The Galway City Council has been questioned if it is rewarding bad behaviour by property developers, at the monthly meeting on Monday evening.
The comments were made by Galway city central councillor Colette Connolly after it was revealed that developers of a new housing development at Cappagh Park inadvertently incorporated a small portion of recreation and amenity land owned by the council when they developed the garden of one the houses in Léana Theas estate.
The members agreed to allow the owner to purchase the council land, sized at 0.007 hectares, to rectify the matter, at a value of €35,000 which included compensation to the council as well as legal and valuation costs.
However, Cllr Connolly questioned if the sale was a reward for disrespecting the council’s policies as well as branding the transaction as a “disgrace”.
“This is déjà vu where developers developed a car park on publicly owned lands [a few years ago]. Is this the fault of the planning assessment? Is it because of a lack of staff?
“Yes, it is a tiny piece of land but are we rewarding bad behaviour? Rewarding lack of respect for this local authority and its policies?
“We should be standing up and respecting our own planning department and planning laws. We should have active enforcement on developers who encroach on public realm and public space. It is a disgrace.”
Cllr Frank Fahy said it was of concern how this encroachment was allowed to happen.
In response to the councillors’ comments director of services at the Galway City Council, Thomas Connell, said a detailed correspondence on the unauthorised effect of the development on the land was sent to the developer as soon as council staff had become aware of the encroachment.
Mr Connell also told councillors that the developer said the encroachment was “inadvertent” and “didn’t know they were trespassing on publicly owned land”.