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CITY TRIBUNE

Sandy Road regeneration heralds new dawn for city

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Shaded in red is the 20-acre Sandy Road site that has now been earmarked for a major urban regeneration programme to provide 1,000 new homes close to the city centre.

THE first steps have been taken this week in what promises to be the biggest ever single urban regeneration project in the city – a potential half-billion-euro development of the 20-acre Sandy Road site.

A design review of the site has begun this week to be conducted by the Royal Institute Architects of Ireland with a brief to set out an outline vision strategy for the provision of 1,000 new homes as well as employment units and leisure facilities.

Property owners on the site earmarked for development include the City Council, the ESB, Galway County Council, the Galway Education and Training Board and the Connacht Tribune-owned Galway Bay FM premises.

The initial stages of the project – being driven by the State funded Land Development Agency (LDA) – will also have a strong ‘green element’ to it in what is being termed a ‘non-car’ development.

Galway City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, told the Galway City Tribune, that it was a most exciting project for the city given its location within one kilometre of Eyre Square and its ready access to roads and public transport.

He said that the main thrust of the development would be housing-orientated, with a variety of residential units including affordable, social, rental and private sale properties.

“What’s happening this week is the important first step in what can be a very real achievable project for the city in the short- to medium-term period with the first phases coming on stream in the next three to five years,” said Mr McGrath.

The panel of architects [chaired by former senior Bord Pleanála planner, John Martin] will have its review completed by the end of March [this year] with the project in a position to go the detailed design stage some time in 2021, according to Brendan McGrath.

“We would hope that – all things going well – this project would be going on site by the end of 2022, with the first phases to be completed 12 to 18 months later,” Brendan McGrath said.

He stressed, however, that there would be a detailed and lengthy consultation period with all of the property-owners and tenants on the 20-acre site before the project would proceed.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Council officials branded ‘ignorant’ after reneging on circus agreement

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A circus branded City Hall in Galway ‘ignorant and arrogant’ after a spat over access to public space.

Circus Gerbola criticised Galway City Council for limiting the days its big top was permitted in Claude Toft carpark in Salthill and for reneging on an agreement.

The touring troupe said that last January, it provisionally booked the carpark from August 4-21. In early July, the Council emailed the circus and said it would be limited to seven days only.

Event Producer Jane Murray said she then secured a verbal compromise to rent the carpark for 10 days, including two weekends. But then the Council contacted the circus again and insisted that the site could be used for seven days only.

“I wouldn’t call them clowns because I think it would be an insult to clowns and generations of clowning. They were just extremely ignorant and arrogant. They were so unempathetic,” fumed Ms Murray.

They then scrambled to find alternative accommodation, in Kinvara, for performances today, Saturday and Sunday.

The third planned week has been moved to Conamara. From next Monday, the big top moves to Fíbín theatre company grounds in An Tulach, Cois Fharraige, for a series of events.

A Council statement said the matter was discussed at length internally.

“The carpark in question is relied upon by locals and tourists alike for parking, particularly during the busy tourist season. The best compromise in this situation was to permit the circus to take over full use of the car park for seven days. We do envisage complaints/representations from locals at being prevented from using this car park for a full week,” it said.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents call on Galway City Council to tackle burning of rubbish

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Local residents have called on the authorities to tackle the problem of an ongoing illegal dump in the Castlegar area with the rubbish being burnt off on a regular basis.

A particularly intense fire was set off in the Bruckey area on Tuesday afternoon last with black smoke billowing from the blaze – forcing local people to close their windows and doors.

According to one local resident, even the Fire Brigade couldn’t access the blaze which eventually burnt itself out over the following days.

“This has been going on for the past four years and we have made several overtures to the City Council on the issue as well as contacting the Gardaí, but nothing is being done about this.”

He said that the land being used as dump and fire site was rented and added that those burning waste were ‘a complete law onto themselves who did whatever they liked’.

(Photo: the fire burning on Tuesday)

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors ignore Transport Authority recommendation on estate access

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A submission by the National Transport Authority (NTA) – seeking to restrict new access points along the Western Distributor Road to ‘cyclists and pedestrians’ only – has been defeated at a City Council meeting.

Councillors voted 12-4 to reject the NTA submission presented in the draft Galway City Development Plan (2023-29) which sought to prevent new access points being provided for vehicular traffic.

The NTA in their submission said that their proposal was aimed at ‘protecting investment in public transport’ and in ‘facilitating sustainable travel’.

In his response to the submission, City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, said that the Council did not want any further restrictions to be put in place.

Councillors Niall Murphy (Green Party) and Colette Connolly (Ind) had proposed the acceptance of the NTA submission in order to improve access for cyclists and pedestrians.

Senior Planner with the Council, Caroline Phelan, said that there was a substantial bank of land in this area (off the Western Distributor Road) and the objective was to be able to access zoned land.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) said that if land in such areas was prevented from being developed by a lack of access, it would have major implications for industry, jobs, housing and schools. “We have to allow access,” he said.

(Photo: The ‘Kingston Cross’ lands on the Western Distributor Road which were earmarked for a commercial and residential development anchored by Tesco and Decathlon: An Bord Pleanála previously ruled access points would be a traffic hazard, particularly when it came to cycling infrastructure and a bus corridor on the road).

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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