A new café on he grounds of Westside Shopping Centre has been granted approval by An Bord Pleanála despite appeals by multiple businesses in the area.
The development consists of a free-standing café within the surface car park area of Westside shopping centre on the Séamus Quirke Road in Galway city with seating for 72 customers.
Galway city council granted planning permission for the café last November 8 with ten conditions attached, most notably that “The building shall be used solely as a café serving primarily hot beverages and ancillary for provisions while the operator and all future operators of the unit shall be agreed in writing with the Planning Authority prior to occupation of the building.”
A number of submissions were made to the city council at the time arguing that the loss of parking space to make way for the new café would harm the ability of Westside Shopping Centre to do business.
Three third party appeal were lodged with An Bord Pleanála against the city council’s decision by Dunnes Stores; Thornton O’Connor Town Planning on behalf of a local resident; and by O’Donnellan & Co Architects on behalf of multiple businesses at the Shopping Centre.
The appeals were largely concerned with the loss of car parking space to make way for this café, and the increased traffic that it would bring.
It was also expressed that there are already sufficient food and drink outlets at Westside Shopping Centre, and that approving another would hamper existing businesses ability to trade profitably.
McCarthy Keville O’Sullivan responded on behalf of the developer by saying that the business would not add to the amount of traffic in the area, but serve existing customers.
They also said that surveys carried out over the Christmas period showed a minimum of 63 free parking spaces during peak hours.
Dunnes Stores and O’Donnelan & Co Architects said that this survey was subjected, while Dunnes also questioned its “reliability accuracy”.
Ultimately the inspectors from An Bord Pleanála agreed with the findings of the parking surveys.
Planning permission was granted with eleven revised conditions attached.