Second rejection of controversial Doughiska development from An Bord Pleanála

Galway Daily news Planning appeal over 91 houses & apartments in Athenry

An Bord Pleanála has seconded the city council’s rejection of controversial plans for public realm landscaping and rehabilitation, and the construction of new housing, in an estate in Doughiska.

A planning appeal was lodged by Martin Tolan to create a new Public Realm masterplan and rehabilitation scheme for Fionnuisce, and the construction of new housing on recreational amenity space in the Doughiska estate.

This would include the “restoration, improvement and augmentation of existing and new hard and soft landscape provisions”, along with “supplementary planting enhanced facilitation of biodiversity, along with additional landscape connections to Merlin Woods and improved pedestrian permeability”.

The development would also include the construction of 21 two-bedroom house, with a mix of two semi-detached homes and 19 terraced houses.

Galway City Council had already refused planning permission for this development in December of last year, while it also attracted heavy local opposition.

In appealing the council’s decision, the developer said that the reasons for the council’s rejection were repetitive and lack the clarity necessary for them to respond.

The appeal also states that the city council did not take into consideration the high quality housing provision on an “underutilised” site, or the plan to upgrade 6,000m² op public open space within the larger development.

One observation regarding the appeal was made from the FCC Residents Association, which represents residents of Fionnuisce, and one private individual.

The FCC Residents Association reiterated many of the points made in objections received by the city council, saying that the Fionnuisce estate was left unfinished by the developers in 2010, resulting in poor quality open space.

Since 2016 the residents association has been working with the city council to bring the estate up to a level where it can be taken in charge by the council.

The new housing element would also contravene conditions of the original planning permission for the estate, the residents association said, which required the landscaping of this open space.

In upholding the city council’s original decision, the higher planning authority echoed their reasoning that the land which the developer intended to build on is open space within an existing residential area.

Under the city development plan, any open space within a residential area over 0.2ha is zoned as Recreational and Amenity (RA) usage.

Building housing in a 0.4ha area of this site “would contravene the lands use zoning objectives as set out in the development plan for the use of particular areas for particular purposes, and would therefore be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

The 21 new homes would also result in a reduction of the level of open space already enjoyed by the existing estate, and “injure the residential amenities of the residents of Fionnuisce”, An Bord Pleanála said.