Council refuses permission for games arcade in High Street Mall

An application to develop an entertainment centre with video games and related activities in the city’s High Street Mall has been turned down by Kilkenny Borough Council.

An application to develop an entertainment centre with video games and related activities in the city’s High Street Mall has been turned down by Kilkenny Borough Council.

The developer, Melcorpo Properties Ltd, can appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála within four weeks, although a representative for the company declined to say whether it was planning to do so.

The Borough Council said it was refusing planning permission for the development because it would involve the loss of 334.9 square metres of retail space in the city-centre location, because of the “non-desirable nature” of the proposed use, and because of the size and opening hours of the proposed entertainment centre.

The application sought permission to amalgamate units 9-16 on the first-floor level in the High Street Mall to create a leisure facility/entertainment centre with arcade video games, simulators, basketball target games, table soccer, pinball, interactive target games, etc. Ten objections to the development were submitted, including from the Chamber of Commerce, the Kilkenny City Centre Business Association, each of the tenants in the High Street Mall, and Cllr Malcolm Noonan. Their main argument against the development was the loss of retail space in the city centre and the proposed opening hours of 10am to 10pm seven days a week.

The council also cited the lack of information from the applicant regarding noise and noise management, a detailed floor plan, details for the first-floor windows on High Street (which is located in the City Centre Architectural Conservation Area) and signage.

“High Street Mall is located in the Core Retail Area of the city,” the planners noted. “It is an objective of the Development Plan and the City Centre Local Area Plan to protect the retail function of the city centre. The proposed development would displace seven retail units, or approximately 334.9 square metres of retail space, from the core retail area. Amusement arcades are recognised as a non-desirable land use in the City Centre Local Area Plan.”

The council ruled that the proposed entertainment centre “would have a negative impact on the character, vitality and viability of High Street and James’s Street.”