I refer of course to the allegedly unauthorised excavation of a huge site between Dunne's and Aviva in the "Galway West District Centre".
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.
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.
IMO it's odd that the City Tribune doesn't know, or chooses not to reveal, the date of the Council's letter.
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?
Thought it was the hole Dunphy was on about last night on Gaybo.
On Gaybo???? You mean Turps surely
Regarding the planning system in this country and county, it is a most dangerous assumption to make that either the Planning Office or the City/Council have any active part in policing planning matters. Unless an official complaint (which can be done via e-mail or in writing) is made by a member of the public or other party no action will be taken on any matter by the Council. If a complaint is made outside the 7 year time limit then the complaint will be ignored.
In many cases the onuse will be on the individual making the enquiry or complaint to prove that the action took place within the 7 year limit. I speak from a position of some experience in this regard.
In many cases if a complaint is made and an official makes an inspection (which they must do), unless every infringement is noted in your original complaint then [even if there are others] only what you place in your complaint will be pursued.
So I wonder who made the complaint in this case?
John Kennedy, Planning Enforcement Officer with the Council, visited the site on foot of a complaint on Health & Safety grounds.
He reported: “My inspection found that the site was fenced off and a large hole had been excavated on the site covering most of the site area. This hole has filled with water so the depth cannot be measured.”
Now that NAMA has appointed a receiver to the "Galway West District Centre" do they need to tidy things up, physically and legally, in order to get it all sorted satisfactorily?
Or is it just a coincidence that a concerned citizen happened to make a complaint about H&S at the same time?
What is a fixed charge property receiver?
Fixed charge property receivers are appointed by financial institutions and other lenders who have secured their loans by a legal charge (mortgage) on a property. The powers of the receiver will be set out in the mortgage deed and to an extent in the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009.
How does a fixed charge receiver function?
The first consideration will be the stabilisation of the asset and following this, determining the most appropriate strategy going forward. Fixed charge receivers are property experts who can actively manage the asset, deal with any tenants, rent reviews, lettings, lease surrenders and outstanding problems, collect rents and service charges, arrange insurance cover and effect necessary maintenance programs. In many cases the function may just be to arrange an early sale of the property in order to repay as much of the loan as possible.
Why use a fixed charge receiver?
Unlike other insolvency procedures, the purpose of the receiver is to secure the best possible return for the lender, rather than any creditors as a whole.
I'm just guessing here, but I presume that if there is a huge unauthorised hole in the asset, then it will have to be dealt with asap in case it reduces the amount of the loan that can be recovered.
The Moritz Group itself is not in receivership, but do they have the resources to do what the Council is demanding?
I don't know if it makes any difference who made the complaint. In fact I made a complaint about unauthorised signage, hoarding and fencing there a couple of weeks ago. I'm glad someone did though. Its hard being the planning and development acts 2001 (amended) crusader all on my own
Still Gaybo to us old guys.
hmm..... I wonder does Joe McNamara have a solid alibi?
Why, so they can advertise more christmas shelf stacking internships and do more Irish producers out of business?
There's more to the world than Dunnes and Tesco, sb.
IIRC there was once talk of a Tesco store being located on one of these sites. That was before Dunne's arrived in the "Galway West District Centre".
Very little of these fanciful proposals materialised even at the height of Celtic Casino hysteria, and IMO much of this area now has an ugly derelict look about it. Nothing but dilapidated hoardings on view now for several years, and I suspect it will only look worse over the next 5-10 years.
Yeah, the Tesco Hypermarket that they are trying to get planning permission for in Westside won't be big enough what with Dunnes and Aldi only being 200 metres away.
Yep intentional. Shouldn't have been continued just to give Ken and Tubs a handy Friday night.
Am I the only person when I saw the Title of the thread "Hugh hole Discovered in Knocknarra: Council Looking into it'
...and pictured some council workers in Hard Hats & Hi Vis gear, standing at the edge of the hole, munching on a Chicken Roll from Dunnes saying, "Jaysus Mick, its a fine hole"