Plans submitted for expansion of city centre hotel

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Planning permission is being sought for the expansion of the Forster Court Hotel in Galway city centre to include new guest rooms and conference facilities.

Plans have been submitted to the city council for the amalgamation of the Forster Court hotel with the neighbouring former Tourist Information Office building, currently vacant, to create new bedrooms and other facilities.

Internal alterations would be made to amalgamate the two building at the basement, ground floor, and first floor levels the planning application states.

This would create 11 new guest bedrooms at the first floor level, and expand the ground floor bar and restaurant, along with creating new conference facilities.

The ground floor the vacant building will serve as the entrance to the conference facilities, with a reception area and ancillary refreshment bar.

A new stairs and lift would also be installed to a new conference centre at the basement level, which will include function rooms, meeting rooms, a kitchen, and toilets.

The former tourist information building has been vacant since 2018, when the facility was moved to another location.

“The proposed development and amalgamation of the two buildings will bring back into use an existing vacant city centre building, on a key city centre site, which would otherwise be at risk of long term vacancy and potentially fall into disrepair as a result of disuse.”

“Furthermore the proposed redevelopment of the hotel to include conference facilities will support the economic viability of the hotel and diversify its market, given competition from AirBnB etc”.

“The hotel industry has been particularly hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Providing additional accommodation and new facilities will help to future proof the business in these difficult economic times, and as a driver of pedestrian activity to the area, will strengthen the city centre core as a focus for economic activity.”

The application also notes that the development would not affect the bulk or height of the existing buildings, and that it is ideally located next to a transport hub in the city.

Galway City Council is due to decide whether to grant planning permission for this development by March 22.