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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents win planning battle against Chinese restaurant

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Residents in Knocknacarra have won their battle to prevent a first-floor apartment in Shangort being converted to a Chinese restaurant.

Jack Chen had sought permission for a change of use of the apartment at the small shopping centre at Seacrest on the Shangort Road – opposite McGrath’s Field – to a restaurant with seating for 48 people.

However, Galway City Council ruled that such a use would contravene the current City Development Plan because it would adversely impact adjacent dwellings and their private amenity space and cause an increase in traffic.

They added that there would be insufficient parking and the restaurant would be likely to lead to illegal parking on adjacent roadways and housing estates, which would create a traffic hazard and endanger public safety by reason of obstruction.

Planners added that Mr Chen failed to show sufficient legal interest or permission for the construction of a rear fire escape stairs and for work to the attic and roof, which would render it a hazard to public safety.

Mr Chen had proposed to have opening hours of 5.30pm to 10.30pm, and that the busy period for the restaurant would be 7pm to 10pm, when all other businesses in the building are closed.

“The carpark in the evening will be virtually free from 6pm and this will eliminate any parking or traffic issues.

“Chinese restaurants by their nature are usually very quiet as the music is low and soft, so the noise levels will be kept to a minimum,” the application reads.

A total of eleven objections were received, as well as petitions signed by almost 50 residents of the adjacent Woodview Court and Seacrest estates on the grounds that it is a residential area; it would create traffic problems; there is already a lack of parking in the area and that it may lead to anti-social behaviour.

Residents also referred to a decision by An Bord Pleanála in 2001, overturning permission for a Chinese restaurant in one of the shop units in the development.

An objection to Mr Chen’s application was also lodged by local area councillor Donal Lyons, who said: “As a local representative, I have not received any representations requesting that such a change of use is needed in the area. Alternatively, I have received a large number of representations requesting my support in objecting to this planning application.

“As outlined, I believe that the character of the area would be seriously affected. This is an established residential area.

“The proposal would result in an increase in late night noise and disturbance, to the serious detriment of the adjoining occupier,” wrote Cllr Lyons.

A resident of Woodview Court said: “There is the potential for anti-social behaviour with people congregating at the restaurant and take away late at night causing disturbance and vandalism.

“I am concerned that people would gather in the shared laneway at the back of Seacrest shopping centre. The laneway is shared by the residents backing onto the shopping centre.”

In 2001, the current Mayor of Galway, Cllr Pearce Flannery, had planning permission refused by An Bord Pleanala to convert the former Quinn’s shop unit to a ‘Bamboo Hut’ Chinese restaurant and take-away.

The Board noted that the proposed restaurant was located within an area zoned primarily for residential purposes and that it would result in “a material increase in late-night noise and disturbance to the serious detriment of adjoining occupiers”.

Mr Chen lists himself in the planning application as the owner of the 4/5-bed apartment, which was on the market last year with a guide price of €235,000.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway family’s light show adds magic to Christmas

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Carrick Family Light Show returns tonight (Friday) as 70,000 lights are illuminated in aid of a worthy local charity.

The man behind the lights spectacular, James Carrick, says test runs this week have proven successful and the family is ready to mark another Christmas in style.

“This is our fourth Christmas doing it. We started in 2019, but Covid was around for the last two years so it will be great this year not having to worry about that so much,” says James, who has spent the last few weeks carefully rebuilding the show at his home in Lurgan Park, Renmore.

He’s added “a few bits and pieces this year” – his brother buying the house next door has provided him a ‘blank canvas’ to extend.

Over the past three years, the show has raised almost €30,000 for local charities and James hopes to build on that this year – offering the light show for free, as always, and giving the opportunity to donate if people wish to do so.

The show runs nightly from 6.30pm, Monday to Saturday, with an extra kids show on Sundays at 5pm at 167 Lurgan Park (H91 Y17D). Donations can be made at the shows or by searching ‘idonate Carrick Family Light Show’ online.

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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Chaos’ for Christmas as Martin junction works delayed again

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists attempting to get into Galway are facing a nightmare before Christmas as continued delays to the works at the Martin roundabout create traffic chaos on the east side of the city.

Anger over the controversial project to remove the roundabout at Galway Clinic intensified this week as the completion date was pushed out to February – nearly a year after works began and six months later than the supposed deadline.

Local councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) told the Galway City Tribune that he had lost all confidence in the Transport Department in the City Council and hit out at their “outsourcing the problem” to private contractors.

He said despite repeated representations from him, the local authority was refusing to take responsibility for the bedlam caused by the works, which he said had resulted in “three minor collisions in the last five weeks”.

“The bottom line is that this has been an absolute shambles and I’ve lost all faith in senior officials in City Hall. When I raised the issue again this week, I was accused of looking for newspaper headlines – they will not take responsibility,” said the City East councillor.

“It’s like an obstacle course up there, and now they’re saying February for completion. I’ve no confidence it will even be done by then – they’re out of their depth. If you look at what they’re saying, they say they’ll be doing the surfacing until February,” continued Cllr Cheevers, anticipating that works could still be ongoing next March or April.

In a statement issued by contractors Fox Building Engineers Ltd and Galway City Council, it was claimed that “supply chain issues” had impacted severely on the project.

Motorists this week reported delays of up to an hour just to travel the short distance from Briarhill Shopping Centre as far as the Doughiska Road-Dublin Road junction, a distance of less than 2km.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the December 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors rubber stamp ‘temporary’ helipad after nine years in place

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The helipad on the former Shantalla pitch.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Health Service Executive (HSE) came under fire over the ‘temporary’ helipad serving University Hospital Galway at a meeting to finalise the Galway City Development Plan for 2023-29.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, made a point of publicly highlighting his dissatisfaction with the HSE, calling on them to urgently “regularise” the planning permission for the helipad.
BY ANDREW HAMILTON
Speaking on the issue, Cllr Frank Fahy (FG) said that he mistrusted the HSE’s proposal concerning the helipad, saying that previous promises about the site had not been kept.

Currently, University Hospital Galway operates the helipad to transport medical emergencies on Council-owned land in Shantalla – it has been used for past nine years, despite the HSE saying it would be used for six months.

The temporary structure, the busiest helipad in Ireland, transports patients from as far north as Donegal to the hospital.

Councillors voted to change the Galway City Development Plan to provide for a helipad at this location but urged the HSE to normalise the planning permission at the site and to provide compensation to the local community for the loss of a section of the park.

Mr McGrath said that he wouldn’t “wait forever” for the HSE to bring the site in line with the planning laws.

Last month marked the ninth anniversary of when the Saolta University Hospital Group gave a commitment to the people of Shantalla about the public land it borrowed.

Tony Canavan, the then Chief Operating Officer, and now CEO of Saolta, said that the land would be used to accommodate a helipad at the rear of UHG for six months only.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the December 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune where there is extensive coverage of rezoning decisions under the City Development Plan. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.

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