herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Ongoing delays to €40m Square revamp 'costing area 700 jobs'

The Square, Tallaght
The Square, Tallaght

Calls have been made for a speedy resolution to a legal dispute holding up a €40m revamp of The Square Tallaght shopping centre.

Planning permission was granted by An Bord Pleanala in September 2014.

However, the project is now at the centre of a legal dispute, with a judicial review of the planning approval under way.

In November, Dunnes Stores requested a judicial review of the planning permission.

The stores chain said it felt the redevelopment would impact on its retail business in the centre.

Meanwhile, the three bodies behind the centre have taken separate action against Dunnes.

It is alleged that Dunnes refused to recognise a notice from Square Management Ltd that common areas such as car parks would be redeveloped.

The Nama-backed refurbishment was announced in 2014 with the promise of 700 jobs, including 300 construction jobs and 400 long-term retail and related posts.

Holding company Indego, which owns the majority of the centre, said a new department store and 135,000 square feet of additional retail space would put the centre on the map as one of Dublin's key shopping destinations.

"The development provides for flexible large retail floor space currently lacking and a department store," Indego CEO Bernard Hamill said at the time.

Local councillor Ronan McMahon has called for a speedy resolution of the dispute, saying the delays have caused enthusiasm for the project to wane.

"It's costing money and badly needed jobs, which is being ignored," the Renua councillor told the Herald.

"The Square opened in 1990. Before that, Tallaght didn't have a centre. It was the heart of Tallaght when it was built. It's a bit tired now. It needs a new boost.

Excited

"People were very excited about this when news crept out about the extension, but it's waned a bit because it's gone on so long."

Mr McMahon said that the sooner the dispute can be resolved, the better, as Tallaght needs more jobs.

"It will be a massive and badly needed boost and it will also give a bit of confidence to other businesses in the area," he said.

A spokesman for the shopping centre said: "The planning permission is the subject of judicial review proceedings that are due to be heard in late February."

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