After a number of contentious and controversial years as an unplanned resort, an attempt has been instigated to regulate the sprawling caravan park on the shores of Lough Derravarragh at Donore.
Westmeath County Council, owners of the site, have received a planning application from its operator, Mr Paul Smith, for retention of “all existing mobile homes, touring caravans, permanent chalets, and storage facilities” on the site three kilometres north of the village of Multyfarnham.
Retention is the term used in the planning process when permission is sought for a property or development already built or erected without authority for which the owner or developer subsequently wishes to regularize.
The lakeshore resort had mushroomed in size in recent years in line with the recently deceased Celtic Tiger to the extent it now comprises of almost 200 holiday units, of which very few have proper permission.
The county council has been in some conflict with Mr Smith over the last four years in relation to the services demanded and waste generated by his technically illegal squatters, but has stopped short of legal action to date.
Smith is also seeking de facto permission for his existing caretaker’s apartment and restaurant at the front of the site.
A decision on his application is expected towards the end of October. It has not yet been established how Smith was allowed deveop this picturesque shoreline without any statutory challenges to date.