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Pizza proposal for landmark Galway City pub is “totally unsuitable”


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Pizza proposal for landmark Galway City pub is “totally unsuitable” Pizza proposal for landmark Galway City pub is “totally unsuitable”

Plans to create a pizza restaurant upstairs in the landmark Murphy’s Bar on High Street in Galway have hit a stumbling block, after the HSE said the proposal is “totally unsuitable”.

Last March, pub magnate Louis Fitzgerald sought permission to convert the office and storage space on the first floor of Murphy’s to a licensed restaurant measuring around 79 square metres, with seating for around 25 people.

His company, Tatuape Ltd, also sought permission to construct a new internal staircase at the premises, which is a protected structure and parts of which date back to pre-1700.

Following concerns highlighted by the City Council, the layout of the restaurant was altered to cater for 21 customers and the internal staircase was relocated.

The pub owner noted concerns raised by the HSE’s Environmental Health Service that the premises would be unsuitable for a first floor restaurant but argued it would only be for pizzas.

However, the HSE said in response: “It is the opinion of the Environmental Health Service Galway that the layout, design, construction, siting and size of this kitchen as currently outlined is totally unsuitable for the nature and extend of this proposed food operation . . . the kitchen space is wholly unsuitable for the preparation or regeneration of food”.

Tatuape has been asked to comment on the HSE’s findings.

The Council said the ventilation system was considered insufficient to cater for the restaurant, kitchen and toilets, and asked the applicant to forward detailed drawings of an appropriate system.

The Fire Authority submitted a report to the Council that it had no objection to the development, subject to the second floor not being used as sleeping accommodation.

“Whilst no pnas of the second floor have been submitted with the application, the plans [submitted under a separate application last year] show the level is in use as a two-bed apartment.

“It would therefore appear that the proposed development would result in the loss of a two-bed apartment, in the midst of a housing crisis. The applicant is therefore asked to investigate measures/alternatives to allow the second floor level to remain in use as an apartment,” the Council said.

The local authority said the overall proposal gave rise to “serious concerns” regarding the potential to negatively impact the character and setting of the building, and asked for a Conservation Report/Architectural Heritage Impact Assessment to be prepared.

A Conservation Report submitted as part of the planning application last March warned that the Council “must distinguish between conservation and preservation with the latter leading the death knell of buildings by the inflexible ability to allow for adaptation through different times”.

“We believe the local authority must allow for the inevitability of development and change. In this case, the original fabric of the building is not affected.

“We do not consider the amount of intervention to be detrimental to the character of the building. The degree of refurbishment and investment in this property should be encouraged in order to preserve the architectural heritage.”

Louis Fitzgerald already owns The Quays on Quay Street and also owns Dublin pubs including Bruxelles, Kehoes, The Stag’s Head, The Gin Palace and The Quays in Temple Bar.

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