Redesign of Warwick nursing home plans to overcome planning hurdles

A computer-generated image of the proposed nursing home on the site of the Warwick Hotel in Salthill.

A decision is expected from Galway City Council next month on redesigned plans for a 60-bed nursing home on the site of the former Warwick Hotel in Salthill.

Last October, Rushmany Nursing Home Ltd – which already operates Rushmore Nursing Home in Knocknacarra – applied for permission to build a four-storey, 60-bed nursing home, with surface carparking and a south-facing landscaped amenity area with outdoor seating on the three-quarter acre site.

However, planners ordered a redesign, pointing out that the development would be in conflict with public health and safety, particularly in the context of fire safety and means of escape. The applicants were ordered to liaise with the Chief Fire Officer.

The Council also ordered a significant increase in the quantity and quality of open space provided.

Redesigned plans were subsequently submitted to the Council and are currently under consideration by the local authority.

A professional landscaping scheme has been drawn up, which “seeks to deliver high quality and appropriately designed amenity areas which are tailor-made to meet the requirements of the elderly”.

This consists of a south-facing ‘therapeutic/dementia garden’ to the front and a shared and a looped walkway within the site.

“These areas will provide for a hierarchy of functional open space for future residents, accompanying visitors and staff within the site, being linked by a looped and dedicated walkway. The combination of these spaces and linkages will provide adequate exercise opportunities for longer-term residents and those who may have restricted movement or be confined to wheelchairs,” the new plans read.

Seven parking spaces (leaving a total of 34) have been omitted to allow for a ’homezone’ open space area, and the applicants argue that the site is serviced by two bus routes, reducing the demand for parking.

They add that it is on a ‘high performing cross-city route’ as part of the Government’s BusConnects plan, set to be delivered by 2027.

One objection to the application was lodged, by Iura Matel with an address in Dublin, on the grounds that the size of the site cannot accommodate a nursing home of this scale, and the building is “crammed in”.

A decision is expected from the City Council next month.