€104m Bonham Quay developer hits back at appeals

An artist's impression of the proposed €100m development on Galway Docks.

Four appeals – including one from environmental campaign group An Taisce – have been lodged with An Bord Pleanála against plans for the €104 million new ‘urban quarter’ office development at Galway Docks.

However, the developers of the project, Gerry Barrett’s Edward Capital, have hit back, saying it is of “vital economic importance to the city’s future growth”.

The Bonham Quay development – which was given the green light by Galway City Council last month – would create office space for around 2,600 workers and generate 500 construction jobs.

In its appeal, An Taisce has argued that the project is in direct contravention of several policies of the current Galway City Development Plan.

The group said the development does not meet the requirement for a minimum 30% residential content, as no new homes are proposed. (The developers have separately applied for permission to build 345 student bed spaces in an adjacent ‘Queen Street’ project.)

“The development . . . overshadows and overlooks adjacent residential properties, would cause shadow-casts and visually impact adjacent amenities including protected areas such as the nearby St. Nicholas Street. It also contravenes prevailing plot ratio with site over-intensification.”

The environmental group has also raised concerns about “the safe removal and remediation of the 39,000 tonnes of highly-contaminated soil infill required to be excavated from the site”.

In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, a spokesperson for developers Edward Capital said: “It is our belief and the belief of the business community in the Galway, as shown by the dozens of letters of support we received, that Bonham Quay is of vital economic importance to the city’s future growth.

“It will provide contemporary and adaptable workplaces that are now demanded by any international companies of standing. They do not wish to be based on green-field sites far away from the amenities of one of Ireland’s most dynamic city centres. Bonham Quay is a chance to reimagine Galway.

“Contrary to the selective content of the appeals, it does provide for large areas to come into the public realm. These new civic areas are equal to if not greater than the public spaces already extant in the city, such as at Spanish Parade. It does provide for a cultural and arts facility accommodating up to 300 people, which will again be an adaptable space for use by the Council and local arts and community groups.”

Separate appeals raise concerns about overlooking, overshadowing and excessive height; an argument that there should be a Local Area Plan drawn up for Ceannt Station and the Inner Harbour; and a legal argument over ownership of land and a right of way.
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