Tuesday, 30 May 2000
Dáil Eireann Debate
251. Mrs. Owen asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government when the draft retail planning guidelines will be published; the plans, if any, he has to dilute the guidelines that apply to the hardware/DIY sector from their existing format; if his attention has been drawn to the concerns of the small hardware sector if such a dilution takes place in relation to premises over 6,000 sq. ft.; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14880/00]
276. Ms Coughlan asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government when the draft retail planning guidelines will be finalised; if there are any changes proposed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15351/00]
In April 1999, I published draft retail planning guidelines for public consultation. The draft guidelines recommended that, pending the preparation and adoption of development plan policies by local authorities, the floorspace cap of 3,000 square metres, which was introduced on supermarket development, should be retained in the rest of the State outside Dublin. Within the greater Dublin area, it recommended that the floorspace cap be increased to 3,500 square metres. The draft guidelines recommended that a floorspace cap of 6,000 square metres should apply to retail warehouses, large stores specialising in the sale of household goods such as carpets, furniture and bulky DIY items. I am aware of the concerns expressed by the hardware-DIY sector that this 6,000 square metre floorspace cap should be retained in the final guidelines.
When publishing the draft guidelines, the carrying out of a further study of the economic effect of the implementation of the guidelines was announced. I expect very shortly to receive the completed report from the consultants on the likely impact of the implementation of the draft retail planning guidelines on competition within the Irish retail sector, the supply of products to consumers at lower prices, consumer choice and the supplier base. This report has been jointly commissioned by my Department and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. The study will be published and the results of this study will be considered along with the submissions received on the draft guidelines before I publish the guidelines in final form by end summer.
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