Housing plans for Letterkenny refused

by Louise Doyle

PLANS for a second phase major housing development in Letterkenny have been refused by An Bord Pleanála following objections by residents’ associations.

Applicant PJ McDermott lodged plans in May 2023 seeking planning permission for phase two of a housing development consisting of a total of 188 residential units, comprising 160 houses and 28 apartments at Glencar Irish and Glencar Scotch.


The proposed housing development was part of the adjacent Phase 1 development, comprising 90 residential units to the south, the subject of an appeal pending with An Bord Pleanála.

Plans for the Phase 2 development included an internal distributor road that will provide for future access to adjacent lands to the north and east of the site to facilitate integration of the proposed development and future adjacent developments, as well as facilitating future connection to the proposed upgraded northern strategic link/Windyhall Road, bus stops, landscaped open spaces and play areas.

While granted conditional go-ahead by Donegal County Council, an appeal was lodged the Old Glencar Road, Solomon’s Grove and Upper Fernhill Residents’ Associations against the decision made by Donegal County Council to give the planning permission the go-ahead.

Outlining their objection in a written missive to Donegal County Council, the residents’ associations cited concerns around a belief that the completion of the Windyhall Link Road would solve the ever-increasing traffic problems in the general Glencar area.

“It is our understanding that the funding for this link road has been withdrawn and it will not now go ahead. Surely this decision should result in the rejection of this application?,” they wrote.

“Motorists are currently being forced to use the Windyhall road due to the intolerable congestion in the area and sooner or later this will lead to a serious accident because of the unsuitability of this road for heavy traffic. There are six schools in the general area with the Glencar road being one of the main accesses and exits for a growing level of vehicular traffic and significant number of buses.

“There doesn’t seem to be any realisation of the congestion that this creates in the area and the inconvenience caused to long term residents who are trapped in their homes for extended periods of time. The residents’ association also voiced environmental concerns.


“The application for Phase 2 is for a period of 10 years and we believe that the concession of this timeframe would be outrageous and would result in a mature residential area being subject to traffic, noise, dust, dirt and general disruption for this period of time. This would be totally unacceptable to the residents and will be resisted at all costs.

“Phase 2 also entails the clearance and demolition of wooded areas and hedgerows, which is clearly in contravention of all current environmental and ecological practice and thinking. These areas are the habitats of bats which are a protected species under The Habitats Directive and the Irish Wildlife Act.

“These areas are also the habitats of a wide variety of bird life and wildlife. There is currently a huge focus on the protection of our biodiversity due to a national decline in numbers of insects, animals and natural plant life.

“The desecration of these areas proposed by the developer should not be allowed to happen and there is a big onus on Donegal County Council to ensure this biodiversity is protected.”

Refusing permission, An Bord Pleanála said that having regard to the designation of Letterkenny as a Regional Growth centre in the Project Ireland 2040 National Planning Framework, the proposed density would “contribute an inefficient use of zoned lands which would fail to contribute towards compact sustainable development as envisioned in local, regional and national planning policy”.

Having regard to the design and layout of the proposed development, An Bord Pleanála found: “Road design and parking proposals which are car dominated, lacking in a design-led approach to a self regulating pedestrian priority environment.”

An Bord Pleanála added: “The proposed development would result in a substandard form of development for future occupiers in terms of residential amenity, would give rise to a poor standard of development, and would, therefore, seriously injure residential amenity and be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development for the area.”

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere

and get access to our archive editions dating back to 2007
Every Thursday
Every Monday

Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. St. Anne's Court, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland