Work begins on €8 estate million regeneration

READY FOR DEMOLITION . . . Houses at Gilmartin Road in Tuam which are ready to be knocked down. Photo: Johnny Ryan Photography.

Works are to commence next week on a controversial development in Tuam that includes the demolition of a number of Traveller houses and provision of an €8 million regeneration in its place.

But Cathaoirleach of Tuam Municipal Council, Cllr Donagh Killilea said that it would not be a case of “replacing like with like”. He said that Gilmartin Road in Tuam would have a new look as well as new tenants.

The residents in Gilmartin Road who have been relocated to various estates across the county will not be returning. Cllr Killilea said that the new homes would be occupied mainly by young couples.

Galway County Council have plans to regenerate Gilmartin Road in Tuam. This involves the demolition of around 30 existing dwellings and the development of 40 houses in their place. It is a move that has been welcomed locally.

The estate has been mainly occupied by members of the Travelling community over the years who are now being relocated to other estates around the county.

It is the intention of Galway County Council to create a ‘new estate’ in which new two-bedroom and three-bedroom houses will be provided that will accommodate young couples, single occupants or small families in the town.

At the end of last year the contract for the redevelopment of Gilmartin Road was signed by Council officials and the appointed contractors. As of this week there has been restricted access to the road to allow for demolition works to commence.

When completed, it will result in a complete transformation of Gilmartin Road with the construction of 40 new houses and the refurbishment of more than 20 others as part of the biggest development ever to take place since the estate was built in the 1950s.

But there has been criticism of level of investment in the project. When there were works carried out on the refurbishment of houses in Gilmartin Road around 15 years ago, it resulted in the homes falling into a state of dilapidation within a few years of these revamps taking place.

There is a lot of local opposition to almost €8 million being spent on another regeneration programme in Gilmartin Road on the basis of past experiences.

But Cllr Donagh Killilea said that what happened in the past was unacceptable but he was now being assured that the same would not happen again. He has also supported calls for an estate management plan to be put in place in the aftermath of the new development.

“At the moment we are looking at site clearance works taking place over the next couple of weeks to allow the development to commence.

“I am aware of the criticisms that are out there but I have been assured by Galway County Council that there will not be a return to the situation of old.

“The new houses that will be constructed are mainly two-bedroom and three-bedroom so we are looking at a situation in which we will have new tenants. Those of have been relocated from the estate will not be returning,” Cllr Killilea added.

It is understood that the developers are hoping to complete some of the new houses by the end of this year with the whole estate taking on a new look by this time next year.