Princes Gardens may become a ‘no-go area’

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

Residents of Princes Gardens in Larne have warned that their quiet residential street could become a “no-go area” if plans to create a supported living facility go ahead.

Controversial proposals by Triangle Housing Association could see the former children’s home at 4 Princes Gardens – owned by the Northern Trust – replaced with a two-storey development consisting of 12 one-bedroom apartments, catering for 16 to 21-year-olds who have left care.

Concerned about the potential impact such a facility could have in the area, residents have launched a concerted campaign to block the plans.

The Planning Service, which has indicated it is minded to approve the application, has received 34 letters of objection.

These concerns range from the 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.

Campaigners have also researched the impact that a similar Triangle-operated facility in the Coleraine area has had on the surrounding community.

A Freedom of Information request by residents has revealed police were called out to the area 73 times in the last 12 months.

Another bone of contention for Princes Gardens residents stems from the fact that a Simon Community facility is currently located nearby on Curran Road.

A long-time resident told the Times: “We are deeply concerned with the implications of this proposal for the local neighbourhood.

“My biggest fear is that this street could become a no-go area due to the level of anti-social behaviour.”

Larne’s elected representatives have also expressed concerns regarding the proposed location, and have invited representatives from Triangle to attend the September meeting of Larne Borough Council to hear local people’s objections first hand.

A Triangle spokesperson told the Larne Times: “We are very happy to accept this invitation and look forward to this opportunity to work with the council on this matter.

“If the development in Princess Gardens proceeds, Triangle will continue to consult with local residents to try to resolve any ongoing concerns they may have.”