A leading tourist attraction in Cobh is opposing plans for a new amusement arcade near the centre of the town.
The Titanic Experience Cobh has lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against a decision by Cork Co Council to grant planning permission for the facility to Perks Promotions.
The well-known family business plans to open a new arcade at Pearse Square in Cobh on the site of a former Xtravision store which has been vacant for several years.
Objecting to the development, the managing director of the Titanic Experience, Gillen Joyce, said Cobh was trying to establish itself as a tourist destination as part of Ireland’s Ancient East.
Mr Joyce said local businesses and the council were investing a considerable amount of money to market and establish Cobh as a family-friendly tourist location.
Money was also being spent on a number of projects including the redevelopment of Titanic Pier, a new cruise ship terminal and the further development of Spike Island.
Mr Joyce said the development of an amusement arcade did not fit in with the vision of improving the face of Cobh “at any level”.
“If you look at the areas where these are prominent such as Tramore, you can see the detrimental effect that they have on an area overall,” Mr Joyce said. “We should learn from what occurred there and not repeat those mistakes.”
In contrast Mr Joyce claimed local authorities in places such as Killarney, Kilkenny, and Westport strictly controlled what was allowed in terms of planning in their area.
He said: “Amusement arcades attract and encourage social problems in terms of gambling and other localised anti-social behaviours.”
He claimed there was already a significant number of casinos in Cork city for people who wanted to use such facilities as well as a significant number of bookmakers in Cobh.
Perks defended its plans and said the proposed development was similar in style to that of a traditional retail unit.
It claimed the arcade would provide recreational facilities for local residents and visitors to Cobh.
Perks said it would not increase the existing permitted opening hours of the previous outlet which was 9am-11.30pm.
It also maintained that the arcade met the requirements of the Draft Cobh Municipal Plan 2017 which aimed to reduce vacant buildings and improve vibrancy within the town centre.
In granting planning permission Cork County Council said it considered the development of an arcade would not seriously injure the amenities of the area.
However, it limited the permission to a five-year period in order to assess its impact on the area as well as limiting its opening hours to 10am-10pm.
An Bord Pleanála is due to issue its ruling on the case by February 23 next year.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved