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  • An Bord Pleanla Approve First Phase of China Trading Hub in Athlone

    An Bord Pleanala have upheld the decision of Westmeath County Council to approve the first phase of a large-scale China trading hub in Athlone, Co. Westmeath.  According to the ABP Inspector’s Report the proposal is for the 1st phase of a larger 5 phase development on a 140 hectare site to be known as the Europe China Trading Hub (ECTH) which would have an estimated overall floor space of nearly 1 million sq.m. to be used as a trading hub for international trade and commerce between China, Europe and the rest of the world.

    The development is to provide demonstration space for Chinese manufacturers and traders to display their products to European and international buyers with a view to generating bulk orders which will then be delivered from producers based in China to the recipient. The project would be the largest European source of Chinese branded goods. Presently European and East Coast USA based traders wishing to purchase Chinese goods must travel to China to view products and complete transactions. This results in significant international travel and associated visa requirements. The ECTH proposes to divert many of the international buyers to a centralised location with easy access from both Western Europe and Eastern USA. It will provide business concessionaires and purchasers with a suite of back up services including banking facilities, taxation advice, translation services, legal services and travel arrangements. Provision is to be made to showcase Irish products which are likely to benefit from the expected international footfall. The exhibition zone will be a private business campus accessible by registration/appointment only.

    It includes 4 storey reception hall; Multipurpose/exhibition hall for themed temporary displays and capable of accommodating trade fairs, conventions, performances and exhibitions, 2 no. ‘mega’ exhibition halls; 9 no. trading halls, each with 2500 sq.m. floor area; external exhibition space; underground multi-purpose transport facility to be provided (including bus terminus); 1370 parking spaces and energy centre with wind turbine.

    Westmeath Council’s  decision to grant permission was appealed by a number of third parties including An Taisce. The Board decided, unanimously, to grant permission generally in accordance with the Inspector’s recommendation.

    One of the remarkable features of this particular development is its distance from any existing airport.  The developer is relying on transporting visitors to the site via buses from Dublin Airport.  ABP have accepted this subject to a bus service operational plan.  This seems, of the face of it, to run against the principles of sustainable.  Maybe the previously mooted midlands Airport will now face a revival?

    Published on May 1, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Important An Bord Pleanala Decisions; Tagged as: ,
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