Jim Wray fits Cork GAA star Sean Og OhAilplin with a Magee jacket
No objections to Keeney Development at Magee site
Way now open for massive mixed-use town centre project
and creation of 1,000 new jobs over the next few years
As we go to print news is breaking that the decision of Donegal County Council to grant planning permission to Keeney Construction Limited, in partnership with Magee Clothing Limited, for the erection of a massive mixed-use town centre development on the site of the Magee Factory and adjoining lands at Milltown has not been appealed to An Bord Pleanala, thus paving the way for the creation of an estimated 1,000 new jobs in the town over the next few years.
As we reported in our last edition, Donegal County Council granted planning permission for the erection of a new supermarket (understood to be anchored by Tesco Ireland), fifteen retail units, 250 residential units, office accommodation, car parking provision for 950 vehicles and new vehicular and bridge crossings over the River Eske on 15th December 2006. A total of five parties had lodged observations on the application to Donegal County Council and could have lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanala prior to the deadline of 5.30 p.m. on Monday 22nd January 2007 but, according to a spokesperson in the Board have not done so.
The decision of each observer not to lodge an appeal against the Councils decision to grant planning permission for the development brings to an end the six year battle between rival developers, Keeney Construction Limited and Bennett Construction Limited to secure the first planning permission for a new supermarket in the town.
Bennett first submitted an application to Donegal County Council for the erection of a Dunnes Stores supermarket on a site at Drumlonagher adjacent to the Public Services Centre in February 2001. Keeney submitted his first application for a Tesco supermarket on a site at Revlin in July 2001. Both applications were granted planning permission by Donegal County Council but were subsequently appealed to An Bord Pleanala who refused them due to their respective distances from the town centre. In 2004 both Bennett and Keeney went head to head again in pursuit of the Mart site which, as a pre-requisite, required the erection of a replacement facility on the outskirts of the town. Keeney narrowly won the vote at a meeting of the shareholders and proceeded to obtain planning permission for the erection of a replacement mart at Ardlenagh/Lurganboy. However this site was adjudged to be unacceptable to the Mart Committee and the contract with Keeney was rescinded. It is understood that one of the principal reasons for rejecting the Ardelnagh/Lurganboy site was that the executive of the Mart considered that a site at Tullyearl next to the by-pass would have greater redevelopment potential should the mart ever have to close down in the future.
During Keeneys struggle with the Mart Society, Bennett acquired another site on the outskirts of the town at the Mullans/Drumcliff and, in March 2005, submitted an application for the erection of a Dunnes Stores supermarket, retail units and a wine bar/restaurant. Not to be outdone or defeated, Keeney announced in April 2005 that he was going into partnership with Magee Clothing Limited for the redevelopment of the Magee site and adjoining lands at Milltown where he would be proposing a mixed use development anchored by a major supermarket operator.
The County Council granted Bennett permission for its proposed development at the Mullans/Drumcliff in March 2006 only to be appealed by Keeney to An Bord Pleanala which, in the week before Christmas, refused the Mullingar based company permission for reasons relating to the distance of the site from the town centre and the likelihood of the proposed development causing severe traffic congestion on the N56 and the approach roads leading into and out of the town.
Continued in other stories.....