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2 interesting letters in the City Tribune today, concerning the Council’s refusal of the Taaffes development due to the Seveso regulations….
I am writing in response to the refusal of Galway City Council to allow the development of Ms Una Taaffeâ€™s former shop on William St.
As I understand the situation nobody who owns a business within a certain distance of the oil tanks at the Docks may now alter their premises, redevelop it or God forbid, build on any site nearby. Does this not make the City Centre redundant? If so its a shocking position for Irelandâ€™s third city.
Does the Council not realise that in invoking the Seveso regulations, introduced after the Buncefield Terminal disaster they have practically put their own planning office out of business, or at the very least lessened their workload substantially?
As there have been many questionable initiatives in the past by our good burghers, perhaps the Council could follow the trend and now fund an initiative that would move the entire city north, by say 200 m, and so out of range of any explosion.
This may lessen the damage were our indigenous oil tanks to go the way of their English cousins
I am flabbergasted by the recent decision of the Galway City Planning Office to reject the proposed redevelopment of the derelict Taaffeâ€™s Shop on William Street, as outlined in your cover story of the 4th April last. In doing so they have signed a death warrant for the City Centre!
In recent years Galway has fallen behind other cities in Ireland in the quality of retail and the retail experience offered to its residents. Nowhere is this more evident than in what should be the thriving heart of the City. While the Cityâ€™s medieval streets and buildings may contribute to its charm, retailers find such configurations problematic. This is evidenced to the degree that many retailers have opened and closed in bewildering numbers in recent years, unable to operate or reach financial minimums in shop units more suited to the 17th than the 21st Century. The absence of larger shops has meant the influx of poor quality retailers in the City Centre and the opening of a plethora of phone shops and coffee outlets. This is to be regretted as the basic necessities of comparison shopping that can be expected in any other town are not to be found here.
In the coming years the City Centre is likely to face increasing challenges particularly if proposed retail developments at the Galway Shopping Centre and on the lands surrounding Ceannt Station get the go-ahead. Is it not the duty of the local business community and its myriad of representative bodies and our local officials to foster the economic development of Galwayâ€™s heart? Measured and sustainable development in the City Centre should be encouraged. There are few opportunities in Galway for the larger shop units that national and international retailers now demand. As far as I can see Taaffeâ€™s remains the only one that can fulfil this need. Its development would undoubtedly breathe new life into the area and bring increased numbers of people into Galwayâ€™s heart. Instead the exodus of Galwayâ€™s shopping public to places such as Athlone, Limerick, Sligo and Dublin will continue unabated as choice cannot be found or expected here at home.
The decision by Galwayâ€™s planners to effectively sterilise the City Centre, means that Taaffeâ€™s will continue to stand as a crumbling monument to its increasing stagnation.
Well Galway seems to have been put on the cards this year with the Eye Cinema – Edward Holdings/Douglas Wallace scheme – which was named best commerical building of the year for 2006.
Developer is a chap called Connolly – not sure of the company name but of the GAA family of the same name. He’s poached the former GM from the City West to act as operations man. It seems a real ‘mate and two veg’ sunday dinner hotel is planned. More of the usual……….so wouldn’t hold out for innovative design concepts….
Finally managed to pay the hotel a visit over the Xmas! A bit on the pricey side – but no more than you would expect for a 5*. Anyhoo a couple more pics I took with the trusty camera phone.
More developments should come online in Waterford over the coming 12 months, with the recent sale of the council-owned 32 acres on the outskirts of the city. The land described in some reports as the best commercial development land in the country was bought by an undiclosed buyer for some â‚¬45 M. Watch this space!
Found these other images of the scheme too….
The cinema development – Eye Cinema – is yet another scheme commissioned by Gerry Barrett’s Edward Holdings from Douglas Wallace. Beats the other offer hands down. These two companies seem to be able to dish out some pretty nice stuff, their track record in Galway is pretty good, unlike some of the monstrosities above!
I have posted images in another earlier post called Galway Cinema!
They’re certainly getting a huge amount of press at the moment – but as for visionary,…..
The hotel is certainly unique – nowhere like it in Europe at present, let alone the UK and Ireland but you only have to look at the second phase of that scheme in Drogheda, see another post – the new tower redesign leaves alot to be desired! I think the shopping centre is open up there already – judging from piece in yesterday’s Tribune.
That said they do seem to have a positive relationship – isn’t there an interesting residential scheme they’re doing in Dublin on site?
I totally agree! The colours are a refreshing change from the browns and blacks and creams and beiges etc etc
A couple more pics….
Just saw the new Image Interiors mag – the g hotel (Philip Treacy/Douglas Wallace collaboration) is on the cover! Five page article on the inside – looks pretty cool – not the usual dark woods and creams – but pretty much a riot of colour! The bedrooms on the other hand seem pretty muted and toned – unlike the public rooms! Must head up there for a drink when it opens – although not looking forward to the inevitable five star prices.