The owners of the Corrib Great Southern site are currently waiting on the finalisation of development plans ahead of its planning permission submission to Galway City Council. In a statement to the Galway Advertiser issued at dawn today, they said that they hope to develop residential units and some retail units, but that this will require a Material Contravention that will have to be passed by councillors.
If such support is not forthcoming, the owners say the site cannot be developed. If it gets the green light, they have said it will be an"exceptional development for Galway City, surrounding residents and the gateway to the city as a whole."
A spokesperson for site owners Comer Group said that “following a thorough investigation into last week's fire on the Corrib Great Southern site, it is clear someone trespassed onto the site and in an act of vandalism set fire to property that was also not their own. We wish to thank the brave, hardworking fire fighters from Galway City and County who ensured the fire was contained and managed until it was fully extinguished.
"Since purchasing the site it has been a priority for us to make the best use of it through developing a project inclusive of local services and businesses which will have a positive impact on the surrounding community. We have engaged from the outset with Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, seeking the most effective ways we could work with them to provide education space and student accommodation solutions which we are aware they are in need of.
"We will cooperate fully and work tirelessly with Galway City Council to get planning permission for the site. Currently zoning of the area is set predominantly for commercial units.
"Residential units are the only feasible solution to the housing crisis that Galway City is experiencing. We do not view this site as a suitable location for a large-scale commercial development as it is not commercially viable. However we will make provision for a number of retail units. From our talks with GMIT, it is clear that further student accommodation is required to service the educational institute thus strengthening the need for residential units on the site.
"There has been little to no major commercial development activity in this area until now. Unfortunately the processes we must go through with a view to getting the zoning changed are quite complex. Had zoning of the area been favourable, this residential project would have started long ago.
"The site plans will fundamentally contribute to the area as an urban village, helping people access most of their daily living requirements within walking distance of their homes and reducing the need to travel by car. Plans for the site will be ready in the near future, when we will gladly share them with the local community and interest groups.
They will require a Material Contravention which we hope Galway City Councillors will support. Without their support, the site simply cannot be developed.
"During the unexpected additional time required to draw up new plans for the site which will meet the new zoning requirements, we have taken every precaution to have security cameras, regular security checks and extermination contractors surveilling the property. This is actively being done in the interest of minimising the property’s impact on the local area and residents until the site can be developed.
"We hope the new vision for the Corrib Great Southern site is met with a constructive response which will help alleviate the current housing and student accommodation crisis Galway is facing. This vision is the beginning of an exceptional development for Galway City, surrounding residents and the gateway to the city as a whole," the spokesperson concluded.