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Blow to Galway City Council housing targets following Knocknacarra refusal


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Blow to Galway City Council housing targets following Knocknacarra refusal

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Permission has been refused for a major social housing development in Knocknacarra, throwing the Council’s housing targets into disarray.

In a blow to the city’s housing strategy, An Bord Pleanála has rejected outright plans for the development at Keeraun, Ballymoneen Road which was due to be built on a controversial site for which the Council forked out over €10 million to purchase.

In its ruling, the Board said the proposal amounted to “piecemeal development of the area without the provision of adequate social and physical infrastructure” – with poor public transport a key issue identified in its consideration.

The substandard condition of the Ballymoneen Road was also a factor and planners stated the development would be “premature”, pending the completion of the N6 Galway City Ring Road Scheme.

The proposal was to develop 71 social housing units on the site – four one-bedroom units; 34 two-bedroom units; 22 three-bedroom units; three four-bedroom units; and eight Traveller-specific accommodation units which were to be used to rehouse those living in the Cúl Trá (Bishop’s Field) site in Salthill for which the lease has expired.

The Knocknacarra site was the subject of a Public Accounts Committee probe in 2017 after the Galway City Tribune revealed the Council had purchased the lands for €10.5 million from developer Sawgrass Ltd in January 2008 – just a few months after that same developer had purchased the land in two lots for €6.4 million.

The bottom fell out of the economy soon after and the site has been lying idle ever since. Local councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) told the Tribune this week that it would be left empty for some time to come after An Bord Pleanála’s bombshell decision.

“This is the third application turned down by the Board recently because they were on sites on the periphery of the city and I think that will have serious ramifications for addressing the housing crisis going forward,” said Cllr Lyons referring to a private development on the Ballymoneen Road and a social housing development on the Headford Road.

Photo: The controversial site at Keeraun, Ballymoneen Road.

This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the January 27 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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