Cinema owner: Design not raised as cause for concern

The 6.5-acre site for the new cinema is on Park Road

THE director of the new cinema currently being built in Killarney has taken the local council to task over comments made about An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant permission for the project.

Some councillors slated the planning appeals board for overturning Kerry County Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for the new multi-screen cinema complex with one councillor branding it “a disgrace” and another criticising the design of the new structure.

At a meeting of Killarney Municipal District Council last Wednesday, councillors were anxious that the public be reminded that they had turned down planning but their decision was over-ruled.

In an email sent to councillors on Friday – a copy of which has been seen by KillarneyToday.com – Omniplex Group director, Mark Anderson, said he was disappointed at reports of negative comments relating to the new cinema development.

The An Bord Pleanála inspector’s report notes the council’s decision to refuse permission

“These reported comments have come as surprise to us as at no point during the planning application process was the design of the cinema raised as a cause for concern, nor did any submission refer concerns in this regard either,” he said.

He said the An Bord Pleanala’s inspectors report went as far as to say that Kerry County Council had no objection to the design.

Mr Anderson also noted that the council had no objection to a previous application for a 35,079 sq.m shopping centre, with 563 parking spaces, for the same site.

“Should this development had proceeded, it would have dwarfed our modest development of 2,454 sq.m,” he said.

Mr Anderson pointed out that his family has been involved in cinemas in Kerry for more than 50 years, dating back to the Theatre Royal, Picturedrome and Omniplex in Tralee and the Three Lakes, subsequently renamed Cineplex, in Killarney.

Construction work is progressing at the site foe the new multi-screen cinema

“Our €6 million investment in Killarney will only strengthen this affinity and we look forward to being a positive addition to the town, a good employer and substantial net contributor to the local economy,” he wrote.

Mr Anderson said his company would welcome an invitation to attend a future meeting of the council to discuss concerns and he said he believed that invitation would be “fair and just”.

Construction work is progressing on the development at the former Torc Great Southern Hotel site and the frame of the new building is already in place.

The plan is for a two-storey building with five cinema screens, including a 300-seat Premium Large Format (PLF) screen theatre and four other screens, three of which will have 95 seats and the other with 119.

The development will also include a two-storey restaurant, to be operated independently but ancillary to the cinema and car parking facilities for 200 vehicles.

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