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Trampoline park owners fight planning permission refusal

By Rachel Martin

Published 28/05/2016

We Are Vertigo owners Lorna and Gareth Murphy
We Are Vertigo owners Lorna and Gareth Murphy

The bosses behind We Are Vertigo are fighting a decision by councillors to refuse planning permission for part of the trampoline park.

Founders Gareth and Lorna Murphy applied for retrospective permission to use the buildings of a Belfast warehouse for their family adventure and indoor trampoline centre.

The proposal was refused at council level last month after it received 21 objections. However, the company has now launched an appeal.

The couple are also applying for change of use permission regarding office buildings used for their businesses Vertigo Adventure and Vertigo Beauty.

However, this request is still under consideration.

The Murphys have already invested more than £2m in the We Are Vertigo brand.

They opened the centre in Newtownbreda Industrial Estate in 2013.

The complex now includes the trampoline park, an adventure centre, a ski centre, a restaurant and a beauty spa.

The refused application related to part of the formerly empty warehouse buildings, which have been converted into an activity centre.

The planning application for the change of use was received in March 2015, but is now under appeal following its rejection last month.

The application applies to almost 900sq m of formerly vacant warehouse space, but does not apply to the whole We Are Vertigo complex.

The centre currently employs around 110 people and hosts Northern Ireland's only trampoline dodgeball league.

In 2013 and 2014, applications to convert other warehouse bays in the same building into a family indoor activity centre were approved.

However, in 2013, a retrospective application to turn part of the warehouse into a go-karting facility was refused by the local council.

For the latest application, a floorplan shows that the third bay of the warehouse - which is the area covered by the request - would hold two trampoline areas, one of which is around 34 metres by 16 metres.

A smaller area measuring 14 metres by 15 metres was listed in the paperwork as a "toddler's trampoline area".

It is understood that issues surrounding car parking and noise were the drivers behind the majority of objections for the rejection.

The company had put measures in place including an online booking facility to monitor the level of traffic to the site.

A statement from We Are Vertigo said: "The planning application was for a change of use of a smaller sub-section of the existing complex, which already has full planning permission.

"However this does not and will not affect the operation of any of the facilities at the site. We are appealing the decision."

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