Fire safety concerns raised over city office plans

Galway daily news Fore Safety concerns over city office development

Plans to convert a retail centre on the Tuam road to offices and a medical clinic have been stalled by fire safety concerns.

ALC Glenamaddy is seeking approval to convert for a major overhaul of the North Point retail and office centre in Glenanail that will see it converted over to specialist offices and a medical clinic.

However Galway City Council has raised concerns about deficiencies in the building’s compliance with fire safety regulations.

The council noted that there are “serious deficiencies with the means of escape” in the event of a fire and that stairways in North Point are not compliant with the fire safety certificate regulations.

In addition the council has required the developer to submit a report from a Chartered Engineer on the structural capacity of the building.

“Calculations on foundations (soil bearing pressures/piles), columns, floor plates, roof structure, stability are to be carried out to confirm that the structure is in accordance with relevant codes and capable of supporting the proposed change of use.”

And deficiencies found in the existing structure must be highlighted in the report with recommendations to address them.

The council also said that the existing parking provision of 350 spaces is more than adequate and asked for revised plans which drop a proposed 27 new parking spaces at the south east end of the site.

This office development would see a change in permitted usage for two part of the North Point complex.

One are which currently has a permitted Wholesale Retail use will be converted to Specialist Offices with a floor space of 3368.7sqm.

And an area that is currently for Industrial use will become a Medical Clinic with a 998sqm floor space.

The developer also intends to build a new floor onto the complex with a total space of 4,378.7sqm which will also be used for Specialist Offices.

It is also proposed to install electric vehicle charging points at multiple locations and solar panels on the roof

“Unfortunately this development has suffered from periods of high vacancy,” the planning applications states.

“In an effort to eliminate this the owners have been in consultation with a number of potential clients as to how the space available could be maximised or manipulated to cater for differing economic needs”.

“It is after this consultation that this application has been arrived at, whereby the building owner is seeking to provide the maximum floor space within the existing building with associated uses that the market is seeking at the moment”.

One objection has been lodged with the city council by a Sean O’Hanlon of Dundalk, Co. Louth who is against the proposed change of use to a medical clinic.

Mr O’Hanlon’s objection states that there is a “noticeable absence of information about the proposed development”.

“The applicant refers to a medical clinic but does not state what type of medical clinic is involved.”

He said that the manner of medical clinic proposed is essential information for city planners to estimate the number of patients, staff, and the traffic that follows which can be expected.

“Is it a private hospital such as the Hermitage Medical Clinic in Lucan, Co. Dublin, is it an urgent care clinic, a primary care facility, a dialysis clinic, a GP clinic or some other type of medical clinic”.

The objection also claims that the medical clinic usage contravenes zoning objectives for the area in the City Development Plan.

ALC Glenamaddy has six months to comply with the council’s request for updated plans or else the planning application will be deemed to be withdrawn.