Eircom has been given approval to replace ageing phone booths at seven different locations around Galway City with more modern, accessible, multimedia ones.
As well as their regular phone functions, the booths will also include a digital media display with an interactive Wayfinding/Mapping system to help people locate points of interest.
This feature can transfer a route to any chosen point to the person’s phone by scanning a QR phone, and is meant to enhance tourism in the city.
The modern design of the proposed phone booths would also make them more accessible to wheelchair users Eircom has said.
The phone booths being replaced are at the junction of Newcastle and Costello roads, on University Road, in Eyre Square opposite the shopping centre, on Wellpark Road Upper, at the Junction of Bridge and Lombard streets, where Eyre Square meets Prospect Hill, and at the junction of Eyre Square and Rosemary Avenue.
Eircom also plans for each of the phone booths to feature a 1.53sqm digital advertising display.
The council planning inspector had recommended that they be ordered omitted from the plans for violating the City Development Plan.
Part of this states that “No large scale internally illuminated signs or digital display signs or projecting spotlights shall be permitted,” the inspector noted.
However the city council decided that these could be allowed subject to a condition on their operation.
The maximum luminance of the signs may not exceed 300 candelas per square metre between dusk and dawn, and only static images may be displayed.
Galway City Council granted planning permission for the seven new phone booths with a total of seven or eight conditions attached.
“Despite the growth in mobile phone usage, public payphones are still an important part of towns and cities across the country,” Eircom said in the planning application.
“They fulfil an important public function in providing in providing access to emergency services; to charity services; to report emergencies and by the vulnerable to access support services.”
“Public payphones also provide connectivity for users who do not have access to a mobile phone or where mobile phone service is interrupted”.