Mayo Co Council has invited the head of Tesco Ireland to a meeting to elaborate on the recently announced enhancement proposals for its supermarket in Ballina.
Local elected councillors expressed concern and disappointment over the company’s revised plans for its Market Road supermarket when they met on Wednesday, November 13 last.
Municipal district cathaoirleach, Cllr Michael Loftus, proposed that the company be invited to meet with council representatives ahead of submitting any new planning application for the store.
He noted that the council had a major plan in place for the renewal of that area of Ballina and had invested a lot of money to acquire local properties to accommodate Tesco’s original multi-million euro store redevelopment proposal.
Cllr John O’Hara said people were disgusted at Tesco’s new proposals and warned that the town deserved more than a meager face lift on the existing store.
Claiming the local authority had been held to ransom by the company, he cautioned: “We should not just accept a Mickey Mouse operation. We have held our word but they have not held theirs.”
Describing the current store as nothing more than a “big blue barn”, Cllr Mark Duffy said people had been tolerating this for 30 years and deserve a proper store.
Mayo Co Council is under no obligation to meet the company half way: “If their plans are not up to scratch we should be playing hard ball with them,” he stressed and said improved parking provision is an issue that should be given consideration.
But he noted that the scaling back of the company’s original development proposal has created an opportunity to consider new proposals for the regeneration of the Market Square area.
Cllr Jarlath Munnelly agreed and suggested that the council could launch an architectural competition as a means of fielding ambitious new plans:
“We could use this as an opportunity to put something really good into the core of Ballina that would incorporate parking. It might provide an opportunity to push the boundaries a bit with something really innovative. Tesco may yet regret the decision it has made,” he concluded.