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Land rezoning branded ‘a blow to Merlin Woods’


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Land rezoning branded ‘a blow to Merlin Woods’ Land rezoning branded ‘a blow to Merlin Woods’

From the Galway City Tribune – Rezoning of land on the Dublin Road to facilitate new houses on an environmentally important green space has been described a ‘blow to Merlin Woods’.

The 1.27-hectare site, adjacent to Merlin Woods, is part of the Merlin Park Grasslands, and supports an important wildlife corridor for bats and other protected species to commute between Dublin Road and Merlin Woods.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, the Office of Planning Regulator, and the National Transport Authority all warned elected members not to rezone the land.

But, following a short debate at Monday’s City Council meeting to discuss the planned new City Development Plan, councillors voted by a majority of one to rezone the land from RA (recreational and amenity) to R (residential).

The proposal to change the zoning to residential was proposed by Cllr Declan McDonnell and seconded by Noel Larkin (both independents).

It passed on a show of hands by nine votes to eight; one councillor, Colette Connolly (Ind) was absent for that part of the six-hour meeting.

In a statement issued afterwards, Green Party Councillor Niall Murphy said the vote was “a blow to Merlin Woods”. He said it would encourage developers to buy more RA lands and lobby to have it rezoned for residential.

City planners had advised councillors to leave it as RA. Planner Caroline Phelan warned it was a “random” “uncoordinated” and “piecemeal” approach to zoning.

Mr McGrath urged members to protect this environmentally important green space for the city.

He said it was deemed inappropriate in several previous plans to change the zoning, and “there is no change or necessary reason now to alter this approach”.

Mr McGrath said it was a “considerable resource” for recreation and amenity, and supported climate action through “carbon sequestration and extensive biodiversity”.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, and support our journalism, see the November 25 edition of the Galway City Tribune. This week’s paper has extensive coverage of City Development Plan rezoning votes. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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