Athy Town Council Refusal for Amusement Arcade Overturned

The applicants sought to change the use of the ground floor from insurance offices (protected structure) to a gaming and amusement arcade. Apart from the installation of the gaming tables, there would be no changes to the internal layout.

In March 2012, Athy Town Council refused permission for the development for one reason, namely, the location of the site in the Core Retail Area of the town wherein it is policy to discourage amusement/gaming arcades as an undesirable use and potentially detrimental to the business and commercial environment of the town.

The appellants argued that the development plan is contradictory insofar as it aims to promote a diverse range of uses within the town centre, designates the use as open for consideration under the zoning matrix and notes the dereliction and vacancy which needs to be reversed on Leinster Street and yet aims to discourage the use of amusement/gaming arcades in the Core Retail Area.

In deciding not to accept the Inspector’s recommendation to refuse permission, the Board noted the policy of the planning authority to discourage gaming and amusement arcades in the core retail area but considered that temporary use of the building, for a period of three years, would be acceptable in terms of maintaining the building, a protected structure.

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