Major plans for prominent Letterkenny site

A SITE in the heart of Letterkenny is set to be transformed into a hotel, offices and residential units under multi-million regeneration plans.
The 40-acre site in Gortlee, which includes Gortlee House, has been owned by the Robinson family since the 1880s.
The site was earmarked for development in 2010 to build a new 100 bedroom hotel, 301 residential units, a crèche, hotel, offices, retail units and an extension to the existing Town Park.
Despite planning permission being granted to applicants Mr Allen and George Robinson though, the new development was never built.
However speaking to the Donegal News yesterday Mr Allen Robinson said he expects new plans to develop the site will be lodged with Donegal County Council in the coming months.
The news comes just weeks after the ‘sale agreed’ signs were posted on the nearby two-acre former Oatfield factory site.
“Works are ongoing on developing those plans at the moment and we’re waiting to make representations on the new Letterkenny Development Plan.
“It will be a mixed use development which will include a hotel and apartments together with a number of other components suitable for current market demands. We’re respectful of what the council is doing with regard to the new plan and we’ll work closely alongside them throughout the process which is still at the early stages yet,” he said.
Mr Robinson confirmed that works on site were ongoing in preparation for the proposed new development. However, he moved to allay fears that extensive site clearance and deforestation have already taken place.
“A farmer has the land, under lease, and he’s been carrying out standard farm works as it has become very overgrown on places.
“However, as per the conditions of rezoning, no mature trees have been touched during that process. We have been in contact with the council in that regard and the area has been inspected. Mature trees have not been touched – and won’t be touched – until such time as permission is granted. We’ve been very transparent on that issue,” Mr Robinson said.
There have been plans to transform the grounds of Gortlee House for many years and back in 2009 a planning application was lodged for a “€100 million housing development and country style hotel” on the site adjoining the Town Park.
In 2010 the development was granted permission by Letterkenny Town Council.
Later that year residents of the Gortlee area lodged an objection to An Bord Pleanála against the project citing concerns about its scale and the impact on their property. In 2011 An Bord Pleanála upheld the Town Council’s decision but said it should be reduced in size through the omission of an office block and the removal of the top floor of eight apartment blocks.

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