Galway County Council has decided to grant planning permission for a gaming and amusement arcade in Tuam, despite large-scale local opposition.
Coalquay Leisure Limited have been given approval to convert a former bookstore on Vicar Street, Tuam to a gaming business on the ground floor, with storage and staff areas on the first floor.
The floor plans submitted with the application show 51 gaming machines on the ground floor of the premises.
They also include two tables for poker or other card games which will be located near the main entrance.
Planning permission was granted by the county council with ten conditions attached, including mandating sound insulation, and that it may only operate between 9am and midnight, Monday to Sunday.
County planners noted that the site is located within the town centre, where there are other established night-time businesses such as pubs and restaurants, and that it is considered “the most appropriate location for such entertainment establishments”.
There were five objections to this project submitted to the county council, one of which was a letter signed by 29 people, including Galway East TD Sean Canney.
This letter stated that a gaming / amusement arcade owned by a Cork company would have “no natural affiliation to our community, or to Tuam commercially”, and offer nothing to the town economically or socially.
It also raised concerns about the late opening hours, potential for anti-social behaviour, and that it would be “wholly incongruous” with the presence of addiction and mental health services at the nearby HSE Community Healthcare Hub.
The owner of a neighbouring store said that there are a large number of residences in the area, and that all nearby businesses keep regular store hours closing around 6pm, with no late night businesses in the vicinity.
Other concerns raised by these submissions included that the blank facade would contribute nothing to the streetscape.