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Preparations for bypass planning bid on schedule

Dara Bradley

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Preparations for the proposed new city bypass remain on schedule, according to the lead agent driving the project.

Galway County Council has confirmed that the planning application for the new road is on course to be lodged with An Bórd Pleanála in the first quarter of 2016 as planned.

The planning application will include the publication next spring of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs), Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Natura Impact Statement (NIS), said the Council’s Senior Roads Engineer, Michael Timmins.

The route selection report for the bypass was published by consultants ARUP in the past fortnight.

It sets out in great detail the justification for the bypass, and the reasons why the emerging preferred route was selected instead of the other options.

The document, which runs to several thousand pages including meaty appendices, is available online at n6galwaycity.ie and from the Council.

The report remains a draft document because engineers are continuing to ‘tweak’ the emerging preferred route in consultation with residents.

Consultants have sought public feedback on various design options for proposed new junctions in the Barna area. The junctions in question are located west of Cappagh Road.

The public and property owners affected have been asked to submit their preferences for flyovers, staggered junctions, roundabouts or bridges at the junctions. Some options may create cul de sacs, and others will impact on local journey times for residents, while the presence of flyovers could have serious visual impacts.

The public had until Tuesday of last week to make submissions on the Barna junctions.

Consultants will now seek submissions for the public’s preference on the junctions from Cappagh Road to the start of the bypass east of the city and this will be done in tranches, according to Mr Timmins, to include from Cappagh to the N59, from there to Headford Road and from there to Tuam Road.

He said “it’s not a popularity contest”, and the junctions will be chosen on the basis of proper planning and design and road safety, as well as minimising impacts on landowners.

“Landowners affected by the emerging preferred route have been coming in and they can continue to come in if they want to discuss anything. There won’t be any big change to the route but we will continue to tweak it,” he said.

Mr Timmins said the main body of work between now and spring was more detailed site investigations to determine the extent of bog and rock along the route.

The route selection report by Arup concludes that the road is needed, and recommends the emerging preferred route as the “optimum corridor for additional road infrastructure which meets the objectives”.

The report also recommended to “review the extent of provision of road infrastructure necessary within this preferred route corridor in conjunction with the wider integrated management transport programme for Galway which will identify the level of service requirements for each mode of transport including walking, cycling, public transport and private vehicle.

“The parallel processes of identification of a preferred route corridor for the road component and the identification of the maximum service provision by the other transport modes will ensure delivery of an overall sustainable transport solution in order to meet both the current and future travel needs of Galway.”

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
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

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
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

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
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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