Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Connacht Tribune

Traders warn retail core of Loughrea is under threat

Published

on

The business community in Loughrea have expressed concerns about their future after a survey revealed that there are 31 vacant units in and around the town centre.

The number of empty properties has been disclosed in a planning file as town centre businesses come out in opposition to a medical centre being transformed into a sports shop in the shopping centre on the outskirts of the town.

In the submission to the planning application before Galway County Council, it is stated that the retail trade in the centre of Loughrea is coming under pressure and much of this arises from the development of Loughrea Shopping Centre which is not in the heart of the town.

Traders in Loughrea say that they object to the further intensification of development, which was provided in 2008, as it will further impact on the established town centre.

Retailers have told planners that not alone is the shopping centre located outside the town centre, it is also beyond walking distance from the centre and this exacerbates its impact in pulling away activity from the business core.

Last month a planning application was submitted by Greenstream ULC for the change of use of a retail unit at Loughrea Shopping Centre from a medical centre to a sports goods outlet. There are also applications to sub-divide a couple of other units at this location, which are also being opposed by the traders.

Agents on behalf of the traders made a submission to county planners saying that they are greatly concerned about the impact the proposed development, along with the other two applications which have also been submitted, will have on retailing in the heart of Loughrea town.

In fact, references have been made to both Ballinasloe and Athenry, where it is claimed that the core retail areas have “suffered quite catastrophic decline” in business activity.

“The retail centre of Loughrea is coming under pressure and much of that pressure arises from this development (shopping centre) which is not in the heart of the town and not close enough to develop a mutually beneficial synergy with the town centre. It operates an independent and separate shopping area and pulls business away from the town.

“While the centre of Loughrea is still a vibrant area, there is a worrying trend of vacancy. My clients (the traders) have conducted a survey of the town centre. This shows 31 empty units with an estimated floor area of 8,000 square metres. It is not exclusively retail but there is a very considerable retail element in that vacancy figure,” said Stephen Dowds Associates, planning consultants.

They go on to say that the retail planning guidelines recommend ‘town centre or ‘edge of centre’ as being the preferred options, but they state that the shopping centre does not fit either bill. It is claimed that anyone who shops in the centre will stay there and not walk into the town centre.

A decision on the planning application to Galway County Council on this proposed development is due within the next week.

Connacht Tribune

Gort set for transformation under regeneration plans

Published

on

Gort...set for major revitalisation.

The revitalisation of the town of Gort received another major shot in the arm last week when it was one of 27 landmark projects to share in the latest €21.5 million Rural Regeneration Development Fund.

The Gort Inse Guaire project received €798,000 towards the re-design of the Market Square and town centre streets, as well as reinvigorating the Canon Quinn Park greenspace in the town centre.

The Gorgeous Gort Forum – the representative body for all local community groups, clubs and organisations which drove this application – welcomed ‘the wonderful news’.

“We thank the Minister for approving funding for our town, and all the team in Galway County Council who we supported in developing and submitting this application and the local representatives who supported this application.

“We also thank the over 40 organisations, clubs and groups in our community, who we represent, that provided invaluable letters of support’, said Gorgeous Gort Forum chairperson Justin McDermott.

The Forum supported Galway County Council in the development and submission of this application.  This included organising letters of support from over 40 various clubs, organisations, and groups in Gort which they represent.

The group also facilitated meetings between Galway County Council and key community stakeholders, and worked with local elected representatives, including Minister Anne Rabbitte, Sean Canny TD, Ciaran Cannon TD and local councillors including Joe Byrne, PJ Murphy, and Geraldine Donoghue, to lobby the minister on behalf of the community.

The news was warmly welcomed from all fronts, with local TD Ciaran Cannon describing it as an ambitious investment in Gort, building on a very strong community spirit in the town.

And his fellow Galway East TD Sean Canney particularly welcomed the work on Canon Quinn Park, which he described as ‘an underutilised yet vital greenspace within the centre of the town’.

“In order to capitalise on this invaluable resource, the park requires diversification and redesign to improve usages, discourage anti-social behaviour and provide a green lung for the town centre,” he said.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Award-winning Galway Traveller Movement reveals impact of Covid on its education programme

Published

on

Galway Traveller Movement Education Project Worker Anne Marie Stokes (front) with (from left) Deirdre Mortell, CEO Rethink Ireland; Declan Black, Managing Partner, Mason Hayes & Curran LLP and Minister Joe O’Brien at the announcement of the €1.2m Engage & Educate Fund awardees.

The Galway Traveller Movement has revealed the impact Covid-19 has had on its efforts to ensure access to education for all – with a lack of technology making it particularly difficult to accommodate home schooling.

GTM’s Education Coordinator Aisling Egan said that the pandemic added to the challenges for the group, and for Traveller families generally who face unique barriers with literacy and language issues.

“We linked in with these families, supplied the technology needed and offered any help that we possibly could in supporting them through the pandemic”, said Aisling.

“We’re only now seeing the huge disadvantage that COVID-19 has created for Traveller children – but with projects like ours in place, hopefully we can be there to deal with those issues at the very early stages and it doesn’t have a negative impact on the rest of their school experience,” she added.

The GTM was last week announced as one of the recipients of the €1.2m Engage & Educate Fund – one of five organisations receiving grants and non-financial supports packages in the largest ever financial pot since the project began.

The Galway Traveller Movement’s education programme has worked with over 100 children in Galway City and County since its establishment.

GTM provides assistance to families who have had negative experiences in school, breaking the cycle of community members leaving school and empowering Travellers to progress with their education and succeed.

The project aims to reach potential early-school leavers at a primary and post-primary level.

The project operates creative and culturally specific workshops in consultation with Traveller youth, that build self-esteem and belonging.

The members also work with policymakers locally and nationally to influence change with the view to ensuring equality outcomes for the Traveller community.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Galway’s Living Bog will become showpiece for environmental and educational visits

Published

on

A picture taken in pre-Covid days replicating the old ways of turfcutting at Carrownagappul Bog with the ‘slaner’ Tommy Cunningham firing the sods up the ‘spreader’ Paul Connaughton. Now the bog is set for a new lease of life as a national visitor attraction.

A STRETCH of bog in North-East Galway is set to become a major showpiece in terms of environmental, tourism and educational visits, according to the leader of the local group involved in the project.

Former TD and Minister of State, Paul Connaughton, told the Connacht Tribune this week that the 3,000-acre Carrownagappul Bog in Mountbellew was now regularly attracting TV crews from all over Europe to film what was going on there.

According to the NPWS (National Parks and Wildlife Service), the bog has been described as ‘one of the most beautiful in Europe’ with the potential to become one of Ireland’s foremost bogs to visit due to its unique flora, fauna, folklore and location.

Chairman of the local Carrownagappul Bog Committee, Paul Connaughton, said that the site was just opening up for a whole series of educational tours early in 2020 when the Covid pandemic intervened.

“There is however no doubt in my mind at all that over the coming years that the Carrownagappul Bog Project will be attracting visitors not just in Ireland but from different parts of the world as well.

“The project is very special in that it involved the co-operation of local people whose families had cut turf in the bog for years but who are now committed to seeing this project develop into a local tourism and educational hub,” said Paul Connaughton.

Back in the early Summer of 2011, there was close to a confrontation between local turfcutters and the NPWS when an order was issued to cease cutting immediately on the bog.

Eventually a compromise was reached in which turf was allowed to be cut for that year before a more long-term compensation package was agreed (€1,500 pa for 15 years) while alternatively a number of cutters were offered an alternative bog site to cut turf, close by.

“Already the project is employing five people and we can this figure growing over the coming years with second and third-level colleges across the region and country involved in visits to the site.

“In total, we estimate that between the compensation scheme and improvement works carried out to the roadways through the bogs – as well as the construction of two boardwalks – that spending so far has been in the region of a half-million euros,” said Paul Connaughton.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending