Council refuses retention of Headford Road car park

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Galway Daily news Fight over Headford Road car park goes back to An Bord Pleanála

Galway City Council has refused retention permission for a car park on the Headford Road, where student accommodation is due to be built.

Cleverson Ltd sought a two year retention permission for the 53 car park on the Headford Road, near to Galway Retail Park.

This land is part of a site where they had already received planning permission for a seven storey, 223 bed student accommodation development, which is not expected to start construction until late next year.

“It is the applicant’s intention to progress with the detailed design, tender, and construction of the student accommodation over the coming year, with a view to ‘breaking ground’ for construction sometime towards the end of 2022.”

“The applicant wishes to keep the site secure through its continued use during the interim period and is now submitting this application in consideration of same,” planning documents stated.

However, the city council noted that the site had already been operating as a car park without planning permission for much of its history.

The site was formerly as Esso garage, before that was knocked and converted into a car park in 2012 without planning permission.

It was later granted “temporary” permission by An Bord Pleanála after the council refused it, which was extended in 2017.

This expired in August of last year, and the report by the council’s planning inspector notes that enforcement action was taken against the car park owners.

Another application for a two year retention of the car park was rejected by the city council, before the student accommodation now planned for the site was given the green light.

In refusing permission yet again, the council said that permitting it would be in conflict with the Galway Transport Strategy, which aims to “reduce car parking provision and manage availability” in the city centre to encourage sustainable transport.

The rejection also said that the car park would “exacerbate the poor visual address” on the Headford Road, and undermine ambitions for the regeneration of the area.

It would therefore be “contrary to proper planning and sustainable development” to approve it, and establish a “poor precedent” for similar applications.