An Bord Pleanála overrules council to approve city centre casino

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Galway Daily news An Bord Pleanála approves casino at Fairgreen road

An Bord Pleanála has approved plans for a casino on the Fairgreen Road in Galway City, overturning the city council’s rejection.

Cwc Fairgreen Ltd appealed to An Bord Pleanála after Galway City Council refused planning permission back in July of this year.

The development will consist of converting the vacant ground floor of the five storey Fairgreen House to retail to gaming use.

An indicative layout in the plans first submitted to the city council showed 29 pairs of seats facing slots/gaming machines, so up to 58 machines.

The city council gave two reasons for rejecting the proposal, saying that it would result in over 20-25m of dead street frontage each on Fairgreen Road and Bothar ar an Aonaigh.

This is due to the fact that the windows would be required to be screened.

The council also said that without restrictions on the hours of operation, the development would likely to result in noise and disturbance for nearby apartments and student accommodation.

The developer said in their application to the city council that a casino or private members club “is not proposed” and that the premises would “operate wholly within the regulatory environment of the Gaming and Lotteries Act”.

In response to a request for clarity from the council, Cwc said that the machines would consist of video games, quiz, or skill type challenges for adults only, with other areas to watch live sports.

The appeal against the council’s decision by Cwc said that the use is permitted by the site’s zoning, and that it is away from the retail core of the city, in a unit which has been vacant for some time.

It also argues that many businesses along the street already use extensive window screening, and that they intend to create a vibrant facade for the building.

In overturning the city council’s decision, the Bord said the development would comply with zoning objectives, and would not injure nearby residential amenity, with certain conditions attached.

In relation to noise concerns, the developer said that the area has established nigh-time economy, and that this would not generate more noise than retail outlets or bars. But the developer said that

Among those it was stipulated that the premises may not be sued to sell or consume alcohol, and that all external shopfronts and signage must be agreed on with the council.

It is also a condition that, in order to address noise concerns, all doors and windows must be tightly fitting, and double glazed in the windows case, and that noise attenuators shall be fitted to any ventilation openings.

A floor plan of the casino outlining all gaming machines for customer use must also be submitted to the council before work begins.

In total, An Bord Pleanála attached ten conditions to the grant of planning permission.