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CITY TRIBUNE

Plans drawn up to redevelop derelict Blackrock cottage

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Plans have been drawn up to restore the derelict 19th century cottage at Blackrock and create a restaurant with adjoining bicycle hire shop to serve as a stop-off along the Wild Atlantic Way.

The proposal includes the refurbishment of Blackrock Cottage to a café/restaurant and the construction of a single-storey detached bicycle rental and repair shop, and 18 parking spaces with access onto the main Salthill Road. 

Cork-based McHugh Property Holdings Ltd – where former Galway footballer Finian Hanley serves as Chief Operating Officer – lodged the application at City Hall last week.

“This site has sat for many years as a derelict eyesore on one of the city’s busiest recreational amenities, used by the local and visiting public.

“The aim in this application is to secure the restoration and long-term future of the existing cottage and to do so by means of a use which is complementary to the area.

“The bicycle rental and repair element is also complementary to the established recreation use and will support an alternative means of experiencing the coastal areas in the city in a sustainable way.

“Both the café and the cycle elements will add to and enhance the prominent role of Salthill and Blackrock in the city as the primary year-round recreation areas.

“Additionally, the proposed development will enhance the public realm of the area through the restoration of the disused cottage, the reduction in the boundary wall and extensive landscaping, in particular, the access track to the existing public toilets which is currently overgrown.

“The conservation and refurbishment will be done in a manner sympathetic to the historic nature of the building. The proposal involves the construction of a new building and elements that are entirely contemporary in design. This is proposed as a low, flat-roofed building so as to respect the sensitivity of views and to be subservient to the traditional character of the restored cottage.

“The project allows for a sustainable rejuvenation of this derelict eyesore with an attractive restoration of the cottage to its former glory, while offering a much-needed ancillary facility,” architect Sean Dockry said.

Mayor Niall McNelis told the Galway City Tribune that he fully supports the plans. “I think it’s a fantastic idea. Galway City Council should have bought it and developed it themselves. It will be great for tourism on the Wild Atlantic Way at what is one of the city’s biggest attractions.”

The company behind the plans is owned by Cork businessman Brian McHugh, who also owns McHugh Insulation and Envirobead.

A subsidiary company, Clearwater Ventures, owns the former Spinnaker Hotel and adjoining retail units, which were rezoned for ‘R’ usage, which would allow for residential development, hotel, guesthouse, local shops, offices and community buildings.

Clearwater is 75% owned by Mr McHugh, while Galway businessman Francis O’Flaherty – the Chief Operating Officer at Declan Ganley’s Rivada Networks – owns the remainder.

In 2008, the then owner of the Spinnaker, Ronan Lawless, was granted permission for a €30 million upmarket boutique with 26 bedrooms and bar and 16 apartments over three and four storeys (plus basement). That planning permission expired last December.

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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