Council rejects off-licence plans for student accommodation

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Galway Daily news Council rejects off-licence plans for student accommodation

Galway City Council has poured cold water for plans to add an off-licence to the Westwood Student Accommodation complex in Dangan.

Planning permission was sought to amend the use of the café/retail unit at the ground floor of Block A in the development to include part off-licence usage.

The 369 bed student accommodation complex was built by at the site of the former Westwood Hotel in Dangan after it was demolished.

The overall project was first approved by An Bord Pleanála in 2018, and a redesign of the café layout the following year.

The planning application states that customers at the retail unit frequently request alcohol sales, and have to go to other outlets over a kilometre away.

In refusing permission, the city council said that giving any of the café/retail space over to an off-licence would affect its ability to deliver an amenity of an “adequate size” for students and the community.

The council also said that the developer failed to show that this wouldn’t result in increased set-down and pick-up traffic from the N59, a location where “no drop off facilities exist and where an improved bus and cycle corridor is planned”.

“The development could therefore endanger public safety by reason of a traffic hazard and would frustrate investment in future road improvements.”

The council also said that the plans contravened two conditions of the planning permission for the café/retail on its signage and layout.

Two individual objections, and one from the Hazel Park Residents Association were submitted concerning this application.

Locals expressed concern about the reduced size of the café, which was to be a partial replacement for the lost amenity of the hotel.

The objection also worried about the possibility of increased anti-social behaviour, and parking issues which they say have arisen from delivery vehicles and customers.