A Northern Ireland firm of architects has claimed that planning approval for a new house outside Randalstown will set a precedent for rural homes.
The plan to build a house and separate garage on agricultural land was initially rejected by planners in October 2007, who claimed it did not meet their requirements. The application was subsequently deferred by the local council last January. Despite this the application was recently granted outline permission despite failing to meet several planning requirements.
Senior architect Michael Howe, of Ballymoney-based 2020 Architects, claimed the move shows a relaxing of the controversial rural planning policy.
Mr Howe said: “A precedent has been set and to my knowledge this is the first plan of its type to be approved.”
Previously planners would have insisted that the new property was visually linked or at least had access to the existing home. But Mr Howe said it appeared “the plan was approved as it was near a factory”.
He claimed: “This is a planning approval which we feel will significantly change PPS21 and as such rural planning policy in Northern Ireland.”