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Fears over ‘noise issue’ at new Black Gate arts venue


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Fears over ‘noise issue’ at new Black Gate arts venue Fears over ‘noise issue’ at new Black Gate arts venue

From the Galway City Tribune – The backers of the Black Gate Theatre project have been asked to produce a noise impact assessment for their proposed new performance space in Galway City.

Peadar King and Eamonn Day Lavelle had sought permission for works to Flood Street House on Flood Street, which include a change of use from retail space on the ground floor and office space on the first floor.

The plans involve a cultural centre with a café bar and performance space/theatre area on the ground floor and a recording studio and editing suite overhead. However, Galway City Council has already ruled out the studio plan.

Through Trá Gheall Ltd, the applicants own the building and the apartments on the upper floors. They told Galway City Council that extensive soundproofing works would be carried out to the existing walls and the fabric of the ceiling on the ground floor “to ensure that sound levels are kept to acceptable levels and to stunt transfer of sound”.

The business partners hope to create a similar business to that the Black Gate, which they set up on Francis Street in 2017.

“It was at once a café and wine bar, a music venue, a state-of-the-art recording studio, a gallery, and an office space for creatives. Our aim was to build a cultural hub in Galway; a place of character, community, creativity and respect. We succeeded.

“We are now an integral part of the Irish music scene. Over the years we have hosted an enormous variety of gigs; everything from trad to hip-hop, jazz to folk, from local emerging musicians to renowned international stars.

“We are driven by the need to give artists voice and space, while constantly strengthening our position as a vital fulcrum across Galway’s music, film, TV, art and theatre scenes,” the applicants to the Council.

They added that they launched the Black Gate music label in 2020 and already released Niamh Regan’s debut album; the Black Gate recording studio and Seisiúin sa Black Gate, a music series for TG4.

According to the application, hours of operation will be 4.30pm to 11.30pm seven nights a week and there will be no cooking on site, just finger food and cheese plates with a glass of beer or wine.

However, the Council has now sought further information on the proposals and given the applicants until next April to respond or the application will be deemed to be withdrawn.

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. A one-year digital subscription costs just €89.00. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

The local authority said the provision of a cultural hub on the ground floor of the building would be acceptable, but it had concerns about “the significant intensification of use on site in an area where there are a significant number of residential units and businesses”.

“It is considered that the use of the ground floor space as a café/bar, performance space and theatre, seven days a week, from 4pm to 11pm, is likely to give rise to a negative impact on amenities in the local area, particularly residential amenity,” the Council said, requesting a noise impact assessment be carried out and that “noise associated with group gatherings/congregations of people outside the permitted public footpath” should be considered as part of the report.

The local authority added that regardless of proposed soundproofing, the use of the first-floor office space, adjacent to an existing apartment, is considered to be unacceptable as it would give rise to a negative impact on residential amenity. The recording studio and editing suite must, therefore, be omitted from the plans.

The Council also noted that there are two new “exit doors” proposed at ground floor level and asked the applicants to justify their need and comment on potential for noise issues.

“The operation or opening/closing of these doors is a critical consideration due to the high potential for noise to transmit/escape externally to the street, which would ultimately provide a negative impact on amenities in the local area,” the Council said.

A submission from Flood Street resident, Robert Conneely, raised concerns about potential for noise and patrons using the front as a smoking area or for gathering, as well as the noise on the street during the hours of operation from 4.30pm to 11pm.

He also raised concerns about the proposed new doors, which would facilitate for access onto Flood Street, and potentially more people congregating or smoking outside. One of the doors is located adjacent to an internal stage area “which may be opened during events . . . where sound leakage could occur” causing a significant noise issue on the street, Mr Conneely said.

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