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City Council refuses permission for ‘overbearing’ 189-bed Docks development


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

City Council refuses permission for ‘overbearing’ 189-bed Docks development City Council refuses permission for ‘overbearing’ 189-bed Docks development

By Brendan Carroll

Galway City Council has refused to allow a 15-storey hotel to be built in the Docks area.

The 189-bedroom hotel was planned for a ‘brownfield’ site on the corner of Lough Atalia and Bóthar na Long, directly across the road from the Harbour Hotel.

But city planners felt that the towering structure would be too high, would adversely impact the adjoining history-laden Forthill Cemetery, and would be out of place in the Galway townscape.

An application for planning permission to build the hotel on the site of less than a quarter of a hectare was lodged in April by Summix BNM Developments Limited, a Dublin-registered development company which operates in the UK and Ireland.

The same company had been refuse+d permission by the City Council, and on appeal to An Bord Pleanála only last year, for a smaller, 11-storey hotel on the site.

The area was historically used for coal storage. An existing vacant industrial structure and the high boundary walls around the former Donnelly’s Coal site would be demolished to make way for the 7,500 square metre building.

The new plans lodged two months ago envisaged 14 bedrooms on most of the floors, with food and beverage areas on the ground floor.

Galway City Council’s Heritage Officer and its Conservation Officer opposed the development, which they considered out of scale and proportion and would have a detrimental effect on the skyline, visual amenity and environment of the area.

“The proposal would overshadow and badly affect the cemetery at Forthill which is a significant element in the Galway City record of monuments and places and an important archaeological site which is protected under the national monument’s legislation,” the report by Heritage Officer Jim Higgins said.

He added: “Several areas of the walling of the cemetery incorporate elements of the medieval Augustinian priory and the bastioned star shaped fort which succeeded it.

“The proposed development would impinge on the ditch which enclosed the bastioned fort and is likely to destroy cultural and archaeological features, deposits and finds.

“The boundary walls of the cemetery are already weak and buttressed and the Heritage Officer considers that digging of the foundations necessary for the development of this scale would undermine and weaken them”

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