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Connacht Tribune

Aldi gets green light for new Tuam supermarket

Declan Tierney

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A computer-generated image of the new Tuam Aldi.

Construction of a new discount store in Tuam will commence before the end of the year – providing around 30 new jobs in the process.

That’s after Aldi received the all clear to start work on the new store in the North Galway town – construction is expected to commence over the coming months, with a 2021 opening date.

Late last year Galway County Council granted planning permission for the new store in Tuam – but this became the subject of an appeal to An Bord Pleanala by RGDATA, who represent independently-owned grocery outlets.

In their appeal, they stated that while they support the development of new businesses in town centres, they felt that it would have an adverse impact on other retail outlets.

However, the Planning Appeals Board have given the green light to the new Tuam store, much to the delight of shoppers in the area who are also calling for a Tesco to be developed in the town – given its population of around 8,000.

An Bord Pleanala felt that as the development will be serviced by 97 car parking spaces, it would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety.

However, they have stated that there will be a road widening issue to be carried out to ensure safety for motorists while a road safety audit also has to be completed by the developer.

There were a total of 13 conditions attached to the granting of planning permission with many of these relating to traffic safety and access to the edge of town centre site.

A spokesperson for Aldi Ireland said that work on the store in Tuam would commence before the end of the year and would be open in 2021. She estimated that around 30 people would be employed there.

Galway East TD Sean Canney welcomed the decision by An Bord Pleanala, saying that the new store will greatly improve the footfall of shoppers in Tuam.

He said that it would have a positive effect on all the local shops, boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants in the town. He added that it would also provide valuable employment.

Deputy Canney said that he could not understand this appeal given that the development would enhance the town centre businesses and might result in the opening of some premises that had closed down for years.

Fears had been expressed over the fact that it will be constructed on the existing Glynn’s Hardware site on the Old Ballygaddy Road and would result in even more traffic woes than currently exists at this location.

Planning permission was granted for the 1,800 square metre supermarket more than a year after the application was originally submitted to Galway County Council who had requested alterations to the design and layout of the building.

It will be constructed in the hardware yard and involves the demolition of an existing building and other structures and will provide customers with ample car parking spaces.

Connacht Tribune

Remote working creates rural boom

Stephen Corrigan

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Report....Professor Alma McCarthy.

Urban dwellers are now looking to up sticks and move to the countryside, as working from home becomes the norm – and with a new survey showing almost all workers who have made the switch hoping to maintain some level of remote working, rural life is becoming increasingly attractive.

According to one of the lead researchers behind the second national employee survey carried out since the onset of Covid-19, remote working is surging in popularity, with 94% of over 5,600 participants hoping to continue working remotely for some or all of the time – an increase from 83% six months ago.

Professor Alma McCarthy of the Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUIG told the Connacht Tribune that the desire to continue working from home had grown since the first phase of the survey in April, with more flexible hours and no traffic adding to its appeal.

“What we are looking at here is a particular cohort of the workforce that have jobs which lend themselves to working from home, and where people have that opportunity, we see that support has gone up [for remote working].

“Most people want a blended type of working arrangement, where they work from home some of the time and go into the office maybe one or two days a week. I think that is probably how it will look from now on,” said Prof McCarthy.

The number of people who wish to work from home five days a week has more than doubled since April, now at 27% compared to 12% in the early days of Covid-19.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download a digital version from our website www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Retail outlets stay positive despite shut-down

Stephen Corrigan

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Challenge...Fiona Charity.

Galway retailers have reiterated calls to shop local online in the coming weeks, as Level 5 restrictions force them to close their doors in the run up to peak shopping season.

From today (Thursday), unessential retailers must shut up shop until December 1 – limiting outlets such as clothes, furniture and toy shops to online sales and collections only.

One such shop is Modella Fashion in Corrandulla, which only opened its doors for the first time in July, and while owner Fiona Charity said it was clearly a huge challenge to start a new business in a pandemic, she remained hopeful that she could weather the storm.

“It’s obviously hugely disappointing, but public health is the most important thing, and if this works, we might have more freedom for Christmas.

“We are lucky in that we went live with our website last week and that’s been really busy already. Even though we can’t open, people are able to order online and have their order delivered, or click and collect,” said Ms Charity ahead of closing this week.

Likewise, Standún in An Spidéal has seen a surge in their online sales since the onset of Covid-19, according to manager Deirdre Ní Ghríofa, who said the message for everyone was to “shop local as much as you possibly can”.

Ms Ní Ghríofa said they had a big increase in local sales online during the early days of the pandemic and that was something she hoped would continue in the run up to Christmas.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download a digital version from our website www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Back in our bubble – and braced for the impact

Dara Bradley

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Fourth Class pupils from Galway Educate Together NS in Newcastle enjoying the wonder of science to mark the launch of Galway Science and Technology Festival's 2020 online programme running from November 8 to 22.

Galway is braced for the economic impact of this week’s return to lockdown – with both the pub and retail sector preparing for the worst.

The head of the county’s publicans predicted that as many as one in five outlets will never reopen, given that the best case scenario now is that they’ll return to Level 3 for Christmas,  which limits outdoor drinkers to just 15.

In a stark warning, Chair of the Galway branch of the VFI, Joe Sheridan, said a conservative estimate was that 20% of pubs won’t reopen – but that could rise to one-third if they didn’t see some return to business for the festive season.

Retailers too were predicting the worst – but still with the belief that a good December could save them.

The reasoning behind the move to Level 5 was underlined by the fact that new cases of the infection are now rising at a rate of 500 per week.

After another record week of positive cases in Galway, there were 13 patients in two public hospitals being treated for Covid-19 – twelve in UHG and one in Ballinasloe.

There were a further three suspected cases in UHG.

See full coverage of the Covid crisis in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download a digital version from our website www.connachttribune.ie

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