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Clearance at last for city centre homes


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Clearance at last for city centre homes Clearance at last for city centre homes

There is white smoke at last on the City Council’s plans to develop social housing and a cultural venue at derelict units on Merchants Road.

More than two years after an application for planning was lodged with An Bord Pleanála, permission was granted for the development this week.

As part of the plans, numbers 17 to 20 on Merchants Road Lower are to be demolished and replaced with a five-storey mixed-used development comprising a café, cultural venue, 12 social housing apartments and a roof terrace.

Cllr Níall McNelis (Lab) said that despite the “unacceptable length of time” it took An Bord Pleanála to provide its decision, it was “hugely welcome”.

“The 12 social housing units are very much welcome, but also the cultural venue is very much needed for the city,” he said.

The Labour Councillor pointed to Galway Arts Centre as a possible tenant for the new development as its current premises on Dominick Street was in “poor condition”.

“They need a new home,” he said. “This development is another piece in the jigsaw in that part of the city. It ties in with the museum and Pálás in what has been called the city’s ‘cultural quarter’,” said Cllr McNelis.

The development will include five one-bedroom apartments and seven two-bed units, in addition to a covered courtyard at ground-floor level.

Alongside the cultural venue will be a café which Cllr McNelis said could well be used as an income stream for the artistic venture that will operate from the new building.

“It could be a social enterprise so it could serve as a funding stream to run the cultural centre.

“This is the perfect location for what is proposed and it is much needed for housing and for the local artistic community,” he said.

The An Bord Pleanála inspector’s report details observations submitted by a number of interested parties, including An Taisce.

Pictured: An architect’s impression of the Council’s proposed housing on Merchants Road.

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