Environmental watchdog An Taisce has urged Galway City Council to learn from the mistakes of the past by putting public transport links in place before developing a ‘new town’ on the eastern outskirts of the city at Ardaun.
In a submission to the local authority ahead of the drafting of a Local Area Plan (LAP), An Taisce spokesman Derrick Hambleton said mistakes should be learned from the way in which suburbs such as Renmore, Knocknacarra, and Doughiska were developed without public facilities.
Otherwise, he said, the entire project was “questionable” if planners allow the construction of new houses without the vital elements of a successful new town.
He said that the development of Ardaun should be seen as a long-term objective and that the local authority’s main focus should be on the city’s more pressing transportation and housing needs.
According to An Taisce, there should be a tram or rail link with the city centre from the heart of the new town.
Mr Hambleton said there was an onus on the City Council to reduce “wasteful car dependence” in any plans for a future new town at Ardaun.
He suggested that the city authorities should examine the feasibility of a tram link with the city centre, given that cities such as Plauen, Germany (population 67,000); Avignon, France (90,000); and Nordhausen in Denmark (44,200) had developed tram lines.
“There are many other such small cities around Europe (we have counted 40) with populations similar to, or smaller than Galway that have invested in tram services,” he said.
“Here in Galway, we have a summer time population of 100,000, while a winter time boost in resident population is brought about by our student population.”
Mr Hambleton said the plan for the ‘new town’ should take account of revised national forecasts for growth, which had decreased substantially since the outset of the economic crisis.
He told the local authority that social housing, community facilities, shops, green parks, and local services such as water and waste water treatment, as well as high-capacity transport links to the city centre, should be included in the area plan.
“It is not envisaged by An Taisce that Ardaun should be developed now, but should be set out as a longer term objective, so as not to delay any transport and present day housing projects needed for the rest of the city,” he said.
Mr Hambleton said planners must learn from the mistakes of the past, after building new houses in city suburbs without putting vital infrastructural elements in place.
“Historically, over the past 40 to 50 years we have seen many new suburbs such as Renmore, New Mervue, Corrib Park, Westside, Knocknacarra, Castle Park and, more recently, Doughuisce all being built without any provision being made for public facilities, which only came many years later in some cases, if at all,” he added.
Last Friday was the closing date for submissions to Galway City Council regarding the Ardaun Local Action Plan. The plan will outline detailed planning policies for an area which is expected to experience significant growth in the coming years.
Water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna due to burst watermain
Galway Bay fm newsroom – There are water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna this morning due to a burst watermain
The burst is in a rising main from Clifton Hill in Galway City to Tonabrucky Reservoir
The city council and Irish Water says while every effort is being made to maintain supply to as many customers as possible, the burst has caused water levels in Tonabrucky Reservoir to deplete
Houses and businesses in Knocknacarra, Barna and surrounding areas will experience low pressure and outages.
Dedicated water service crews have mobilised and repairs are underway and are expected to be completed by mid-afternoon.
Traffic management will be in place and Letteragh Road will be closed between Sliabh Rua and Tonabrucky Cross until 6pm.
Householders and businessses are being asked to conserve water where possible to reduce the pressure on local supplies and allow reservoir levels to restore.
Woman sustains serious injuries after being struck by firework in Eyre Square
Gardaí are appealing for witnesses after a young woman was struck in the face by a firework in Eyre Square in the city overnight.
It happened shortly after midnight and gardai say it’s understood the firework had been launched from close to the Tourist Information Kiosk.
The young woman suffered serious injuries and was hospitalised as a result.
Gardaí understand there was a large group of people in Eyre Square at the time and are now asking that any person who may have witnessed the incident make contact with the investigating team.
In particular Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have video footage of the incident, either on mobile phone, CCTV or dash-cam to make contact with them.
This incident comes just days after a policing committee meeting was told of increasing concern about anti social behaviour around Eyre Square.
Garda chief suggests closing Eyre Square to curb anti-social behaviour
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Closing Eyre Square at night-time was among the radical suggestions put forward by Galway’s top Garda this week – in response to claims that the city centre’s famous landmark had become a ‘no-go area’ after dark.
It comes as Gardaí confirmed that since January they issued almost 500 fines for breaches of the city’s alcohol bylaws, which prohibit the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.
Responding to claims that people were afraid to visit parts of the city centre at night due to anti-social behaviour, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that the authorities might have to look at closing Eyre Square at certain times.
Chief Supt Curley also said that improved lighting and better CCTV were other tools that could be used to deter anti-social behaviour and to detect crime in the city centre.
“I’d need another five officers in there – and I haven’t got them,” said Chief Supt Curley of the requirement for more Gardaí on patrol in Eyre Square.
He was responding to a charge by former mayor of Galway, Councillor Frank Fahy, who said Eyre Square was dangerous at night. “It’s a no-go area,” he said at a City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting this week.
Cllr Fahy said that the illegal activity and anti-social behaviour in the city centre was a product of the Covid-19 pandemic and people socialising outdoors. Eyre Square was safe pre-Covid, he said.
In a written reply to the JPC, Chief Supt Curley said that anti-social behaviour issues had been ‘de-escalated’ along the city’s canals, Woodquay and Spanish Arch ‘as a result of extra Garda patrols’.
“The resulting consequences have led to crowd movement from these areas (and they) are now congregating at Eyre Square. Garda attention is concentrated on Eyre Square, however the return of students and the continued restrictions has led to increased numbers,” he said.
(Photo: a scene from Eyre Square at night this week taken from a video circulated on social media)
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.