Objections to the redevelopment of Taaffe’s shop in Galway are preventing 100 jobs being created.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil councillor Michael J Crowe who says the on-going saga over planning issues in Taaffe’s shop must be brought “to a resolution for the continued improvement of Galway”.
Cllr Crowe is “disappointed” the recent granting of permission by the Galway City Council has been appealed to An Bord Pleanala by Derek Hamilton of An Taisce.
“While they are entitled to do this, I cannot understand it as the planners in the council were satisfied and granted planning, yet because this group is not happy the whole project is yet again held up,” he said.
The local councillor says a major international tenant was interested in the development which would have resulted in more than 120 jobs, and a further 100 jobs would have been created during the redevelopment of the site.
The disagreement between the owners of the building and An Taisce are related to the style of the shop front and a part of the wall to the rear of the building.
“The planning department in the council were satisfied that all was in order and gave a grant of permission which then An Taisce appealed. This appeal, if let continue, will go on for six to nine months before a decision is reached.
“It is hugely frustrating when this happens,” he says. “It is a very significant building in the middle of our city and everyone involved in this appreciates that. I am hopeful An Taisce will meet with the owners and come to some satisfactory conclusion, withdraw their appeal, and let the development commence.
“I have walked through this building, and most of it is in terribly bad repair currently being held up on joists. It appears to me that what our planners agreed to was fair. If they had any doubt about any part of it they would not have agreed to a grant of permission.
Cllr Crowe says Galway needs “a boost like this” as “the town is struggling, businesses are fighting like hell to survive, and this development would greatly enhance the city”.
He respects the heritage aspect and believes the planners have taken this into account in their decision, but “right now the most important thing from my point of view is the jobs. Galway needs the jobs”.
He also appreciates the concerns of An Taisce, but “most of what should be retained is being retained”. Cllr Crowe has called for An Taisce to continue dialogue with the owners and resolve this issue.