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Headford Road retail and apartment project approved

Enda Cunningham

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Galway City Council has given the go-ahead for a retail and apartment development on the Headford Road.

The new building – on the site of the former Esso station adjacent to the IMC cinema – will include two retail units and four apartments overhead.

Last year, Cleverson Ltd – a company ultimately controlled by members of hotelier and developer John Lally’s family – sought permission for a four storey building with 2 two-storey retail units and four duplex residential units overhead, along with a roof terrace.

However, planners said that while the proposal had merits in that it represented a welcome mix of uses, they expressed concerns about the fact no parking spaces were planned – where there would normally be a requirement for 50 spaces.

They also expressed concerns that the design of the building – and proposed blue or black brick – would be unacceptable.

Planner also sought a Flood Risk Assessment for the site.

The Council said the development would also impact on the ‘aspiration’ to accommodate a significant cultural plaza on adjoining lands.

The applicants subsequently revised the scheme – there is no longer vehicular access onto the Headford Road, and the building line there has been stepped back to accommodate the future development of the vacant plot next door and of Galway Shopping Centre.

“The revised proposal provides for a service and delivery access from the rear and includes four on-site carparking spaces to serve the apartments.

“There is already significant surface carparking in the Headford Road area,” the revisions read.

Blue/black brickwork is no longer included in the proposals – instead, the applicants have identified “a high quality modulated façade finish”.

Local environmental watchdog group An Taisce said the revised application was effectively a new plan, adding that the proposals were completely out of scale with adjacent buildings, and that excessive height would set an undesirable precedent.

Planners have given the green light for the revised development, ruling: “The revised scheme has been redesigned to reflect the importance of this prominent site along the Headford Road.

In particular, the access through the Dyke Road carpark allows the development to be serviced from the rear without detracting from the overall Headford Road redevelopment.

“The development has been designed to be able to be able to service the building from a future link road to the north, if one is provided in the future,” the Council said.

Construction work has been restricted to between 8am and 6pm Mondays to Fridays and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.

Planners also stipulated that the two retail units cannot be interconnected or subdivided without their approval, and have also requested they be informed of the intended users prior to occupation.

CITY TRIBUNE

Party-goers in Galway hit with Covid fines

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s most senior Garda has issued a renewed appeal this week for young people to desist from organising or attending any house parties as the local Covid-19 situation worsens – last week Gardaí were called to break up a number of gatherings in different parts of the city.

A total of 15 people were found to be attending one house party in the Salthill area last weekend while Gardaí were called to two other smaller gatherings – one in the Doughiska area and the other in Rahoon.

Cautions and Fixed Payment Notices (fines) were issued to a number of those involved. This week, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley has pleaded with young people ‘to stay away at all costs’ from such gatherings.

“We have very high Covid incidence rates in the Galway area over the past week; death rates from the disease are at their highest ever level; and the last thing we need now is groups of people coming together in confined settings.

“If one person has Covid at such a gathering then, in all probability, most others there will pick it up too and spread it their contacts and family members. I am pleading for people just not to do this.

“We are entering into our most critical period in trying to contain the spread of Covid-19, with the next month or so absolutely vital in our efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe and to try and avoid further loss of life,” he said.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Community gives new lease of life to Merlin allotments

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – In 2018, the allotments in Merlin Woods were in danger of falling by the wayside, with declining numbers and underuse blighting a facility that had huge potential.

Since then, the community has pulled together to create a space that locals are proud of and one that its advocates are hoping could be a template for other communities across the city.

Chairperson of the Committee behind this new lease of life is Michael Tully, who says the allotments have become a focal point for area, bringing together locals from all walks of life.

“It’s all about netting the community together and the response we’re getting has been unbelievable,” says Michael, who joined the committee in 2018.

“I started off as a user of Merlin Woods, walking by the allotments and thinking to myself that it would be great to grow my own fruit and veg.

“I started talking to a few of the plot-holders like John Rabbitte, Martin Lohan, Jim McCormack and Daithí O’Brien and they told me how to apply. I applied to the City Council and got my allotment in early 2018 and there were about eight allotments in use at that stage, all of us working away on our own.”

Two years later, all 42 allotments are in use, but it took the cooperation of Galway City Council and Trojan work from the community to get it to this point, explains Michael.

“We came down here every Saturday to clear the paths, dig out the weeds and make the place better. The sense of community was unbelievable. Anyone who couldn’t dig was bringing down flasks of tea and cakes to those that were,” he laughs.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

National Transport Authority to progress Galway’s Park and Ride

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A dedicated unit established within the National Transport Authority will look at the potential of Park and Ride to help solve Galway City’s traffic congestion problem.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, said that Park and Ride facilities should not be restricted to the east, and sites needed to be located to the west and north-west to take account of commuters from Connemara.

Mr McGrath said Park and Ride would be advanced this year as part of the Galway Transport Strategy. He said that the Council, in conjunction with the dedicated unit within the NTA, would investigate feasible sites for the location of Park and Ride facilities.

Mr McGrath said that site selection and acquisition of land could commence in the second quarter of this year. He said he expected that Park and Ride would be progressed well before the Galway City Ring Road was built.

Director of Services for Transport, Ruth McNally, also said that the NTA was looking at the potential of sites in the city for Park and Ride and she insisted that money – or a lack of it – was not halting progress.

“Money is not a major issue for capital projects,” she said.

They were responding at Monday’s City Council meeting to councillors who lamented the slow progress on developing Park and Ride.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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