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Appeal lodged after council rejects plan for a penguinarium in Galway

Galway Atlantaquaria is appealing the decision to An Bord Pleanála.

AN AQUARIUM IN Galway has lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála, after Galway City Council turned down its plans to build a penguinarium next to its site in Salthill.

The council found that the development would “detract from the distinctive open character of Salthill”, and would be “unduly prominent” in the area.

Galway Atlantaquaria had applied to extend the existing aquarium it has on the Seapoint Promenade in Salthill.

In looking to expand its existing site, the penguinarium would see the construction of a penguin pool and beach areas, an enclosure wall, a landscaped amenity area and a new entrance plaza and canopy.

It aims to provide an open-air penguin and animal enclosure for up to 20 birds and two other non-native animal species. 

atlanaquarium Before

antlantaquaria proposed After (if permission was granted)

The application included all landscaping, boundary treatments and site development works as well as connection to existing services such as water and sewage. 

In a lengthy submission to the council, Galway Atlantaquaria outlined how it would handle environmental issues, noise issues, drainage, and others, the aquarium provided images for how it would look when finished.

It said: “The proposed development will enhance the offer of Galway Atlantaquaria by providing a state-of-the-art penguinarium visitor attraction, whilst also improving the public realm of the area.”

In all, 13 submissions were made in response to the application before the council’s decision to deny permission. 

As well as concerns about how the site would affect the character of Salthill, it also had issues around the zoning of the land.

Local independent councillor Donal Lyons told TheJournal.ie that he was “disappointed and surprised” permission was denied. 

“In refusing it, they did it on issues that could have been really been hammered out in pre-planning meetings long before the application was lodged,” he said.

This site was originally sold to promote tourist-related activity in Salthill, and building this would do that. It’d be another great tourist attraction to bring people into Salthill.

Permission was denied by Galway City Council last month, and the decision has been appealed by An Bord Pleanála.

It is due to make a decision by 16 July.

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Sean Murray

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