Belfast Telegraph

Anger as We Are Vertigo eyes expansion despite rejected planning permission

By John Mulgrew

People living near a trampoline centre refused retrospective planning permission have complained to the council after those behind the attraction lodged a new application.

We Are Vertigo, in the Newtownbreda area of south Belfast, was opened by husband and wife team Gareth and Lorna Murphy at the end of 2014.

It was refused retrospective permission last year for a change of use in part of a warehouse, as well as an extended car park, with some of the work having already taken place.

It also lost an appeal to the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) earlier this year.

But the company has now submitted another application that includes increased parking for 139 cars - more than in the rejected plan.

Locals have raised concerns over the volume of traffic in and out of the business.

A letter from one resident living close by said the new application "must be rejected" by Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council and called for a stop to any work.

Another person said noise concerns included car doors slamming, honking horns and revving engines, along with "loud music playing in the trampoline park" and the "continuing rumble and noise from trampolines moving inside the facility".

"Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council will be well acquainted by now of the intolerable conditions for residents surrounding the We Are Vertigo entertainment venue," one of the letters stressed.

The complaint also questioned why an expanded car park was under consideration when the previous application was turned down. The letter said the application "must be rejected and the recent decision by the PAC must be enforced".

A spokesman for We Are Vertigo said that the planning appeal decision determined that the retrospective part of the application, which takes up a third of the existing park, was "compliant with planning policy".

"In relation to residential amenity, the appointed commissioner concluded, 'Considering all these matters, I am not persuaded that these factors would cause an unacceptable impact on the amenity of residents living nearby. The objectors have not sustained their concerns in these regards'," the company spokesman added.

"The commissioner confirmed that the sole determining issue in the dismissal of the appeal was, '…The failure to demonstrate that adequate provision has been made for parking' during peak periods of demand.

"The current application seeks to deliver that additional car parking to facilitate peak periods of demand, thereby addressing the sole issue which resulted in the refusal of planning permission.

"Provided the planning authorities are satisfied that a retrospective planning application directly addresses matters which may be the subject of enforcement action, it is normal practice for the council to hold any further enforcement action in abeyance until such times as that application has been determined."

The initial plans received around two dozen complaints from residents living near We Are Vertigo.

The company's new proposals include a detailed plan of the new car park spaces and the traffic flow.

In a statement included as part of the new planning application, the group said it had been prepared "to address the comments raised by the commissioner" as part of its appeal.

It added that the proposed 139 car park spaces associated with the application were "more than sufficient to accommodate the maximum car parking accumulation associated with a peak day at the proposed development site".

The company employs 175 full-time and part-time staff, and has invested £2.5m in the development.

Belfast Telegraph

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