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Objection to planning permission for bookies in town centre as it would create a 'no-go area'

The decision from Galway City Council to grant permission for the betting shop has been appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

A DECISION FROM a council to grant planning permission for a vacant unit in a town centre to be converted to a betting shop is facing objection, on the grounds that it sets an “undesired precedent”.

The decision from Galway City Council to allow a building in Market Square in Tuam to be transformed into a bookies has been appealed to An Bord Pleanála after the local objection claimed it would make the town “a no-go area”.

The application – by a company called Bar One Racing – is for a “change of use of a ground floor commercial unit to a betting shop and all associated works and services”.

Other bookies branches in the area include Paddy Power and Boylesports.

market square The proposed development is for the centre of Tuam at market square Google Maps Google Maps

In a report submitted by planning officers, it said the council was satisfied that “there are very little betting offices [in] the immediate vicinity of the subject site and to permit the proposed use in vacant building in the centre of town would enhance the vitality and viability of the town centre”.

It said that the council had “taken into consideration all the issues raised in the third-party submissions during the assessment of this planning application”, and added:

Based on this assessment it is considered that the proposed development is in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development in the area.

As a result of its assessment, Galway City Council decided to grant permission for the development on a number of conditions.

This included restrictions on signage on the shop front, ensuring that all waste generated by the development is disposed of, and ensuring the hours of operation are compliant with betting legislation.

‘An undesired precedent’

In a statement of objection, one local said that their main concern was that it would “saturate the Tuam centre with this single type of activity which is not conducive to good social interaction with the general public for a town centre”.

He said: “I object to another bookmakers been placed within the heart of Tuam centre, we already have three established bookmakers in existence.

If a bookmakers is allowed here it will set undesired precedent for even more gaming establishments and the town core will become a no-go area for general public with younger generations with the associated loitering around establishments and the common anti-social behaviour generally seen in after hours been [sic] encouraged into daytime hours.

The objector also complains that the plans submitted do not reflect how the shopfront shall change.

They also argue that the nature “of the shopfront is very negative as betting shops in general have a closed shop frontage and not a vibrant retail activity”.

A decision is expected from An Bord Pleanála in the coming weeks.

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