The future of a popular entertainment venue at Killarney Racecourse is under threat after it was refused retention planning permission by Kerry Co Council.
The Killarney Race Company, owner of the racecourse, has lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála to try to overturn the council’s recent decision which refused to sanction the use of a building at the racecourse for staging concerts and other events.
The racecourse venue operates six nights a week between April and October principally for staging Celtic Steps — a concert of Irish dancing. The building which forms part of the main grandstand on the racecourse also hosts singing and musical instrument classes, exhibitions, and conferences.
Council planners refused the application as they were not satisfied that the retention of the existing entertainment venue would not cause noise pollution.
The council said it considered that the proposed development would “seriously injure the amenities and depreciate the value of properties in the area”.
Tests on the building found noise levels coming from the venue were “excessive” and “higher than desirable”.
Residents from two local estates, Priory Paddocks and The Demesne on Ross Road had made submissions in which they expressed concerns about noise and traffic coming from the racecourse complex.
The racecourse’s owners had applied for retention permission for the venue after the council ruled that the change of use of a bar and dining room to a theatre during the summer months required planning permission. The matter arose after a member of the public complained that the use of the building to stage the Celtic Steps show was unauthorised under planning legislation.
In its appeal to An Bord Pleanála, the company claims it met with the council in order to regularise the change of use, but the issue of noise was never raised in discussions with either planning or enforcement officials.
“Noise was not flagged as an issue, rather change of use and retention were the issues to be addressed,” the company said.
The company said it is committed to completing upgrade works to the building to address concerns raised about noise levels.
The racecourse owners said they appreciate that the council is trying to ensure that the amenities of local residents are appropriately protected.
They maintained that all events would finish no later than midnight. A decision on the appeal is due to be made by November 26.
Source: Irish Examiner