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Galway City centre building owners in dispute over apartments access


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway City centre building owners in dispute over apartments access Galway City centre building owners in dispute over apartments access

From the Galway City Tribune – A planning dispute has broken out between the owners of adjoining premises on Shop Street over access to planned new residential accommodation – through a pub’s yard and smoking area.

An Bord Pleanála will decide later this year on the dispute – between the owners of the Taaffe’s Bar building and the company which bought the former Griffin’s Bakery – over the use of a laneway at the side of the pub.

Last month, the City Council granted planning permission to Jessed Ltd – the new owners of the Griffin’s building at 21 Shop Street – for a change of use of the rear ground floor and the first, second and third floors from a bakery operation to residential use – including the removal of ovens, preparation and refrigeration equipment. In total, there would 2 four-bed units.

The company was refused permission for a food outlet with indoor and outdoor seating as part of the same application.

Kieran and Ann Murphy from Moycullen, who own 19/20 Shop Street, have now appealed the residential element of the application.

They said that while they do not object to the principle of the site being redeveloped, they wanted planning permission amended “to ensure that residential access is not granted through lands which are under [their] ownership”.

The matter had initially been raised by the Murphys in a submission to the Council, but in his assessment of the planning application, Council Executive Planner Peter Staunton said it was a civil matter.

According to the Murphy’s appeal, it is also a planning matter, due to the location of the access point, in the interests of residential amenity and proper planning.

Through their agents MKO, the appellants also questioned whether the planning application was valid in the first place because the public notices failed to reference the number of residential units proposed and did not reference residential use at the ground floor level.

“Currently, the proposed access for all of the residential units in this scheme have been permitted via third party lands, which are not accessible to the public, and for which no letter of consent from the landowner has been furnished.

“Access to residential buildings should be available to residents and visitors of the units at any time, day or night, and should be accessible from a public area.

“The doors which have been installed in the archway for many years remain locked, only openable for staff and deliveries when necessary and only during the opening hours of the pub,

“This proposed access arrangement through a private, locked, third party premises and an existing pub smoking area appears to be highly unusual and is not considered to be appropriate in terms of proper planning and sustainable development.

“Further, should this access into a private yard/smoking area . . .  for a 150-year-old pub, it would not only injure the residential amenity of the proposed development but would also set a precedent for other development to gain access through pub smoking areas, where layouts may be similar within city centre buildings.

“It should be noted that the patrons of the pub utilising the smoking area also do not have access to this locked archway, with only staff of the pub and occupiers of the upper floors permitted to enter this space,” the appeal reads.

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.

It adds that if such access was approved, it “risks injuring the commercial business operating from the property” because the pub would need to alter existing arrangements resulting in a “much less secure pub with no smoking area”.

The Murphys noted that from drawings provided with the planning application, it was clear that Jessed owned lands to the rear of the building – fronting onto 24 Middle Street – and this should be the primary access for the new residential accommodation. A decision on the appeal is expected from An Bord Pleanála at the beginning of June.

Under the Government’s Living City Initiative (LCI), Galway City centre is a designated Special Regeneration Area, meaning a person who refurbishes or converts residential or commercial properties can claim tax relief on monies spent.

Jessed Ltd is owned by Graham Quinn, who set up beauty products distribution business Graham Anthony, and is also involved in property investment with Joe Dennigan of the distribution giant Sam Dennigan & Co.

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