Donegal County Councillor Barry O’Neill has called on the ESB to remove all fencing that has been erected along Assaroe Lake at the Knather Road in Ballyshannon and along both embankments on the River Erne in the Town Centre.
Cllr. O’Neill has made a formal complaint to the Planning Department at Donegal County Council which issued a warning letter to the ESB on the 18th December 2013.
The Planning Department has given the ESB four weeks to respond with the deadline therefore this week.
Cllr. O’Neill said that “the fencing is unsuitable to the locality and it is obtrusive to the scenic area of the Knather and along the River Erne in the Town Centre. I am satisfied that the Planning Guidelines have been breached on several grounds.
The Knather Residents Association has continuously raised concerns and has met with ESB Management and I call on the ESB now to remove the industrial type fencing as it is totally unsuitable. The Warning Letter from the Planning Department refers to fencing erected on both sides of the River Erne from Allingham Bridge in the Town Centre to the rear of Cathleen’s Falls Power Station and includes a section of the Knather Road”.
The four week deadline for an ESB submission will end today (Wednesday 15th January 2014) and if the Planning Department regardless of a submission considers that unauthorised development has been, is being or may be carried out then an Enforcement Notice will be issued.
Cllr. O’Neill has said that “the ESB will claim that the fencing is required, but its the type of industrial fencing that has been erected has visually impacted on the natural environment and one questions the requirement for any fencing whatsoever.
The ESB should be assisting the Community to develop the locality for tourism and recreation but ignoring the valid concerns of the community is not a very good message after over 60 years in the town. The bottom line here is that both the lake and river has tourism potential for walks, angling and general scenic amenities, however the ESB seem to have a different view and that is very disappointing considering the relationship and goodwill that has existed for many years The people of Ballyshannon and the rural locality deserve better from the ESB and this is no way to treat a Community that wants to preserve and appropriately develop its natural amenities”.