THE PLANNED leisure and retail park at the site of the old Unipork factory in Enniskillen was to be given another rubber stamp by the Council this week.
At the May meeting of the Council’s planning committee, due to take place at The Grange in Omagh this week, members were presented with a list of the planning decisions made in April, which confirmed the planned multi-million pound development has been granted the planning permission, that for so long hung in the balance. It was a long, protracted three-year long planning process, with the proposed Lakelands Retail and Leisure Park development – which includes plans for shops, cafes, a bowling alley, hotel and cinema – being widely supported by the local public, yet fiercely opposed by some in the Enniskillen business community.
After Council’s planning committee granted permission for the Cornagrade Road development last summer, following a close vote in the planning committee and prompting calls for legal challenges by some in the local business community, the Department of Infrastructure (DfI) placed what is known as a ‘holding order’ on the decision to give it the green light.
This holding order prevented elected members from signing off on the planning permission for the development until the Department had conducted a review.
However, at the end of March, the Department announced it had decided not to take the review any further.
“The Department is of the view that this application does not raise issues of such importance that their impact is considered to extend to a regional or sub-regional level and the circumstances of this case are not exceptional such as to render the use of my Department’s ‘call in’ power,” said chief planner Angus Kerr, in a letter to the Council’s planning committee in March.
Mr Kerr added “for clarification”, the holding direction was now “no longer in place and the Council can continue to process this application accordingly.”
The letter was noted by councillors at last month’s meeting of the planning committee, and tonight’s document now confirms once again the Council has granted the development’s planning application.
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