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CITY TRIBUNE

Councillor slams breach of planning on protected wall

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The city’s planning enforcement department and the Lough Corrib Navigation Trustees have been lambasted for “sitting on their hands” while a protected wall was demolished and an entrance built from it to a private dwelling.

The Lough Corrib Navigation Trustees, run by a board of directors made up of council officials and councillors, is the legal owner and manager of waterways and water infrastructure in the city.

Galway City Councillor Pádraig  Conneely said he had been contacted by Henry Street residents who were alarmed to see that part of the wall along the Eglinton Canal tow path behind their homes was being knocked.

He said he alerted the Galway City Council’s enforcement section.

However, when officials visited the site they were unable to talk with anyone. A search of the land registry found no record of the owners after the property was sold last December.

Cllr Conneely said he, too, visited the property and was able to talk with workers who are building an extension to the house. He also found out without much difficulty who had bought the home.

“So they knew this was happening and they did nothing to stop it. All they did was issue a letter or two. What good is that after the horse has bolted,” he fumed.

“This wall is a protected structure and a part of the real old Galway going back to the foundation of the city. It’s actually owned by the Lough Corrib Navigation Trustees and no entries or exits have been allowed on it for at least 50 years.”

A letter from the Lough Corrib Navigation Trustees sent to the owner states that the wall does not form part of the property register and is listed as a protected structure under the Galway City Council Development Plan as it is constructed using excavated stone from the canal.

It states that the board of the trustees is seeking legal advice on the issue.

“So now they are going into legal proceedings which will take years and years and cost a lot of money instead of acting immediately when I contacted them while the job was still going on. They’ll probably ask the owner to restore the wall but there will be retention applications and all sorts of nonsense,” said Cllr Conneely.

“The residents are very upset. This is a very old part of the city and should not be touched by anybody. Who’s going to protect the heritage of the city if the Council won’t?”

Derrick Hambleton, chairman of the Galway branch of the environmental watchdog An Taisce, said the Eglinton canal, banks and tow path are protected.

“Also included are the walls, which are part of the canals curtilage. I understand that it is not policy to allow openings through this wall.”

A spokesman for Galway City Council said the matter had come to the attention of Galway City Council “in the past couple of days”.

“A warning letter is being issued to the property owners in relation to the unauthorised development,” he told the Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

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

Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

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

Councillors divided over vote on Salthill Prom cycleway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to install a temporary two-way cycle lane along Salthill Promenade hangs in the balance, with city councillors split ahead of a vote next week.

On Monday night, the 18 city councillors will discuss Mayor Colette Connolly’s motion that the lane be installed on the coastal side of the road from Blackrock to a point opposite Galway Business School.

A poll of the councillors carried out by the Galway City Tribune yesterday found nine in favour of the proposal, with one indicating they will abstain. A simple majority is required and if there is a 9-9 split, the Mayor holds a ‘casting’ vote, effectively a second vote.

There has been a flurry of lobbying by cycling campaigners urging councillors to vote in favour, as well as some complaints from residents worried it will again impinge on their parking as visitors to Salthill seek somewhere to park up while they swim or walk along the most utilised resource the city has.

During lockdown, Gardaí removed parking on the Prom to deter people from gathering in a public space. This resulted in motorists blocking driveways and entering private estates, leading one estate off Threadneedle Road to hire a private clamping company.

Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) believes there are a maximum of 250 spaces that would be lost to the project on one side of the road as currently proposed, including seven disabled spaces, which could be reassigned close by.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the issue and to see how each councillor intends to vote, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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