DONEGAL TIMES

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April 12th 2006

President McAleese shows Eamon Brogan and Julie Mundy that her husband Martin is suitably attired for Donegal Town - he is wearing a Magee suit! President McAleese is Patron of the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland and was in town to open the organisation’s new centre at Mill Row. Photo: Jason McGarrigle

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Not at any cost

To tell the truth - this paper couldn’t care less who owns the site that initially gets planning permission to carry out the first development in town. All we want is what is the best for the area. If ownerships were changed around and Keeney owned what Bennett has and vica-versa - we would still be of the opinion that the Magee site is the most beneficial for the future prosperity of the town centre. The reason for this ranges from access to aesthetics.
The Mullans would be next in line - its drawbacks being, in our view, potential traffic flow problems - and visual flaws. The proximity of two roundabouts within a hundred metres of each other we consider a recipe for traffic chaos. These, combined with another internal roundabout and parking quite close to the entrance could lead to substantial tailbacks which, on a busy day, has the potential to stretch right into town and out the Mountcharles and bypass roads.
On the visual side, all we can go on is the An Taisce objection to Donegal Co Council which cites ‘the poor quality and substandard industrial shed-type character of the scheme’.
We hope, if this project is given the green light that neither of these problems will surface. But they are enough of a worry to this paper that we must express reservations.
In a letter on page 16 of this issue, Cllr Jonathan Kennedy claims that the people of this town ‘want development of ANY kind - and they want it now’.
With the prevailing mood in the area, maybe they do - but this would be a mistake. As I said in our last ‘Opinion’ piece - let’s get it right - even if it takes a little longer. ‘Development of any kind’ is what has caused problems in many other towns - let us not fall into the same trap - there is too much at stake for generations to come.
Note: The above was written before news came through, as we were going to press, that Keeney had lodged an appeal to Bord Pleanala. But the sentiments still stand.

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Keeney appeals Dunnes Store site to An Bord Pleanala

An Taisce undecided on course of action
local objector withdraws

With today, Wednesday 12th April, being the final date for appeals against the proposed Dunnes Stores development at the Mullans, Donegal Times has learned that Keeney Construction will be lodging an appeal to An Bord Pleanala. When contacted by this paper, yesterday Tuesday, a spokesperson for the company confirmed that this was the course of action it intended to take.
“We will be appealing against a decision of Donegal Co Council to grant planning permission for the erection of a retail development at the Mullans” the spokesman confirmed.
While he would not comment on the basis of the appeal, it must be assumed it follows Keeney’s original objection which was based on the sequential test and traffic management.
The Times also contacted the two other parties which had previously lodged objections to the council. Ian Lumley, Heritage Officer, An Taisce, told us they were still examining the files and hadn’t made a final decision as to whether they will appeal or not.
The other objectors, Mr & Mrs Victor Browne, the owners of a bed & breakfast overlooking the Mullans site, told the Times that, even though they still have concerns, they will not be appealing to the Bord. “We want development but have genuine worries with regard visual impact, noise and traffic”.
Mr Browne said that although Mr John White of Bennett Construction had met with them, nothing he said alleviated their concerns. “We decided not to proceed as we are residents of the town and have to live with the people - we don’t want to be seen as rocking the boat”.
So, despite the large attendance at the public meeting in the Abbey Hotel on March 29th that very much opposed any further objections, it seems the inevitable has happened. We now await the strategies formulated at the meeting to kick-in. It must be kept in mind that, even though this proposed development has been appealed to An Bord Pleanala, this does not mean that planning permission will be refused - the decision lies with the all powerful Bord.

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