Locals oppose plans for Westwood students bed spaces

A computer-generated image of the proposed Westwood development

Galway City Tribune – Proposals to construct a 394-bed student accommodation complex on the site of the Westwood Hotel are ill-conceived, crazy and wrong, a public meeting of over 200 local residents was told this week.

Plans were lodged with An Bord Pleanála on May 25 by NTM Capital (formerly Ziggurat) to construct five blocks of apartments ranging from three to five storeys in height – with provisions made for the inclusion of a café on the ground floor.

It is envisaged that the site will be used for tourist and international student accommodation during summer months.

With just two weeks to go before objections must be lodged, Newcastle residents were adamant that this was an inappropriate location for the build.

Chairperson of the ‘Save the Westwood Campaign’, Basil Fenton, said the loss of the Westwood would leave Newcastle without a public amenity.

“It has always been inevitable, since the sale of the Westwood, that the developer would lodge a planning application – and we can see now exactly what they are planning.

“We are here tonight to continue our campaign to save our local Westwood, our local resource,” Mr Fenton said at the meeting on Monday night.

Speaking at the meeting in Bushypark National School, Town Planning Consultant, Stephen Dowds, said the residents had a valid case to object – and while saving the hotel may not sway the national planning authority, concerns around traffic, site layout and overlooking may hold some clout.

“I must give a word of warning – there are a lot of arguments in favour of student accommodation; there is a need for student accommodation in Galway,” said Mr Dowds.

“But there is almost no parking in this development – 10 spaces and then an extra 14 during the summer time.”
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