Belfast Telegraph

Knock residents slam redevelopment plans

By Lauren Mulvenny

The Dundonald Green Belt Association has said it will “fight on” to save Knock Golf Club from redevelopment.

And the group — which wants to save what they view as “treasured” open space — has slammed local politicians who they say have failed to represent its views on the issue.

Last week the group lodged 766 letters of objection with the Belfast District Planning Office, over the plans to build up to 400 homes on land currently holding Knock Golf Club.

The proposal - which has the green light from the Planning Service - was ratified at a meeting of Belfast City Council’s planning committee last month.

The new development will retain a nine-hole golf course and will see the conversion of the existing clubhouse for community use.

As the application stands 36 acres of the 90 acre site will be developed, with three acres being reserved for social housing.

Speaking to The CT, a spokesperson for the group said: “We feel the community’s view has been consistently misrepresented in this matter.

“By lodging these objections we are letting all parties know loudly and clearly, that the community does not support this application.

“It is the community’s turn to make its voice heard and to do so directly and without recourse to elected representatives.

“We just have one question for our elected representatives, are they there to represent the views of the electorate?”

The Dundonald Green Belt Association further said it “feared” for other open spaces in Northern Ireland if these plans do go ahead, and that “no piece of open space in Northern Ireland will be safe”.

But a spokesperson for the Planning Service said: “Planning Service followed its own policies, procedures and practices in considering and processing this application.

“Every planning decision is agreed corporately following consideration of the planning report.”

And, with the plans being refused twice before, the Planning Service said the “determining factor” was the community benefits it offered.

The spokesperson added the project still maintained “the majority of the landscape wedge” needed to “satisfy the requirement to separate Belfast and Dundonald”.

"On balance, as the other reasons for refusal had been addressed and significant community benefit had been identified, an opinion to approve the revised scheme was reached.”

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