United We Stand Divided we fall
Community must rally in support of efforts to develop edge-of-town sites and lobby councillors to ensure these get suitable designations
In an interview aired on North West Radio news, Friday 10th September, Mr John White, project development director with Bennett Construction, pleaded for the Donegal community to get behind his company to ensure that a Dunnes Store locates in town, bringing with it the benefits of vastly increased employment and the improved retail infrastructure necessary to attract other big business to the area.
Mr White claimed that the national multiple is very keen to locate on the eight acre site recently acquired by Bennetts from Mrs Doreen Brown and Mrs Sweeney. This is a cracking site and a cracking opportunity for Donegal Town he enthused, adding that it would provide up to 300 jobs when operational, with additional retail contributing another 150 - and also bring other benefits in that Dunnes have a policy of sourcing most of its produce locally.
Mr White made a plea for the whole community to get behind his company to ensure that the objective of getting Dunnes to this area is achieved. Donegal Town needs a major retailer to stop the long time loss of business to centres such as Sligo, Derry and Enniskillen.
Mr White did not rule out expansion by other developers in town. The mart is a great site - it will be developed it will happen it might take a lot of time but its right in the centre of Donegal Town we see no reason why a Dunnes Store and Tesco cant operate in the same town, he declared, adding that the competition generated could only benefit shoppers and locals alike. He also drew attention to the fact that when companies look to locate in an area, they first check out the social infrastructure in place. A town that does not have at least one major retailer would not be as successful in attracting big companies claimed Mr White.
Donegal Times agrees with these assertions and echos the appeal that we all unite and move forward for the common good. The current air of accusation, objection, claim and counter-claim must cease. If Bennett and Keeney are so confident of the merits of their respective projects, let them each move forward on their own sites. The destructive recriminations that are polarising the community should stop.
In our opinion, Bennetts site at the Mullans has the best chance of being granted a speedy planning and the greatest prospect of progressing development in the shortest time-frame. Let it proceed with the full backing of the community and without hindrance.
Also we would urge all councillors to back the rezoning of the Mullans site to core retail. This designation would give greater certainty to achieving the planning permission required, otherwise the application could fall victim to further objections and delays. Also, both Bennett and Keeney should get the designations they desire at Drumlonagher and the Mart.
If others have the strength of their convictions, they can, when ready, weigh in with complementary projects. In the meantime, let us move forward, and do so in a dignified and united manner. Everyone has the right to object - but the people of the town will not thank those who do so based solely on spoiling tactics and alternative gain.
Four rugby aficionados, who took part in a 10k walk for Donegal Hospice, pictured afterwards recovering in ODonnells Bar, Meenaneary. Séan Gillespie, Rory ODonnell, Johnnie Boyle and Victor Kearney drink a toast to their efforts in completing the ardous trek.
Council issues decisions on mart applications
Site at Lurganboy granted permission despite objection
from Hospira and seven others
Donegal County Council has issued decisions on two of the three applications submitted by Keeney Construction Limited for the erection of a new livestock mart in Donegal Town. The Council has granted planning permission for the erection of a new mart on the site of the former pitch and putt course and driving range at Ardlenagh/Lurganboy but has refused permission for the erection of an identical facility on land at Tullymornin/Drumgowan. A decision on the third application which sought consent for a new mart on land at Tullyearl/Tullymornin, next to the proposed Tullyearl Roundabout has been deferred.
Speaking to Donegal Times, Danny Keeney of Keeney Construction Limited said that whilst he was disappointed with the Councils decision to refuse the application at Tullymornin/Drumgowan, he was very pleased that they had decided to grant consent for the proposed mart at Ardlenagh/Lurganboy. The Times has uncovered from the Councils web-site that the Council, in granting planning permission for the development, has dismissed representations/objections from at least eight parties including Sam and Audrey Gilchrist, Hospira Limited, Seabreeze Limited, Irish North Coast Oysters, Seamus Carbin representing the Donegal Co-Operative Livestock Mart Limited, Bernie and Gerry Mulhern, Tony Mulhern and Kathleen ODonnell, representing the Muckros residents.
Mr Keeney said that it is critically important that planning permission is gained for a new replacement mart in the town otherwise it will not be possible to develop a new shopping centre on the site of the existing mart. Because of this I will not be abandoning any of our three proposals for a new mart. I have already instructed consultants to prepare an appeal against the refusal of the application on the Tullymornin/Drumgowan site.
When asked why a decision had not been made on the application for the mart on the site nearest the Tullyearl roundabout, Mr Keeney said that this application had been deferred so that it could progress in tandem with the application for the new shopping centre on the existing mart site, which he hopes to submit to Donegal County Council in the next 10-12 weeks. We should have had an application submitted for the proposed shopping centre by now, but unfortunately we had to go back to the drawing board following the St John Bosco Clubs rejection of our proposal to build them a new sports and community centre, he said.
Reacting to the decision of Donegal County Council to grant planning at Ardlenagh/Lurganboy, a spokesperson for Hospira (formerly Abbott) confirmed to Donegal Times that the company had lodged an objection against the original planning submission. He said they would now be seeking legal advice on what next steps, if any, his company may take.