Belfast Telegraph

Golf club wins appeal to build new apartments

Planning row one

By John Mulgrew

A Co Antrim golf club has won an appeal to build an apartment block close to its course.

Massereene Golf Club initially applied for permission to build six apartments, landscaping and parking at Balloo, outside Antrim town.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council refused outline permission for the scheme for a number of reasons, including the "protection of open space".

But the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) has reversed the council decision.

The planned development would be an addition to The Fairways, but residents there had raised numerous concerns over the unfinished nature of that existing housing development.

That included concerns over site security and safety, smells from drains, the lack of landscaping and management of open space, and compliance with approved plans.

"Issues over snags, maintenance and unfinished elements of the development are a matter for resolution between the existing residents and the developer," a document from the PAC said.

The council's second reason for refusal was because permission will "only be granted for new residential development where it is demonstrated that the proposal will create a quality and sustainable residential environment".

PAC commissioner Alistair Beggs said: "I have considered cumulatively all the points made by the council and the objectors; however they do not justify refusing the appeal proposal which should be allowed, subject to the submission of conditions relating to the submission of reserved matters".

The council initially turned down the plans last summer, saying the proposal could result in a loss of open space, and could have a "significant adverse impact to the local character and environmental quality of the area".

But the PAC knocked back claims the new apartment scheme amounted to "over-development".

Massereene Golf Club was set up in 1895, and aside from its 18-hole course, includes a bar and restaurant. It did not wish to comment.

Meanwhile, a decision on whether to give the green light to a church's £3m plan to build 22 apartments in an affluent area of south Belfast has been postponed.

Windsor Baptist Church has submitted revised proposals for the development at Malone Avenue after a backlash from residents. The church wants permission to knock down its existing building and construct 22 apartments and associated car parking on the site.

It was recommended for approval by Belfast City Council planners, despite more than 100 fresh objections.

Last month, the committee heard councillors want to carry out a site visit before deciding on whether to grant approval.

Belfast Telegraph