Kilkenny Borough Council has ruled out seeking a Judicial Review to challenge the decision of An Bord Pleanala in allowing a controversial amusement arcade to be established in the High Street Mall.
The decision was agreed at Monday night’s meeting of the borough council, thereby effectively ending any definitive challenge to the project. It has now been proposed that the elected members will instead write a letter to the property owner Melcorpo – an appeal to not follow through on the permission granted.
Mayor Sean O’ hArgain said there was little more that could be done to resist the plans, unless Melcorpo could be persuaded to reconsider.
“It is my experience, and following advice I have been given, that legal challenges are rarely upheld,” he said.
“I don’t think it is right to put taxpayers’ money at risk by pursuing it. However, I would appeal for the company to listen to the clear voice of the people of Kilkenny.”
Cllr Joe Reidy (FF) and Cllr Martin Brett (FG) urged the mayor to write an unprecedented letter on behalf of the city, signed by every elected member.
“It is unanimous – the people of Kilkenny do not want this to go ahead,” said Cllr Reidy.
“The mayor should write to [Melcorpo] and tell them. This decision has been made without due regard to the wishes of the people.”
City manager Joe Crockett informed the members that the borough corporation, as a legal entity, does not have a view on the Board’s decision. The council members may, however, agree to make a representation on behalf of their electorate.
Cllr Joe Malone (FF) proposed going further – down the route of public demonstrations.
“I believe in people power here, ” he said.
“I would appeal to parents to start a protest on the street out there, and let them know we don’t want them. Kilkenny says ‘no’.”
Several councillors attested to having received a huge amount of phone calls and correspondence from concerned business owners and members of the public in the past few days, in relation to the proposed project. Melcorpo has declined to comment.
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