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CITY TRIBUNE

Lidl planning new supermarket in Wellpark Retail Park

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German discount supermarket chain Lidl is planning to open a store in Wellpark Retail Park.

Radical Properties – which owns the retail park – has sought permission for a change of use of the former PC World premises from bulky retail use to a discount supermarket with off licence.

The plans also involve creating a new customer lift in the opposite block (at Petmania) to the basement carpark.

Around 25 new jobs would be created if the proposal is given the go ahead by City Hall.

According to the application: “Wellpark Retail Park is an established independent retail centre and the proposed development will enhance the range of goods and services which is offered there. The addition of a convenience store to the retail park will not materially diminish the prospect of attracting private sector investment within the city centre.

“It will enhance the competitiveness of the convenience retail sector in the catchment area and will attract further customers to the retail park. All of the existing stores within the park are likely to derive a complementary benefit from an increase in the number of shoppers who will visit.”

The applicants pointed out that a similar application in 2006 for a change of use at an adjacent unit in the retail park was rejected as the plans did not comply with the provisions of the CI (Commercial/Industrial) zoning.

However, the applicants point out that a specific objective was inserted in the City Development Plan 2017-23, so that the Council could consider a “full range of retail uses”, including for supermarkets with a net retail area of less than 2,500 square metres. The application is for a store with a net retail space of less than 1,000 sq m.

Radical Properties is now owned by property fund Alanis Capital. Its previous owner, Gerry Barrett, made a submission to the City Council in 2016 as part of the drafting process for the City Development Plan asking that a planning stipulation be ‘relaxed’ in a bid to tackle the “disproportionately high” failure of bulky goods retails in Wellpark Retail Park.

Under the previous City Development Plan, there was an objective that the retail park could only cater for bulky goods and local retailing needs.

“The disproportionately high failure rate of a number of bulky good operators within Wellpark has impacted on the attractiveness of the existing floorspace to new operators and existing more durable tenants.

“If a more diverse range of retail mixes were permitted, it would allow the current vacancy rate within the Park to be reduced and ensure additional footfall, increased vitality and commercial synergy at this central location,” Mr Barrett’s submission read.

During a discussion in 2016 on whether to lift planning restrictions, Councillor Peter Keane described the retail park as an “abject failure” and said it would have collapsed long ago, only for the persistence of Mr Barrett in trying to reinvent it.

A decision on the current application is due on March 24.

CITY TRIBUNE

Council officials branded ‘ignorant’ after reneging on circus agreement

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A circus branded City Hall in Galway ‘ignorant and arrogant’ after a spat over access to public space.

Circus Gerbola criticised Galway City Council for limiting the days its big top was permitted in Claude Toft carpark in Salthill and for reneging on an agreement.

The touring troupe said that last January, it provisionally booked the carpark from August 4-21. In early July, the Council emailed the circus and said it would be limited to seven days only.

Event Producer Jane Murray said she then secured a verbal compromise to rent the carpark for 10 days, including two weekends. But then the Council contacted the circus again and insisted that the site could be used for seven days only.

“I wouldn’t call them clowns because I think it would be an insult to clowns and generations of clowning. They were just extremely ignorant and arrogant. They were so unempathetic,” fumed Ms Murray.

They then scrambled to find alternative accommodation, in Kinvara, for performances today, Saturday and Sunday.

The third planned week has been moved to Conamara. From next Monday, the big top moves to Fíbín theatre company grounds in An Tulach, Cois Fharraige, for a series of events.

A Council statement said the matter was discussed at length internally.

“The carpark in question is relied upon by locals and tourists alike for parking, particularly during the busy tourist season. The best compromise in this situation was to permit the circus to take over full use of the car park for seven days. We do envisage complaints/representations from locals at being prevented from using this car park for a full week,” it said.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents call on Galway City Council to tackle burning of rubbish

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Local residents have called on the authorities to tackle the problem of an ongoing illegal dump in the Castlegar area with the rubbish being burnt off on a regular basis.

A particularly intense fire was set off in the Bruckey area on Tuesday afternoon last with black smoke billowing from the blaze – forcing local people to close their windows and doors.

According to one local resident, even the Fire Brigade couldn’t access the blaze which eventually burnt itself out over the following days.

“This has been going on for the past four years and we have made several overtures to the City Council on the issue as well as contacting the Gardaí, but nothing is being done about this.”

He said that the land being used as dump and fire site was rented and added that those burning waste were ‘a complete law onto themselves who did whatever they liked’.

(Photo: the fire burning on Tuesday)

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors ignore Transport Authority recommendation on estate access

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A submission by the National Transport Authority (NTA) – seeking to restrict new access points along the Western Distributor Road to ‘cyclists and pedestrians’ only – has been defeated at a City Council meeting.

Councillors voted 12-4 to reject the NTA submission presented in the draft Galway City Development Plan (2023-29) which sought to prevent new access points being provided for vehicular traffic.

The NTA in their submission said that their proposal was aimed at ‘protecting investment in public transport’ and in ‘facilitating sustainable travel’.

In his response to the submission, City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, said that the Council did not want any further restrictions to be put in place.

Councillors Niall Murphy (Green Party) and Colette Connolly (Ind) had proposed the acceptance of the NTA submission in order to improve access for cyclists and pedestrians.

Senior Planner with the Council, Caroline Phelan, said that there was a substantial bank of land in this area (off the Western Distributor Road) and the objective was to be able to access zoned land.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) said that if land in such areas was prevented from being developed by a lack of access, it would have major implications for industry, jobs, housing and schools. “We have to allow access,” he said.

(Photo: The ‘Kingston Cross’ lands on the Western Distributor Road which were earmarked for a commercial and residential development anchored by Tesco and Decathlon: An Bord Pleanála previously ruled access points would be a traffic hazard, particularly when it came to cycling infrastructure and a bus corridor on the road).

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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