Planning permission has been granted for the redevelopment of the Sportsground – but with the condition that any events outside the norm, such as concerts, would have to receive the prior approval of Galway City Council.
This comes after some speculation locally that the new development, which involves the construction of a 12,000-capacity stadium, could be a location for large-scale concerts.
In a submission to the Council, the Lough Atalia Development Association demanded that a stipulation be put in place banning “free standing events” at the Sportsground.
In conditions attached to the planning permission granted, city planners have specified that Connacht Rugby cannot deviate from a list of events attached as part of its application – which included a significant number of Connacht Rugby Pro games, community events, media open days or briefings and school tours – but no concerts.
It is stated that these limitations are in place “to clarify the nature and extent of development approved by this permission”.
It is understood that Connacht Rugby have not included for consideration any concerts or night-time events as part of their financial model for funding the Sportsground’s redevelopment.
Plans for the College Road venue include the construction of a new grandstand, high-performance training centre, 4G synthetic playing pitch, bars, food stands and supporter facilities.
A number of other conditions have been attached, including the controlled use of floodlighting – for three hours on televised match days, with pre-match lighting for one-and-a-half hours and post-match for two hours.
It is stated that floodlights “shall not be used for concerts or any other recreational activity, as not applied for under this planning application”.
The planner’s report specifies that floodlighting shall not be used after 10.30pm on any day, and independent logs of usage must also be kept.
The developer has also been instructed to submit a traffic management plan prior to the first match at the new facility “in the interest of maximising permeability to the site and to adjoining lands”.
A total of seven observations were lodged on the application for planning – many expressing concern over traffic and noise pollution.
However, planners at City Hall concluded that the proposed stadium would provide “positive contribution to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area”.
“It is considered that, subject to compliance with the conditions outlined below, the proposed development will not give rise to any issues that would impact negatively on residential amenity in the local area and it is not considered to undermine the objectives of the Galway City Council Development Plan.”
Last week, city councillors voted to give top priority for up to €30 million in Government sports grants to the Sportsground – with many believing the redevelopment of Connacht Rugby’s home ground had the best chance of securing funding in a competition that puts Galway up against large sports infrastructure projects across the five Irish regional cities.
Welcoming the news that planning permission had been granted, Cllr Mike Crowe said this would be a significant project for the region.
“I’m delighted that planning permission has been granted for the Sportsground and I look forward to seeing the development progress.
“The development of this new stadium is very important, not only to Galway City, but also to the county and the entire region,” said the Fianna Fáil councillor.
Huge reward for ‘dognap’ – as canine companion dies of broken heart
Galway City Tribune – Galway’s most famous dog, Biggy the Irish Wolfhound, has “died of a broken heart” after his Jack Russell best mate was the victim of a suspected ‘dognap’ – which led to the owner putting up a €20,000 reward.
Following a social media campaign which went viral, Biggy was famously reunited with his family 11 days after he went missing in 2013. He was discovered on the motorway outside Athenry.
Nine years later, James Leopold Mechels has erected hundreds of posters all over the city and suburbs in a desperate bid to find the ageing Jack Russell he calls ‘Little One’.
The Belgian native recently increased a reward for the return of his beloved pooch from €1,000 to €20,000. But so far, no credible sightings have been made.
“He’s been missing for 3,288 hours – 137 days, I’m so exhausted, so upset, so anxious. I’ve stopped working to focus all of my effort into finding him. I’ve cycled all over the city, I’ve driven to the horse fair in Ballinasloe,” James told the Galway City Tribune this week.
This is a preview only. To read more of James’ story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.
■ Anybody with information is asked to call 087 0650678 or Ark Vets on 091 584185.
Row deepens over Tiny Traders market
Galway City Tribune – The row between the Tiny Traders Village and Galway Arts Centre – the operators of Nuns’ Island Theatre – deepened this week as the Arts Centre announced its intentions to open its own market on the site.
Manager of the Tiny Traders Village, Paul David Murphy, has claimed this was proof that it was always Galway Arts Centre, and its Managing Director, Páraic Breathnach’s, intention to “force” them out, adding that he had felt under constant threat of being shut down.
“It did come as a bit of a shock, but it was something I was expecting,” said Mr Murphy of a post on social media announcing that a new market would open.
“It’s now obvious that they were trying to get rid of us and I can’t believe how transparent they’ve been. Up until this point, there had been a little degree of mystery as to why this happened. It’s sad because the Tiny Traders Village was working really well.”
This comes following a decision by the Tiny Traders to cease trading two weeks ago, citing changes that Galway Arts Centre had requested that Mr Murphy said would have made his business “unviable”.
Speaking to the Galway City Tribune this week, Páraic Breathnach confirmed that they had requested changes – involving layout alterations and clearance – but this had been done due to health and safety concerns.
“There were changes requested to comply with fire regulations, safety and health. They were in relation to the blocking of pathways, the blocking of fire exits, clearance between stalls and the affixing of canopies to a listed building,” said Mr Breathnach.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.
Call for Gardaí to confiscate vehicles involved in fly-tipping
Galway City Tribune – confiscation of vehicles – and driver disqualification – have been sought by a Galway TD and a local councillor for those involved in illegal dumping.
According to Independent TD, Noel Grealish and Independent councillor, Noel Larkin, illegal dumping on the east side of Galway City has now reached ‘an all-time high’.
Last week, Deputy Grealish and Cllr Larkin, met with Climate Action and Environment Minister, Richard Bruton, to seek new measures cracking down on those involved in illegal dumping.
“I asked Minister Bruton to introduce legislation that would result in driver disqualification for persons convicted of illegal dumping while using a vehicle. I am also seeking for the introduction of legislation that will give judges the power to order the confiscation of vehicles used for illegal dumping,” said Deputy Grealish.
The Gardaí and Galway City and Council Councils have now been asked to establish an ‘all-county initiative’ to tackle the problem.
This year, Galway City Council was allocated just €50,000 from a €7.4m Government fund to tackle illegal dumping – the lowest figure of any local authority in the country.
This is a preview only. For extensive coverage of the illegal dumping issue, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.