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Green light for 90 new homes in Knocknacarra



An Bord Pleanála has given the green light for a multi-million euro residential and commercial development in Knocknacarra, which will include almost 90 new homes.

The Appeals Board has ruled that the proposals for the 6.5-acre site off the Blake roundabout – between the Ballymoneen Road and Western Distributor Road – would not seriously injure the amenities of the area and would be acceptable in terms of traffic convenience.

In February 2017, Ardstone Homes (part of the Dublin-based investment fund Ardstone Capital) sought permission to develop the site – where permission for a Lidl supermarket was previously refused on two occasions – for 91 new homes, four retail units and a commercial unit to be accessed from the Ballymoneen Road and through the adjoining Leargán estate.

However, following concerns from the City Council and objections from Leargán residents, the scheme was revised and the vehicular access from that estate was removed.

The design team considered maintaining a pedestrian access to Leargán but were unable to come up with a solution.

The new plans involve 88 residential units (a mix of three-bed semis, three-bed terraced, three-bed duplex apartments and two-bed apartments), four ground floor retail units, a creche for 50 children, parking for 113 cars and 11 bicycle stands, each with five spaces.

Following the revisions, the City Council granted permission for the development, but this was subsequently appealed by a Ballymoneen Road resident, who pointed out his property will be surrounded on three sides by the development, which will have an impact on foundations and lead to overshadowing, overlooking, noise and dust.

Thomas Faherty argued the development’s design, density and character does not comply with City Development Plan requirements and would lead to serious traffic issues on an already congested road.

He raised concerns about the devaluation of nearby properties and potential for flooding.

However, An Bord Pleanála ruled the development would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity and would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety and convenience.

A series of conditions were attached to planning including a stipulation that the nature of use of the retail units must be agreed with the City Council

No more than 75 residential units can be occupied before the completion of the creche.

Construction work can only take place between 8am and 7pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 2pm on Saturdays.

According to the plans: “The design solution proposed a three-storey building when viewed from the road comprising retail opportunities form suitable operators with a commercial office environment overhead. Retail stores are modest in scale and accessed either from the pathway or from the internal of the development via options around stairs and lift.

“A façade treatment of circular apertures and glass planks provide a contemporary treatment to the building and a new landmark at the Blake roundabout. Other retail units in this block have duplex units overhead accessed from a central deck with open space for each to the south.”


Galway family’s light show adds magic to Christmas



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Carrick Family Light Show returns tonight (Friday) as 70,000 lights are illuminated in aid of a worthy local charity.

The man behind the lights spectacular, James Carrick, says test runs this week have proven successful and the family is ready to mark another Christmas in style.

“This is our fourth Christmas doing it. We started in 2019, but Covid was around for the last two years so it will be great this year not having to worry about that so much,” says James, who has spent the last few weeks carefully rebuilding the show at his home in Lurgan Park, Renmore.

He’s added “a few bits and pieces this year” – his brother buying the house next door has provided him a ‘blank canvas’ to extend.

Over the past three years, the show has raised almost €30,000 for local charities and James hopes to build on that this year – offering the light show for free, as always, and giving the opportunity to donate if people wish to do so.

The show runs nightly from 6.30pm, Monday to Saturday, with an extra kids show on Sundays at 5pm at 167 Lurgan Park (H91 Y17D). Donations can be made at the shows or by searching ‘idonate Carrick Family Light Show’ online.

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‘Chaos’ for Christmas as Martin junction works delayed again



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists attempting to get into Galway are facing a nightmare before Christmas as continued delays to the works at the Martin roundabout create traffic chaos on the east side of the city.

Anger over the controversial project to remove the roundabout at Galway Clinic intensified this week as the completion date was pushed out to February – nearly a year after works began and six months later than the supposed deadline.

Local councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) told the Galway City Tribune that he had lost all confidence in the Transport Department in the City Council and hit out at their “outsourcing the problem” to private contractors.

He said despite repeated representations from him, the local authority was refusing to take responsibility for the bedlam caused by the works, which he said had resulted in “three minor collisions in the last five weeks”.

“The bottom line is that this has been an absolute shambles and I’ve lost all faith in senior officials in City Hall. When I raised the issue again this week, I was accused of looking for newspaper headlines – they will not take responsibility,” said the City East councillor.

“It’s like an obstacle course up there, and now they’re saying February for completion. I’ve no confidence it will even be done by then – they’re out of their depth. If you look at what they’re saying, they say they’ll be doing the surfacing until February,” continued Cllr Cheevers, anticipating that works could still be ongoing next March or April.

In a statement issued by contractors Fox Building Engineers Ltd and Galway City Council, it was claimed that “supply chain issues” had impacted severely on the project.

Motorists this week reported delays of up to an hour just to travel the short distance from Briarhill Shopping Centre as far as the Doughiska Road-Dublin Road junction, a distance of less than 2km.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the December 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Councillors rubber stamp ‘temporary’ helipad after nine years in place



The helipad on the former Shantalla pitch.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Health Service Executive (HSE) came under fire over the ‘temporary’ helipad serving University Hospital Galway at a meeting to finalise the Galway City Development Plan for 2023-29.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, made a point of publicly highlighting his dissatisfaction with the HSE, calling on them to urgently “regularise” the planning permission for the helipad.
Speaking on the issue, Cllr Frank Fahy (FG) said that he mistrusted the HSE’s proposal concerning the helipad, saying that previous promises about the site had not been kept.

Currently, University Hospital Galway operates the helipad to transport medical emergencies on Council-owned land in Shantalla – it has been used for past nine years, despite the HSE saying it would be used for six months.

The temporary structure, the busiest helipad in Ireland, transports patients from as far north as Donegal to the hospital.

Councillors voted to change the Galway City Development Plan to provide for a helipad at this location but urged the HSE to normalise the planning permission at the site and to provide compensation to the local community for the loss of a section of the park.

Mr McGrath said that he wouldn’t “wait forever” for the HSE to bring the site in line with the planning laws.

Last month marked the ninth anniversary of when the Saolta University Hospital Group gave a commitment to the people of Shantalla about the public land it borrowed.

Tony Canavan, the then Chief Operating Officer, and now CEO of Saolta, said that the land would be used to accommodate a helipad at the rear of UHG for six months only.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the December 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune where there is extensive coverage of rezoning decisions under the City Development Plan. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.

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