Galway Docks developer vents ire at ‘serial objectors’

How it will look: the proposed urban quarter from the Queen Street side.

The backer of the proposed €130m ‘urban quarter’ office and student accommodation projects at the Docks has hit out at “serial objectors” who have prevented development in Galway over the past decade.

A spokesperson for Edward Capital said “Galway City centre cannot be held to economic ransom by a small clique”, in a thinly-veiled criticism of environmental watchdog group An Taisce.

The spokesperson has welcomed An Bord Pleanala’s decision to hold an oral hearing on the six appeals against the €104m office element of the scheme. Appeals against the €25m accommodation element may yet be added to the oral hearing process.

The company – which is headed by developer Gerry Barrett – has said there have been numerous enquiries from foreign companies which are interested in Bonham Quay, including one which requires space for 400 workers.

The criticisms have been rejected by Derrick Hambleton, Chair of the Galway Branch of An Taisce, who is one of the appellants in a personal capacity, while the organisation also submitted a separate appeal.

“You can count on the one hand the number of appeals made by An Taisce over the past decade. We look at planning applications and make submissions, and in some cases, objections. There’s a difference,” said Mr Hambleton.

A spokesperson for Edward Capital told the Galway City Tribune: “Galway has experienced a lost decade, in which no development of consequence has occurred. Where development has happened it has been the subject of objections and appeals by the same small clique of individuals, who are serial in their approach and methodical in their opposition. They can afford such a luxury as they have no ‘skin in the game’.

“But can Galway afford their vision, where the status quo ante is maintained indefinitely and as a matter of course? As Galwegians we must ask ourselves can our city afford to lose the opportunity offered by Bonham Quay.”
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