DONEGAL TIMES

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November 27th 2002

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Showbiz folks gather for wedding in Bosco Centre

An exciting wedding on a recent Friday saw the Bosco Centre taken over by exotically dressed guests as they celebrated the nuptials of Jym Daly, Cork and Chantal McCormack, Ballybofey. Mostly all involved in circus and show-biz, the attendance gathered from all over the country to enjoy a reception that included a meal, drinks from a bar set up by Daniel Ward of The Voyage and dancing. While the Bosco has, over the years, catered for other types of functions, it is believed that this was its first wedding.

TESCO SUPERMARKET APPROVED BY COUNCILLORS
APPEAL LODGED AGAINST OTHER DEVELOPMENTS BY AN TAISCE

There have been a number of twists in the much-anticipated Revlin Park Development in recent days. At a full meeting of Donegal County Council yesterday afternoon, members decided to grant planning permission for the proposed Tesco Supermarket. A few days earlier the applicants had been notified that an appeal has been lodged with An Bord Pleanala by An Taisce against the granting of planning permission for the remainder of the development.

Tesco Supermarket

The proposed Tesco Supermarket forms part of the overall 26.5 acre Revlin Park Development and was approved unanimously by all councillors at yesterday’s meeting. In a 24-page report prepared by the Council’s Planning Chief, Jim Harley, he states that the proposal ‘shall provide the opportunity for enhancing the town’s profile, offer an attraction without damaging the historic heart and quality of the town centre which is increasingly providing a quality destination. As such, it can be viewed as making a positive contribution to town centre improvement and attraction.’ He also made the point that the overall development provided ‘a unique mix of development uses which shall complement existing permitted and potential development of the extensive Development Potential Area at Drumlonagher.’

Danny Keeney, who leads the consortium of local businessmen behind the development, said that he was delighted that the Councillors had approved the Tesco Store which would provide a major jobs boost for the locality through the creation of 110 full and 20 part-time jobs. Danny said that it would be Tesco’s intention to commence development on the site early in the New Year provided that there were no appeals lodged with An Bord Pleanala against the Council’s decision. When asked if he was expecting any appeals to be lodged, Danny said that he was aware that RGDATA (Retail Grocery, Dairy and Allied Trade’s Association who are funded by the owners of Supervalu – the Musgrave Group) had made objections to the Council about the application and would have to wait and see if they pursue the matter to appeal.

When completed and opened the proposed Tesco Store will incorporate a full range of groceries and fresh goods (meat department, delicatessen and fruit & vegetables department) also instore bakery, an off-licence, customer toilets and baby changing facilities. In addition 253 customer car parking spaces will be provided including spaces reserved for disabled drivers and for parents with children. The proposed store will significantly improve shopping facilities for the entire south of the County, attracting more people to the town and reducing levels of expenditure from the area to other towns, both within and outside the county.

An Taisce

A few days before the Council granted planning permission for the Tesco Supermarket news broke that an appeal had been lodged by ‘An Taisce – The National Trust for Ireland’ against the granting of planning permission for the remainder of the Revlin Park Development which includes a Garda Station and Court House; a Fast Food Restaurant; 2 car showrooms; a retail warehouse for the sale of bulky non-food items; a 3 screen cinema; a 100 bed-four star hotel; 40 holiday apartments; a 40-bed Nursing Home; a Health Centre; an Education Centre; a Community Centre accommodating a swimming pool, hall, crèche, children’s adventure play area and meeting rooms; Business/Office Units and a Linear Park.

An Taisce, who are an independent and non- governmental charity are the oldest and largest wide-ranging environmental organisation in the country. In recent years they have attracted a lot of media publicity through lodgings objections to planning applications throughout the country.

The Dublin based organisation have objected to the proposal on a number of grounds including; its peripheral location; the potential traffic impact on the N56 Killybegs Road; the potential impact on the viability of existing shops; and that it would result in the lopsided development of the town.

When contacted by the Times, Derek Scott, Planning Consultant promoting the Revlin Park Development on behalf of Keeney Construction Limited, confirmed that An Bord Pleanala had notified him about the receipt of an appeal. Whilst Derek said that it was not unusual for appeals to be lodged against significant developments of this nature, he was surprised that it had come from An Taisce as the organisation had previously been consulted by the Council but had not provided a response.

He said that he was disappointed that they had objected to the application at this late stage in the proceedings without prior warning, but felt they were fully within their rights as provided under the planning acts to do so. Derek advised that he would be replying to An Bord Pleanala on the grounds of appeal on behalf of Keeney Construction Limited in due course.

Delay Works

When Danny Keeney was asked about the appeal by An Taisce, he said that they had prepared the planning application with a view that should the proposal be challenged, it had every opportunity of succeeding due to the level of detail and information provided. He said that commencement of works would be delayed as a result of the appeal and the length of time was dependent on An Bord Pleanala timescale for a decision

Given that the proposal addressed major deficiencies in the provision of much sought-after retail, business, leisure and educational facilities in the south west of the County and had received an over-whelming level of public support, the development team are hopeful that the appeal will be dismissed and planning permission granted.


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