Donegal County Council has approved plans for a quarry operation near Raphoe despite strong opposition
A decision to grant planning permission for a quarry operation close to Raphoe is being appealed after hundreds of people voiced their opposition to it.
Donegal County Council has granted planning permission for extraction and processing of rock by drilling, blasting, crushing and screening at the former quarry site to Patrick Bonar.
The decision has been appealed to An Bord Pleanála by Raphoe Community In Action and environmental charity An Taisce.
Sir Gerry and Lady Heather Robinson, the owners of the Oakfield Park estate which is run as a visitor attraction, were among those to object to the plans for the quarry operation. The 18th-century estate with its gardens and 4.5km narrow-gauge railway is one of the county’s most popular attractions.
The Robinsons, who were among hundreds of local people who signed a petition opposed to the development, objected to the development in the townlands of Magherasolis and Craigs saying it would have "a devastating effect" on the local community, the town of Raphoe, local wildlife and heritage sites.
They highlighted the impact dust from the quarry would have on local properties, farms and vegetation as well as the impact of noise.
"The effect on Oakfield Park which is on the site's doorstep, would have a significant financial impact and would spoil the tranquillity of what makes it one of Donegal's most visited attractions with visitors now over 50,000 per annum,” they said in their letter of objection.
Twenty-two submissions or objections were made against the application. Objections highlighted concerns about traffic safety, the impact on water quality, concerns about the impact on nearby recorded monuments and the historical town of Raphoe and concerns about the impact of noise, dust and vibrations on nearby schools, dwellings and businesses.
A petition submitted by the Raphoe Heritage Centre carried the names of 400 people opposed to the quarry.
The petition pointed out the site of the quarry is within 800m of 23 homes as well as schools, farms and businesses and is just 1km from Raphoe, one of only five heritage towns in Donegal.
Objections have also pointed out that the area is rich in archaeological material including rock art, standing stones, the Beltany stone circle and the Kilmnaster passage tomb.
Raphoe Community in Action called for a detailed archaeological survey.
Planners ruled that the applicant had demonstrated that with conditions the development will not impact on traffic safety, will not give rise to dust, will not impact negatively on archaeological heritage or water quality.
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