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CITY TRIBUNE

Planning approved for Lidl supermarket in Wellpark

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Galway City Council has given the go-ahead to German supermarket chain Lidl to open a store in Wellpark Retail Park – with planning permission granted to the discount retailer to operate from a unit previously occupied by PC World.

Radical Properties, the owner of Wellpark Retail Park, sought permission from the local authority for a change of use of the retail space from bulky retail use to a discount supermarket and off licence.

The way has now been cleared for the retailer to begin alterations at the site which include works to install trolley bays and a customer lift to the basement carpark.

Permission has been granted, subject to a number of conditions that must be met by the retailer – including amendments to the signage proposed and a request for a comprehensive signage strategy, prior to commencement of the development.

The local authority must also be made aware of operating hours of the store, prior to construction, and the store’s operators are compelled to provide surface-level bicycle parking in close proximity to the main entrance of the unit.

In total there were two objections to the application – one from RGDATA, a representative association for independent family-owned grocery outlets nationwide, and the other from Tirellan Heights resident Brian Conway.

RGDATA cited concerns that location on the eastern outskirts of the city would have a detrimental effect on the city centre.

The group claimed the site was not appropriately zoned for the proposed store – and that parking facilities and road infrastructure in the vicinity were not adequate.

However, Council planners stated that the net retail floor area of the unit, amounting to 962 square metres, was just under three per cent of the amount estimated to be required by the city in 2023.

“In light of the zoning objectives for the Wellpark Retail Park, it is considered that the quantum of retail floor space proposed is acceptable for the catchment area and will provide an important local retailing facility for the local area.

“It is considered that the quantum of retail floor space proposed will not impact negatively on the vitality and vibrancy of a City Centre retail core,” the planner’s report reads.

The applicant submitted a traffic report which showed over a four-day period in June 2018, the maximum number of spaces in use in the car park at the retail park at any one time was 45 per cent.

The planner stated: “It is acknowledged that, at the time of the survey, a number of units within the Wellpark Retail Park were vacant, including those of the subject planning application, which would increase parking demand.

“However, notwithstanding this, noting the figures contained in the car parking survey and given that the proposal will not result in a significant intensification of use on site, with a change of use, from retail bulky goods to retail, it is considered that the existing on-site car parking, in tandem with the proposed 18 number car parking spaces, can accommodate the proposed change of use.”

Mr Conway’s objection requested that the change of use not be granted and the units should be retained for bulky retail use.

Before the commencement of development, as a condition to planning permission, the applicant must pay City Council a contribution of €36,813 for the cost of services to facilitate the development.

CITY TRIBUNE

Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill as event confirmed

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill this weekend as an event has been announced for Sunday.

It’s been confirmed by organisers on social media – who say they’re being unfairly portrayed in a negative light.

In a statement, the Galway Car Scene group say they pay road tax like all other road users – and they have “every right” to be in Salthill this weekend.

It comes as they’ve confirmed the event will be taking place there on Sunday as originally planned.

They add it’s unfair to accuse them of blocking up Salthill and other parts of the city given the chronic traffic issues every day of the week.

They’ve also created an online petition calling for a designated place for car enthusiasts to go – which has so far gathered almost 250 signatures.

It claims the car enthusiast community in Galway has been unfairly painted as a negative and anti-social group.

The group say they’re happy to go elsewhere, but say any time they try to find a venue they’re shut out.

The event planned for Sunday has encountered significant opposition, much of which is based on a previous “Salthill Sundays” event held in May.

Those opposed say they’re not against an event of this kind in principle – but they strongly feel that Salthill just isn’t the right venue.

It’s also argued that if the organisers want to be taken seriously, they have to engage with stakeholders like Galway City Council and Gardaí to ensure a well-planned and safe event.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cars down to one-way system on Salthill Promenade

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A one-way system of traffic may be introduced along the Promenade in Salthill to facilitate the introduction of temporary cycle lanes.

The suggestion appeared to come as a shock to some City Council members who supported the cycle lane in a vote last month – one has called for a “full discussion again” on what exactly they had actually approved.

Councillors had voted 17-1 in favour of the principle of providing a cycleway that will stretch from Grattan Road all along the Prom.

The motion that passed at the September meeting proposed that the Council “shall urgently seek” to create a two-way segregated cycle track on a temporary basis along the coastal side of the Prom.

It was agreed that from the Blackrock Tower junction to the Barna Road would be a one-way cycle track.

The motion was voted on without debate, which meant Council officials did not have an opportunity to question the proposal.

At a meeting on Monday, the debate was revisited when Uinsinn Finn, Director of Services for Transportation, indicated that a one-way traffic system would be introduced in Salthill to facilitate a two-way cycle lane from Grattan Road to Blackrock.

This could mean that the outbound lane of traffic, closest to the sea, could be closed to all traffic bar bikes.

Mr Finn said that he would have sought clarity at the previous meeting – if debate were allowed – about what was meant by ‘temporary’.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Christmas Market gets go-ahead for next month

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It’s the first real sign of a restoration of normality in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors in the city – the return of the Christmas Market next month to Eyre Square.

This week, the City Council’s planning department gave the go-ahead for the outdoor retail and gourmet food ‘spread’ that has been part of the festive season in Galway since 2010.

The exception was last year when, like so many other public gatherings since the Covid crisis broke in March 2020, the event had to be cancelled because of public health concerns.

Christmas Market Organiser, Maria Moynihan Lee, Managing Director of Milestone Inventive, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that she had received official confirmation on Thursday from the City Council of the go-ahead being given for the event.

“This is really wonderful news for the city and especially so in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors. For every €1 spent at the market another €3 will be spent on the high street – this will be a real boost for Galway,” she said.

Maria Moynihan Lee confirmed that the market would have an earlier than usual start of Friday, November 12 and would run through until the Wednesday evening of December 22.

(Photo: Declan Colohan)

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

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