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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

Council officials branded ‘ignorant’ after reneging on circus agreement

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A circus branded City Hall in Galway ‘ignorant and arrogant’ after a spat over access to public space.

Circus Gerbola criticised Galway City Council for limiting the days its big top was permitted in Claude Toft carpark in Salthill and for reneging on an agreement.

The touring troupe said that last January, it provisionally booked the carpark from August 4-21. In early July, the Council emailed the circus and said it would be limited to seven days only.

Event Producer Jane Murray said she then secured a verbal compromise to rent the carpark for 10 days, including two weekends. But then the Council contacted the circus again and insisted that the site could be used for seven days only.

“I wouldn’t call them clowns because I think it would be an insult to clowns and generations of clowning. They were just extremely ignorant and arrogant. They were so unempathetic,” fumed Ms Murray.

They then scrambled to find alternative accommodation, in Kinvara, for performances today, Saturday and Sunday.

The third planned week has been moved to Conamara. From next Monday, the big top moves to Fíbín theatre company grounds in An Tulach, Cois Fharraige, for a series of events.

A Council statement said the matter was discussed at length internally.

“The carpark in question is relied upon by locals and tourists alike for parking, particularly during the busy tourist season. The best compromise in this situation was to permit the circus to take over full use of the car park for seven days. We do envisage complaints/representations from locals at being prevented from using this car park for a full week,” it said.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents call on Galway City Council to tackle burning of rubbish

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Local residents have called on the authorities to tackle the problem of an ongoing illegal dump in the Castlegar area with the rubbish being burnt off on a regular basis.

A particularly intense fire was set off in the Bruckey area on Tuesday afternoon last with black smoke billowing from the blaze – forcing local people to close their windows and doors.

According to one local resident, even the Fire Brigade couldn’t access the blaze which eventually burnt itself out over the following days.

“This has been going on for the past four years and we have made several overtures to the City Council on the issue as well as contacting the Gardaí, but nothing is being done about this.”

He said that the land being used as dump and fire site was rented and added that those burning waste were ‘a complete law onto themselves who did whatever they liked’.

(Photo: the fire burning on Tuesday)

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors ignore Transport Authority recommendation on estate access

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A submission by the National Transport Authority (NTA) – seeking to restrict new access points along the Western Distributor Road to ‘cyclists and pedestrians’ only – has been defeated at a City Council meeting.

Councillors voted 12-4 to reject the NTA submission presented in the draft Galway City Development Plan (2023-29) which sought to prevent new access points being provided for vehicular traffic.

The NTA in their submission said that their proposal was aimed at ‘protecting investment in public transport’ and in ‘facilitating sustainable travel’.

In his response to the submission, City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, said that the Council did not want any further restrictions to be put in place.

Councillors Niall Murphy (Green Party) and Colette Connolly (Ind) had proposed the acceptance of the NTA submission in order to improve access for cyclists and pedestrians.

Senior Planner with the Council, Caroline Phelan, said that there was a substantial bank of land in this area (off the Western Distributor Road) and the objective was to be able to access zoned land.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) said that if land in such areas was prevented from being developed by a lack of access, it would have major implications for industry, jobs, housing and schools. “We have to allow access,” he said.

(Photo: The ‘Kingston Cross’ lands on the Western Distributor Road which were earmarked for a commercial and residential development anchored by Tesco and Decathlon: An Bord Pleanála previously ruled access points would be a traffic hazard, particularly when it came to cycling infrastructure and a bus corridor on the road).

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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