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Galway City Council calls time on Wetherspoon pub hours


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway City Council calls time on Wetherspoon pub hours Galway City Council calls time on Wetherspoon pub hours

From the Galway City Tribune – The local authority has placed restrictions on the opening hours of the new Wetherspoon pub and restaurant on Eglinton Street, for which it has given the green light.

The planning authority imposed a condition that the premises cannot operate outside the hours of 7am to 11.30pm on Mondays to Thursdays; 7am to 12.30am Fridays and Saturdays and 7am to 11pm on Sundays.

An archaeologist must also be employed on site to carry out a detailed survey of the buildings and complete test excavations because of the potential for finds – if anything of note is uncovered, work must be halted and the National Monuments Service consulted.

The British pub chain, headed by pro-Brexit campaigner Tim Martin, applied for planning permission last July to carry out a €2.5 million overhaul of the former Carbon nightclub to create ‘The Three Red Sails’ – a bar and restaurant over two floors.

Following concerns raised by the Council – including one that the frontage did not include any bilingual signage, as is planning policy for the city centre – the company changed the proposed signage to ‘Na Trí Seolta Dearga’.

An architect’s impression of how the front of the Eglinton Street pub would look with the Irish signage.

The plans, which are expected to take a minimum of six months to complete, have now been approved by the Council, with a total of 23 stipulations attached – the majority of which are general conditions.

As well as the detailed archaeological monitoring and surveys, and restrictions on opening hours, the Council has also ordered that the premises cannot offer a take-away service.

The Council has banned music “or any other sound for entertainment” from being amplified in or outside the premises and ordered JD Wetherspoon that “noise levels from the proposed development shall not be so loud, so continuous, so repeated, of such duration or pitch or occurring at such times as to give reasonable cause for annoyance to a person in any premises in the neighbourhood”.

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Emissions on odours must also be controlled and a suitable filtration system installed to neutralise them prior to discharge, “in order to safeguard the amenities of adjoining premises, residential amenity and the general surroundings”.

In his assessment of the planning application, Council Executive Planner Peter Staunton noted that Eglinton Street is a key access corridor under the BusConnects Cross-City Link (University Road to Dublin Road) and the Wetherspoon plan “has the potential to further enhance the public realm, both by improvements to the physical appearance of the building and by bringing vibrancy and vitality to the street”.

“The existing building has been vacant for a number of years and in this regard, the proposed development would increase the animation of the public realm in this part of the city centre, particularly in the evenings and at weekends, by providing a use that was active and attractive to pedestrians. This impact on the character and setting of the area along Eglinton Street would be generally positive.

“It is not considered that the development would not [sic] represent a threat to the residential amenities of the nearby apartments,” Mr Staunton’s report reads.

As part of the Cross-City Link plan, there will be soft and hard landscaping works along Eglinton Street, including ornamental planting and seating, natural stone pavements and cycle stands.

During the assessment period, the local authority noted that the site is located within the Galway City Zone of Archaeological Potential and said that any sub-surface works would have to be archaeologically monitored, asking the applicant to comment on the issue.

An Archaeological, Architectural and Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment was carried out on behalf of Wetherspoon and found: “Geo-referencing of the historic mapping for the area indicates that the site likely overlies the location of the town walls of Galway, and potentially overlies two to three mural towers (Lion Tower, Little Gate Tower and Agnes Tower) as well as the outer moat of the city walls.

“There is also limited potential for portions of a 17th century corner bastion to underlay the property. The entirety of the proposed development site is considered an area of archaeological potential,” the archaeological report read.

In the planning application, JD Wetherspoon said University of Galway would provide a market for it.

“It is a short 500 metres from NUIG. It’s significant to note that there are 18,605 students in the college as well, which provides a market for the proposed development.

“Because of its likely customer base and location, our clients anticipate that food sales at the premises will comprise 45-50% of total sales by value. If drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, purchased ancillary to food are taken into account, then that figure rises to 65-70%.

“Approximately 30% of business is drinks only, which means this is primarily a “sit down” type premises where customers would generally be limited to seats available within the establishment,” the company told the Council.

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