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Donegal cinema complex plan refused planning permission

Declan Magee

Reporter:

Declan Magee

Donegal cinema  complex plan refused planning permission

Planners have refused planning permission for a five-screen cinema in Donegal town citing concerns about the impact the development could have on the local road network.

WJ Dolan Construction applied to Donegal County Council in September for the construction of a two-storey , five-screen cinema with 714 seats at Clarcarricknagun, Donegal town.

The 1,900 square metre development would include a shop, restaurant, and 159 car parking spaces.

With the closest cinemas to Donegal town and south-west Donegal located in Bundoran and Letterkenny, a cinema is seen as a much-needed amenity.

The development would have included a new link to the R267 near the roundabout with the N56 on the outskirts of the town.

The application was turned down after concerns about the impact of the increased traffic volume in the area.

The applicant has said the proposal would create a new family-friendly attraction in the town, create new employment and reduce the number of journeys being made out of the town to similar developments further afield.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) said in a report on the proposed project that the application was “at variance with official policy in relation to control of development on/affecting national roads”.

It said that sightlines at the access from the R267 close to the roundabout, do not appear to satisfy design requirements.

Planners refused planning permission saying the project would impact on the “vitality and health” of the existing town centre use and business” and did not conform with the core strategy for the county development plan.

Planners also found the development would be “injurious to the visual quality of the approach road to Donegal town”.

The council also found the development would impact on the carrying capacity of the national road network.

Planners said the proposed development “of such a commercial scale in an out of centre and the peripheral location is premature pending the adoption of the county development plan.”

In its application, WJ Dolan Construction said the proposal would meet the demand for a new family-friendly destination in Donegal town.

“There are no comparable facilities in Donegal town and cinema goers must travel to Bundoran, Letterkenny or Lifford,” the company said in the application.

“This new attraction will provide another reason for visiting the town and establish a new local employer,” it said.

The application stated that the cinema use “is likely to intercept a significant number of existing trips being made to similar developments further afield in Lifford, Bundoran, Letterkenny and Sligo”.  

Attempts by this newspaper to contact the applicant and the planning consultation involved in the project proved unsuccessful.