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CITY TRIBUNE

Council planners rule playing pitches would be ‘traffic hazard’

Declan Tierney

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A multi-million euro pitch development planned for the Carnmore area has been rejected by planners on the grounds that it would create a traffic hazard along the airport road.

And, contrary to speculation, Galwegians RFC have distanced themselves from the application which was submitted to Galway County Council by millionaire developer Liam Mulryan.

It was suggested that the club would relocate to the 28-acre Carnmore site if planning was granted but ‘Wegians have stated that there was no arrangement in place to do this.

“We have no deal done with Liam Mulryan”, stated Galwegians Club President Michael Tarpey when contacted by the Galway City Tribune.

Earlier this year Galwegians sold their 9.76-acre property to local developer Neil Armstrong – the lands are zoned residential and could accommodate around 150 houses.

The sale is subject to the club finding alternative accommodation and that is how they were linked to the Mulryan development of five pitches, a clubhouse and parking for more than 120 vehicles at Ballintemple.

The site for the pitch development is located close to Galway Airport and the planning application included letters of consent from local landowners for the development.

The application itself does not make reference to the facility being used for rugby purposes but one of the submissions to the plan makes mention of Galwegians. But the club has clearly stated that the application was not made on its behalf.

However, if planning permission had been secured by Liam Mulryan, it would not have prevented the club from considering the Carnmore location as their new home.

Galway County Council have refused planning permission on the grounds the proposed development would result in increased traffic movements along the Monivea Road at this location.

Planners ruled that it would interfere with the safety and free flow of traffic along this road and cause a traffic hazard. It would also depreciate property values in the immediate vicinity.

They also said that the proposed pitches would be located on unzoned lands along a heavily-trafficked regional road where development is restricted to the essential needs of the particular locality.

Agents on behalf of the applicant, Mr Mulryan, informed planners that the pitches would not be used during peak morning and evening traffic times.

There was some opposition to the application. The Killeen Brockagh Ballintemple Water Scheme said that the development would be taking a supply and therefore could reduce the water pressure to local houses.

In their opinion the proposed development was premature until such time as the water supply in the area was upgraded.

They were not objecting to the development itself but felt that in the current circumstances it would impact on their “very fragile water supply”.

CITY TRIBUNE

Designated drinking zones in city centre are ‘only solution’

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Properly staffed designated areas are the only solution to out-of-control outdoor boozing, according to the city councillor who drafted the city’s drinking bylaws.

Cllr Peter Keane told the Galway City Tribune it was likely that councillors would seek to ‘tweak’ the existing bylaws in the near future to find a long-term solution that would enable young people to ‘enjoy a drink outdoors in a safe and controlled environment’, not just now, but in the future too.

To avoid a repeat of scenes around Spanish Arch over recent weekends, the Fianna Fáil councillor said providing areas where the consumption of alcohol was allowed would enable Gardaí to properly enforce the drinking bylaws throughout the rest of the city.

He said he could ‘absolutely appreciate the concerns of residents’ in the Claddagh and elsewhere where anti-social behaviour including urinating in gardens ‘and worse’ had been a blight in recent weeks, but said with proper control, those worst excesses could be avoided.

In the first ten days of June, 83 on-the-spot fines were issued in the city for drinking in a public place.

And last Saturday night, Gardaí closed off the Quincentenary Bridge after hundreds of young people gathered on the carriageway and turned it into a “highly-dangerous road traffic risk situation”.

“Control is the key word for me. Gardaí don’t have the resources, nor do they have the appetite as far as I can see, to deal with the lack of control there has been during the recent good weather.
“If you were to designate, say for example the Spanish Arch or a green area in Salthill, where the bylaws didn’t apply, you could put a number of wardens in place there to control the situation. You could provide adequate bins and toilets, and enough bodies to staff it, and that would allow gardaí to police the bylaws elsewhere,” said Cllr Keane.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and coverage of the re-opening of the hospitality sector and outdoor dining, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Dispute simmers between businesses and Council over outdoor spaces

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Friction between businesses and local government over the reclaiming of public space to facilitate outside hospitality marred the beginning of the city’s ‘outdoor summer’.

Galway City Council has come under fire over its handling of plans by bars and restaurants to use street furniture to facilitate outdoor dining and drinking.

Most city watering holes and eateries resumed trading on Bank Holiday Monday – serving outdoors only – for the first time since Christmas, and the authorities reported that it was successful for the most part, although it needed time to ‘bed in’.

The city vintners’ group said its members with adequate outdoor space were happy to be back and described the mood as ‘euphoric’ in places.

But several outlets expressed disappointment with the Council.

In Eyre Square, the Skeff Late Bar and Kitchen claimed it had to cancel 200 advance bookings – up to 800 people – for this week, after the Council refused permission for “extended outdoor seating”.

On Middle Street, Sangria Tapas Restaurant lashed the Council for refusing it permission to use certain types of awning and windbreakers to facilitate outdoor dining. “Surely the powers that be can take time to support the industry that supports the city?” its proprietor said in a complaint to City Hall.

‘Back the West’, businesses criticised the Council for rowing back on promises to provide additional outdoor space on Dominick Street Lower and Dominick Street Upper, in time for outdoor hospitality’s reopening on June 7.
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

Council chief: ‘landlords see 4% rent increase cap as a target’

Enda Cunningham

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Chief Executive of Galway City Council has said that the 4% annual cap on residential rent increases is now seen as a target by many landlords.

Brendan McGrath said that affordability continues to be a major problem for renters in the city and that an increasing number of people availing of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme have to pay ‘top ups’ to their landlords.

The HAP scheme replaces rent supplement for those with a long-term housing need – the individual finds a private rented accommodation within specific rent caps and the Council pays the landlord directly. The tenant then pays a rent to the Council based on their weekly household income.

The maximum monthly rents under the scheme range from €330 for an adult in shared accommodation to €900 for a single parent or couple with three kids.

Based on their household size, tenants can also apply for a 20% extra ‘discretionary’ payment on top of their HAP payment.

However, Mr McGrath said many on the HAP scheme in Galway have to pay top ups to their landlords.

“Rents as a percentage of income is increasing and affordability remains a major problem for the city’s renters. The majority of HAP tenants require additional discretionary payments to assist them in maintaining their tenancies, particularly single person households.

“An increasing number of HAP tenants now have to pay top ups to their landlords even with the 20% extra HAP discretionary payment applied for their particular household size,” Mr McGrath said in a report to councillors.
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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