Appeals Board turns down bar and restaurant plan for Knocknacara

The site at the Cybaun Road junction with the Western Distributor Road.

Plans to provide a commercial development along with a bar and restaurant at the junction of the Clybaun Road and Western Distributor Road have been refused by the higher planning authority.

Earlier this year, city planners refused permission to Highcross Developments Limited for the mixed-use development and this decision was subsequently appealed to An Bord Pleanála, which upheld the refusal.

It was proposed to provide a retail unit, a financial services unit, offices, a restaurant and bar along with surface carparking as part of the three-storey development on the derelict 0.8-acre site opposite the Clybaun Hotel.

Local residents voiced their opposition to the development on the grounds that there are enough bars, restaurants and offices in the vicinity while some residents had issues relating to the height of the building that was planned.

The residents were also concerned that the scale and bulk of the development was not appropriate for this location and they further argued that it would be much too close to housing estates in the area.

Previously, planning permission had been granted on the same site for the construction of a 75-bed nursing home but the applicant subsequently lodged the mixed-use plan.

When the application came before Galway City Council, planners refused permission based on the poor quality design of the building, insufficient provision of car parking spaces, sub-standard communal open space and excessive size and scale of the proposal.

They said that having regard to the prominent location of the site, which they describe as “an importance entrance site into Galway City”, it was considered that the proposed development was inappropriate.

An Bord Pleanála noted that the development consisted of a mix of elevations, roof and window styles and four different types of external materials and excessive signage and would be incongruous in terms of its design and would set an undesirable precedent for future development in this area.

The proposed development, they added, would seriously injure the visual amenities of the area, would be contrary to policies contained in the current Galway City Development Plan.

“It is considered that the car parking provision for the proposed development and, in particular the lack of sufficient on-site car parking spaces, would be seriously deficient and would be inadequate to cater for the parking demand generated by the proposed development.

“It would result in on-street parking and tend to create serious traffic congestion on the adjoining roads, which would endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard. The proposed development would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area,” An Bord Pleanála ruled.

There were 11 submissions from local residents, including the neighbouring Hawthorn Residents’ Association opposing the development – they claimed that it would result in excessive noise in the area and have the potential to create anti-social behaviour.