Developer refuses to ‘scale up’ plans for new homes

An architect's impression of the proposed development at Castlegar.

The developer behind plans for more than 70 new homes in Castlegar has disputed Galway City Council’s contention that even more residences should be built on the site.

Last August, Cathal O’Connor of Altitude Distribution Ltd in Sligo sought permission to develop the 5.4-acre site on School Road to include 74 homes and 168 parking spaces.

The proposal comprised 60 houses and 14 apartments – 27 three-bed terraced; 22 three-bed semis; 8 two-bed semis; 7 three-bed duplex; 7 two-bed apartments; 2 four-bed semis and a four-bed detached house. There are also 20 bicycle parking spaces proposed.

However, planners at City Hall pointed out that because the land is zoned residential and serviced, the proposal would not meet the requirements of the current City Development Plan.

The Council asked that the plans be revised to increase the density of the development.

Questions were also raised about the overall design and layout of the development.

In a response just lodged with the Council, the applicants argued that the plans were actually in accordance with Government guidelines for urban housing and due to requirements for a “buffer zone” for the ESB on the site.

A number of the houses were re-orientated so that the face open space within the site and a play area has been introduced.

The Castlegar Residents’ Association objected to the application on the grounds it would “present a direct and foreseeable risk to public safety along School Road because of the proposed access arrangements, the consequent increase of vehicular traffic and the absence of appropriate infrastructure or public transport”.

They point out that there are no lane markings on School Road and at a number of locations, the road is not wide enough for two cars to pass and point out there are no footpaths.

Those concerns were echoed individually by a number of other residents, and by Cllr Terry O’Flaherty, who asked planners to take the “very valid concerns” into account.