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Planners approve bid to redevelop Seapoint in Salthill


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Planners approve bid to redevelop Seapoint in Salthill Planners approve bid to redevelop Seapoint in Salthill

The owner of Seapoint in Salthill has been given the go ahead to redevelop the site with a new casino, café and overhead apartments.

Oldside Enterprises Ltd applied for planning permission at the beginning of this year for the redevelopment of numbers 183, 185, 187 and 189 Upper Salthill.

Brian Barrett, the City Council’s Acting Director of Services, signed off on full planning permission for application in the past fortnight, after no issues were raised with An Bord Pleanála within the statutory timeframe.

It was Oldside Enterprises’ second bid to redevelop the site – last year, a proposal was turned down by An Bord Pleanála, which ruled it would be a poor standard of design.

The new plan involves:

  • The demolition of all buildings on site except the original 1949 ballroom building and glass elevator, and the frame of No 183 (in response to concerns raised by planners in the previous application).
  • Construction of a new three-storey building with arcade/gaming use on the ground and first floor and six apartments, as well as a landscaped roof terrace.
  • Construction of a new three-storey building attached to form a new side facing Salthill Promenade, with the existing single storey building to be demolished. This building will include a café at ground level and a three-bed duplex apartment overhead.
  • An enhanced public green space beside the building on lands in City Council ownership.
  • Secure store for 18 bicycles and two cargo bikes on the ground floor.

The City Council had raised concerns that when calculating the overall floor area of the new premises, an additional basement area had not been included.

Therefore, the proposed development was 20% (or 791 square metres) over the allowable floor area under the City Development Plan.

The design team subsequently clarified that the basement area was for plant and storage only and should not be included when calculating the overall floor area – they would have no issue with a planning condition reducing the basement ceiling height to 2.1 metres to ensure it was restricted to plant and storage.

The Council also instructed the applicant to speak to the Fire Authority about means of escape and access for firefighting – the Chief Fire Officer had no objections.

Planners queried how deliveries were managed, and management at the arcade said they would continue on a monthly basis via roadside drop off at Quincentennial Drive.

In his assessment of the application, the Council’s Acting Senior Planner, Liam Blake, said: “Having regard to the drawings and photomontages submitted, it is considered that the visual appearance and scale, form and height of the proposed development is acceptable in this case.

“The proposed building presents itself as a contemporary infill development, which has had due regard to the scale and proportions of neighbouring buildings and would, if constructed, provide a positive contribution to urban design and the visual integrity of the existing streetscape.

“It is considered that the redevelopment of the existing site would represent a form of infill development that would contribute to visually strengthening the appearance and quality of Salthill. “The provision as part of the revised application of a coffee shop fronting onto the open space is also considered to enhance the tourism offer of Salthill,” Mr Blake said, recommending that permission be granted.

Conditions were attached to the grant of permission, stipulating that an Archaeological Impact Assessment should be carried out on site and a report filed with the Council.

Legal agreements must be drawn up with the Council in relation to using the local authority lands to the side of the building, and the basement has been restricted to plant and storage use.

All demolition, excavation and construction activities are restricted to between 8am and 6pm Mondays to Fridays and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.

The Council has also stipulated that the apartments cannot be used for short-term lettings.

There were no objections to the planning application.

Seapoint is owned by Paul Freeney and his father Myles, from Co Wicklow.

Paul Freeney is separately involved in High Court judicial review proceedings against An Bord Pleanála over its granting of permission for a casino in Fairgreen House. The City Council had initially refused permission.

Cwc Fairgreen Ltd – owned by property developer Michael Maye – was granted permission in 2021 to turn a long-term vacant unit in the building into a casino, with up to 36 gaming and amusement machines.

Mr Freeney has asked the High Court to quash to decision, claiming the board erred in law in its consideration of the application and failed to have regard to the provisions of the Galway City Development Plan.

At the planning stage, Mr Freeney made a submission to the City Council that it was his understanding “that gaming (casinos) has been rescinded or is not allowed in Galway City”.

The judicial review is due for hearing on December 14.

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