Planning Consultant suggsts retail planning guidelines restrict competition

Planning Consultant suggsts retail planning guidelines restrict competition

Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:44 pm

Greater flexibility for retailers and more guidance for local authorities required

Tom Phillips, Planning Consultant has called for greater flexibility for retailers and more guidance for local authorities during the ongoing Review of the Retail Planning Guidelines.

“There seems to be an assumption that out of town retail developments are always detrimental to town centre development, but this is not necessarily the case. Currently, I believe, there is too much emphasis placed on assessing the potential impacts on existing retail outlets and this can restrict balanced development. The Review process offers a clear opportunity to strengthen the role of existing town centres while allowing greater choice and competition for consumers“ he said, commenting on the Issues Paper recently published as part of the review process for the Retail Planning Guidelines.

Mr Phillips also contends that the current cap on individual retail warehousing floor space of 6,000 sq metres should be reconsidered. “In 2005 an exception was made for the development of IKEA, where the floor space was 30,500 sq. As a specialist large retail warehouse within a sizeable population catchment area, this project has been very successful and has not had the adverse impact feared by some. This cap is restricting significant further inward investment into Ireland and depriving consumers of a truly competitive retail market. There may well be more instances where the floor space cap can be lifted for appropriate development such as discount stores which are now established as a key component of the overall retail market”.

As part of the review of retail planning guidelines, the issue of car parking charges will be considered. Tom Phillips does not believe that edge of town retail parks should be compelled to charge for parking. “The whole idea of such retail outlets is that people can easily access them by car to purchase bulky items. Why would you force the introduction of car parking charges?” he said.

Commenting on the increasing number of clothing stores in retail parks he notes that “Many clothing stores are being forced to out of town locations due to the lack of suitable locations in town centre areas. The Guidelines should include clear provisions for local authorities to encourage them to make available for development underutilised or derelict town centre and edge of centre locations”.

The review process for the Retail Planning Guidelines 2005 is currently underway following the publication of the Issues Paper by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormley, TD. Submissions from interested parties are invited by the closing date of 30 July 2010.
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Re: Planning Consultant suggsts retail planning guidelines restrict competition

Postby Canus » Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:45 pm

If would have been informative if Mr Phillips had prefaced his submission by stating what landowners and applicants for out of town retail development he has advised over recent years.
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Re: Planning Consultant suggsts retail planning guidelines restrict competition

Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:55 pm

Background re Tom Phillips
Tom Phillips is Managing Director of Tom Phillips & Associates, Ireland’s largest town planning and economic consultancy, with offices in Dublin, Cork and Mullingar. He is a Chartered Town Planner and an Urban Designer.

He has led many high profile planning projects including The Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road; Beacon Quarter, Sandyford; Corrib Gas Field, Co Mayo; IKEA Ballymun; Grangegorman, Dublin 7; MacDonagh Junction, Kilkenny; Co-Located Hospitals in Dublin, Cork and Limerick, and the Convention Centre, Spencer Dock.

Tom has an in-depth knowledge of the planning and development process, and his skills in negotiation and advocacy have been put to good use in the many Oral Hearings which he has led. Tom is also a part-time lecturer in the Department of Planning and Environmental Policy, UCD.
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Re: Planning Consultant suggsts retail planning guidelines restrict competition

Postby onq » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:29 pm

Gormley and the Greens seem big on idealism but it seems to me they have yet to balance the books between protecting the environment, giving value and choice for the customer and creating a vibrant urban living experience, which, yes, includes wandering around a town centre occassionally.

The stick-beating they are currently administering in the form of a carbon tax would be easier to bear if we had a ready supply of alternative fuels and vehicles to run them on, but we can see how diesel owners are getting screwed - there seems to be no plan here, just another fee for the taxpayer to pay.

I remember the open mall town centre in Kilkenny in the 90's. Utterly integrated into the townscape as far as it went, it opened up several backland lots and created a then-vibrant centre for the town, but it was not ideal.

A site within walking distance in the middle of town that was bigger than the footprint of the stores to cater for all the traffic required yet keep within height restrictions - this created a single use wasteland behind other frontages -integration is seldom straightforward and oftern difficult.

Some of the bigger stores are better placed out of town centres IMO for example Carrickmines, which builds on the kind of "instant" shopping neighbourhood that Blanchardstown showed could be built on a greenfield site.

Other developments like the Dundrum Town centre may not have detracted from the old town in terms of overall visitors, however it has minimal "live street frontage" presence, preferring architectural games and shapes [a million miles better than the original town centre] rather than any meaningful engagement with rea lperimeter shops or generating street footfall or the creation of pedestrian friendly urban spaces on the perimeter.

Instead Dundrum creates its internal airconned streets and external landscaped courtyards which, while they are successful and well crafted in terms of forms, fail to integrate with the existing town much.

Wait for Phase II perhaps, but in the meantime let's recognise that the scope for integration of such large town centres with the existing urban fabric is limited and that well-designed "out of town" centres are a means of preserving the scale and integrity of the existing townscape - assuming the new development isn't competing but rather complementing.

FWIW

ONQ.
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Re: Planning Consultant suggsts retail planning guidelines restrict competition

Postby goneill » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:19 am

Surely all regulation "restricts competition" to some degree? Everything from the minimum wage through health, safety and hygiene regulations up to requirements for planning permission and fire safety certificates adds costs to consumer prices. It doesn't mean its a bad idea.
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Re: Planning Consultant suggsts retail planning guidelines restrict competition

Postby onq » Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:29 pm

Up to a point its a good idea, a bit like copyrighting, where an outfit can build up some good will and attract a user base.

But equally the state of Irish planning law basically says that you have to justify the provision of major retail outlets because of the impact they have on the environment in terms of traffic flows, etc.

Now, imagine you have an existing large outlet that reviews local demographics on a regular basis an increases it size regularly with due planning process. A competitor in comparison goods at a similar scale cannot get a look in.

Its why you never used see a Dunnes Stores competing directly with a Superquinn or Quinnsworth. They would always be separated by miles and each would have its own catchment.

In that sense it could be argued that the planning laws protect firms with established market positions and trading locations and suppress competition.

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Re: Planning Consultant suggsts retail planning guidelines restrict competition

Postby missarchi » Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:20 pm

You could say just about anything resricts competition...
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