THE go-ahead has been given to a multimillion-euro commercial and residential development on the site of a former Fruit of the Loom factory in Donegal.
After months of delay, An Bord Pleanala over-ruled its inspectors recommendation and granted permission to Jansu Developments Ltd for a scaled-down version of the €60m development on the outskirts of Buncrana overlooking Lough Swilly, with conditions attached.
Welcoming the announcement last night, Paul Doyle, project manager with Jansu Developments, said that it was now "all systems go" for work to commence.
"It is fantastic news for the town of Buncrana, the people of Buncrana and Jansu developments as well. We waited patiently and common sense prevailed in the end. Now we look forward to carrying out the development as soon as we can," he said.
The developers were initially refused planning by the local town council and appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanala.
After a total of seven deferrals, the planning authority issued its ruling, giving the green light for the demolition of the existing factory premises and the development of 15 retail units, a restaurant, bar, medical centre and approximately 50 apartments on the premium site.
The development will also have over 500 car parking spaces and could employ up to 200 people during the construction phase.
It will be located on the site of the main Fruit of the Loom clothing manufacturing plant, which employed over 1,000 people when it was at peak production and shut down three years ago.
Among the 18 conditions attached were that the proposed seven-storey apartment complex on the western side of the site overlooking Lough Swilly be reduced by two stories.
The board also ruled that the areas of both the anchor store in the retail development and the restaurant and bar be significantly reduced and that 10 single storey apartments be omitted.
The decision to reduce the height of the seven storey structure to five stories was welcomed last night by the mayor of Buncrana, Paul Bradley, who had been opposed to the size and scale of development.
"My issue was with the sensitivity of the site which is overlooking Lough Swilly and is probably one of the most beautiful locations in the country.