Green light for se­cond cin­ema in Kil­lar­ney

AN BORD PLEANÁLA OVERTURNS KCC RE­FUSAL

The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - NEWS - By SINEAD KELLE­HER

KIL­LAR­NEY is set to get a new five-screen cin­ema fol­low­ing news last week that plan­ning has been granted by An Bord Pleanála for de­vel­op­ment on the for­mer Torc Great South­ern Ho­tel on the Park Road.

The new cin­ema would be the first de­vel­op­ment of the dis­used site which has been ly­ing idle since the ho­tel was closed and de­mol­ished.

Kerry County Coun­cil had re­fused plan­ning per­mis­sion for the en­ter­tain­ment fa­cil­ity but, last week, An Bord Pleanála over­turned that de­ci­sion to grant per­mis­sion.

The pro­posal en­tails a two-storey build­ing with gross floor area of al­most 2,500 square me­tres, lo­cated in the cen­tre of the site, pro­vid­ing for five cin­ema screens.

The largest cin­ema screen is a pre­mium large for­mat (PLF) screen which will have 301 seats, with three of the other four screens pro­vid­ing for 95 seats each and the fifth pro­vid­ing 119 seats.

Kil­lar­ney’s cur­rent cin­ema, Cin­ema Kil­lar­ney, is a five screen fa­cil­ity with­out PLF.

The new pro­posal also in­cludes plans for a two-storey res­tau­rant, to be op­er­ated in­de­pen­dently, but would be an­cil­lary to the cin­ema, ac­cord­ing to the plan­ning doc­u­ments, while 200 park­ing spa­ces will also form part of the de­vel­op­ment.

The cin­ema is to be op­er­ated by Om­ni­plex. and the de­vel­op­ers are Tor­cbridge Ltd.

A sub­mis­sion made on the de­vel­op­ment by Fe­hily Ti­money and Com­pany on be­half of Sean Cul­loty of Four Star Pizza based at Cin­ema Kil­lar­ney, claimed that the pro­posal could re­sult in the demise of the ex­ist­ing fa­cil­ity and that plan­ning au­thor­i­ties are obliged to pro­tect ex­ist­ing re­tail op­er­a­tors.

The same sub­mis­sion states that a third cin­ema would in­ter­fere with the re­la­tion­ship with Tralee where there are eight screens, in­clud­ing a PLF screen.

A cin­ema im­pact as­sess­ment sub­mit­ted as part of the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion states that there is a need for a new cin­ema as the av­er­age oc­cu­pancy of Cin­ema Kil­lar­ney is above the na­tional av­er­age.

Kerry County Coun­cil had re­fused plan­ning on the grounds that it would af­fect both the night-time econ­omy of the town and the tourism prod­uct. It also said it would give rise to un­sus­tain­able sin­gle-car trips.

The same site was to be de­vel­oped pre­vi­ously as a vis­i­tor, re­tail and con­fer­ence cen­tre but the pro­pos­als were with­drawn.

A re­tail de­vel­op­ment was granted in 2007 with park­ing but was never con­structed.

In giv­ing per­mis­sion to the de­vel­op­ment, the plan­ning of­fi­cer stated that the de­vel­op­ment “would not se­ri­ously in­jure the ameni­ties of the area or of prop­erty in the vicin­ity, would not have an ad­verse im­pact on the vi­tal­ity or vi­a­bil­ity of the town cen­tre and would not give rise to a traf­fic hazard or to traf­fic con­ges­tion.”

The site, one kilo­me­tre from the town cen­tre, was pur­chased by the Robert But­ler Group, who paid Aer Rianta a re­ported €7.7m for the prop­erty in 2003. It was later put on sale for €3m in 2012.

Mean­while, Cin­ema Kil­lar­ney is due for ma­jor ren­o­va­tions later this year. Owner Tommy Cooper this week said that he it was a “cu­ri­ous” de­ci­sion to make for the town.

Cllr Donal Grady said he is op­posed to the plans as it would be detri­men­tal to the lo­cal fam­ily-owned cin­ema in the town.

He said that the site should have been pur­chased by the for­mer town coun­cil and used for the good of the town.

“I am to­tally op­posed to it. I’m for progress but this is in­ter­fer­ing with lo­cal busi­ness which is wrong,” he said.

“The Cooper fam­ily have a long tra­di­tion in the town and a long his­tory with film.”

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