A HIGH Court decision on the Ferrybank Shopping Centre last week could be a “step in the right direction” towards the opening of the shopping centre after years of waiting.
The High Court ordered Dunnes Stores to pay €20.2 million to Holtglen Ltd, the company that built the shopping centre. The supermarket chain had agreed to be the anchor tenant in the South Kilkenny centre, which was completed in August 2009. Dunnes had claimed breaches of development by Holtglen Ltd, which for its part had counterclaimed for payment. An arbitrator upheld some of Dunnes’ complaints in October but found that Holtglen had addressed the matters and that Dunnes could not terminate the agreement.
Dunnes argued that Holtglen could not claim the money due because it is now insolvent, but the court found that because Holtglen’s loans to Bank of Ireland had been transferred to a NAMA company, this meant that its insolvency was not relevant.
Routinely, there are 21 days in which to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, according to the courts service. Dunnes Stores did not respond to a query about whether it would be lodging an appeal.
Locally, Cllr Pat Dunphy (FG) said that what comes next for the shopping centre remains unclear at the moment, but that a resolution in the courts could be a “step in the right direction.”
“I would imagine the owners are weighing up their options,” he said.
“It’s built and ready. I know markets are not going that well yet but hopefully we are at the bottom and beginning to rise again,” Cllr Dunphy said. “I know there are a lot of shopping centres around, but many of them are doing very well and that would suggest to me there is scope to spread it out a bit.”
Kilkenny County Council is also continuing in its plans to open a library and a local area office in the shopping centre. When plans were announced last year, it was expected that the library and office would open in May.