Planners’ u-turn ‘a victory for residents’
A residents’ group is celebrating a landmark victory after the Planning Appeals Commission overturned planning permission for a five storey apartment complex in the heart of Bangor.
The Bangor Save Our Skyline (SOS) group had vigorously opposed the development at the Sammy Mellon car dealership on Bingham Street, Bangor.
North Down Green Party MLA Steven Agnew said: “I am delighted that the strong opposition expressed by local residents to this development has been |listened to.
“This is an unprecedented U-turn by planning and is testament to the hard work and consistent campaigning over by the Bangor Save Our Skyline Group.
“This is the right decision and it vindicates all the hard work that has been put by local residents in opposing these apartments.
“Having been involved in this campaign of opposition for a number of years, I know the stress and anxiety that it has caused people living in the area and this announcement will come as a great relief for those who would have been affected had this development got the go ahead.
“Residents are supportive of development – but it must be the right type of development for the area. I believe it is vitally important that we protect our existing residents and put them first.
Previously Mr Agnew stated that the proposed development at the Sammy Mellon car dealership would add significantly to parking congestion in Bangor’s town centre.
“Problems will only be exacerbated if the proposed development at the Sammy Melllon gets the go ahead,” Mr Agnew said.
“As it stands, it has insufficient parking for the people who would be living there which will only add to the problems of on-street parking.”
A spokesperson for the DOE Planning Service said the Department had presented an opinion to approve the application to North Down Borough Council at its meeting on May 31, however, the council had requested an Office Meeting (COM) because of the “strong local/neighbourhood objections based on valid planning concerns”.
The office meeting took place on June 17. The spokesperson continued: “Following further consultation and discussion with the Department’s Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan Team (BMAP Team), and consideration of further representation received, the Department has now reassessed the proposal.
“The Department is now of the opinion that the proposal is unacceptable in its current form and that it is not in a position to approve the application. The Department wrote to the agent on October 27 in respect of its current position and detailed its concerns with the current proposal.”
They said that the agent has been invited to submit amendments or an amended proposal to address these concerns.
“The application has not been refused, it remains under consideration and the agent has been given an opportunity to address the Department’s concerns with the current proposal,” added the spokesperson.
They said there will be further consultation, and notification of neighbours and interested parties once any amendments have been received.
“The decision to reject the proposal is based on the fact that the proposed building was not in keeping with the existing townscape and its design would have been detrimental to the quality of the urban environment.”