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CITY TRIBUNE

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

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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.

CITY TRIBUNE

Jon Kenny visits Áras Éanna with hit show Crowman

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Actor and comedian Jon Kenny will visit Áras Éanna on Inis Oírr this Saturday, August 24, performing in Katie Holly’s hit one-man show Crowman.

The play premiered at the 2018 Cork Midsummer Festival, receiving standing ovations from audiences and praise from critics.

Crowman is the story of Dan Lonergan and the characters he meets throughout his life.

It’s about lost love and the sense of belonging and not belonging in a small community. Most of all, it’s about the humanity and decency of people in every village and town in Ireland.

As Dan himself surmises: ‘Some people never had the dance that I had and some people never hear the music.’

Jon Kenny carries the audience on a roller-coaster ride from Dan’s childhood to middle-age, from the hurling pitch to the pub and from one uproariously funny character to the other.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

2020 still far short of private funding target

Dara Bradley

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Galway 2020, the company set-up to deliver the European Capital of Culture next year, remains well behind on its target of raising €6.75 million in private funding.

Making Waves, the bid book that won Galway the designation, committed Galway 2020 to raising income totalling €6.75 million from private sponsors and philanthropists.

The bid book specified that this was income to be spent on operating expenditure for the year-long programme of events.

With less than a month to go before the official programme is unveiled, Galway 2020 declined this week to confirm how much money it has raised through sponsorship.

Galway 2020 has consistently said that it intends to raise €6.75m in sponsorship; and this figure has been quoted in several briefing documents prepared for Culture Minister Josepha Madigan, which were released to the Galway City Tribune under Freedom of Information (FOI).

A briefing note for Minister Madigan dated April 10, 2019, under the heading, ‘philanthropy’, mentioned that some €133,477 had been received in total by Galway 2020 in sponsorship and in-kind support as of December 31, 2018.

In March 2019, a financial report by Galway 2020, confirmed that the company had raised less than €30,000 in private sponsorship income last year. This suggests that some €100,000 of the total raised last year, was in-kind.

When asked to clarify how much cash it has raised from sponsorship, minus in-kind support, Galway 2020 said its “fundraising target hasn’t changed”.

“The current value of the fundraising and partnerships pipeline is €4.5m – this includes a combination of commercial as well as trusts and foundations, comprising funds already committed, proposals submitted and further partnerships that are under consideration. These proposals and agreements are a combination of cash and in-kind support,” it said.

Galway 2020 declined to elaborate on how much of this €4.5 million “pipeline” was income and how much was in-kind support. It also did not say how much of that “pipeline” is already ‘banked’, and how much was not yet collected.

Included in that €4.5 million figure was a “significant corporate partnership with Medtronic”, which has become the health partner of Galway 2020 and sponsor of its Wave Maker volunteer programme, it said. However, Galway 2020 did not elaborate on the cash value – as opposed to any in-kind value – of that agreement, which was announced a fortnight ago.

“The nature of the breakdown of partnership agreements are commercially sensitive to each of our partners,” a spokesperson said.

The sole mention of the term “in-kind” in the bid book is on page 89, where it states: “The Promotion & Marketing budget described above will be supplemented by in-kind marketing benefit from our supporters, strategic partners & producers.”

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

120 households facing eviction

Dara Bradley

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Low-income city households are staring down the barrel of homelessness after a flood of eviction notices were issued this Summer.

Galway City Council has confirmed that landlords have issued a total of 120 Notices to Quit to families and single people in June and July. Twelve were on RAS (Rental Accommodation Scheme) or Long-Term Leasing, and the remaining 108 were on HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) or other social schemes in the private rental sector.

All 120 are on the Council housing wait list, but anecdotally, scores more private tenants have been issued with notices to vacate their apartments and houses – adding more fuel to the ongoing crisis.

The 120-plus evicted tenants are now in the market to find alternative rental accommodation, and are competing with the thousands of third level students who are back in the city this month searching for digs.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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