Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (797, 798)

Denis Naughten

Question:

919 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his plans to amend the retail warehouse cap or the general retail planning guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2353/04]

View answer

Barry Andrews

Question:

999 Mr. Andrews asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the decision made with regard to retail planning guidelines and any changes which may be forthcoming. [2074/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 919 and 999 together.

In August 2003 I announced a review of the retail planning guidelines in relation to the floor space cap on retail warehouses contained in the guidelines. The guidelines currently prescribe a maximum floor area of 6,000 square metres gross retail floor space for large-scale single retail warehouse development. This cap is now being reviewed, taking account of the need to ensure effective competition in this sector of retailing and ongoing developments in retail formats, while also having regard to issues of proper planning and sustainable development. Central to this review will be the potential impact of the national spatial strategy on the guidelines and the need to ensure that cities and towns have the range of retail facilities that supports their attractiveness and competitiveness for investment and population growth.

To assist in carrying out the review, I invited interested parties to make submissions to my Department. Some 71 submissions were received by my Department and are now being assessed. They will be fully taken into account in considering further whether any changes are needed in the guidelines. I intend that the process will be completed as quickly as possible.