Artist's impression of new Castlecomer Aldi in Kilkenny. Brian Dunlop Architects
Castlecomer looks set to be getting a new Aldi store and café/restaurant at the former Glanbia creamery site in the centre of the town following the conditional granting of planning permission today.
The project will involve the demolition of existing agricultural/industrial buildings and structures - excluding the mill building which is a protected structure, and the single storey annex building abutting Castlecomer post office (also a protected structure).
It will see the construction of one single-storey anchor convenience store, to include off-licence use, with gross floor area of 1,798sqm and associated signage including erection of three free-standing double-sided internally illuminated sign nine retail units including convenience, comparison and retail service outlets, all at ground floor.
It will involve the conservation of the existing mill building, a protected structure, and change of use to provide a café/restaurant at ground floor and first floor with mezzanine gallery exhibition space at second floor and conversion of kiln to kitchen servery at ground floor; with alteration and extension to the north, in a separate block to include main stairs and lift core, kitchen to the rear of kiln servery, small retail outlet at ground floor and office at first floor; salvage and reinstatement on-site of equipment/materials of heritage value from the mill building; re-instatement of three windows to annex single-storey building, abutting post office, and use of same by management company for storage; eight office units at ground, first and second floors; four two-bed apartments at first floor.
There is also permission for nine two-storey houses; vehicular access road from junction of High Street and Chatsworth Street; new access road and bridge from Ballinakill Road; pedestrian access route from Chatsworth Street and pedestrian and cyclist priority connections with town centre; an electricity sub-station; 54 bicycle stands; 228 car parking spaces; all associated site development works and all associated landscaping works.
A Natura Impact Statement (NIS) has been prepared in respect of the proposed development.
Kilkenny County Council has attached a total of 42 conditions to the granting of approval. These include stipulations that the applicant shall employ a suitably qualified, licensed, archaeologist to monitor all groundworks required, as well agreement that the second floor of the mill building be retained in full, and a use agreed for this floor. There are also requirements around retention of trees and hedges, as well as use of access and roads.
Local councillor Pat Fitzpatrick has hailed the granting of conditional approval as a big boost for the area.
"I welcome this news - it's a multi-million euro investment for North Kilkenny," he said.
"It's great to see and will mean jobs for the town and surrounding area. Being positioned in the centre of the town, it should help support and compliment local business as well. I would also hope there could be local employment and suppliers used during the construction phase."