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Golf club houses plan still awaiting approval

A plan to build hundreds of homes at Knock Golf Club is not a done deal, senior planners have revealed.

The plan to build around 250 homes at the Dundonald site was approved after a series of amendments — even though it overturned five planning guidelines.

However, Planning Service officials who appeared before the Assembly’s Environment Committee yesterday conceded that the plan will not get the final go-ahead unless all the conditions are met.

The planners said policy allowed houses to be built in the green landscape wedge if there were social benefits.

Social benefits outlined in the planning application include social housing, a community centre in what is now the clubhouse, the early return of leased land to the Ulster Hospital and a golf course.

But residents have expressed fears over the lack of firm commitment on many of these benefits, and the Ulster Hospital has said it is no longer interested in the deal.

The planners insisted there was nothing unusual about the way the application had gone from refusal to approval — even though the original case officer, Paul Montgomery, had noted his objection to the scheme.

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Divisional planning manager Neil Dunlop told the committee he had disagreed with Mr Montgomery’s professional opinion and had brought in a third planning officer to adjudicate — after which the application was approved.

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