Discount stores

High Court orders Waterford discount stores to close

Two Homesavers discount stores in Co Waterford that opened just before the start of the Christmas market must close, the High Court has ordered. While a third Homesavers store in the city of Waterford may remain open, it cannot sell everyday consumer goods, including food, clothing and shoes, Judge Garrett Simons has said.

The City and County Council of Waterford last month obtained an interim injunction preventing Homesavers operators from staying open as it was claimed they were in breach of the building permit.

The shops are in the old PC World unit on Cork Road in Waterford, while the other two are in Dungarvan and Tramore. The action targeted the operators of Homesavers: Centz Retail Holdings, Centz Stores 7, Centz Stores 8, ICE Cosec Service and Group Managing Director Naeem Maniar.

The Homesavers respondents have secured the court to lift the injunction pending determination of the full proceedings that were heard earlier this month by Judge Simons.

They admitted that Dungarvan and Tramore did not have a building permit for commercial use, although they submitted planning applications “late” for them, the judge said.

As regards the Waterford City premises, they maintained the existing building permit allowing them to operate if for commercial use, but they agreed that the sale of “convenience products” was excluded.

However, they contested the board’s interpretation of the existing authorization, in particular the ban on the sale of non-bulky goods.

They also claimed that the council’s approach to dealing with these issues demonstrated “motivation to attack Homesavers’ operations at all three stores with brute force”, was instigated by competitors and would result in job losses.

“Emphasizes credulity”

In his judgment ordering the closure of two stores and restrictions on the third, Judge Simons said he “puts a strain on the gullibility” that a business so well endowed with more than 30 retail stores in Ireland does not. would not have taken legal advice and planning before executing long leases on these three premises.

He said Homesavers’ criticism of the council’s approach was untenable.

The respondents had “no defense” with respect to Dungarvan and Tramore and the court refused to exercise its discretion to postpone a closure order pending the outcome of applications for the development of these stores, he said. he declares.

It would be contrary to the public interest to ensure respect for planning in circumstances where the respondents have shown a “reckless disregard” for the obligation to obtain a planning permission before opening.

Closure orders were to go into effect at midnight on Wednesday and any unauthorized signage was to be removed within 72 hours.

Waterford City premises can continue to operate but will be barred from selling clothing, footwear and everyday consumer goods, including non-durable household items and food. Unauthorized signs must also be removed within 72 hours.

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