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Thumbs-up for low-density housing despite lack of public transport


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Thumbs-up for low-density housing despite lack of public transport Thumbs-up for low-density housing despite lack of public transport

More than 10 acres of land on the western side of Galway City are to be rezoned for low-density residential purposes, despite reservations from senior planners.

At a meeting on the Galway City Development Plan (2023-29), it was agreed by a majority of councillors to rezone the lands at Circular Road (adjacent to Cúirt Cheirin) from agricultural use to LDR (low-density residential).

According to Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG), a local resident, the site in question is well serviced – even if there is a lack of public transport serving the area.

The Galway City Central councillor said that, despite this, it was worthy of consideration and particularly in view of the number of houses in the area that would be lost to the Galway City Ring Road project.

Members of Galway City Council were discussing a submission from landowner Tommy Kearns, on behalf of the extended Kearns family, seeking the rezoning of the lands and stating that they would be more suitable for residential than agricultural use.

A small portion of his holding will be required for the N6 Ring Road, but was pointed out that access to the lands is through a 10-metre-wide road (Kearns Lane) with footpaths ad public lighting in place and already serving Cúirt Cheirin.

As part of the submission to the City Development Plan, it was stated that there was access to municipal sewers, water mains, and surface water drains while underground ducting was in place for all required services to allow for appropriate housing.

The lands are no longer used for any beneficial agricultural purposes and would be ideal for low density housing. The Draft City Development Plan, it was argued, had zoned very little land for such low density residential development.

It was further stated that the location is adjacent to significant amenities, a feeder cycling route while public transport was accessible at walking distance on either end of Circular Road.

However, Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath opposed the submission for rezoning on the basis that it would be contrary to the core strategy of the City Development Plan.

He said that a range of factors were being taken into account to justify their opposition, including  proximity to public and sustainable transport facilities, accessibility, availability of water and waste water infrastructure and proximity to services and amenities.

The Chief Executive stated that these lands were in close proximity to the Ring Road route corridor and partially located within that corridor.

“As such, the proposed rezoning would conflict with the specific objective of the Ring Road. As the Ring Road has been approved by An Bord Pleanála, land-use objectives should safeguard the scheme corridor free from adverse development that could prejudice its delivery.

“The proposed rezoning in conjunction with other proposals for uncoordinated residential zonings undermine the overall settlement strategy in the Plan and could prejudice the strategic future optimal use of these lands in the longer term,” Mr McGrath said.

Despite this, councillors voted 12-4 in favour of zoning the lands low-density residential, with one abstention.

(Photo: Access to the land is through Kearns Lane off Circular Road).

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune, September 2. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

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