Architectural Conservation Area document which includes several protected structures. These protected structures include areas of Dunboyne’s village centre.
On top of this, planning permission applications not part of one site locations should not interfere or have any changes to public infrastructure implemented. Lidl’s plans go against this as shown on the mapping on their website.
O’Reilly raised concerns over changes to these protected structures and access and bringing large delivery trucks into the village. Jacknife dangers for trucks exiting at the Macaris junction were brought up, adding a hazard to local commuter’s journeys.
“It is well recognised now by anyone who lives here and by those who have sent in correspondence to Lidl that there are a number of challenges with the site, not least the single approach to the area by the village green and the level of traffic in that part of Dunboyne.”
Dunboyne college of Further Education caters for 2,500 students accessing near the proposed Lidl site and the increase of delivery trucks and vehicles would be an added danger for them. An expansion to Dunboyne campus is also in the works and would mean more students would be at risk in the coming years.
Speaking on the current plans, Maria Murphy says the proposed area is “not suitable for the level of traffic” and she hopes “that they would take on my opinion and the opinion of others.”
“The roadside glass buildings are also an issue because their look is not in keeping with the parochial house and the church which are historical buildings,” Murphy said.
The site was church owned and sold last year by St Finian’s Diocesan Trust for €2.5m. A planning application has not yet been lodged but is expected to be submitted to Meath County Council in the coming weeks.