On­line pe­ti­tion against ar­cade fires up a furore in Fer­moy

SPOKESMAN FOR COM­PANY BE­HIND AR­CADE PLAN SAYS LO­CALS HAVE ‘JUMPED THE GUN’

The Corkman - - NEWS - BILL BROWNE

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.

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