An Bord Pleanala has overturned a decision of Donegal County Council that had granted planning permission for additional graveyard space at a church near Donegal Town.
An Bord Pleanala refused permission because it was not satisfied the site at Letterbarra could be satisfactorily drained ot that it would not pose a risk to ground water and surface water in the area.
The site, 0.6 of a hectare, lies partially within the grounds of the Church of the Redeemer, which also accommodates a former parochial house and a large car parking area.
The proposed new graveyard was to comprise of 96 plots and would be on lands partially owned by the church, with the remainder owned by a third party, who had consented to the application.
A submission was received that raised issues regarding the suitability of the soil and sub-soil.
It also raised the issue of what was described as the unacceptable risk to surface and ground water posed by the location of a graveyard in the location.
The submission indicated that surface water would discharge into an existing watercourse that flows within 700 metres to salmon spawning beds of the Eanymore water fishery.
After examining the case, a senior planning inspector with An Bord Pleanala recommended that permission for the graveyard be refused.
The inspector noted the HSE accepted the site was unsuitable, as it currently existed.
It said that having regard to the ground conditions, the high water table, the poor percolating properties of the site and the extent of improvement works required, it was not satisfied that the site could be properly drained.
The inspector’s report also said the proposed graveyard would therefore be prejudical to public health and contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.