Date set for planning probe
The long-awaited planning inquiry into two major retail developments in Newtownards is to begin next February.
Ards Borough Council has been pushing for a date for the inquiry into planning applications at Ards Shopping Centre and the Castlebawn development.
“We have been lobbying persistently for the public inquiry to proceed as a matter of urgency and economic necessity for the town and the wider borough. The announcement that it will now begin in February 2011 means we will finally get decisions on the large retail proposals which will have a significant impact on revenue, jobs and increased visitor numbers that will be of enormous benefit to our local economy,” said the chairman of the council’s development committee, councillor Angus Carson.
“The council’s persistence has paid off and our thanks go to all those outside of the council who pushed for the inquiry to take place.”
Earlier this year, a cross-party delegation from the council met with the Planning Appeals Commission’s Chief Commissioner, Marie Campbell, to stress the significance of moving planning decisions forward for the benefit of the local economy and in the summer, further lobbying took place with the Planning Service, commission and individual members of the Assembly and Parliament.