The planning application for Glenarm Regeneration Scheme has been approved by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s planning committee.
The scheme, which was recommended for approval by planners, will include the regeneration of the square at Eglinton Yard to include retail units, a café and a community hall as well as housing provision at Eglinton Yard and the waterfront.
‘A flood plain doesn’t mean something can’t be developed’ Elaine Kinghan
According to a council report, no objections were raised by NIEA, the Rivers Agency, Transport NI, the DOE’s Marine Division, Northern Ireland Water or Environmental Health.
However, 55 letters of objection were received.
The grounds for objection included claims that the development was not in keeping with the character of the village, that it was contrary to Glenarm Regeneration Strategy, that it blocked views of the marina and St Patrick’s church, that it would be built on a floodplain in an area that had previously flooded, and that it would prevent use of the waterfront and footbridge.
The council’s head of planning Paul Duffy said that no objection to the scheme had been raised by The Prince’s Trust, and that the council’s planning department was “satisfied that the regeneration of Eglinton Yard is acceptable and consistent with planning policy.”
In response to a question from Cllr Paul Reid, Mr Duffy confirmed that part of the site falls within the “undefended coastal flood plain” but added that this “doesn’t rule out development on the site” and said that the Rivers Agency was “satisfied significant mitigation measures can be implemented.”
Cllr Reid called for a one month adjournment to allow a site meeting by members to take place.
Speaking for the objectors, Maureen McAuley told the committee there were “serious concerns” over flooding, and that the area had flooded in the spring.
She said that residents had “no problem” with Eglinton Yard but were concerned with the residential development at the Waterfront. Mrs McAuley also asked the committee to defer the application until the committee could visit the site.
Chief Commissioner of the Planning Appeals Commission Elaine Kinghan advised members: “Just because something is on a flood plain doesn’t mean something can’t be developed.
“If you refuse to go with a recommendation on that basis I think you are on very dangerous ground.”
Cllr Stephen Nicholl proposed to accept the recommendation to pass the application, and was seconded by Cllr Beth Adger on a vote of five in favour, three against and one abstention.