Create a plan for Inishowen

The planning service was formerly located at Carndonagh Public Services  Centre.
The planning service was formerly located at Carndonagh Public Services Centre.

Concerns have been raised that repeated calls for a planner to be based in Inishowen are “falling on deaf ears.”

The Council’s planning services were removed from the Carndonagh Public Services office and relocated to Lifford, something which the peninsula’s county councillors have been vocal in their opposition to.

At Tuesday’s Inishowen Municipal District meeting, Councillor Paul Canning pointed out how Inishowen had the second highest number of planning applications so far this year, at 356 - just six behind the Letterkenny Municipal District.

Donegal received 354 applications, Glenties received 310 and Stranorlar had 22. 231 applications have been granted so far in Inishowen, with 42 refused, 79 deferred and 59 invalid. 203 received a decision in less than two months.

Colr. Canning paid tribute to the planning department, who he said, undertook a lot of work. However, he said a lot of them had to travel from Lifford “down to this neck of the woods” for planning issues and pre-planning meetings, adding it would be “rational” to have a planner based in Inishowen at least one day a week.

Councillor Bernard McGuinness agreed, stating councillors had been “consistently” looking for planners to be located in the Carndonagh office.

He said: “I suggested we’d have a planner here one day per week and a liaison officer here the rest of the time. I’m disappointed there’s been no response to that request - so much so that I spoke to the county manager and personally told him we need a planner in Carn.”

Councillor Martin Farren said the issue was a “bone of contention” with him as he “always felt that planning services shouldn’t have left the building.”

He said that when the service was located in Carndonagh he could “go up the stairs” and raise issues, which is “much more difficult now.”

He added this was creating difficulties for public representatives in that they “can’t get back to people.”

“Then I’m getting the feeling I’m not doing my job,” he said.

Councillor Farren said the issue had been brought up at every meeting but was “falling on deaf ears.”

He added: “We need some type of movement in 2016, starting off with the planner one day a week and we can improve on that.”