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Wicklow shoppers rejoice as Lidl calls for public meeting at Baltinglass storefront

After years of petitioning and campaigning for a low-cost supermarket, residents of the greater Baltinglass area are a step closer to achieving their goal, after supermarket giant Lidl announced a residents’ information evening to be held at Fatima Hall in Baltinglass today, between 4pm and 7pm.

Just days after Lidl Ireland CEO JP Scully announced the development of a further 50 stores across the country, Lidl’s appeal to the people of west Wicklow to inquire about a “proposed new Lidl store to serve the community of Baltinglas”. , greeted with joy and cautious optimism.

The meeting marks a huge milestone for countless Baltinglas residents who have fought tirelessly for a local, affordable supermarket. There are only two supermarkets in the town – SuperValu and Eurospar – with most of the community choosing to shop outside the county, in Tullow, Carlow or Ethy.

A united community of grassroots campaigners sought to change these patterns. Jane Nolan Lehane, admin of the Baltinglass Supermarket Needs (Aldi/Lidl) Facebook group.

Since starting the campaign on Facebook in October 2020, Jane has seen the group grow to over 1,200 members. Together, the group proposed recommendations, appeals and amendments to the County Development Plan to facilitate the development of the new supermarket.

“We are passionate about beautifying our city, creating jobs, revitalizing and making affordable choices available to everyone in the city,” said Jain. “Most car owners currently spend between €100 and €300 a week on their weekly shop in other cities and that’s disappointing. We want to be able to continue spending in the community by encouraging people nearby to shop in town.

“We’ve formed a committee and we’ve lobbied hard for a big supermarket to come here because we think it’s the best option in terms of value and we’ve taken into account Lidl’s commitment to employing local staff and supporting local endeavours.

“We have made a number of applications to Wicklow County Council to zone the land for this purpose in the town plan and have been successful in this with the help of local politicians. This probably piqued Lidl’s interest

“We are delighted that Lidl are considering Baltinglass and I think the vast majority of people in the town are in favor of this project. There were very few negative comments on our page and they were only about the places.

“We are hoping for a large turnout at the information event at Fatima Hall on Wednesday, which Lidl has invited. Everyone is very excited about this latest news and we are confident that a positive response to Lidl’s proposals will take this project forward. We, in the Committee, tried to support as much as we could.”

Baltinglas native Cllr Edward Timmins welcomed the public information meeting and said: “There is a lot of support for a cheap supermarket in the town and has been for some time. People traveling outside the county to shop has been a problem for West Wicklow for some time. Ultimately, the Council will also lose its rate base as people spend money outside the area.

“Baltinglass may be a small town, with a population of just over 2,000 people, but it has a large hinterland of many smaller villages. There’s Kiltegan, Rathdangan, Talbotstown, Stratford, Grangecon, Imaal Glen, Donard and even Rathvilly. Baltinglass is like a small little hub in the southwest of Wicklow. Indeed, Baltinglass was traditionally considered a market town and at the time there was a cattle trading post in the center of the town.

“This latest news can only be good news for the city and its surrounding areas. Sometimes such developments can create cluster effects where it changes people’s behavior and they start doing all their shopping locally. When there are more options to stay local, people tend to do so.

“West Wicklow is a very rural area so it’s no wonder people are campaigning for more convenient, cheaper options. Having a supermarket like Lidl or Aldi close to these people is something to be celebrated and celebrated.”