Major plan for ‘Square’ approved

A MAJOR plan that will see the transformation of Market Square in Letterkenny was approved at a special meeting of Donegal County Council on Wednesday.

The decision to move forward with the planned redevelopment was deferred in September so that objections from local businesses and taxi operators over the relocation of taxi bays could be looked at more closely.

Members of the Letterkenny-Milford Municipal District held a workshop on Monday when the development was looked at in detail with the planning department.


Director of Community Development & Planning Services, Mr Liam Ward said the objective of the ‘re-imagined’ Market Square project is to create a usable, flexible and dynamic public space capable of meeting the needs of the town to 2040 and beyond.

“The substantive issue for consideration relates to provision for taxi operators and the reallocation of on-street parking spaces,” said Mr Ward.

In considering this issue it is important to reflect back to the objective of the project which is to create a dynamic, accessible, safe, flexible, multi-user civic space.

‘To achieve this objective it is necessary to prioritise pedestrians and as a result change and adaptation is necessary. Getting the balance right is key.”

The original plans proposed to remove existing car parking, loading bays and taxi ranks from within Market Square and to construct a replacement taxi rank on Main Street in lieu of six existing on-street parking spaces.

However, there was a lot of concern about how the loss of on-street parking would affect local businesses on Main Street as well as concerns from taxi operators about the removal of a rank at Market Square.



A survey of occupancy rates at the existing taxi ranks at Ulster Bank, the Brewery Bar, Market Centre and The Kitchen was undertaken by the Council over a six week period.

This survey found that there is a need for at most six taxi bays within the area between Market Square and St Oliver Plunkett Road.

At yesterday’s special meeting Cllr Gerry McMonagle put forward amendments to the plans to retain a taxi rank in front of the Market Square with three taxi bays.


The two existing bays for people with disabilities in front of Market Square will be relocated to the front of Ulster Bank.

It was also agreed that the six on-street car parking spaces on Main Street will be maintained.

Under these revised plans the need for six taxi bays in this area will be supplied by the existing rank outside The Kitchen (three bays) together with the three new bays in front of Market Square.

Cllr McMonagle’s proposal was seconded by Cllr Donal Coyle.

“We did have a workshop and we had a long discussion about this with all members and with the planning department and I want to commend the planners for the work they have put into this and the effort and time and the consultation they have had with all the stakeholders,” said Cllr McMonagle.

“We are losing the two disabled car parking spaces immediately in front of the Square but they will be within ten metres of the existing position which I think is within reason.

“We are still going to maintain three taxi rank car parking spaces at the front of the Market Centre which has been the case for many years which supports the survey.

“We are also protecting the businesses who were going to be losing six car parking spaces immediately outside their premises which wouldn’t be good for businesses.

“We feel this is the best way forward and would address all of the concerns of most of the stakeholders here.”


Speaking in support of the proposals Cllr John O’Donnell said it is important that they move forward with the plans.

“The executive has made us aware that if we don’t get this passed today we will be back to square one and nobody wants that,” said Cllr O’Donnell.

“We have had massive public engagement on this and everybody has had their say and I think it is important we move forward with this and get the funding to be able to carry out the works to take it to the next stage.”

Cllr O’Donnell said he wanted to reassure those in the taxi industry that a full review of taxi regulation and parking around the town will be taking place.

There was a commitment given that this review and consultation with taxi drivers in the town will take place later this year.

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