A lack of infrastructure is holding back the construction of housing in Galway City, criticism leveled at the city council claims.
Sinn Féin representative Mark Lohan said that a lack of forward planning by the city council has seen developments refused planning due to a lack of public transport, pedestrian and cycling links, and substandard roads.
Lohan was speaking after An Bord Pleanála rejected two significant housing developments on the outskirts of the city last month, as there wasn’t sufficient infrastructure in place to support them.
In one project, the city council sought approval for 71 social housing units at Keeraun on the Ballymoneen Road.
“The planning application was refused because the location is without city services and access to town. there no public bus services and no footpaths,” Mark Lohan said.
“It would make life difficult and dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists and make car use an essential for even short trips.”
Also refused planning last month was an application by O’Malley Construction for 55 houses and apartments to the east of the Ballymoneen Road.
This had been approved by the city council last year, but that decision was appealed by Galway Cycling Campaign.
In rejecting this application, the Bord also cited a lack of pedestrian and cycling links, social facilities, and said that the local road was deficient in terms of its width and alignment.
Another social housing development planned for the Headford Road, comprising 21 apartments along with Traveller Accommodation, was also turned down for a similar reasons.
“There is a serious lack of forward planning in City Council whereby housing developments are proposed without the proper infrastructure, widened roads, bus services etc., being in place first,” Mark Lohan said.
“Galway City is a long way off building enough Social Housing. These badly thought-out housing developments must not happen again. We can and we should do better.”
He said that rather than blame An Bord Pleanála, this should be a wake up call for the city council when proposing housing developments.
However, he was also critical of the length of time it took for An Bord Pleanála to make decisions.
The planning application for the 71 social housing units at Keeraun was lodged in September of 2021, but a decision was only issued last month.