A PROPOSED TK Maxx and HomeSense store in Carlow town, which would create 60 jobs, took a big step forward last week with the granting of planning permission, but there may be twists ahead.
Carlow planners granted planning permission for the 4,000 sq ft store at Carlow Retail Park last week to developers Thomas Thompson Holdings Ltd.
The Carlow company has signed a contract subject to planning permission with the retail giant.
However, one condition imposed on the permission, which restricts half of the development to ‘bulky goods,’ could cause issue.
Gwen Thomas of Thomas Thompson Holdings Ltd said he was “cautiously optimistic,” but the decision would be up to TK Maxx and its sister brand HomeSense on whether to proceed.
“I believe we can go ahead and build it and get the use (TK Maxx) we want. Whether they wish to invest on restricted planning, I don’t know.’’
Mr Thomas said that he would have preferred an ‘open use’ permission on the development, as the area was zoned ‘town central.’
The ‘bulky goods’ condition is understood to have been posed to align with the existing businesses in the retail park and to protect more town central retail locations.
During the planning process, the council had also expressed concerns over the impact of the development to the traditional retail core of Dublin Street and Tullow Street.
However, Mr Thomas argued that the development would greatly aid the town centre.
“It has to have a massively good impact on the core area. It’s going to bring people into the town that would otherwise be going to Kilkenny, Newbridge or wherever. It also brings people who would be going to HomeSense. There are only HomeSense stores in Dublin and Cork.’’
The application had also generated submissions from Fairgreen Shopping Centre and a fisheries environmental officer.
Mr Thomas said that he awaits the decision of TK Maxx, while he also suggested the planning permission may be appealed in the next four weeks to An Bord Pleanála.