Councillors overturn Planning decision

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Causeway Coast and Glens councillors have voted against a Planning Authority recommendation to refuse the construction of two replacement dwellings in Cloughmills.

At Wednesday’s Planning Committee meeting the Planners recommended the application for the redevelopment of the site at 38 Drumadoon Road be refused.

One of the reasons given for the refusal was whether the existing buildings could be considered as a dwelling or not.

Shane Mathers of the Planning Service said: “The proposal is contrary to 6.73 of the Strategic Planning Policy for Northern Ireland (SPPS) and Policy CTY3 of Planning Policy Statement 21, Sustainable Development in the Countryside, in that there is no structure that exhibits the essential characteristics of a dwelling with all external structural walls substantially intact.”

Speaking at the meeting applicant Eamon Smyth felt his application had been ‘unfairly treated’.

“My previous application was refused despite it being accepted the buildings had residential features, they were clearly not constructed for agricultural purposes,” he told members of the Planning Committee.

“These buildings had toilets, electricity and separate rooms.”

Mr Smyth revealed they had evidence the buildings were home to staff employed by John James Boyd who owned the creamery in the village in the early 1900s.

Cllr Joan Baird asked the Planners were dismissing the local knowledge?

Shane Mathers of the Planning Authority said: “We are not disputing the information given, but these buildings weren’t dwellings in their own right.

“They were out building of an existing building, they were only there to provide auxiliary accommodation to the main house.”

Speaking on behalf of the applicant Ald John Finlay said the buildings were created for people to live in.

“The people who lived here worked in the creamery, this was considered their home,” he said.

Ald Sharon McKillop proposed the committee reverse the Planners’ decision to refuse the application.

This was seconded by Cllr Barney Fitzpatrick.

Four councillors voted in favour of the proposal, one voted against and five abstained so approval was granted.

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