With the housing waiting list now close to 5,000 families, Galway can no longer afford any more delays on the preparation of the Ardaun Local Area Plan, which could lead to “the development of hundreds of new homes in the east of the city”.
This is the view of Fine Gael Galway City East councillor John Walsh, who is calling for “urgent action” on the plan, which he described as “the only show in town at present” in terms of delivering any meaningful level of housing.
Ardaun was zoned for a Local Area Plan, but a decade and three separate Galway city development plans have passed since, with “little or no action on the matter”. A reason for the delay appears to be the continual problems of creating a suitable city bypass or ring road. Cllr Walsh said many sites either zoned for, or suitable for, housing development “cannot be progressed until the Galway City Ring Road route is finalised and permission for the road is granted”, and thus ending uncertainty around routes and locations.
He has also been in contact with the Housing Minister Simon Coveney on the issue and was informed that under the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland Initiative, Ardaun has been included as a priority area for development, but that no progress can be made unless the council takes action on the preparation of the local area plan.
“There is no excuses for inaction on the preparation of the LAP,” said Cllr Walsh. “We need to take action now to guarantee hundreds of new houses can be developed.” However, he said it is important that Ardaun is not just a housing development, but that it also include community and recreational facilities. “We don’t want to see a repeat of what happened in Knocknacarra where an entire generation of young people grew up without proper playgrounds, playing pitches and other facilities.”
Cllr Walsh has now submitted the issue for debate at City Hall in March.