These major works -- requiring the use of a large amount of plant, including rock-breakers, excavators and dump trucks -- were carried out (noisily) in 2007.
A planning application was lodged in 2006, though I have no detailed knowledge of what actually happened to the application subsequently. I always presumed that if the works had gone ahead then permission had been granted.
If the excavation went ahead without "planning" permission, then one possible interpretation of the report is that it took the City Council five years to notice that a gigantic hole had been illegally created in a busy commercial and residential area:
The former owners of the Galway Gateway shopping centre on the Western Distributor Road have been warned they face jail and a fine of up to €12.7 million for carrying out major site excavation works without permission.IMO it's odd that the City Tribune doesn't know, or chooses not to reveal, the date of the Council's letter.
The site, which spans 52 acres in total and is also known as the Galway West District Centre, was seized by the National Asset Management Agency last weekend. However, the Council has vowed to continue pursuing the matter.
The excavation work on Phase 2 of the centre – alongside Dunnes Stores – was carried in 2007 and the site subsequently abandoned. At the moment, the site has filled with water and is fenced off.
The Galway City Tribune has learned that a warning letter was sent to the Moritz Group – which owned the centre and the land until its seizure – by the City Council, ordering that the land be restored to its original condition.
“The unauthorised excavation should be filled in immediately, the unauthorised security fencing removed and the lands reinstated to their condition prior to the unauthorised works being carried out,” the letter read.
It went on to explain that the Planning and Development Act provides for the City Council to recover any costs they incur in relation to enforcement proceedings – the deadline is the end of March.
If the Council wrote to Moritz/Rumbold when the allegedly unauthorised works were being carried out, why is the deadline end March 2012?
On the other hand, if the Council's letter was sent more recently, as seems to be the case, why did it take them so long to notice a hole so large and so illegal?