Omniplex makes second appeal to An Bord Pleanála
The Omniplex Cinema in Drinagh has appealed to An Bord Pleanála against a decision by Wexford County Council to refuse it planning permission for the building of a new restaurant and the retention of 146 car parking spaces which have already been constructed.
Omniplex Holdings Unlimited has been endeavouring over the past few years without success to expand facilities at the 8-screen cinema and applied towards the end of 2016 for permission to build four new units including a restaurant and leisure centre in a proposal which was turned down by local authority planners on design and zoning grounds.
The company owned by Paul and Margaret Anderson appealed on that occasion to An Bord Pleanála which upheld the County Council decision to refuse despite a recommendation in favour of the proposal by an appeals board inspector who noted that the existing use of the site as a cinema is already leisure/entertainment.
In its ruling An Bord Pleanála commented that the proposed project with a large number of car parking spaces would have an adverse effect on the 'vitality and viability' of the existing town centre and that leisure is not permitted on lands zoned for commercial use.
In May of this year, the Omniplex re-applied for planning permission for a restaurant only and also sought permission to retain an over-flow car park which it built following the first unsuccessful application, in order to relieve pressure on the existing 200 space car park which is frequently full, sometimes leading to congestion and obstruction on the entrance route and the Rosslare Road.
It was pointed out during pre-planning discussions that a restaurant and car park were acceptable in principle at the location.
However, in subsequently rejecting the application, planners said the proposed restaurant building was almost identical to one of the units proposed in the failed 2016 application, which was deemed to be inadquate for this 'important site'.
Now, Omniplex Holdings has now appealed the second refusal to An Bord Pleanála which is being asked to adjudicate on the issue again.