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Decision imminent on extended planning permission at Clarinbridge

GALWAY County Council will decide this month if it will extend permission for the development of 17 homes at a landmark Clarinbridge site for an additional five years.

Mazars, receiver to the assets of A, E, J and M Forde applied to the local authority in late November for the extension of the permission granted in 2008 for a development at the well-known Oyster Manor Hotel protected structure.

The council had previously cleared the way for the project but limited the number of homes to 17, down from the original proposal of 30.

The 30 residential units applied for was made up of eight apartments and 16 townhouses in two three-storey blocks, as well as six terraced units in one two-storey block. It also included the change of use of the existing hotel to retail and office use, involving the refurbishment, conservation and minor alterations to the existing premises, including the removal of non-original joinery and partition walls, the opening of new doorways and the widening of existing doorways. The proposed development involved the construction of a ground and first floor extension to sides and rear of the existing premises to provide two retail units at ground floor level and two office units at first floor level. The project as outlined also included the demolition of non-original out houses and side and rear extensions along with all associated site development works and external works including new treatment plant and percolation area.

Galway County Council granted permission for the project on June 30, 2008 but included a proviso that one residential block be omitted and replaced by landscaped public open space. This was among 31 conditions the council attached to the permission including a number which relate to the Oyster Manor building itself. The Oyster Manor Hotel was formerly a convent built by the Sisters of Charity in 1844 and this was recognised in the original conditions which required that “the conservation works to the protected structure will be completed in tandem with, or prior to completion or occupation of new buildings.” It said that these works should be monitored by an architect with conservation expertise and that specifications for the window surrounds and replacement timber sliding sash windows would be agreed with the council before insertion. There were also conditions relating to the roof, the exterior finishes and a requirement that a bad specialist or advisor be present during the construction to provide advice of the position of any bats present and to ensure their conservation.

According to the receiver’s extension of time application, the project is expected to be completed in 2017/18.

Documents submitted to the council said “the reasons for the development not progressing to date are as a result of the economic downturn.” The application also stated that the “development remains consistent with the proper and sustainable development of the area.”

Submissions in relation to the proposed extension to the duration of the planning permission were due this week and Galway County Council is expected to make its decision by the end of January.


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