10 Aug 2022

Tipperary shopping centre owner fears planning warning may force its closure

Tipperary shopping centre owner fears planning warning may force its closure

The owner of a shopping centre in County Tipperary claims the premises will have to close if it is forced to comply with an enforcement notice issued against it by the local council.

GL Ireland ICAV, which purchased the Thurles Shopping Centre in 2015, has brought a High Court challenge against a decision by Tipperary County Council to issue a number of enforcement notices, including one requiring it to close an entrance the centre uses for the delivery of goods.

The centre contains dozens of businesses, including several retail stores, a post office, cafe and a cinema.

At the High Court on Monday, GL Ireland represented by Jarlath Fitzsimons SC said his client was served with three enforcement notices in respect of conditions attached to the planning permission granted to the shopping centre's previous owner in 2007. The enforcement notices say that the shopping centre is in breach of the premises planning permission requirements.

The enforcement notices require the owners to take certain steps including to close off a service entrance used for deliveries and to do landscaping works on lands the company does not own.

The enforcement notices further require the shopping centre's owner to remove and reposition many external windows and doors, and to construct significant structures including a maintenance building and a bicycle park.

Compliance with those steps the owners claim would lead to the permanent closure of the shopping centre, as it could not function without an operational service entrance.

Counsel said that one of the grounds of its challenge is that the council served the enforcement notices outside of the time period allowed under the 2000 Planning and Development Act.

In its judicial review proceedings against Tipperary County Council, GL Ireland seek orders quashing the enforcement notices severed on it last July in respect of Thurles Shopping Centre on Slievenamon Road. It also seeks a declaration that the council acted irrationally, unreasonably and contrary to law when it decided to issue and serve the enforcement notices on the company.

Permission to bring the challenge was granted on an ex-parte basis by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan. The judge, who also placed a stay on the council from taking any further steps in respect of the notices pending the outcome of the action, made the matter returnable to a date in December.

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