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Tennis Club to install air dome to keep weather at bay

Enda Cunningham

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Galway Lawn Tennis Club has served up plans for an inflatable ‘air dome’ over four courts, which will allow play during bad weather.

However, city planners have stipulated that the dome can only be in place between September and April each year for the next three years.

In April last year, the club sought permission for the air-supported structure on its land on Threadneedle Road.

The dome will be 64 metres long, 34 metres wide and 11.2 metres high, and there will also be a single-storey structure to house the associated fan, as well as providing seasonal storage when the dome is removed.

Following a lengthy process of seeking further information and clarifications, planners approved the application, although concerns were again voiced about the proposals.

The Council’s Executive Planner John Doody wrote: “There is a concern regarding the temporary/seasonal element of the dome as it is clear that the erection and demounting of the dome structure is a significant undertaking, involving 15 persons and seven hours to complete (105 hours), occurring twice a year.

“Taking this into consideration, the effort involved in the erection and demounting of the structure, its cost, as it can only be carried out by trained persons, leads to the question: once erected will it be ever demounted? In this case, a specific condition should be attached which would require the demounting of the dome within a specified period.

“It is considered that a temporary permission issue, limiting the erection of the dome to a period of three years.

“This time period would allow for the assemble of empirical data involving the erection and demounting of the dome, the actual operational noise levels generated by the blower over this period and allow for the examination of compliance by the applicant with any conditions controlling the development.

“It would also allow any third parties to comment on any issues which arise during the operational period to be examined,” Mr Doody wrote in his planning report.

Permission was granted, for a period of three years (unless a subsequent permission is granted), on condition that the dome only be erected between September and April, and the erection and demounting should occur at the start and end of those months.

“This, however, may be weather dependant, if so, the applicant shall inform the planning authority in writing of any early erections or delays in demounting, all such agreements shall be in writing,” the decision reads.

Each time the dome is erected or dismantled, a “suitably qualified person” must prepare a report on the dates and times and the number of people involved, along with photographs of the works.

Noise monitoring must also be carried out once every two months, day and night, with a report being submitted to the Council every six months.

According to the application, the dome will cover four of the nine tennis courts, and is not aimed at generating increased revenue.

“The proposed development is to provide shelter from inclement weather conditions for tennis players from the club, local schools and charitable organisations. It is not intended to be used mainly for profit or gain,” the application reads.

A further submission to planners stated: “Future net profits should not increase by more than 10% from the dome structure.”

The club was founded in 1900 and now has nine tennis courts, seven championship badminton courts and six international squash courts, as well as a gym.

“The primary activity in the club is tennis, which is played on the nine outdoor floodlit courts with artificial grass.

“However, given the club is located in the west of Ireland, the weather – especially in the winter months – causes major disruption for the club.

“It is proposed that a temporary air-supported dome structure be constructed over four tennis courts, allowing tennis to be played in any weather conditions,” the application reads.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
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

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
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

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
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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