Two of Cork’s best-known sports clubs are trying to ensure it won’t be a “full house” for a proposed bingo hall on the city’s northside.
Neptune Basketball Club and Glen Rovers have launched an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against the recent decision of Cork County Council to grant planning permission for the use of a building next to the Lidl store in Ballyvolane for a professional bingo hall.
Bingo operator Sunbeam Bingo wants to convert part of a former furniture store located off the Ballyhooly Rd, which is owned by Lidl, for use for bingo nights.
The company wants to relocate its permanent base to the Lidl facility after having closed its centre in Blackpool last June. It hopes to employ 12 people who worked in the former centre.
The zoning of the site allows for a district centre with an appropriate range and scale of retail and commercial facilities to support the area’s new population, while also taking into consideration the existing supermarkets in the area, including Lidl and Dunnes Stores. It also allows for the development of either a health centre or a community hall or facility.
Council planners approved the development of a bingo hall at the location on the basis it complied with the zoning, subject to a number of planning conditions.
Sunbeam Bingo claims the opposition by the two sports clubs is primarily because they both operate their own bingo evenings. The company criticised Neptune and Glen Rovers for failing to make any reference to their own role in organising bingo events in their submissions.
“Clearly their objection is motivated by competitive reasons as opposed to genuine planning considerations,” said a consultant for Sunbeam. He also said there are no other objections from local businesses or residents.
Sunbeam challenged Neptune’s claim that a bingo hall is not a social or community use: “To make a statement that bingo is not a social use or community use is incorrect, especially considering that Neptune run their own ‘community bingo’ nights on a Tuesday and have done so for several years.”
In their appeals, the clubs claim the development would undermine the vitality of the neighbourhood retail centre through a loss of retail space and a significant change to its established and intended function.
The two clubs say the proposed bingo hall would lead to “undue negative impacts in terms of hours of operation, noise, general nuisance and particularly, traffic and parking”. They argue that claims by Sunbeam that a bingo hall is a community facility are “misplaced and misleading”.
“To be clear on the nature of the proposed use, it is a commercial leisure use with a citywide catchment run on a for-profit basis,” they said.
A decision on the case is due by July 8.