Galway county council has given the go ahead for a €5 million sports ground at Renville Park.
The modern sports ground will contain a wide range of sports facilities including three natural playing pitches, a synthetic all-weather pitch, and a looped walkway connecting it to existing recreational facilities at Renville West.
The pitches will have a retractable netting system 30m long and 15m high behind each goal and a covered terrace is included in the plans for one of the natural surface pitches.
To go with the main sports facilities, the plans also include public playground.
The multi-million euro sports facility will be served by 248 car parking space, 8 coach spaces and provision for internal access roads.
Plans for the sports ground were first submitted by the Renville Sports Project Committee, on behalf of Oranmore Maree GAA Club, last October after the club purchased the 34 acre site.
The chosen site is at Rinville West townland to the south west of Oranmore town and the north east of Maree.
It is meant to “provide for open and fully inclusive sporting participation to patrons of all ages and genders, at a centrally local venue (between Oranmore & Maree), equipped with all the necessary modern sporting an amenity facilities”.
The application said that the current club facilities being used by teams in the high population area are not enough to meet their needs.
Local opposition has been expressed to placing a sports ground of this scale in what has been characterised as a quiet rural area.
A total of ten objections to this project have been received by the county council saying that, among other things, the noise and light pollution from the facility would negatively impact on people living nearby.
Particular concern was expressed about the ability of the narrow local roads to handle the volume of traffic that match days would generate.
And An Taisce said that not enough information was included in the NIS about the potential impacts of this development on the Galway Bay conservation area and what mitigation efforts could be made in that area.
Multiple people also objected to the characterisation of the project as an expansion of existing facilities, saying that there are currently no sports facilities on the site and that this is a stand alone development.
Last December 5, when the county council was due to make a decision at the time, further information was requested on any features of archaeological interest and requesting revised drawing implementing the recommendations of the initial Road Safety Audit.
An Archaeological Impact Assessment with a test excavation was carried out and a report submitted to the council
The county council awarded planning permission with a total of 15 conditions attached.
None of the all weather pitches or the facility’s floodlights will be allowed to operate any later than 10pm at night.
The flood lighting itself must be designed to “shine on the ground plane only and ensure minimum light spillage onto neighbouring properties”.
Before any work begins on site the developer must submit a stage 2 Road Safety Audit and a Traffic Management Plan for the duration of construction.
A 15m buffer zone must also be created between the sports grounds and the recorded ringfort in the area, and an archaeologist must be hired to monitor all ground works during construction.
Should any more features of archaeological interest turn up during construction work on site must stop pending a decision on how best to handle them.