Belfast Telegraph

Resident loses legal challenge against development near Giant's Causeway

The Giant's Causeway
The Giant's Causeway

By Alan Erwin

A resident has lost a High Court battle over permission being given for a new development in a seaside village near the Giant's Causeway.

Stuart Knox was challenging the decision to approve plans to convert and alter an "historic vernacular building" metres from his home in Portballintrae, Co Antrim.

In March 2018 local developer Seymour Sweeney secured permission to build a new detached dwelling unit on the site adjacent to a public car park.

But Mr Knox sought to judicially review Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, claiming it had failed to provide adequate reasons for giving the go-ahead.

His lawyers also pointed to the status of the Giant's Causeway - approximately two miles away - as the only World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland.

It was contended that by approving the development the Council failed to put into practice a policy within its own local development plan to protect this "national jewel".

Instead, they argued, the authority seemed to have given precedence to another planning policy in a different code.

The court also heard a planning officer recommended refusing the proposed development, believing it did not qualify as an exception to strict planning controls in the area.

But a Council committee instead decided to approve the scheme on the basis that conversion of the barn was acceptable in principle.

It also concluded there was no policy requirement for a private amenity space, and that the proposed development would be an improvement to what was currently on the site.

Mr Justice McCloskey identified the reasons given as the crucial issue for determination in the legal challenge.

Despite indicating the Council could have provided more expansive details, he held there was "sufficient clarity, coherence and intelligibility".

Dismissing Mr Knox's challenge, the judge said: "I conclude, by an admittedly narrow margin, that the recorded reasons pass muster in law."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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