A decision to grant planning permission for a bookmaker’s pemises in a former retail shop in Tralee town centre has been appealed to An Bord Pleanála.
Third party appellants claimed Kerry’s county town has, already, enough betting shops.
High-value retail space in the town centre should not be turned into a betting shop, the appellants argue.
Questions about the appropriateness of the development are also raised.
Bar One Racing of Co Louth secured planning approval from Kerry Co Council to convert the ground floor of 5 Pembroke St, a vacant bulb and light fixtures shop, to a betting shop.
The building is close to a licensed premises, and the new business plans include a coffee and tea shop, and signage.
The first and second floors of the building would reportedly remain unused while the owner of the building has given the necessary consent to One Bar Racing to create the betting shop on the ground floor.
Tralee currently has six betting shops, most of them concentrated in the town centre area of Edward St/Castle St and at Upper Rock St.
There were three objections to the new proposal.
Appellant Tony Clarke from Rochford, Lota, Glanmire, Co Cork, says another betting shop in the location is “inappropriate”. He refers to the Tralee town development plan and says betting shops and fast food outlets were a threat to the town centre. There are three betting shops near the proposed one, he noted.
Tralee has a large amount of empty ground floor retail space, with retail space vacant on Edward St, Castle St, and elsewhere in the heart of the town.
As well as trying to attract business back into the centre, council officials in Tralee are trying to attract people to live in the upper floors of town centre buildings, to “bring life back to the heart of the town”.
Mr Clarke claims the betting shop in Pembroke St will reduce retail space even further. He also has issues with proposed signage and the satellite dishes.
A second appellant, Josephine Healy of Lee Drive, Tralee, Co Kerry, said planners should examine the social implications.
“With the evidence of gambling addiction in Irish society, Kerry County Council planners should be confident enough to look at a proposal socially, and not just physically,” she said.
A third objector, Martin Galvin of Lios Carrig Drive, Caherslee, Tralee, said the town was already well served by betting shops and objects to the “loss of high-value retail”.
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