A POPULAR ice cream parlour outside Lifford that was built without planning permission has been granted retrospective approval by the local council.
Yum Yums, situated at the Dolan’s Complex on the Lifford Road, has received ‘retroactive planning permission’ for the retention of the buildings.
The application had been initially refused.
Welcoming the news Yum Yums proprietor Ryan Dolan said, “This is a very positive week and we are very grateful for the council’s decision in support of local business.”
Council planners had objected on the grounds that the building which houses Yum Yums was ‘unauthorised’. A spokesperson confirmed that there was no planning permission in place until the application was brought before the committee at the beginning of the month.
The planners also said that the proposed site was a ‘flood risk’, did not meet the exceptions allowing for such a business and was not ‘considered appropriate’ for a retail facility in the countryside.
Furthermore council officers said that it would lead to intensification in use of an existing access on to a ‘protected route’ which could ‘prejudice the safer and convenience of road users’.
Speaking on behalf of proprietor Gabriel Dolan at a meeting on whether permission should be granted was planning consultant Brian Kelly.
Mr Kelly pointed out that in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic the Dolan family invested £150,000 to replace redundant retail units to ‘introduce another revenue generator’, protecting their 67-strong workforce in a time of ‘considerable uncertainty’.
He admitted that the Dolan family did not appreciate at the time that planning permission was required for the change, yet also argued that the replacement of an existing building is an exception to the policy as cited by council officers.
Finally, he said that the shop ‘brought joy to people’ in the dark days of the pandemic.
Despite strenuous objections by council officers and Derry City and Strabane District Council’s solicitor, who claim that the area is ‘countryside’, numerous elected representatives spoke passionately in favour of retaining the parlour.
SDLP West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan cited the importance of Yum Yums to the local business fraternity through jobs and investment, as many relied on the employment it provided.
Sinn Féin Councillor Michaela Boyle also backed the application on the grounds that the initial buildings were ‘dilapidated’, while independent councillor Paul Gallagher said that the fluctuation of petrol prices between north and south would naturally intensify trips to the site.
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