Permission for a town centre “amusement arcade” with an indoor sports arena with gaming machines and roulette table in Killarney has been refused by An Bord Pleanála.
The three-storey building at 57 High St previously held a ground floor betting shop.
The board has rejected the argument that the proposal was primarily an indoor sports arena and has said the “amusement arcade” was central to it.
Applicants Tony Barry care of McCutcheon Halley Walsh of 6 Joyce House, Barrack Square, Ballincollig, Co Cork, sought change of use of part of the ground floor at High St/Buckley’s Lane from bookmakers to “indoor sports and recreational centre including ancillary gaming machines at 57 High Street and Buckley’s Lane” .
There was to be snooker and darts and table tennis, along with a roulette table and five gaming machines. However, the local council turned down the application after a number of objections, saying High St, with its busy bars, restaurants, and retail stores, was not suitable for an amusement arcade.
Local Independent councillor Donal Grady and Fine Gael’s John Sheahan said it would attract anti-social behaviour.
They also contended the Lottery & Gambling Act was never passed for acceptance.
The council held that the change of use would set an “undesirable precedent” and be contrary to the proper development of the area zoned for town centre retail and office facilities.
The town plan allows betting shops but not adult shops, taxis, or takeway food outlets in the area.
However in their appeal the applicants said the application was not for an amusement arcade — and the majority of the floor area would be snooker and other “indoor sports”. The five gaming machines were ancillary.
In fact, the proposal would provide an alternative evening entertainment venue — one that was without alcohol and it would be for over 21s.
The board’s inspector sought help from the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary to help define a recreation centre. He found this was a building open to the public for meetings and sports and activities “for young and old”; an amusement arcade was a “covered area” having coin-operated gaming machines.
These definitions made it clear to him, therefore, that the High St proposal was not just a recreation centre, he concluded.
Bord Pleanála has upheld its inspector’s opinion and refused the appeal.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved