Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Cultra residents annoyed at Sweeney seafront plans

Property developer Seymour Sweeney speaking to the press yesterday about the Giant's causeway visitor centre

Residents in Cultra have expressed concern over the possible development of new apartments on Seafront Road.

The apartments, by developers Seafront Properties, which is owned by businessman Seymour Sweeney, are currently at the planning stage.

Residents claim the development is “out of character of the area and its surroundings”.

A previous application by a former owner of the site was turned down a number of years ago. A fresh application was later submitted by new owner Mr Sweeney who looked at the original application and changed it to address all the concerns by the Planning Service.

However, the council has asked that the proposals be sent to the senior management board at Planning Service in Belfast for re-evaluation. This is expected to take around three months.

A statement from Planning Service confirmed the application by Seafront Properties for five apartments and said it was now in the hands of its management board.

“The (Planning) Division reconsidered the application....and confirmed opinion to approve and the application was again presented to the council on August 19, 2008, at which the council agreed to refer it to the management board,” the statement said.

“The application is currently being considered by the Planning Service Management Board.”

The chair of Cultra Residents’ Association, Roger Corry, said the development was “not in keeping with the area”.

Holywood councillor Gordon Dunne said North Down Borough Council was behind the residents in their opposition to the development which is in “further encroachment of the character of the area”.

“We have been consistent in our support for the residents and are fighting this development on planning grounds,” Mr Dunne said.

A statement from North Down Borough Council said: “At the North Down Borough Council meeting on August 19 it was agreed that the application in respect of Seafront Properties.....be referred to the management board.

“This was on the account of local concerns brought to councillors regarding the development being out of character for the local area and contributing to over-development of Holywood seafront.”

Seymour Sweeney, speaking to The CT, said he had addressed all concerns Planning Service had with the original application.

“This is a new and exciting scheme which I believe is in keeping with the area,” Mr Sweeney said.

“The new proposals are substantially different to the original plans which were submitted by the previous owner of the site.

“We have reduced the mass, scale and height as well as the number of apartments from nine to five.”

Commenting on why he felt local residents were objecting to his plans despite them being recommended by Planning Service, Mr Sweeney said he had “no idea”.

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