‘Firm grounds’ to refuse Prince’s Gardens plans

This site of the proposed development at 4 Princes Gardens.  INLT 07-681-CON
This site of the proposed development at 4 Princes Gardens. INLT 07-681-CON

A new report into controversial plans to create a supported living facility in Larne has determined there are “firm grounds” for the application to be refused.

The Planning Service has indicated it is minded to approve Triangle Housing Association’s proposal to replace the former children’s home at 4 Prince’s Gardens with a two-storey development, catering for 16 to 21-year-olds who have left care.

But the plans have been condemned by local residents and elected representatives, who have cited a range of concerns including potential for a rise in anti-social behaviour and noise levels, impact on property values and local businesses, and “damage” to the character of the area.

As previously reported, Larne Borough Council tasked a consultant with carrying out a community impact assessment (CIA) into Triangle’s proposal.

Independent consultant Fleming Mounstephen Planning Ltd has now completed its investigation and presented its findings to the local authority.

The consultant listed 13 items it claims are absent from the application, and feels these should have been picked up on by the Department of the Environment before an opinion was formed.

The report stated: “The Department was not fully informed on the application and the opinion to approve was not soundly based.”

At the latest meeting of Larne Council’s development committee, Peter Fleming from the consultancy firm told councillors he believed there were grounds for the DoE to change its opinion to one of refusal, particularly with regard to “over-development” of the site.

The report concluded that the council should continue to request a refusal on the application.

A DoE spokesperson told the Times it will not make its final decision on the application until it has received the consultant’s report.

Triangle Housing also told the Times it had not received a copy of the report and was “not in a position to comment on its content”.