Plans have been approved for the construction of two new Outpatient blocks and a car park at Merlin Park Hospital.
Galway City Council has granted planning permission to the HSE to build two new buildings on the campus of Merlin Park Hospital.
These will consist of a single-storey Adult Cystic Fibrosis Outpatients building with a floor space of 314.7sqm, as well as a 2,324.3sqm two-storey Outpatient Department building.
The planning application says that these new outpatient buildings will help reduce waiting times, and reduce the risks associated with overcrowding and infection control.
The HSE also said in the application that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for “segregation of acute and elective care” in Galway.
This development is meant to help “decongest” University Hospital Galway, in particular the Emergency Department, allowing outpatients to be cared for away from the acute hospital.
Part of the capacity of the new outpatient department building will be to replace existing facilities housed in prefab buildings.
Galway is also main referral point for Cystic Fibrosis patients across Connacht, leading to the “urgent requirement” for a dedicated CF outpatient facility to assist in long-term care.
Also included in the plans is the addition of a new car parking bay with 88 spaces in total, 25 bicycle parking spaces, and a footpath connecting the hospital campus.
Multiple submissions were received from residents along Merlin Park Lane who supported the development, but were concerned about the impact it would have on traffic along the small road.
Planning permission was granted by Galway City Council with twenty conditions attached.
The HSE must propose “traffic avoidance” measures that will be imposed at Merlin Park Lane to prevent rat running, with restrictions to be agreed on with the city council.
These measures must be in place and operational before the new buildings are occupied at Merlin Park Hospital.
A contribution of €131,950 must also be paid to the council towards the cost of providing public services in the area.
An Ecological Impact Assessment report was prepared for the development, which said that the building will be confined to grassland and existing artificial surfaces of low ecological significance, and would not affect sensitive areas.