Club left reeling as 170 object to pitches planAugust 24, 2012 - 7:15am
BY CIARAN TIERNEY
One of Galway’s leading sports clubs has admitted it may have to go back to the drawing board after receiving a staggering 170 objections to plans for the revamp of playing pitches on the east side of the city.
A stream of objections have been received by Galway City Council to the plans for the St James’ GAA club to realign a pitch in Mervue in addition to erecting 20 metre high floodlights and security fencing, on a site which is owned by the local authority.
Councillors are set to discuss the plans at a meeting of the Council next month. Both the club and local representatives have been taken aback by the scale of opposition to a project which includes an ‘all-weather’ pitch and a bowling area for the elderly.
The Galway City Tribune understands that “at least” 170 individual objections were received to the plan prior to last Friday’s deadline for submissions.
Because the land is owned by the local authority, the plan is a ‘Part 8’ application which is being made by the City Council itself and will require a majority vote of the 15 members. It is on the agenda for the September 10 meeting of the City Council.
The St James’ GAA club represents the Mervue, Renmore, and Ballybane areas; and has been one of the most successful clubs in Galway in recent years, having won numerous minor titles as well as the county U-21 title earlier this year.
“The extent of the objections has come as a bit of a shock to us,” admitted St James’ Chairman Peter Bennett yesterday. “We will have to regroup and try to allay the concerns of the local community. We would have taken the view that what we are doing is very positive and St James’ is very much part of the community.
“We are very concerned about it. We don’t want to be doing anything that interferes with the community’s enjoyment of the area. We have a lot of members living in the Mervue area and we want to be seen to be working with local people. We are taken aback that the plans have had such a negative reaction and it’s something we will have to look at.”
Local resident Thomas Wade, from Heather Grove, said that many people in the area were against the scale of the proposed development.
“We have no objections to people playing games on the pitch or to a development taking place there,” said Mr Wade. “But there are concerns about the floodlighting, the fencing, and the realignment of the pitch. We should have been consulted and some sort of compromise worked out before this plan went ahead.”
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.