German discount supermarket chain Lidl have revised the design of its proposed new store in Knocknacarra.
The company had sought permission last July for a €2.5 million supermarket with a gross floor area of 2,185 square metres on the 1.5-acre site adjacent to Aldi at the junction of the Western Distributor Road and Bóthar Stiofáin. The plans also included a standalone 66.5 sq m café on the site.
City Council planners subsequently told the chain to redesign the side facing onto the Western Distributor Road, and to include more glazing and a mural or design to break up the appearance of the wall.
They were also asked to clarify the hours of operation for the café and advised that a large building “may also be acceptable”.
Clarification was also sought on landscaping and pedestrian access to the supermarket.
Last week, the company submitted revised drawings, with more glazing “thereby removing any perception of a long, uninterrupted single façade”. Landscaping proposals were also included in the submission. The company said the café will operate in tandem with the Lidl store, 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and 9am to 9pm on Sundays and public holidays.
“In terms of size of the café, the outlet is not envisaged to be a large operation, however, on review, we enclose revised drawings illustrating an increase in the unit to 103.5 sq m.
“The proposed development represents a positive addition to the area, and will not in our opinion lead to material impacts on the surrounding area,” the submission reads.
RGDATA, the small grocers’ representative group objected to plans for a new Lidl supermarket in Knocknacarra, claiming it poses a threat to the future vitality of the Galway City centre and existing shopping centres.
It says there is no justification for an additional discount foodstore on the western side of the city, and that it would be premature until a sustainable mix of uses is provided within what is zoned as the Knocknacarra District Centre, arguing that it is dominated with retail units.
And while rival supermarket chain Tesco voiced approval in principle for the development, they said an amended design could improve the streetscape.
It is Lidl’s third attempt in six years to open a premises in Knocknacarra – two previous applications on a site at the junction of the Ballymoneen Road with the Distributor Road were rejected by An Bórd Pleanála.
A decision on the latest application is expected on November 18, if permitted, the new development would be completed by April 2020 and employ between 20 and 25 people.
Swimmer rescued in Salthill by Galway Lifeboat crew
Galway RNLI Lifeboat rescued a swimmer who got into difficulty near Blackrock this afternoon in poor weather conditions.
The alarm was raised at 12.25pm by a pedestrian who saw the woman struggling in the water between Blackrock and Ladies Beach. The Irish Coast Guard sought the assistance of the RNLI Lifeboat who launched from Galway Docks a short time later.
The woman who was a couple of hundred metres from the shore opposite the Galway Bay Hotel. They took the woman on board and brought her back to the Lifeboat Station where an ambulance was waiting. Paramedics assessed the woman’s condition and she was allowed home a short time later.
Shane Folan, Deputy Launch Authority with Galway Lifeboat said: “We would advise anyone thinking of going swimming to let someone else know. Today, for example, there were very challenging weather conditions with high winds and breaking surf.”
The lifeboat volunteer crew on the call-out were: David Badger (Helmsman), Martin Oliver, Ross Forde and James Rhattigan.
Gardaí warn GMIT students about weekend travel as Covid numbers rise
Students at GMIT have been warned by Gardaí that there will be checks at the bus and train stations to ensure compliance with the 5km travel rule – as the HSE warned today of increasing numbers testing positive for Covid-19 in the Galway City student outbreaks.
The college emailed all students to inform them that management had a meeting with Gardaí in relation to students planning on travelling home at weekends.
While students are permitted to travel to and from GMIT for educational purposes when there are onsite classes, there are no onsite classes scheduled at the moment and therefore there should not be any travel for educational purposes.
“The Gardaí have notified us that there will be checks at the bus and train stations to implement the 5km travel rule, as well as checkpoints on the roads, and that fines will be given for any non-compliance with this rule,” the email reads.
Meanwhile students at the college were also told that following the Covid outbreak last week among GMIT students, numbers are still increasing.
“The HSE informs us that numbers testing Covid positive continue to rise,” the email reads.
Help local charities by sharing your pandemic feelings
The public has been invited to write down and share with others their experience of living in Galway through the global Coronavirus pandemic.
‘Three Questions’, an initiative spearheaded by Galway Volunteer Centre, wants people of all ages and backgrounds to log their thoughts and feelings on the past year living with the reality of Covid-19.
The project aims are twofold: to develop a written archive of the memories of Galway people from the past 12 months but also the act of writing down those memories can act as a sort of therapeutic exercise for the public.
People are being asked to divulge their memories by answering three questions: what was your biggest challenge in the past year; what was the biggest lesson you have learned in the past year; and can you think of someone or something you are grateful for over the past 12 months and why?
The collection of people’s written memories will form an archive that will benefit all, but the individual act of writing down memories is also beneficial to the person who takes part, explained Donncha Foley, Manager of Galway Volunteer Centre.
“There’s a lot of science behind this in that there’s a lot of evidence to show that reflecting on the past and learning from it is of great benefit from a mental health perspective and personal development and also the idea of showing gratitude to somebody else has huge mental health benefits as well,” he said.
Mr Foley said what is unique about Covid-19 is that everybody has been impacted by it, and everyone has a memory of it.
“Some changes have been very dramatic for some people, for others maybe not so much but everybody has been affected in some way. There are very few opportunities to meet up and talk about the challenges of the last year, and from a mental health perspective we feel it would be useful for people to use this initiative to think about what’s happened over the last 12 months,” he said.
The project is part of the Keep Well campaign launched by Government and funded through Healthy Ireland and Pobal.
People who respond to the initiative are asked to nominate a local charity or community group and there are two prizes of €500 up for grabs for those organisations if your memories are chosen as the winner.
Submissions will be reviewed by Galway Volunteer Centre and a selection will be published – with permission of the participants – on social media and in the Galway City Tribune.
“We’re hoping that we gather enough so that people can look at other people’s experiences and get their perspectives on the year and see that many people have had the same challenges.
“The phrase that has been used often is that ‘we’re all in this together’ and this is an opportunity to reflect together while still maintaining social distancing,” Mr Foley said.
Applications are available in this week’s Galway City Tribune, and can be returned to Volunteer Galway, 27 William Street West, Galway. To submit your answers online, visit the centre’s website.
The deadline for submissions is March 9, and there is no word count limit – contributions can be long or short. Entrants must include contact details.
(Photo: Donncha Foley of Galway Volunteer Centre)