Omniplex Dundalk wins planning battle with rival operators IMC
The Omniplex Dundalk has won its planning appeal in relation to changes made to the new cinema prior to its opening before Christmas.
While planning for the €3.5m cinema at Dundalk Retail Park was granted in April 2014, a proposal to carry out alterations was made on October 30th last.
Chandos Investments PLC and Dalkbridge Ltd put forward a planning application for alterations that included the reduction in the size of the cinema.
Under their plans for works already carried out, the cinema was to be contained within units 2 and 3 of the former Harvey Norman premises, with unit 4 being retained for warehouse use.
There were also proposals for an internal reconfiguration of the ground floor and projector room level, including increasing the number of cinemas from seven to nine, as well as minor alterations to the elevations including the relocation of the escape doors to suit the reconfigured internal plan.
They were finally granted permission for the changes on December 14th last when Louth County Council Director of Services Frank Pentony signed off on them.
However, an appeal against that decision was lodged in late January with An Bord Pleanála by one of the cinema group’s main rivals.
The appeal, made by Brock McClure Planning & Development Consultants in Dun Laoghaire on behalf of Dundalk Multiplex, who operate the IMC Cinema in Carroll Village, took issue with the fact that the new Dundalk Omniplex cinema opened on December 11th, three days before the altered work was given the all clear.
In their submission to the planning appeals board, IMC Cinema expressed concern that the Omniplex cinema was trying to circumvent the proper planning process. They pointed out that works for the development to be retained had been ongoing on site prior to permission being granted for them to proceed and say that the cinema had been in operation before that date.
They described the work as ‘wholly unauthorised’ and also argued that the original planning should not have been granted on several levels, including that previous cinema applications for the Retail Park had been rejected. They also argued the new cinema conflicts with the Dundalk & Environs Plan 2009-2015 which zones the site as having a retail objective.
They also feel its location could have an impact on the town centre and feel IMC Cinema should be supported to help promote the regeneration of that part of Dundalk.
However, earlier this week An Bord Pleanála opted to granted the updated planning for the Omniplex cinema.
In reaching their decision An Bord Pleanála said: the development “would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity” and “would not adversely affect the vitality and viability of the town centre of Dundalk.”