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Well-known bar allowed to retain roof over smoking area and toilet access


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Well-known bar allowed to retain roof over smoking area and toilet access Well-known bar allowed to retain roof over smoking area and toilet access

Crowe’s Bar in Bohermore, Galway, is allowed to retain a roof constructed over a back door adjoining toilets at the rear of the premises.

Galway City Council granted planning permission to Bohermore Ventures Ltd, with conditions attached.

It is the latest twist in an ongoing planning saga which has not yet concluded.

The decision to grant retention of the roof, covering an outdoor area of 33 square metres, was assessed on its own merit, according to planners. The decision was made separately to the situation of an existing unauthorised covered area/structure at the rear of the pub, which has a planning status that is “not clear at present”.

The planning status of this larger outdoor area or ‘beer garden’ was still subject to a separate Section 5 application (which determines whether permission is required or a development is considered ‘exempt’). Further information in that case has been sought by planners.

The roof over the toilets structure, erected without planning, connects the bar and beer garden. A member of the public had lodged a complaint.

The Council then started enforcement proceedings. It issued a warning letter and enforcement notice but both were withdrawn after it was determined the roof had been in place for seven years. That meant it was statute barred, a legal term placing a maximum time limit after an event within which legal proceedings can be taken.

Another complaint received by the Council in August 2021, related to modifications to the unauthorised roof that was statute barred.

According to planning files, the modifications, carried out on foot of a direction from the Fire Brigade, “brought into question whether the unauthorised structure” was statute barred.

Executive Planner Peter Staunton noted several similar applications that had been granted permission including Carroll’s Bar on Dominick Street, O’Connell’s Bar in Eyre Square, as well as outdoor bar areas on Forster Street, Eglinton Street, and Upper Abbeygate Street.

Kenneth McDonagh of Forster Court, which backs onto Bohermore, lodged an objection to retention of the roof, arguing its negative impact on residential amenity and that it would set an undesirable precedent.

Mr Staunton, in his report, said it was clear that ongoing use of the beer garden at Crowe’s has “given rise to discontent in the local area”.

But he said it has operated as a public house for 41 years, and was “long established, albeit the use has intensified with the installation of an unauthorised covered outdoor space”.

Planners ruled that the roof could be retained, “for the purposes of an outdoor smoking area and to allow customers access to toilets at the rear of the premises”.

It said that “no seating, tables, bar equipment, amplified music, external heaters or other such facilities which would promote the lingering or congregation of patrons shall be erected/used in this area”.

This was to protect “residential amenities”. The Council asked Crowe’s Bar to submit a revised operation and management plan for the roofed area.

A decision on the planning larger outdoor area is due soon.

Photo: The section of roof (marked with a border) which Crowe’s has been allowed to retain.

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