Tuesday 12 November 2019

Galway City: More sustainable living for city dwellers

Philip Ryan Political Correspondent

GALWAY City Council wants to make city centre living sustainable and adaptable to all stages of a resident's life.

The local authority is focused on providing planning permission for developments featuring a mixture of apartments and houses.

The aim is to create an environment where people do not have to move far from their starter home when they decide to move up the property ladder and have families.

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The move would see apartments built beside three-bed semis, and would mean children would not have to change schools and people could still frequent the same local shops, pubs and community centres when they buy up.

This would also benefit older people who wish to sell their homes and move to smaller properties, allowing them to remain in the city.

Galway City Council senior planner Caroline Phelan said the local authority wanted to create neighbourhoods rather than single-profile developments.

"You want a more holistic community representation, rather than all starter homes in one area," Ms Phelan said.

However, the problem is convincing developers to build apartments, which are seen as high risk, rather than houses.

"There is the risk factor. If someone is going to build it's going to be something safe, like three-bed semis," Ms Phelan said.

The Housing Agency estimates 2,316 new homes will be built in Galway city over the next three years.

There are 303 hectares of zoned land which could be developed to build around 6,280 new homes. There are huge swaths of land on the coastline adjacent to the railway which could be developed.

Residential developments are under way in Knocknacarra, Roscam and Ballyburke.

The city council hopes to turn sites near Ceannt Station into residential developments and a major redevelopment project of the city's harbour is under way .

Congestion is a major problem for Galway, where more than 20,000 people commute into the city centre every day for work, with 90pc using a car.

The local authority has commissioned consultants to tackle the transport problems and additional public transport solutions have been suggested.

The construction of a new road - stretching from the east to the west of the country - is in public consultation and proving controversial.

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The Residential Land Availability Survey map was created by drawing together zoning maps held by each local authority in the State.

Developed by the Department of the Environment, it sets out individual plots of land in towns, villages, cities and rural areas, and indicates the number of homes permitted on each site.

It took almost two years to develop, and provides planners and developers with an overview of the available land for housing.

It does not include land zoned for mixed-use development, which would generally include some housing provision. Nor does it include derelict sites.

The data is based on the situation as of March 31 last. Stage 1 land is considered not viable for development in the short-term because necessary services such as water are not in place. Stage 2 land has no major constraints. Not all the land has planning permission.


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