LDA launches plan to transform land at Galway’s Sandy Road

Sandy Quarter Draft Image 3 min
  • Sandy Quarter involves ambitious plan to deliver up to 750 homes
  • Vibrant new urban community planned for Galway City Centre
  • Public consultation process opens today

The Land Development Agency (LDA) has today launched ambitious plans to transform land surrounding Galway’s Sandy Road into a new urban quarter involving up to 750 mixed tenure homes and including social and affordable units.

The agency, which specialises in unlocking underutilised public land and the delivery of affordable housing, has produced a draft spatial framework for what is now known as The Sandy Quarter.

The Draft Spatial Framework for The Sandy Quarter is being launched as part of a six-week public consultation process. The plan details a comprehensive vision for the optimal development of this strategically significant area of Galway city, proposing mixed tenure homes, situated around a central park and a series of smaller garden courts, pocket parks and a public square. It also envisages high quality office and commercial space, alongside biodiverse landscaping and much-needed places to live, socialise and work close to Galway city centre.

The Sandy Quarter site surrounds Sandy Road and is located approximately 1.2km from Eyre Square in the northeast of the city. It is within fifteen minutes walking distance of major city destinations such as Ceannt Station, University of Galway and Terryland Park. As such, the framework offers the potential to truly transform an underutilised brownfield area into a vibrant, mixed-use, pedestrian friendly urban quarter. It also details how plans for the c.10 hectares site, could create a new sustainable neighbourhood, connecting with and enhancing existing residential and business communities and acting as a catalyst for the redevelopment of adjacent underutilised or brownfield sites.

A key aim is to provide high quality affordable homes based on the principles of sustainability, with active mobility and access to quality open space. A mix of housing types is envisaged while the quarter will involve social connectivity and health-orientated design though the provision of green infrastructure and sustainably built homes.

The design approach involves distinct character areas that are linked throughout the site. They include The Garden District, where the pocket parks will be located, The Boardwalk, a commercial community with office space and retail units, and The Hub, a community and enterprise facility.

The spatial framework proposes a vision for the area that builds on the policies in the recently adopted Galway City Development Plan 2023-2029. It also complements many other significant initiatives that are underway in Galway City. It was developed by the LDA with partners Galway City Council and key stakeholders Galway County Council, and the ESB, as well as adjoining private landowners whose land also forms part of the framework area. Both councils and the ESB will be required to relocate prior to development commencing

The consultation process begins today, Monday, April 3rd, and will run for 6 weeks until May 12 and includes consultation on supporting SEA documents. The LDA is keen to hear from interested parties and stakeholders and a full website and communication suite is in place.

Feedback from the public consultation will be used by the LDA to identify how the site can develop, and where a first development phase could happen, before a final version of the framework is published later this year. The next step will consider the strategy for obtaining planning consent which will be required to progress any development. Further public consultation will take place before planning consent is sought. Full details are available at www.thesandyquarter.ie and contact email is [email protected]

The draft spatial framework was produced following a design review process run by the Royal Institute of Architects Ireland to provide high-level visions of the land’s potential and capacity. C. 10

John Coleman, chief executive of the LDA said: “This is another significant development for the LDA and part of our ongoing work to optimise the potential of underutilised public land. The Draft Spatial Framework involves an exciting vision for this land and serves as a guide to how it can be radically transformed from a brownfield site into a vibrant urban quarter. The LDA is already involved in a number of affordable and social housing projects with local authorities and is delighted to be working with Galway City Council, Galway County Council and the ESB on what will be a fantastic addition to Galway city. We have the expertise to plan and deliver this project and we look forward to doing so.”

Brendan McGrath, Chief Executive of Galway City Council said: “Galway City Council is very pleased to be working in partnership with the Land Development Agency to progress this strategic spatial framework for the Sandy Road area. This site is very important in the context of compact growth, active travel, climate action, and the anticipated increase in population in Galway City under the National Planning Framework. Sustainable, compact growth will be key to the continued success of Galway city, and ambitious plans such as the draft spatial framework for the Sandy Road area will be at the heart of this.

We look forward to a proactive consultation and engagement with stakeholders, and we welcome their input, local knowledge and insights. Progression towards planning consent, incorporating highest quality urban design and subsequent early construction of this new urban quarter in the coming years, will be hugely welcome. Delivering this new city neighbourhood will especially focus on building new affordable and social homes with highly sustainable liveability, work and leisure space and local retail at the core, along with vibrant new public realm and new amenity space.

This proposed redevelopment will be transformative for this brownfield area of Galway – a veritable stone’s throw from the city centre. The Sandy Quarter will also be a major catalyst for the future regeneration of adjoining areas”.

A full copy of the Draft Spatial Framework for The Sandy Quarter, Galway can be found at thesandyquarter.ie. The contact email is [email protected]

About The Sandy Quarter site:

The overall site comprises an area of c.10 hectares (24.5 acres). It is dissected by Sandy Road with Sean Mulvoy Road to the south and Liosbán to the north. The site comprises public and privately owned lands as follows:

ESB lands on Seán Mulvoy Road, which are identified in ‘Housing for All’ for transfer to the LDA.

Galway City Council and Galway County Council own lands which they have committed to being considered for redevelopment as part of the Spatial Framework.

Other private landowners have also consented to their lands being considered for redevelopment as part of the spatial framework. Galway County Council, Galway City Council and the ESB have begun the process of identifying suitable locations within the cIty to facilitate the relocation of existing uses on the lands.

The draft spatial framework has also the potential to extend beyond the existing site and influence future surrounding developments over time as part of a much wider visioning exercise.

About the LDA

The LDA is the state’s affordable housing delivery body. It is in the process of delivering 5,000 homes on state land and 5,000 through the Project Tosaigh initiative.

The agency currently has planning permission for 2,243 homes on public land. In 2022 progress included ground being broken at the former HSE site, St Kevin’s Hospital in Cork, with the first of 265 homes to be delivered in 2024.

Planning approval was received recently for 817 homes at a site at Castlelands in Balbriggan and 345 homes in Hacketstown in Skerries. The LDA also has permission for 219 homes at Devoy Barracks in Naas, Co. Kildare.

Working with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, the LDA is constructing 597 homes at Shanganagh in Shankhill in Dublin, with the first homes expected in 2024. This is one of Ireland’s largest housing development projects. A similar project at St Teresa’s Gardens involves the LDA working in partnership with Dublin City Council.

In addition, planning applications have been lodged for the Central Mental Hospital site in Dundrum (977 homes) and St Teresa’s Gardens (543 homes) in Dublin City Centre which if approved, will add 1,520 units to the delivery pipeline. A further 1,500 homes are currently in the design and development phase.

In addition to delivering homes on public land, the LDA is overseeing Project Tosaigh, an initiative where the LDA steps in to purchase stalled or unviable housing projects and then makes the homes available as either cost rental or affordable purchase. Under this scheme, the LDA is on course to deliver 5,000 homes by 2026.

Housing already delivered or in the process of being delivered under Project Tosaigh includes affordable purchase homes in Mallow, Co Cork (92 in total) and Kilbarry, Co Waterford (95 in total). The LDA is also in the progress of delivering 247 cost-rental homes in Hansfield in Dublin 15, 142 in Archers Wood in Delgany and 95 in Parklands, Citywest in Dublin. Further projects are due to be announced soon and the LDA has a strong delivery pipeline of affordable homes for 2023 and beyond.

The LDA also recently produced the Report on Relevant Public Land, which advised the government of the potential to deliver 67,000 homes on 83 underutilised state-owned sites.

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