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Tesco no longer locked in as anchor tenants at new centre

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Tesco are no longer ‘definite’ to anchor a €15 million supermarket off the Seamus Quirke Road, despite planning permission being granted for the project, the Connacht Sentinel can reveal.

It’s understood that the scaling back of the size of the supermarket, along with a condition that the developer ‘foot the bill’ for a €3.5 million new road dissecting the site, has invalidated an agreement that was in place between the site owner and Tesco.

Former mayor Micheál Ó hUigínn, who owns the 6.5 acre site off Seamus Quirke Road, was granted permission for the development on Thursday with a total of 30 conditions attached, including a request for a development contribution of more than €495,000.

He confirmed to the Sentinel yesterday (Monday) that while an agreement had been in place with Tesco, it was based on certain road and building layout on the site, which had since been altered.

“That agreement is no longer in place. There will be appeals on all sides, and when a decision is given by An Bord Pleanála, we will look then at who the interested parties are. Tesco are not a definite, but would still be the forerunner,” said Mr Ó hUigínn.

It was initially intended that there would be access to the site from Seamus Quirke Road (a ‘ghost’ turning lane was built during the road upgrade), but the developer has been asked to construct a full public road at his own expense.

It’s understood that land and construction costs would amount to around €3.5m for the road, making it unfeasible.

The grant of permission is set to be appealed by local residents, as well as by Mr Ó hUigínn.

As part of the planning grant, Mr Ó hUigínn has been told to make a public plaza element of the site available for community use, free of charge, and that it also be used for an occasional market. Professional pieces of sculpture must also be erected.

Restrictions have also been placed on 24-hour opening – it can only be for eight weeks each year around Christmas and Easter, and must be agreed with the Council in advance.

Last month, Mr OhUigínn scaled back the plans, after planners deemed the initial proposals “excessive”.

As a result, the gross floor area had been reduced from 10,163 square metres to 9,369 sq.m. (a reduction of 8%).

Access to the supermarket – for customers and service vehicles –was altered to become available via a through road, which forms an extension to Bóthar le Chéile and linking the Seamus Quirke Road and the Rahoon/Shantalla Road.

There was also been a slight reduction in the carparking spaces from 486 to 462.

“The reduction in the scale has resulted in the reorganisation of the access and circulation areas within the site, as well as improvements to the servicing arrangements.

“The current design has significantly reduced predicted noise levels associated with access ramps and service yards within the development, compared to the original design,” the revised plans read.

With the project set for an appeal on both sides, it is expected to be the end of the year before An Bord Pleanála issues a decision.

CITY TRIBUNE

Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –

Wednesday was the hottest day in the city over the past 45 years when with a high of 30.1 Celsius being recorded at the NUI Galway Weather Station.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the city dates back to June 30, 1976, when the late Frank Gaffney had a reading of 30.5° Celsius at his weather station in Newcastle.

Pharmacists and doctors have reported a surge in people seeking treatment for sunburn.

A Status Yellow ‘high temperature warning’ from Met Éireann – issued on Tuesday – remains in place for Galway and the rest of the country until 9am on Saturday morning.

It will be even hotter in the North Midlands, where a Status Orange temperature warning is in place.

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of our current heatwave has been the above average night-time temperatures and the high humidity levels – presenting sleeping difficulties for a lot of people.
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

Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to boost Galway City Council coffers by half a million euro every year by increasing Local Property Tax (LPT) did not receive the support of city councillors.

Councillor Peter Keane (FF) failed to get a seconder at this week’s local authority meeting for his motion to increase the LPT payable on Galway City houses by 5%.

Cllr Keane said that the increase would net the Council €500,000 every year, which could be spent evenly on services across all three electoral wards.

It would be used to fund services and projects city councillors are always looking for, including a proposal by his colleague Cllr Imelda Byrne for the local authority to hire additional staff for city parks.

The cost to the taxpayer – or property owner – would be minimal, he insisted.

“It would mean that 90% of households would pay 37 cent extra per week,” he said.

Not one of the 17 other elected members, including four party colleagues, would second his motion and so it fell.

Another motion recommending no change in the current rate of LPT in 2022 was passed by a majority.
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

Galway City Council needs 40 more workers to help deliver on projects

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Forty more workers are needed at City Hall ‘right away’, the Chief Executive of Galway City Council has said.

Brendan McGrath has warned city councillors that the local authority is understaffed and it needs to hire more staff immediately to deliver its plans and projects.

The total cost of the extra 40 workers, including salary, would be between €1.75 million and €1.95 million.

Mr McGrath said that the City Council had a workforce now that was below what it had in 2007, but the city’s population has grown and so too had the services the Council provides.

The population of Galway City grew by almost 11% in the 10 years to 2016, he said, and total staff numbers in the Council fell by 13.6% during that period.

Though more staff were hired in recent years, Mr McGrath said that the Council was at 2007 and 2008 staffing levels, even though the Census will record further increases in population since 2016.

Mr McGrath said that the City Council now provides 1,000 services across a range of departments, far more than during the 2000s.

He said that currently, 524 staff are employed at the City Council. This equated to 493 Whole Time Equivalents when part-time workers such as school wardens and Town Hall workers are included.

Mr McGrath said that 12% of all staff are in acting up positions, with many more in short-term or fixed-term contracts. There was a highly competitive jobs market and the Council was finding recruitment and retention of specialist staff difficult.
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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