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Application for 32 new homes on former Co Antrim quarry site lodged

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Traffic worry: Danny Kinahan

Traffic worry: Danny Kinahan

Traffic worry: Danny Kinahan

A planning application has been lodged for 32 new homes on the site of the former Craighill Quarry in Ballyclare.

The residential development has been proposed at Ballycorr Road, one of the main arterial routes to the town centre.

However, Ulster Unionist councillor Danny Kinahan said that no new housing development should take place until traffic congestion in the Co Antrim Ballyclare town centre is "sorted".

"Ballycorr Road can't deal with the traffic on it. What I have been saying all along is the need to try to look at the cumulative effect," he said.

Mr Kinahan suggested that each new application is just "seen as one".

He also questioned the ability of Ballyclare's sewerage network to cope with any new housing developments.

He said he has written to the Department of Infrastructure to highlight the issue of sewerage.

According to a recent letter sent to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council by NI Water, half of Northern Ireland's sewers will be full by 2027 and wastewater treatment works in more than 100 areas across Northern Ireland "are at or rapidly approaching full capacity and where NI Water is unlikely to be able to accept additional sewer connections".

"Northern Ireland's wastewater infrastructure is at serious risk and nearly every main urban area is impacted," the letter stated. The council was told that these areas include Belfast, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne, Antrim and Ballyclare.

The letter continued: The economic consequences are clear with new housing, businesses, schools, hospitals and tourism all seriously affected. We are now facing a tipping point and collectively need to urgently make decisions about the structure of funding of NI Water if we are to continue to provide the water and sewerage services which are expected in a healthy economy."

According to the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015, almost 25 hectares of land have been zoned for housing on the site of the former basalt quarry overall.

The Plan says that public infrastructure and road improvements are expected to include provision for cycle and pedestrian links to Ballyeaston Road and Ballycorr Road.

The proposed new houses will front onto Ballycorr Road and Ballyeaston Road. The Plan has stated that a proposed development on the former quarry site should include provision for a "local neighbourhood centre to include local retail outlets and community facilities".

A multi-purpose hall and a 'Healthy Living Centre' to accommodate medical and fitness facilities have been suggested. All existing trees, shrubs and hedgerows within the site and on boundaries must be retained and construction will not be permitted between March and July in a bid to limit disturbance to breeding peregrine falcons.

A geology report by Earth Science Conservation Review has stated that the best exposures of the lower basalt formation in the Ballyclare area are to be found at Craighill Quarry.

Belfast Telegraph