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CITY TRIBUNE

Any gigs in new Sportsground will require planning permission

Stephen Corrigan

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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.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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