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All-clear for 227 homes exposes ring road rift


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

All-clear for 227 homes exposes ring road rift All-clear for 227 homes exposes ring road rift

An Bord Pleanála have overturned a City Council decision to refuse permission for a 227-unit development – giving the go-ahead for the development at Gort na Bró in Knocknacarra.

In doing so, the Board has ruled the plans will not have a “material impact” on plans for the N6 Galway City Ring Road, once again exposing a chasm between the two state bodies tasked with delivering the project – Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and the Galway County Council-led National Roads Planning Office (N6 Project Team).

Galway City Council refused planning permission for the Glenveagh Living Ltd development at the entrance to the Gateway Retail Park last November and among the reasons for its refusal was that it would “adversely affect the operation and safety of the national road network”.

This was as a result of its potential impact on the preferred route for the Ring Road, with TII submitting that a “fifth arm” off the roundabout on the Western Distributor Road “is not permitted”.

However, in overturning that decision and granting permission, An Bord Pleanála’s Inspector’s Report sets out that the local project team did not agree.

“While the revised design of this proposed development is not fully consistent with the N6 GCRR design, it is not in material conflict with the N6 GCRR design,” stated the project team.

Glenveagh Living Ltd is to construct the apartments in seven blocks, some high-rise, ranging in height from three to five storeys and made up of 85 one-bed units; 139 two-bed units; and three three-bed units.

Local Councillor John Connolly (FF) said this was the second time in recent weeks that permission for a development had been granted on appeal to An Bord Pleanála, despite serious concerns that they would impact on the Ring Road project.

Irrespective of anyone’s position on this development, or the 148-unit residential development on the Letteragh Road which also secured permission, Cllr Connolly said it highlighted that TII and the local project team were at odds.

“The plan is to build a link road to the N59 [Galway to Moycullen] as part of the Ring Road project. The junction for that would be at Gort na Bró.

“I also have concerns that the development doesn’t make adequate provisions for the BusConnects project because there is to be an interchange where this development is to take place, with seven services an hour going through,” said Cllr Connolly.

He said he had previously raised the issue of TII and the roads project office diverging on planning issues and reiterated calls for the City Council to get a handle on it.

“The project office is essentially the County Council and while City Council should be represented on it, it concerns me that we appear to be at arms’ length. I’ve looked for reports of their meetings to be given to us,” said Cllr Connolly, adding that the development as a whole would put serious strain on local infrastructure and services.

In refusing permission, City Planners cited ‘overlooking’ as an issue, with the development’s windows to be less than a required 11 metres from the nearest site boundary, but the Board determined that this issue was due to be addressed as part of new guidelines which would reduce that requirement to 10 metres.

An Bord Pleanála granted permission for the development with 24 conditions, included among them a requirement that 10% of the 49 surface-level and 181 underground parking spaces included in the development must have functioning EV charging stations.

The development, as proposed, will also include 114 short-stay bicycle spaces and 436 long-stay spaces; a childcare facility; and a community facility.

Pictured: How the Knocknacarra development will look.

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