Lidl Ireland GMBH has supplied Offaly County Council with further information following a request from the planning authority in relation to the plans for a new store in Birr.
Lidl Ireland GMBH had requested permission to demolish its existing Lidl store on the Tullamore Road, Birr, and build a new two-storey mono-pitched licensed discount foodstore totalling 2,680.5 sq meters gross.
Offaly County Council invited Lidl to submit revised proposals to re-orientate the foodstore back to its existing orientation, parallel to the Tullamore Road, and said as a result, the car park would have to go at the rear of the site.
It also requested that due to Birr's recent status as an Active Travel Town, and the presence of cycle lanes on the N52 fronting the development and the increased volume of traffic associated with the redevelopment of the store, that Lidl should prepare and submit proposals to upgrade the existing junction of the "northern link" off the N52 to a signalised junction with provision for all modes of traffic.
Offaly County Council said the Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) considered the proposed development to be at variance with national policy in relation to control of development on national roads, and on this basis, it asked Lidl to submit a traffic and transport assessment.
Lidl said "the applicant's preferred site layout represents the most appropriate solution for the redevelopment of the subject site noting the transitional nature (rural to urban) of this part of Birr."
Regarding the redesign of for the N52 Link Road Junction, it included a potential design option for the upgrade to encompass the inclusion of demand actuated traffic signals, new footpaths and realigned segregated cycle lanes to allow for pedestrian and cycle connectivity.
A Traffic and Transport Assessmeny demonstrated that the additional Net Retail Sales Area may result in additional traffic, but even in a worst case scenario the extra traffic will not impact the capacity of the N52-Northern Link Road Junction.
The assessment concluded that an upgrade to include the introduction of demand actuated traffic signals, is considered unnecessary.