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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents win planning battle against Chinese restaurant

Enda Cunningham

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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 City school relocates to the Races after flooding

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Winner alright! Winner alright! When a city Gaeltacht school effectively became homeless overnight due to flooding hell at Halloween, it turned adversity into opportunity by temporarily relocating to Galway Racecourse, which has been a massive success.

Disaster struck for Scoil Bhríde in Menlo during the October mid-term break when water from a suspected burst pipe flooded through the ceiling, damaging woodwork, electrics and equipment in classrooms.

Principal Máire De Brún, assistant principals Siobhán Ó Neill and Deirdre Ní Cheallaigh, and the board of management, chaired by Patricia Coleman, were faced with two options. The first was an emergency closure of the school for a week to fix the problem, which they ruled out.

“We took the bull by the horns and decided to go hell for leather and find another venue to house us so that the repairs could be done without pressure and so that the kids could continue school on the Monday after mid-term,” explained Ms De Brún.

The leak probably occurred on the Wednesday, and was discovered on Thursday, which gave only a few days to find a new school.

“When I look back on it, I don’t know how we did it,” laughed Ms De Brún.

First, she tried the Menlo Park Hotel, whose management was “extraordinarily helpful”. But because of Covid-19 restrictions, it couldn’t accommodate all 190 pupils in the school, pre-school and 10 staff.

Ballinfoile Community Hall was “absolutely fantastic” too, and agreed to house temporary classrooms. Those two venues still couldn’t cater for all students, and so Ms De Brún had to find another venue for two more classes.

“Someone suggested the Racecourse and we went out and met Michael [Moloney, Racecourse Manager] and said we just need it for two classes but when we were standing in the Killanin Stand, we said, ‘What are we thinking, let’s just move the whole lot out here and they’ll be under the one roof, they’ll have four floors, they’ll have plenty of space, they can run around outside?’,” she recalled.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Some Galway City pubs ‘will never reopen’

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – There are several pubs in Galway that will never reopen their doors as a result of the “bitterly disappointing” decision to keep pubs closed under Covid-19 restrictions.

That’s according to the new Chair of Galway City branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, Johnny Duggan, who said there were a number of pub owners who had already given up their leases and many more who found themselves in “serious difficulty” after being forced to stay closed for the best part of eight months.

From today (Friday), restrictions have been eased to allow for the reopening of restaurants and pubs that serve food. However, so-called ‘wet pubs’, which do not operate a kitchen, have been forced to remain closed for the foreseeable future.

Mr Duggan said there were a number of publicans under severe pressure to meet rent and loan commitments, and without adequate support, the future remained very uncertain.

“What the Government has given is three double payments of the CRSS (Covid Restrictions Support Scheme), but that comes nowhere near what you would normally turn over at this time of year. It’s welcome, but it’s just not enough.

“There are an awful lot of people who won’t survive this,” he said.

Mr Duggan said publicans found it “very strange” that they had been allowed bring food in from off-site premises to satisfy the need for a substantial meal when restrictions were eased in the summer, but that option was not available this time around.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. 

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Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Garda chief appeals for ‘special’ Christmas effort

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s most senior Garda has appealed to students and young people to make ‘one special effort’ over the Christmas holiday season to keep contact and travel to a minimum.

Yesterday (Thursday), some groups of students had organised mock ‘Christmas Day’ celebrations in keeping with the custom of recent years in the week before the end of the first semester at the city’s third-level colleges.

Gardaí had extra patrols on duty through the course of the day and last night to keep tabs on any improvised gatherings as part of their Covid-19 campaign in the run-up to Christmas.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley told the Galway City Tribune that the last thing the Gardaí wanted to do was to adopt what some people might describe as a ‘heavy-handed’ approach to gatherings of young people.

“The last eight months or so have been tough for all of us, but it has to be acknowledged that there has been a very high level of buy-in from everyone, including students and young people.

“We are at the point where a lot of progress in terms of containing the spread of Covid-19 has been made, but I suppose the key message we want to get out there now is to ‘stick with it’ over the coming weeks and months,” said Chief Supt Curley.

However, he did caution that if students or young people did break the law in terms of not abiding by the coronavirus regulations, they would be facing prosecution and a potential criminal conviction. “This is not what we want, or indeed what any student needs, as they look ahead to their career prospects,” he said.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. 

Galway City Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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