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Knocknacarra Lidl supermarket gets go-ahead

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Galway City Council has given the green light to controversial plans for a new Lidl supermarket and off-licence in Knocknacarra.

Hundreds of residents, as well as residents’ associations and several local councillors, objected to the plans for the site off the Western Distributor Road and Ballymoneen Road.

However, following revisions to the design of the building and the creation of new pedestrian and vehicular access points, planners accepted the proposals.

It is expected that the City Council’s decision will be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

Site owner Florence Thomas had sought permission on behalf of Lidl for a 20,000 square foot supermarket and off licence on the two-acre site off the Blake Roundabout.

The planners decided: “The convenience retail element would not be in competition with the city centre and would not affect the primacy of the city centre, as the city centre would generally provide a wider range of higher quality goods, while a development as proposed would generally provide for low-grade goods.”

Planners ordered that a revised design be applied for the building’s finish – plastered wall panels on the northern elevation must be replaced by a combination of glazing and stone.

Opening hours have been restricted to between 8am and 9pm Monday to Saturday and 10.30am to 7pm on Sundays.

Planners also ordered that any 24-hour operations be restricted to four weeks of each calendar year and must be agreed in advance.

Construction work has been restricted to between 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays, and if rock-breaking is required, a schedule of times and dates must be agreed in advance with the Council.

The applicant has also been ordered to commission a professional piece of artwork (to the value of around €5,000) for the site, and to employ a landscape architect during works.

The Council has sought a financial contribution of just over €116,000 towards the cost of provision of services in the area.

More than 130 residents from the adjoining Leargán estate signed an objection on the grounds of increased traffic and public safety, that it may lead to anti-social behaviour because of youths congregating outside as happens in other nearby supermarkets.

The Portacarron Residents’ Association on the Ballymoneen Road had similar concerns, with around 100 residents objecting.

CITY TRIBUNE

Council rows back on ‘reduced delays’ projections for Kirwan junction

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists have described it as ‘a disaster’ and a former mayor has said the project gave very poor value for money, but Galway City Council have this week asked the public to be patient with the revamped Kirwan junction, close to the Menlo Park Hotel.

Since the four-arm signalled junction opened early last week, motorists have complained of traffic queues stretching back to the Quincentenary Bridge and Corrib Park.

And now the Council has rowed back on its consultants’ claims that the junction would increase capacity by 15% and reduce waiting times by 25%.

Former mayor and local taxi driver, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that given the negative impact of the junction on traffic, the €5 million spent on the project represented ‘very poor value’ as regards taxpayers’ money.

“I will admit that the junction is now safer for pedestrians in that they can hit a button to give them a safe crossing, but since it opened there have some very serious traffic tailbacks,” said Cllr Fahy.

However, City Council Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the Galway City Tribune that the new junction needed time to ‘bed in’ with a familiarisation process.

“The main objectives of this project were to make far safer for pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate, as well as making it safer for motorists too, without impacting [negatively] on the traffic flow,” said Mr Finn.

He added that since it opened – and over the coming few weeks – data on all aspects of how the junction was functioning would be compiled which could involve changes to light sequencing, lanes and peak traffic flows.

One motorist who contacted this newspaper said that the daily “nightmare” journey from the Barna Road to the Headford Road during the morning peak traffic time had added up to 40 minutes to his journey time.

“The two lanes are regularly gridlocked from the junction, back the N6, over the Quincentenary Bridge and back to Corrib Park.

“In the mornings, it’s now easier to go down Taylor’s Hill and into town, past Eyre Square and up Bohermore to get down to the Headford Road.

Councillors were told by consultants in 2017 and again in 2018 – when they voted to proceed with the changeover to a junction – that average delays would be reduced by 25% and junction capacity would increase by 15%.
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

Man hospitalised following Eyre Square assault

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Gardaí have appealed to the public for information into an assault in Eyre Square last weekend which led to a young man being hospitalised.

The victim of the assault – a man in his early 20s from the city area – suffered a cut to his knee and may have had a substance sprayed towards his eyes.

Following the incident – that occurred close to the Eyre Square taxi rank shortly after midnight on Saturday night last – the victim was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Galway.

It is understood that the victim was released later that morning and has made a full recovery. This week, Gardaí are poring over CCTV footage in an effort to try and identify the perpetrators of the assault.

The assailants are understood to have fled on foot after the incident towards St Patrick’s Avenue on the east side of Eyre Square.

A Garda spokesperson has appealed for anyone who was in the vicinity of the taxi rank on Eyre Square between 12 midnight and 12.30am on the Sunday morning (Saturday night) of July 25 last, and who may have witnessed the incident to contact them.

(Photo: the assailants fled on foot towards St Patrick’s Avenue off Eyre Square)
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

Council turns down controversial phone mast plan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Galway City Council has refused an application by Eircom to erect a 12-metre telecoms mast in a housing estate in Knocknacarra.

The local authority turned down the company’s application for planning permission to install the structure in the heart of Drom Óir over concerns that it would create a visual obstruction in a residential area – and would have a detrimental impact on property prices.

Eircom had also sought retention to keep a concrete foundation for the mast in situ after it was forced to abandon works earlier this year, amid protests from residents in Drom Óir and Leitir Burca. This was also rejected.

City planners issued the company with a warning letter in April to cease works after contractors on site drew the ire of nearby residents, who accused Eircom of seeking to install the mast ‘by stealth’.

A total of 26 letters of objection were submitted to the Council from residents of the two estate.
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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