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Salthill-Knocknacarra GAA club fails in bid to rezone land for residential use


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Salthill-Knocknacarra GAA club fails in bid to rezone land for residential use Salthill-Knocknacarra GAA club fails in bid to rezone land for residential use

From the Galway City Tribune – A bid to change the zoning of more than 12 acres of land owned by Salthill-Knocknacarra GAA Club to residential use has failed.

At a meeting to discuss the Galway City Development Plan 2023-29, it was eventually agreed by councillors that the lands would be retained for the specific objective of developing football pitches, floodlighting and associated infrastructure.

Councillors were informed that it would be extremely difficult to develop pitches and floodlighting on lands zoned specifically for agricutural use and this prompted the amendment by Cllr Peter Keane (FF) to allow for such works to take place.

Councillors disagreed with city planners’ recommendation to retain the zoning as ‘G’, with an objective “to provide for the development of agriculture and protect areas of visual importance and/or areas of high amenity”.

In a move that should improve chances of getting sports facilities built on the 12.5-acre site north of the crossroads of Clybaun and Rahoon Roads, within the townlands of Keeraun and Mincloon in Rahoon, they voted 17-1 in favour of an amendment stating that the Council would “support and consider” the development of recreation and amenity facilities, including playing pitches.

The GAA club had argued that there had been large-scale residential development in the immediate area of the site which had set a precedent for the area. The N6 Ring Road would enhance the accessibility of the site, which was currently served by public transport.

“The census data indicates significant population growth in the area and zoning will support this growth,” stated the consultants hired by the club to make the submission.

The planners argued that it should be retained as G (agriculture) zoning as residential development would run counter to national and regional policy centred on promoting compact growth “supporting the integrated, sequenced and sustainable development of the city”.

It would also be contrary to national policy which seeks to reduce carbon footprint and integrate climate change mitigation.

“These lands in particular are wholly unsustainable for R [residential] zoning being at a remove from services and remove from the existing and proposed public transport and pedestrian networks. More suitable accessible lands are available and zoned for development that can meet the housing supply targets.”

Councillor Declan McDonnell (Ind) asked whether the ‘G’ zoning would allow permit the building of a clubhouse or changing rooms, which may be needed to support playing pitches for the biggest club in the county.

“They can’t be restricted here, they are struggling for facilities.”

Senior Planner Helen Coleman explained that a previous application for playing pitches on the “challenged” site had been refused due to traffic concerns but the current zoning allowed for small scale recreational facilities depending on scale and location.

Senior Planner Caroline Phelan said an amendment proposed by Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) expressing that the Council would support recreation facilities at the location was too strong and urged the wording to be changed to ‘consider’.

Cllr Peter Keane said he could see no problem with expressing support for playing pitches at this location as this was a general policy of the Council to get more sporting facilities created.

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