In Ireland and a proposal that was to have seen local pensions firm Irish Life Assurance partner with British developer Hammerson so as to bring a small casino to a central Dublin shopping mall has reportedly been killed after it failed to obtain planning permission.
According to a Friday report from the Irish Independent newspaper, the two companies co-own the Ilac Centre shopping complex and had hoped to open a 24-hour casino featuring an ancillary ‘family entertainment’ section within the 500,000 sq ft facility. As such and the pair purportedly submitted a planning request last summer that sought permission to begin converting the site of a former Jack and Jones outlet near the mall’s Coles Lane entrance into a new gambling-friendly enterprise to be run by local outfit Expo Casino.
However, the planning department of Dublin City Council purportedly rejected this proposal due to ‘serious concerns’ that any such approval could set a precedent for similar non-retail enterprises to set up shop along city center streets. The newspaper reported that Hammerson and Irish Life Assurance subsequently appealed this decision to the government’s independent An Bord Pleanala body claiming that its envisioned two-story casino would assist in protecting ‘the overall viability and vitality’ of such areas.
Despite this assertion, the An Bord Pleanala watchdog has now reportedly also dismissed the plan to bring a casino to the Ilac Centre after finding that such an operation would likely ‘be problematic for Coles Lane as it is to be a benefit either in daytime or in the evening.’
Reportedly read the judgement from the An Bord Pleanala…
“While I would accept the general argument made by the applicant that flexibility and change is vital for malls, streets and retail areas to thrive and survive in the coming years, I find it difficult to see any strong justification on this for permitting a use like this on a vital entrance for the mall. It is as likely in my opinion to be problematic for Coles Lane as it is to be a benefit either in daytime or in the evening. I do not consider that a case has been made to change the use from either retail or restaurant use as previously permitted.”