Portlaoise businessmen have rallied together in opposition to plans for a new gaming arcade proposed for the town’s Main Street, located opposite the rehoused library.
Seven business owners are calling on Laois County Council to refuse permission for the gaming arcade proposed for no. 97 Main Street, following a planning application submitted to the council from Coalquay Leisure Ltd, Cork (with company directors Mr Seamus and Mr Jackie Murphy).
The vacant premises are owned Mr Grellan Delaney, proprietor of Delaney’s public house at the top of Main Street, who has given a letter of consent to Coalquay Leisure Ltd for the change of use from retail to an arcade.
However, a submission on behalf of the businessmen of lower Main Street has been made by Mr Liam Ryan, Architectural Services, Main Street, Abbeyleix.
Mr Ryan claims that the gaming arcade would be a direct contravention of the County Development Plan, which states that gaming arcades will not be permitted at ground floor level. It is also claimed that the new arcade could lead to anti-social behaviour, and the location is “totally unsuitable” as it is almost directly across the street from the building which will house Portlaoise library.
The submission has been signed by Mr Alan Flynn (Flynn’s Menswear); Mr Willie Kerry (Bits & Bobs); Mr Tom Walsh (Ramsbottoms); Mr Richard Doyle (Doyle’s Shoe Shop); Mr Jim Murphy (Hughes Pharmacy); Mr Bryan Fergus (Fuji Shop); and Mr Pat Kearns (Cuddy & Kearns).
A further submission has been made by Mr Michael Ryan, of 35 Main Street, Portlaoise, who does not think it an appropriate type of business. There has also been a submission from Mr Vincent King, Athlone, who feels the arcade would detract from “the vitality and vibrancy of the town centre”. He also points out that Portlaoise always has seven betting shops and this type of arcade “usually targets the young and vulnerable”.
A decision is due from Laois County Council by June 22.