City planners reject proposal to turn house into apartments

The house at Lower Salthill which has been turned down for demolition.

Planners have turned down a proposal to demolish a terraced house in Salthill to make way for a block of apartments – on the grounds that it would depreciate the value of other neighbouring properties.

John Lillis of Tipsy Taverns had sought permission to demolish No 12 Lower Salthill, to make way for an apartment block with seven residential units, parking area and amenity space.

Planners said the demolition of the house, to make way for an apartment building, would not make a positive contribution to the area’s urban design and would represent a major intervention into and redevelopment of the urban fabric.

They added that the provision of ‘single aspect apartments’ on the second floor would “seriously injure the amenities of the area and of property in the vicinity and that of future occupants”.

Planners also expressed concerns that the redevelopment would lead to a density of development which is out of character with the prevailing pattern of residential development in the area.

“It would therefore seriously injure the residential amenities and depreciate the value of property in the area by virtue of its location.”

The Council also ruled that the applicant had failed to demonstrate the vehicles could safely access the rear of the site, and there was insufficient parking proposed.

“The proposed development would result in a traffic hazard, encourage illegal parking which would endanger public safety by reason of a traffic hazard and obstruction of road users and would be injurious to public safety,” planners said.

The Council added it was not satisfied that the applicant had sufficient estate or legal interest in the access laneway for the purposes of making a planning application.

According to an engineer’s report submitted with the application, the building was originally to be refurbished, but it was found to be in poor structural condition and demolition was recommended.

A total of eight objections – including from the Lower Salthill Residents’ Association – were received to the plans on the grounds of poor design, overshadowing, traffic and parking issues and insufficient open space within the site.

Jim Higgins, Heritage Officer with Galway City Council said: “In my view the building is of heritage value, part of an important terraced group and should not be demolished.

“It also abuts the Nile lodge site (a Protected Structure) and has an impact on that site. In my view, the building should be re-roofed and restored. Its demolition would badly affect the streetscape and integrity of the terrace it forms part of,” said Mr Higgins.

At the moment the building – which was purchased by Mr Lillis for €420,000 – houses three apartments.