Green light for £200k pub to church restoration near Carnlough

The doors of a former pub are set to reopen on a church after permission was approved at a planning committee meeting of Mid and East Antrim Borough on Thursday.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 4:03 pm

The Sheddings, located between Broughshane and Carnlough, has been purchased by the New Dawn Church which met previously at Broughshane Community Centre.

The change of use will see an investment of £200,000 in the building which will have a capacity to accommodate a congregation of 100 worshippers.

Architect Gary Lamont, who is an elder of New Dawn, told the meeting that the church is currently a fellowship of 40 people with approximately 70 per cent from the Carnalbanagh area. It has been operating for eight years.

The Sheddings. Image by Google

He told the meeting that “God has opened the door” to enable the church to restore the building and “give it back to the rural community for the spiritual well-being of people in the area”.

Planning officer Gary McGuinness said that one objection to the application relates to noise and parking arrangements.

However, he reported that Transport NI is “content with the parking arrangements”.

Mr Lamont noted plans for the installations of triple glazing.

Bannside TUV Councillor Timothy Gaston said that the existing Sheddings pub building has become “run down” and an “eyesore on an important arterial route” since it closed when previously it had once been “a hive of activity” with farmers travelling miles to The Sheddings sheep sales.

He went on to say that 35 car parking bays was “sufficient” for the church.

Cllr Gaston added that the building was located on “an important tourist route” between the “east Antrim coast” and Ballymena, which he described as the “shopping capital of east Antrim”.

Mr Lamont emphasised the church’s intention to form good relations with its neighbours and would seek to talk to people if larger events such as a wedding or a funeral were to be held.

Larne Lough Alderman Paul Reid,  who is also a minister of religion, welcomed the application but said that the conditions did not “make sense”, especially, one regarding noise and asked for three conditions to be removed,

“They will only be worshipping one hour on Sunday morning, one in the evening and maybe an hour during the week,” he commented.

The planning officer explained that environmental health wanted to protect the neighbours’ amenity.

Coast Road Sinn Fein Councillor James McKeown asked for confirmation over the entrance to the site.

He was given an assurance that the entrance was at Lylehill Road and no traffic would be entering or exiting on to Carnlough Road.

Knockagh Alliance councillor Alderman Noel Williams proposed that the application should be approved in its entirety including conditions on sound proofing and a a limit on the number of outdoor services.

Party colleague, Councillor Robert Logan, a Lough Lough representative, noted that Mr Lamont had indicated that triple glazing was to be used and it is “not a concern”.

Ald Reid remarked: “Sometimes I think our environmental health over react.”

Ald Wiiliams said: “My proposal, we accept this application in its entirety, I would like that to stand.”

The application was subsequently approved.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

Click here to read: East Antrim pub to church transformation plan

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