Last week’s decision by An Bord Pleanála to overturn a grant of planning permission for a shopping centre on a site in the Westside area of the city does not mean the site will not be developed at some point in the future, former mayor of Galway Mícheál Ó hUiginn said this week.
Mr Ó hUiginn, whose company T O’Higgins & Co Ltd had applied for permission to develop the site, told the Galway Advertiser this week that while the refusal was a setback, the site would be developed at some point in the future.
The Galway City Council had granted permission for the development, subject to some 30 conditions relating to construction, landscaping, boundaries, opening hours, development contributions, and the provision of a link road connecting Seamus Quirke Road and the Rahoon Road.
The development would have included a retail development, freestanding café/restaurant, surface car parking, the link road, a public plaza facing Seamus Quirke Road, and various ancillary services and works on the 6.5 acre site.
There were 10 separate appeals to An Bord Pleanála, including one first party appeal, following the grant of planning permission. A number of appeals cited concerns regarding traffic, retail impact, and impact on adjacent residential areas.
An inspector for An Bord Pleanála found that the development would have no adverse impacts in terms of traffic, infrastructure, amenity, or noise, and would visually enhance the area; however the inspector found the development would be contrary to the current retail development strategy, and a refusal of permission was recommended on this basis.
Mr Ó hUiginn said this week that, while there were no immediate plans to submit a new application for the site, it was “just a matter of time” before the site is developed.
“The site is developable. Obviously we have to talk to people yet, but something will happen with the site,” he added.