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Department for Infrastructure officials get stuck into planning decisions

Words: Roger Milne
Stormont | Shutterstock_114096184

Civil servants at the Department for Infrastructure have begun determining a slew of regionally significant schemes previously on ice at Stormont because of the absence of a minister.

This move comes in the wake of new legislation and guidance on departmental decision-making that came into force last November.

To date, four schemes that had been languishing in the department’s in-tray have been decided. Three have been approved: the closure and reprofiling of a former landfill site at Newbuildings, County Londonderry; a four-turbine wind farm at Killeter, Castlederg, and a turbot fish farm at Kileel.

One – a £25 million tourist scheme in County Fermanagh earmarked for the site of a former seaplane base on the eastern shore of Lower Lough Erne, a few miles from Enniskillen – was refused.

The proposed Catalina Bay Resort involved proposals for an 83-bedroom hotel, 68 self-catering apartments and 10 holiday lodges.

The department said it was rejected because it was unacceptable in terms of the scale and design of the new buildings, would be detrimental to the rural character of the locality, was unduly prominent in the landscape, and would have an adverse impact on Lower Lough Erne and compromise its tourist value.

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