Huge debate as planners ‘refuse’ Tesco

HUGE public debate is underway after planners announced an opinion to refuse plans for a Tesco supermarket in Ballycastle’s Leyland Road.

Planners say the store would impact on the vitality of town centre businesses.

Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the news and said they would have no objections to a smaller Tesco store coming to the town centre.

But supporters of the Leyland Road Tesco plans are angry at the refusal.

Tesco had applied to build a supermarket on lands between Leyland Heights, Ramoan Road and Leyland Road along with houses.

But planners are of the opinion to refuse it on the grounds that the “proposal is contrary to the Department’s Planning Policy Statement 5 Retailing and Town Centres in that the development, if permitted, would have an adverse impact on the vitality and viability of Ballycastle town centre, a designated Conservation Area and undermine its convenience shopping function.”

Planners further said: “The proposal is contrary to the Joint Ministerial Statement of 31st January 2005 on the grounds of prematurity as the Draft Northern Area Plan 2016 has reached an advanced stage of preparation, and the effect of an approval for this proposal for retail use on a zoned Housing (Urban Capacity) site, BEH 13, would be prejudicial to the outcome of the plan process by pre-determining decisions about the scale and location of new development which should properly be taken through the development plan process.”

Speaking to the Times on Friday June 17, the Department of Environment - who have the remit for planning issues - said the total responses received, in support of the application included 1,035 individual letters and two petitions of support which consisted of a total of 829 names.

And against the Leyland Road Tesco site, there were 39 individual letters and three petitions of objection which consisted of a total of 3,045 names.

A DoE spokesman said: “The application is on the agenda for the next meeting of Moyle District Council on 27th June with an opinion to refuse.

“If the council disagree with this opinion and the application is deferred, a further meeting will be held as part of the re-consideration of the proposal before a final decision is made.

“If the ultimate decision is to refuse, the applicants have a right of appeal to the Planning Appeals Commission.”

If you have an opinion on this story, please contact the Ballymoney/Moyle Times at nevin.farrell@jpress.co.uk