A CHANGE-of-use planning application for the site of Cinemaworld Douglas has been rubber stamped by Cork County Council, paving the way for a discount retail supermarket to move in.
The local authority amended an existing planning document to allow the use of the site to change to retail and the construction of three retail units. A licence to sell liquor has also been granted.
Councillor Deirdre Forde (FG) has expressed concerns that there is no provision for public space on the site and fears paid parking may be introduced.
“I’d be concerned about the adjacent land around it and the car parking area. I was told that car parking there would be for the use of the public and I hope that remains so. I don’t want to see people charged for parking,” she said.
“It’s important what happens to the land around the cinema because it’s a pivotal site. I’ve always maintained there should be a public plaza at that side of the road because as you drive in, it is facing the overpass and it is the entrance to Douglas.
“There should be some community use for the site. I’d prefer if there was another use for it, somewhere where people could gather and it could be a focal point for the village. Douglas is a bottleneck and traffic is the single biggest issue for the village,” Ms Forde added.
Labour local area representative Peter Horgan said Douglas is at “breaking point” in regard to traffic and the decision will lead to an “over-centralisation” of retail in the town.
Planning permission was refused last month for a Lidl in the centre of Douglas.
The Lidl was to be located in Barry’s Field on the Carrigaline Road next to the car park for Barry’s Bar and Restaurant and bordered by the cemeteries of St Lukes and St Columba’s churches.
The refusal was welcomed by Eoghan Jeffers (SF) who said the area cannot cope with increased traffic volumes.