A plan to demolish church buildings at Bangor seafront to make way for a new apartment block has been turned down by the local council.
At Ards and North Down council's planning committee this week, the proposal was refused after council officers said it was out of character with the locality.
The council received 80 objections from 41 separate addresses on the plan - which involved the demolition of former church buildings, Seacliff Road, for the erection of a four storey building of 17 apartments, 30 car parking spaces and a loading bay.
Objectors raised issues such as the impact it would have on the Royal Ulster Yacht Club listed building nearby, the design and materials being "out of keeping" with the area, over development, excessive traffic and "private interest". The site lies in the Bangor East "Area of Townscape Character" which has 17 listed buildings.
No objections were received from any statutory bodies, including the Historic Environment Division (HED), who had no objections to the design or materials and stated the plan would have "no impact on the setting of the listed building".
A report nonetheless recommended refusal to councillors.
The case officer stated: "It is my professional opinion that the proposal will result in an unacceptable adverse impact on the character of the established residential area and on the proposed Area of Townscape Character.
"The height, scale and massing of the proposed apartment block is not in keeping with the character of the area, nor is the density or plot size. The proposal fails to meet the tests of the relevant planning policies and therefore refusal is recommended."
Michael Gordon, speaking on behalf of the applicants, told the planning committee that it was "unusual" for the HED to sign off on a proposal that council officers then refused.
Maurice Butler, who addressed the committee on behalf of local residents and objectors, claimed the new apartments would "stick out like the proverbial sore thumb."
DUP Alderman Stephen McIlveen proposed the committee accept the officer's recommendation and refuse the plan. He said the apartments were "jarring" and would create "too much dominance in this area".
He added: "HED are concerned only with the listed building, we are concerned with the whole area and the impact it has, not solely in relation to the Royal Ulster Yacht Club building."
All other councillors supported the refusal, except DUP Alderman Bill Keery, who supported the application.