Work could begin in three to six months on the E460 million gambling, leisure and racing complex planned for Two-Mile-Borris, after An Bord Pleanala gave the go-ahead on Monday for the ambitious project.
The Tipperary Venue includes a 500-bedroom hotel/casino, golf course, an equestrian centre with an outdoor arena, a grade 1 racecourse and greyhound track with a six-storey stand and 140 stables, and a replica of the White House. It also includes 5,743 car parking spaces and a heliport with space for four helipads.
The planning appeals board granted permission despite a recommendation for refusal by its own planning inspector, who conducted an oral hearing into the Tipperary Venue earlier this year. However An Bord Pleanala refused permission for a 15,000 capacity indoor entertainment venue on the grounds that it was “not appropriate”.
Richard Quirke, the businessman from Thurles and former Garda behind the complex, has welcomed the board’s decision and said that work would now begin to secure the 800 acres needed to implement his plans. It’s understood he has options on or has bought much of the land required.
He said he would also make a new application to North Tipperary County Council for permission to build an indoor arena for equestrian events and a polo field.
Independent TD Michael Lowry, who has said that work on the project could begin by the end of the year, has described An Bord Pleanala’s decision as “hugely significant”.
“In the context of stated Government policy to encourage creativity and job creation, this is a timely opportunity to progress an original plan, which will generate enormous economic activity and create thousands of sustainable jobs. A combination of a broad range of interactive projects on the one site will transform the economic, cultural and social life of Tipperary and the entire region.
Consultations with interested parties and preparatory work on various aspects of the scheme have been ongoing and will now be accelerated”, he stated.
However An Taisce has stated that in disregarding the inspector’s overall refusal recommendation, An Bord Pleanala has failed to meet the requirements under EU law for evaluating projects under the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive.
“In particular the issues of event capacity and traffic management are left unresolved”, An Taisce added.