Belfast Telegraph

I’ll fight this all way, vows man whose rural idyll will be ruined by M1 halt sites

By Linda Stewart

Twenty years ago Ian Farris and his family left city life behind and moved to Drumbeg for a new life in the country.

But it wasn’t long before their dreams of a rural idyll went sour.

Although the farmhouse that they moved to lies close to the M1 motorway, there was enough land between their home and the nearby traffic to provide a buffer against the noise and pollution.

It was only after they moved in that they discovered the field abutting their home was earmarked to become one of Northern Ireland’s first major motorway services areas.

Last week Environment Minister Alex Attwood announced that he was granting planning permission for two motorway service stations facing each other on the M2.

Another two on the M1 are also being looked at, and went before Lisburn Borough Council on Wednesday night.

Now Mr Farris faces the prospect of a major service station operating 24/7 just 15 paces from his front door.

“Under the European Court of Human Rights, all residents are afforded protection,” Mr Farris said.

“Article 8 on privacy states that one has a right to expect reasonable enjoyment of family life.

“Under protocol 1 article 1, one has a right to peaceful enjoyment of one’s position,” he said.

“As a result (of the plans), I am left with little option but to assert these rights under European law and pursue this matter to public inquiry, judicial review or both.”

Mr Farris said he was shocked that the conditions set down by the Planning Appeals Commission following an inquiry into the scheme appear to have been set aside.

“My question is why do we have a Planning Appeals Commission if the rules and regulations have not been followed?” he said.

Background

Planning applications for two service stations on the M2 and two on the M1 were submitted last year. They seek permission to allow for a phased development of motorway service areas. The Environment Minister said last week that he was granting planning permission for all four.

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