Prominent Wexford businessman Des Pettitt, of supermarket and hotel group Pettitts, has applied for planning permission to develop the former C&D Providers site on Trinity Street into a family entertainment centre, including a bowling alley and children’s party venue.
The site, which adjoins the Talbot Hotel in Wexford, was bought last summer by the Talbot Hotel Group, which announced it would not go ahead with plans by previous owners HPC Sales for a controversial apartment complex that had previously been approved by the local authority.
The new application has been submitted to Wexford County Council by a company called Oyster Lane Ltd, whose directors are Des and Bernadette Petit. The registered address is St Aidan’s Shopping Center in St Aidan’s Crescent, Wexford.
They are seeking planning permission to demolish the builders’ suppliers’ vacant premises and build a two-storey family leisure center fronting Trinity Street, along with the installation of sedum green roofs, 40 parking spaces, a bus zone and a link from the proposed car park to the existing car park of the Talbot Hotel.
The project, designed by Wexford architecture practice Paul O’Brien Associates, includes a 10-pin bowling alley, children’s playground, sports simulator, pool tables, laser zone, grand prix, soft climbing, sumo wrestling, MUGA, climbing walls, cafe/ restaurant and party area including separate party rooms.
The works will include the restoration of existing water and sewer connections and a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) has been submitted with the application.
During pre-planning discussions between the applicants and the County Council planners, it was noted that the site is zoned as a town center and the principle of the proposed development is considered acceptable at this location, but the design must take into account the adjoining residential properties.
Applicants were also advised that biodiversity proposals would be welcome in relation to landscaping; an archaeological assessment and transport and transportation plan will be required due to the size of the development.
A Commercial Effluent License is required for the restaurant and this was granted by Uisce Éireann and provided with the application.
In response to the biodiversity request, applicants submitted a landscape plan using native plants listed in the National Pollinator Plan and a proposal for environmentally friendly sedum green roofs that provide a microclimate for wildlife and reduce water runoff.
The site currently offers little habitat for biodiversity as the ground surface is entirely covered in concrete and built surfaces, although the walls are limestone to allow mosses and lichens to grow.
Incorporating sedum roofs, ground cover planting, trees, planting green walls, flower beds and borders into the plans aims to increase local biodiversity.
The Trinity Street site was put on the market by Sherry Fitzgerald Radford in April 2022 and was listed for sale, negotiated for a sum well in excess of the €1m asking price.
The providers were HPC Sales, the parent company of C&D Providers, who were granted planning permission at a second attempt for 45 flats and commercial units after the application was initially refused by Wexford County Council, partly due to concerns about contaminating the land after decades of production of gas and coal on the site of the old Wexford gasworks.
Residents appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanála on the grounds of visual impact, loss of privacy, risk of damage to Parnell Street houses from excavation to build an underground car park on reclaimed land, increased traffic hazard and environmental and health concerns from release of hazardous substances.
At the time of the purchase, Philip Gavin, managing director of the Talbot Collection, said the company was delighted to acquire the site, which provided opportunities to further expand and develop its presence on Trinity Street.
“We are very aware that this development has been of great concern to many of our neighbours, customers and friends over recent years, but I would like to take this opportunity to inform them that it will not be our intention to proceed with the development of the block of flats.” he said.
“In fact, we have some exciting plans and ideas for the site that we are currently working on which we are confident will be received very positively by all our neighbors and the wider community.”