Councillors fighting for 200 new homes for Ballycastle

MOYLE councillors are determined to keep fighting for permission to be given for a major new housing development of more than 200 homes in the Clare Road area of Ballycastle.

Planners have again recommended refusal for the proposals for a scheme brought forward by Alastair McHenry Construction Ltd for lands opposite Clare Park.

Councillor Catherine McCambridge said it is major planning application and has implications for the future of Ballycastle and said the matter should be referred to the Minister responsible for planning pending the outcome of the Northern Area Plan.

If the developer has to resubmit the plans it will cost over £40,000, she added.

Planning official Julie McMath said that regardless of the Northern Area Plan the scheme involves more than 200 houses outside the development area of Ballycastle.

Council Chairperson, Cllr Padraig McShane, also wants the Minister to get involved in the case and he said it is only a “draft” Area Plan.

Councillor Cara McShane said one of the refusal reasons referring to there not being enough waste water treatment system capacity in Ballycastle is a “big issue” and something she said is completely outside the remit of the developer.

Cllr Randal McDonnell said the Northern Area Plan will be “out of date” soon and he said more flexibility is needed.

Planners listed several reasons for refusal:

* It is contrary to the Joint Ministerial Statement of January 31 2005 on 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 outside the settlement development limit designed for Ballycastle in the Draft Plan, in itself and taken cumulatively with other housing schemes outside proposed development limits, 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.

* Will adversely affect the intrinsic environmental value and character of the Clare Park area and is in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

* The proposal fails to provide a quality residential environment and the development has failed to provide adequate provision for an equipped children’s play area as an integral part of the development.

* The proposal would have an adverse impact on a monument of regional importance and its setting. and there are no overriding reasons why the development is essential in the rural location and could not be located ‘within a settlement’.

* The design of the proposed dwellings is inappropriate for the site and would result in suburban-style build-up.

* Visibility issues regarding roads.

* Waste Water treatment system capacity is not available and a scheme does not exist in the current Capital Works Programme.

* Insufficient information has been given to provided to fully consider a possible flood risk.