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Multi-million retail project for derelict site by 2019

Enda Cunningham

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The owners of a derelict site on the Headford Road have said they hope to complete a multi-million euro retail, office and apartment development by 2019.

The Council had previously raised concerns over potential flooding on the half-acre site.

Almane Properties Ltd – which is controlled by the Barry family, who own Motorpark and have numerous property investments – has been granted a five-year extension of time on its planning permission for the site located alongside the IMC Cinema at Galway Retail Park.

The plans are for a new 2,355 square metre development on the site, including 840 sq m of ground floor retail space, 810 sq m of first floor offices and 4 two-bed duplex apartments (totalling 706 sq m) on the second and third floors, as well as 14 temporary parking spaces.

“Around the time permission was granted, the market for this type of accommodation collapsed and finance was no longer available for construction,” the application reads.

Planning permissions last for a period of five years, and the Almane permission had been due to expire in May. It will not expire in May, 2021.

City Council planners said: “Development of this vacant site is desirable in the interests of improving the visual amenity and general ambience of this stretch of the Headford Road. The site is prominently located, both visually and in terms of commercial footfall.

“The further provision of retail space in this area would be beneficial in physically linking the city centre with the shopping areas on the Headford Road (Galway Shopping Centre and Galway Retail Park), and the mixed retail/office use and substantial residential element is in keeping with the Commercial/Industrial zoning objectives.”

Planners had also requested that a flood risk assessment be prepared for the site.

That report found that the site would be defended by the Terryland embankment and Salmon Weir against a 100 year flood, but is “potentially vulnerable” to the 1,000 year flood.

It said that while the ground floor retail units could be affected, the residential apartment are located at second and third floor level are safe from flooding as the flood defences would only allow flooding between 4cm and 7cm on the ground floor, which would not impede access.

Senior Executive Planner Liam Blake said: “Having regard to the fact that the overall Headford Road development is not a greenfield site, but adjoins an existing shopping centre which has been in place for over 40 years and the fact that all residential accommodation units of the proposed development are located above the ground floor level, and that clear evacuation refuge and escape routes have been identified, it is considered that the flood risks have been adequately assessed.”

He added that despite the volatility of the property market, the Council would extend the planning permission by five years because it was in the context of a mixed-use development. Mr Blake said the extension of time for residential-only would normally be three years.

The applicants indicated they expect the building to be completed “between 2017-19”.

Last year, planners granted permission to another company for the development of two retail units and four apartment on the adjoining carpark site (the former Esso station).

CITY TRIBUNE

Party-goers in Galway hit with Covid fines

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s most senior Garda has issued a renewed appeal this week for young people to desist from organising or attending any house parties as the local Covid-19 situation worsens – last week Gardaí were called to break up a number of gatherings in different parts of the city.

A total of 15 people were found to be attending one house party in the Salthill area last weekend while Gardaí were called to two other smaller gatherings – one in the Doughiska area and the other in Rahoon.

Cautions and Fixed Payment Notices (fines) were issued to a number of those involved. This week, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley has pleaded with young people ‘to stay away at all costs’ from such gatherings.

“We have very high Covid incidence rates in the Galway area over the past week; death rates from the disease are at their highest ever level; and the last thing we need now is groups of people coming together in confined settings.

“If one person has Covid at such a gathering then, in all probability, most others there will pick it up too and spread it their contacts and family members. I am pleading for people just not to do this.

“We are entering into our most critical period in trying to contain the spread of Covid-19, with the next month or so absolutely vital in our efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe and to try and avoid further loss of life,” he said.
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

Community gives new lease of life to Merlin allotments

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – In 2018, the allotments in Merlin Woods were in danger of falling by the wayside, with declining numbers and underuse blighting a facility that had huge potential.

Since then, the community has pulled together to create a space that locals are proud of and one that its advocates are hoping could be a template for other communities across the city.

Chairperson of the Committee behind this new lease of life is Michael Tully, who says the allotments have become a focal point for area, bringing together locals from all walks of life.

“It’s all about netting the community together and the response we’re getting has been unbelievable,” says Michael, who joined the committee in 2018.

“I started off as a user of Merlin Woods, walking by the allotments and thinking to myself that it would be great to grow my own fruit and veg.

“I started talking to a few of the plot-holders like John Rabbitte, Martin Lohan, Jim McCormack and Daithí O’Brien and they told me how to apply. I applied to the City Council and got my allotment in early 2018 and there were about eight allotments in use at that stage, all of us working away on our own.”

Two years later, all 42 allotments are in use, but it took the cooperation of Galway City Council and Trojan work from the community to get it to this point, explains Michael.

“We came down here every Saturday to clear the paths, dig out the weeds and make the place better. The sense of community was unbelievable. Anyone who couldn’t dig was bringing down flasks of tea and cakes to those that were,” he laughs.
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

National Transport Authority to progress Galway’s Park and Ride

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A dedicated unit established within the National Transport Authority will look at the potential of Park and Ride to help solve Galway City’s traffic congestion problem.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, said that Park and Ride facilities should not be restricted to the east, and sites needed to be located to the west and north-west to take account of commuters from Connemara.

Mr McGrath said Park and Ride would be advanced this year as part of the Galway Transport Strategy. He said that the Council, in conjunction with the dedicated unit within the NTA, would investigate feasible sites for the location of Park and Ride facilities.

Mr McGrath said that site selection and acquisition of land could commence in the second quarter of this year. He said he expected that Park and Ride would be progressed well before the Galway City Ring Road was built.

Director of Services for Transport, Ruth McNally, also said that the NTA was looking at the potential of sites in the city for Park and Ride and she insisted that money – or a lack of it – was not halting progress.

“Money is not a major issue for capital projects,” she said.

They were responding at Monday’s City Council meeting to councillors who lamented the slow progress on developing Park and Ride.
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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