An Bord Pleanála has refused permission for the development of 332 apartments in Knocknacarra, overruling their inspector’s recommendation that it be approved.
Glenveagh Living made a Strategic Housing Development application to An Bord Pleanála for the construction of the apartments and a significant commercial element at Gort na Bró in Knocknacarra
The developer planned to construct 93 one-bed apartments, 219 two-bed apartments, and 20 three-bed apartments along with a creche on the six acre greenfield site next to Gateway Retail Park
The proposal also included 2,667sqm of floor space for commercial usage, which would have been divided among 11 units.
An Urban Design Report said that this development was meant to “transform” a vacant area in the heart of Knocknacarra, including a large public square next to the where the retail units would be placed.
This proposal made up Phase 3 of the Knocknacarra District Centre project, phases 1 & 2 of which were related to Gateway Retail Park.
A total of 27 submissions were received by An Bord Pleanála related to this project, the bulk from local residents, and some of which were made on behalf of multiple people.
These objections said that the density of the proposal was out of sync with the suburban character of Knocknacarra, the impact it would have on nearby residential amenity, and traffic and transport concerns.
The elected members of Galway City Council also expressed their concerns about the proposal, focusing on its density, scale, inadequate parking and childcare facilities, as well as a lack of communal open spaces and public transport options.
A motion brought to the council declaring “That the members of Galway City Council determines that the location of the Knocknacarra District Centre is not a central and/or accessible urban location,” was passed by 14 votes in favour to 0 against.
Despite this, the planning inspector assigned to this development recommended that it be allowed to proceed with a total of 22 conditions attached.
An Bord Pleanála ultimately went against their Inspector’s recommendation and refused planning permission for the project.
In refusing permission the board said that the ratio of dual aspect apartments in the proposed development is “substantially below” the minimum 50% requirement under guidelines issued in March 2018.
It was also said that the proposed creche is “deficient in the provision of childcare places and is not in accordance with the guidelines for such facilities”.
Addressing these two main deficiencies would require significant changes to the current plans, their decision said, and could not be dealt with simply by attaching a condition to the planning permission.