Masterplan for park after Global Village successJuly 13, 2012 - 7:15am
BY DARA BRADLEY
The success of the Global Village at South Park during the Volvo Ocean Race will be taken on board by the consultants charged with drawing up a ‘masterplan’ for the Swamp at the Claddagh, Galway City Council confirmed.
The area was completely transformed during the week-long Volvo celebrations prompting many visitors to the area to observe that it would be an ideal location for the permanent staging of events such as circuses, concerts, firework displays and other occasions.
The large temporary conference centre type structure that was home to the Galway Chamber dinner, as well as comedy, music and dance events during the Volvo festival may have opened people’s eyes to the potential of the area, but a Council spokesperson explained that any proposed permanent development would require a change to the City Development Plan.
Another issue is that last year, a majority of City Councillors voted to have South Park designated as an area of “Outstanding Natural Beauty”, a rare designation that would bring it on a par with Howth.
This designation can only be signed by Ministerial Order and if it the Minister for Environment agrees to the Councillors’ call then it would effectively rule out any sort of permanent structure at the Swamp.
A Council spokesperson explained that regardless of whether the designation goes ahead, the current zoning of the area would have to be changed for any permanent structure to be installed there.
He said that RPS consultants have been appointed to draw up a masterplan for the entire area, and they have yet to report back to the Council with that proposal.
“On the one hand you had people visiting the Global Village, which was really excellent, and saying ‘right, this is good, how do we recreate that on a permanent basis’. On the other hand you have people who want to preserve South Park as a recreation and amenity area, which is what it is.
“So the masterplan for the area will have to balance those views, square that circle, in the best interests of the entire area. And of course nothing would be done without extensive consultation,” he said.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.