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Fresh bid to build 150 new homes on site in Rahoon, Galway


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Fresh bid to build 150 new homes on site in Rahoon, Galway Fresh bid to build 150 new homes on site in Rahoon, Galway

From the Galway City Tribune – Fresh plans to develop a 10-acre site in Rahoon – involving the construction of almost 150 houses and apartments – have been lodged with Galway City Council.

The new application from Cairn Homes comes just three months after it withdrew a similar proposal from An Bord Pleanála – after Transport Infrastructure Ireland warned it would encroach on the Galway City Ring Road route and City Hall raised concerns about creating a ‘rat run’.

In the new application, Cairn – which is backed by some of the biggest financiers and investment funds in the world – has sought permission under new Large-scale Residential Development (LRD) legislation to build 148 residential units on the southern side of the Letteragh Road on the site which surrounds the Breacán estate.

The plans include:

  • 93 houses (4 two-bed; 81 three-bed and 8 four-bed)
  • 20 duplex units (10 two-bed ground floor and 10 three-bed upper floor)
  • 35 apartments (19 one-bed and 16 two-bed)

The development will also include shared communal and private open space, an ‘Active Travel’ pedestrian and cycle path, car and bicycle parking and pedestrian and cycle access to Bóthar Dhiarmada (which runs from the Rahoon Road and links Rosán Glas and Bun a’ Chnoic).

In April of last year, Cairn sought permission under the discontinued Strategic Housing Development (SHDs) process for 151 houses and apartments and a creche, as well as a vehicular link to Bóthar Dhiarmada.

Both planning processes are largely similar, although LRDs are decided on by local authorities, rather than An Bord Pleanála, which ruled on SHDs.

The previous application was withdrawn by Cairn last February after Galway County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland objected on the grounds the development would encroach on land earmarked for the ring road.

Galway City Council expressed concerns that opening up Bóthar Dhiarmada to vehicular traffic would create a ran run between Rahoon and the Letteragh Road.

Galway Cycling Campaign complained the development over emphasised design principles for vehicles providing access to Letteragh and Rahoon roads via Bóthar Dhiarmada.

Through traffic would “reduce safety and liveability” of the proposed development’s future residents, it said.

The cycling lobby highlighted its road safety concerns, permeability design concerns, and concerns about cycling infrastructure in its submission.

According to the new application, the concerns raised have been addressed – vehicular access to Bóthar Dhiarmada has been omitted.

Further landscaping has been provided to the west and north-west of the site in ordered to provide a buffer between the ring road.

Boundary changes have also been made so that the development does not encroach on the boundary of lands which are subject to Compulsory Purchase Order for the ring road.

The positioning of the apartment building has been revised and the number of units has been reduced, while the 40-place creche has been omitted – which has resulted in additional open space.

“The Childcare Demand Assessment has been updated and concludes that there is sufficient capacity in the area to cater for the creche-going population of the proposed development.

“The site layout has introduced an Active Travel Area in the form of a cycle lane along the site’s western boundary. This cycle lane links to the pedestrian and cycle access to Bóthar Dhiarmada, providing a key connection to the Knocknacarra District Centre. This connection to the surrounding community provides a significant planning gain for the scheme and the wider area,” the application reads.

The plans include 273 carparking spaces and 160 bicycle spaces.

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 lands are owned by Cairn Homes Galway Ltd; Liam Goaley and the family of the late Nora Keane, all of whom have consented to the planning application being made. The site forms part of a larger 20-acre landholding owned by Cairn.

A total of 14 units – seven apartments, three houses and four duplex units – will be transferred to the Council to satisfy ‘Part V’ social housing requirements.

Unlike SHDs – which were lodged directly with An Bord Pleanála following initial consultations with the local council – the new LRDs are decided on by the local authority.

When an LRD application is lodged, a decision must be made within eight weeks. Members of the public have five weeks from the date of the application to make a submission to the Council, in this case the application was made on May 16.

The Council’s decision can be appealed to An Bord Pleanála, in which case the Board has a mandatory 16-week decision timeframe.

If given the go-ahead by planners, the development could create in the region of €50 million worth of residential property sales.

Cairn Homes – where the former CEO of KBC Bank serves on the board – entered the market in 2016 and among its major investors are Moore Capital, which is operated by Wall Street billionaire Louis Bacon; JP Morgan Asset Management; Lansdowne Partners and GLG Partners, some of the biggest investment fund managers in Britain.

(Photo: A computer-generated image of the proposed development off Letteragh Road).

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