Businessman vows to fight van sales refusal plan

A local businessman says he will carry on his fight to have planning permission granted for a new van sales venture near Ballymoney.

Mr. Bill Kennedy, who is also a Borough Councillor, was refused permission to change the use of an existing coal merchants store to new van sales at Knockahollet Road, Dunloy.

The application which was brought before the council on Monday night by the Planning authority gave three reasons for refusal - it was considered inappropriate in the rural area; the proposed use would have an unacceptable visual impact and would not visually integrate into the surrounding landscape and that the impact of the proposed use would damage the rural character of the countryside.

The site sits on the corner of the Frosses Road and Knockahollet Road and was used as an coal business, but has not been functioning as that for some years.

It is understood that the time lapse has necessitated a new planning application and unfortunately for Mr. Kennedy, planners have ruled against it.

The Frosses Road is a protected route, but Mr. Kennedy argues that his business is on the Knockahollet Road which is unaffected by the legislation.

An office meeting was sought at Monday night’s planning meeting and speaking aftewards, Mr. Kennedy said he was disappointed with the decision of the planners.

He said he had travelled the length and breadth of the country and saw numerous van sale businesses in rural areas, on the of roads and in places where he thought it not possible to trade from.

“You drive up the Frosses Road from Ballymoney and there are all manner of businesses. I want to start a business that will bring something to the economy and create employment.

“As a councillor I’m not looking for any favours and don’t expect any, but I think I have a good case and I will continue to press for permission,” he added.

Mr. Kennedy has been engaged in the van sales business for years but has concentrated his efforts recently on his supermarket and fuel station in Armoy which has proved successful.