Wednesday 23 January 2019

Mitchelstown arcade ruling has been deferred until November

The former Weavers Bar
The former Weavers Bar

Bill Browne

The long-running saga over the planned development of an amusement arcade in the heart of Mitchelstown is set to drag on for another few weeks after it emerged An Bord Pleanála has postponed its ruling on the proposal.

Late last year a planning application was lodged in the name of Perks Promotions Mitchelstown Ltd for the arcade at the vacant former Weavers Bar on Cork Street. It made provision for the "change of use of a public house to amusement arcade" with associated signage and alterations to the front facade of the protected structure. 

The company, which operates amusement arcades in Youghal and Midleton, had previously been granted permission for a new facility at the Blackwater Shopping Centre in Fermoy. However, they decided not to progress the plan after An Bord Pleanála placed restrictions on its opening hours. 

A subsequent plan to develop an arcade at another site in Fermoy at the junction the Duntahane and Cork Road's, was also met with fierce local opposition and was subsequently shot down by council planners. That decision was upheld on appeal. 

Speaking to The Corkman after the plan was lodged for the Mitchelstown arcade, Perks spokesman Philip Tivy said it would be similar to the one they had hoped to open in Fermoy. 

"It will be a gaming arcade with a strictly enforced admission policy," he said. 

However, news of the Mitchelstown application prompted much disquiet, with local businessman Martin Lane starting an online petition against the plan, which eventually garnered almost 1,500 signatures. 

Mr Lane also submitted one of three submissions against the plan under the title  'Concerned Citizens of Mitchelstown'. Despite the observations, planners ruled in favour of the arcade plan albeit with 16 separate conditions. These dealt with a number of issues including that the daily opening hours be restricted to between 10am and 11pm. 

Other conditions dealt with topics such as noise emissions, the external appearance of the planned arcade, waste disposal and that site works only be undertaken at specified times.  Last May an appeal was lodged against the decision by The Concerned Citizens of Mitchelstown, care of its chairman, Mr Lane. 

They contended that Cork County Council should not have granted permission for the proposed arcade as "part III of the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956 does not apply to Mitchelstown" as per a resolution passed by the authority in 1984. 

A decision on the appeal had been due last Monday. 

However, a spokesman for An Bord Pleanála said that this has now been deferred to November due to what he said was their "heavy workload."