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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Serious concerns’ over Knocknacarra development proposal

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Galway City Council has raised “serious concerns” over a proposed multi-million euro residential and commercial development off the Western Distributor Road.

They have ordered an extensive redesign of the plans which were lodged in February.

A computer-generated image of the proposed development.

A computer-generated image of the proposed development.

The local authority has written to Dublin-based investment fund Ardstone Capital with a series of issues they have with the plans for the 6.5-acre site off the Ballymoneen Road.

Their concerns range from an unacceptable design for large parts of the development; whether the developers have sufficient legal interest for an entrance from the adjoining Leargán estate; the proximity of the commercial units to the road; the scale and design of the commercial units; the design of apartments

In February, the company sought permission to develop the site – previously earmarked for a controversial Lidl supermarket which was rejected by An Bord Pleanála – which it purchased for €3 million.

It planned to have vehicular access from the Ballymoneen Road and via the Leargán development on the Distributor Road, as well as pedestrian access from the Distributor Road.

The application involves the construction of 91 new homes, four ground floor commercial units and a corner block of commercial units over three floors and a creche.

Among the objectors to the application is Leargán Management Company, which has concerns about the proposed access through their estate, and whether the applicant has the legal right to use that access point.

Concerns were also voiced about the new road layout creating a rat run from the Western Distributor Road to the Ballymoneen Road.

Planners have asked the applicant to prove it has sufficient legal interest to access the road via Leargán, and have sought clarification on the intentions for a strip of land to the west of the site beside Leargán.

The Council has expressed concerns that the four retail units and three-level commercial building would be too close to the footpath and roadway and that their scale and design is not integrated into the overall proposal.

The applicant has been told to completely redesign this element of the plans and also asked what the three-level building will be used for.

“The planning authority has serious reservations with regards to the overall design of the apartment/duplex units,” planners said, specifically asking that private open space and garden areas be redesigned to “provide space which is functional, useable and capable of receiving adequate sunlight”.

“The northern elevations and in particular the south-southern elevation are considered unsatisfactory, and present a linear, monolithic, unrelenting façade which detracts from the amenities of the area,” planners said.

They added that the 1.8-metre high boundary wall is unacceptable and needs to be revised.

Proposed gravel surfaces for on-site parking has been branded “substandard” and the applicants have been ordered to look at tarmac or cobble block.

They have also been ordered to redesign gables of buildings, that timber fencing is not acceptable, and that there is unnecessary use of retaining walls and railings.

Planners said that communal open space is substandard as it appears to be shared surface areas consisting mainly of access roads and parking spaces.

The design of a number of the properties do not meet City Development Plan guidelines, and it was also noted that there should be between 147 and 156 parking spaces, but only 80 were proposed.

Ardstone Capital has six months to respond to the demand for revised proposals and further information, or the application will be deemed to be withdrawn.

CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

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

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors divided over vote on Salthill Prom cycleway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to install a temporary two-way cycle lane along Salthill Promenade hangs in the balance, with city councillors split ahead of a vote next week.

On Monday night, the 18 city councillors will discuss Mayor Colette Connolly’s motion that the lane be installed on the coastal side of the road from Blackrock to a point opposite Galway Business School.

A poll of the councillors carried out by the Galway City Tribune yesterday found nine in favour of the proposal, with one indicating they will abstain. A simple majority is required and if there is a 9-9 split, the Mayor holds a ‘casting’ vote, effectively a second vote.

There has been a flurry of lobbying by cycling campaigners urging councillors to vote in favour, as well as some complaints from residents worried it will again impinge on their parking as visitors to Salthill seek somewhere to park up while they swim or walk along the most utilised resource the city has.

During lockdown, Gardaí removed parking on the Prom to deter people from gathering in a public space. This resulted in motorists blocking driveways and entering private estates, leading one estate off Threadneedle Road to hire a private clamping company.

Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) believes there are a maximum of 250 spaces that would be lost to the project on one side of the road as currently proposed, including seven disabled spaces, which could be reassigned close by.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the issue and to see how each councillor intends to vote, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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