Online petition against arcade fires up a furore in Fermoy
SPOKESMAN FOR COMPANY BEHIND ARCADE PLAN SAYS LOCALS HAVE ‘JUMPED THE GUN’
MORE than 700 people have signed a petition against an application to develop an amusement arcade in Fermoy, close to three local secondary schools.
An application in the name of Fun Factory (Fermoy) Ltd has been lodged with council planners, seeking to change the use of the vacant ground floor retail unit at the junction of the Duntahane and Cork Roads to an amusement arcade.
Fun Factory (Fermoy) Ltd is part of the Perks Company, which operates amusement arcades in Youghal and at the Market Green centre in Midleton.
Last year Perks was granted permission by the council to develop an amusement arcade at the Blackwater Shopping Centre on the northern side of the town. The plan met with fierce local opposition and was appealed to An Bord Pleanala which upheld the council’s original decision, albeit with nine separate conditions, one of them restricting its opening hours to between 8am and 8pm daily.
Phillip Tivy of Fun Junction (Fermoy) Ltd and Perks told The Corkman that they decided to shelve the plan due to the restrictive opening hours.
“We could have appealed the conditions, but that would have been a long, drawn-out process. Instead, we have opted to take a lease out on an alternative premises and seek permission for a facility there,” he said.
Mr Tivy said that he hoped the opening times for the planned new arcade would be more relaxed than those imposed on the previous facility and would be in line with those of nearby pubs and off licences.
However, the move has caused some disquiet, with local man Andrew Shinnick setting up an online petition, citing limited parking at the busy intersection as a concern.
Of more importance to Mr Shinnick was that the premises would be situation close to Fermoy’s three secondary schools and two national schools.
“This, in my view and in the view of many other concerned people in the area, will do nothing for the town or the children attending these schools,” said Mr Shinnick.
“There are far better alternatives for this property site. A gambling and amusement arcade is something the town of Fermoy can do without,” he added.
It is understood that a public meeting will be held next Wednesday evening at nearby Coláiste an Chraoibhín to discuss local opposition to the proposal.
However, Mr Tivy said he believed locals had “jumped the gun” in light of the fact that the company’s full set of proposals for the site had yet to be put on public display on Cork County Council’s website.
He said part of the application for the facility, which will be solely devoted to gambling machines and will not include video games or other amusements, was that it would have a strictly over 18s policy which would be rigorously enforced.
“To be honest, I think the petition is jumping the gun without looking at the full details of the planning application. They say we will be preying on schoolchildren, but that is simply not true,” said Mr Tivy.
“People coming into the premises will have to press a keypad to gain access and will have to show proof of age before being allowed in. They will also have to sign in and register as members”.
“We have been running arcades for 80 years and they have always been above board and strictly monitored. If that were not the case, we would have been pulled up a long time ago” he added.
The council has set a provisional date of October 25 for a decision on the application.
A plan to transform the former ‘Corrin Stores’ premises in Fermoy into an amusement arcade has been lodged with cork County Council.