‘Out of hours’ warning served on developers of Westwood site

Enforcement Notice: the former Westwood site where the student apartments are being built.

Failure to adhere to planning restrictions has led to an Enforcement Notice being served on the developers of student accommodation on the site of the former Westwood Hotel in Dangan.

The Galway City Tribune has learned that construction works were taking place outside the hours designated by An Bord Pleanála in planning permission granted for the 394-bed development in September last year.

The Enforcement Notice came following a warning letter sent to the developers in November 2018.

In its decision to grant permission, it was stated: “Site development and building works shall be carried out only between 8am to 7pm Mondays to Fridays and 8am and 2pm on Saturdays and not at all on Sundays and public holidays”.

However, a spokesperson for Galway City Council confirmed that their Planning Department had established that work was being carried out during weekend hours when it was prohibited, leading to a number of complaints to City Hall from nearby residents.

“13 complaints have been received and Enforcement proceedings are ongoing,” he stated.

NTM Capital (formerly Ziggurat) was granted permission to proceed with the construction of five apartment blocks on the Newcastle site last year as a Strategic Housing Development.

Planning applications for housing developments of more than 100 residential units or 200 student bed spaces can be made directly to An Bord Pleanála following initial consultations with local authorities.

Local residents reported hammers and saws commencing shortly after 7am each morning and on the May Bank Holiday weekend, a small number of workers continued work well after 6pm – working into the night-time hours.

Speaking to the Galway City Tribune, one resident in an estate adjacent to the site said since the Enforcement Notice was issued last week, out-of-hours work had ceased, but the same had happened after a warning letter was issued in November, only to start again after some time had passed.

In the notice issued to NTM and building contractors BAM, the Council stated that developers are immediately required to comply in full with the conditions of planning permission.

If not, the local authority has the power to enter the site and take steps including the removal, demolition or alteration of any structure.

“You are further required to refund to the planning authority any costs or expenses incurred by them in relation to the investigation, detection and issue of this Enforcement Notice and warning letter dated November 8th, 2018,” the notice stated.

“You are further warned that if within the period specified in the Enforcement Notice, you fail to take the specified steps, you may be guilty of an offence.”

The development is due to open to students in September 2020.