Plans to rezone lands in Shantalla to facilitate a new access road for University Hospital Galway have been rejected by a city planning committee.
The proposal put forward by council officials outlined plans to rezone 1.7 acres of recreational and amenity (RA) lands in Shantalla Neighbourhood Park for a new access road that would replace the existing access on the Browne Roundabout. Plans were also put forward for the rezoning of RA lands at the Menlo Park Hotel.
However, Cllr Collette Connolly vehemently opposed the plans and put forward an alternative motion to reject the plans, which was supported by the Planning SPC. The motion asked city officials to ‘go back to the drawing board’ and look at viable alternatives, in consultation with the councillors.
“The variations presented to the Planning SPC yesterday offered just the one solution without an in-depth analysis of possible alternatives. In particular, why the council cannot negotiate with the HSE successfully to ensure that access onto the Seamus Quirke Road would be through UCHG grounds at Breastcheck. This possibility was utterly dismissed given the opposition of the HSE but acknowledged by council engineers as a viable alternative if the HSE consented.”
Cllr Connolly said this is could be the “ideal solution” and there would be no need to take over RA zoned lands.
She added that the proposal to sell off RA zoned lands to a private developer to build a primary health care facility was “nothing short of scandalous” as the intention would be to then lease it back to the HSE.
“I am sorely disappointed with the City Manager Joe O Neill, who guaranteed back in July that such a proposal would not proceed without the support of the area councillors in the first instance.
“It is utter madness to consider an access road through the park, which will completely negate the €15 million upgrade of the Seamus Quirke Road, which has five sets of lights already in a 1.6km stretch. Equally, the Menlo Park Hotel cannot possibly be expected to agree to a road going through the front of their property, which already has planning permission for leisure facilities. Indeed, if the council are determined to proceed, it could quite conceivably result in a very lengthy compulsory purchase order process.”
Cllr Connolly said she expects city officials to take the rejection of the Planning SPC on board and, therefore, not proceed to the next stage of seeking councillors’ approval for them.