The much feared news was confirmed as The Avondhu went to press this week - Aldi are to postpone the opening of their giant new distribution centre in Mitchelstown.
After weeks of speculation and rumour, the company confirmed that the €100 million distribution centre, currently under construction on the Limerick road will now not open before 2013.
The company is blaming problems with planning permission for other Aldi stores across the country for the delay in opening the centre.
A statement issued to The Avondhu read: ‘Aldi Stores (Ireland) confirms that the opening of its new Regional Distribution Centre in Mitchelstown has been delayed until 2013. It has been necessary for Aldi to postpone the opening due to ongoing difficulties experienced in the planning process, which has resulted in fewer Aldi stores being opened in 2010 than originally planned.
Aldi is continuing to seek planning permissions across the country to support its expansion programme. The lack of planning permissions for new stores is the only factor contributing to the delay in opening the new Regional Distribution Centre’.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the construction work will continue until the end of the year at which time the centre will be completed and closed up. It is understood that the surrounding grounds will be landscaped but no work will be carried out inside the centre.
When the project began it was envisaged that well over 100 jobs would be created across The Avondhu region at what was to become the main Aldi distribution centre for Munster.
Reacting with horror to the news, Eamonn O’Brien chairman of the Mitchelstown Business Association told The Avondhu, “This is a major disappointment for the community and the businesses in Mitchelstown. We hope that the centre will be secured and it will not become an eyesore on the edge of our town.
"We hope a resolution can be found with the planning problems and that the centre will open as planned now in 2013.”
Echoing the sentiments, local Fianna Fail TD, Ned O’Keeffe added, “Mitchelstown has suffered enough. They (Aldi) should have known about the planning problems before they started the process. The planning authorities are also to blame where they allowed out of town shopping centres in business parks and the likes. Towns and businesses around the country have suffered because of this policy and I would call on Aldi to ensure that the construction site is properly secured.”