An Bord Pleanála has upheld the decision of Cork County Council to approve the change of use of the former Xtravision store in Pearse Square to an amusement arcade. The new facility will be developed by Perks Promotions, a well-known family business which runs similar outlets in Youghal and Midleton.
The council’s decision to grant planning permission for the amusement arcade was appealed by the Titanic Experience in Cobh. The visitor centre’s managing director, Gillen Joyce, said an amusement arcade did not fit the vision of local businesses and Cork Co Council of developing Cobh as a family-friendly tourist location.
Mr Joyce claimed such outlets attracted problems in terms of gambling and anti-social behaviour.
A Bord Pleanála inspector said an amusement arcade could be classified as “entertainment or recreation use” under the provisions of the Cobh Town Plan as there was no clear definition of the term. He noted there are no existing amusement arcades in Cobh and he did not consider approving Perks’ application would lead to a proliferation of such businesses in the town.
The inspector accepted the views of Mr Joyce that the proposed amusement arcade was inconsistent with the tourism offer of an historic town but he said such a use was allowable under the site’s current zoning. An Bord Pleanála upheld the council’s decision to limit planning permission for the amusement arcade to five years.
However, it further restricted the original opening hours permitted by the council which was 10am-10pm to 10am-8pm and set a limit on noise levels that are allowed to come from the facility.