Planning authority overturns permission for new Galway Hospice

Galway daily news Galway Hospice not pusuing legal review of planning rejection

Plans for a new Galway Hospice facility on the grounds of Merlin Park Hospital have been overturned by An Bord Pleanála.

Galway Hospice was granted permission for the new 36 bed facility by the city council last August after the land was rezoned by the council to allow it to progress.

That decision was appealed to the higher planning authority on environmental grounds.

The new hospice facility was designed to have a 36 bed Residential Care Unit, double what Galway Hospice currently has, along with daycare and therapy facilities.

Galway Hospice have been looking for a new home for a long time as the current facility at Renmore are under incredible strain.

An Bord Pleanála notified parties involved in the appeals process of its decision in the past day.

Friends of Merlin Woods environmental group, one of the parties who appealed the decision, have said that they are not opposed to the construction of the new hospice.

The group’s position is that there are many other more suitable locations on Merlin Park Hospital’s 84 acre site.

Chief Executive of the Galway Hospice Foundation Mary Nash said that they were disappointed with the board’s decision as they have been looking for a new site for 10 years.

The chosen site would have been ideal for their uses as it would have been a calm green environment, and allow easy transfer of patients to and from the main hospital.

She added that they will take their time to review An Bord Pleanála’s decision and look at their options, including sourcing a new site.

“The hospice will continue with its plans for a new hospice to ensure it is there to provide first class palliative care services and support to patients and their families at a very vulnerable time in their lives.”

According to Friends of Merlin Woods the planning authority considered in its decision that “the subject site is an area of significant biodiversity value” and that the removal of 0.68 hectares of the grasslands and meadows would be inappropriate.

The group said the board also considered in its decision that the development would contravene the land’s zoning under the city development plan.