The City Council has given the go-ahead for the construction of a new €20 million 36-bed Galway Hospice building at Merlin Park – just off the Dublin Road. Subject to nineteen conditions, the local authority granted planning permission for the two-storey facility on Tuesday.
Much attention has been given to the site on which the new hospice will be constructed – with local campaigners adamant that the building should be moved, so as not to interfere with Merlin Park’s meadows. This, they believe, should be protected due to its ‘EU Annex 1 Lowland Hay Meadow’ status.
Along with 36 specialist palliative care beds, the development would include a day-care centre, therapy rooms and education facilities – replacing the hospice’s current facility in Renmore. Conditions insist the developer “shall engage the services of a suitably qualified project ecologist for the duration of the construction works to monitor the site set-up and construction of the proposed development in accordance with the mitigation measures proposed in the Ecological Impact Assessment”.
Most significantly, it is stipulated that the project ecologist will have ‘cease work’ powers, “in the interest of clarity and nature conservation, to ensure the protection of the Annex 1 habitat”. Seeking to alleviate concerns raised by environmental groups, full details of lighting are requested – in particular, the type of lighting and the associated illumination levels.