Causeway Coast and Glens Council refuses Portstewart cafe application after 70 objections

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has rejected “unlawfully built” alterations to a Portstewart café, which were carried out in 2020.
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The planning application, to retroactively approve the upgrades to the Lost & Found café on the Berne Road, was put forward at a Planning Committee meeting on Wednesday, February 28, with a recommendation to refuse permission.

The site consisted of a single-storey detached building, used as a café, with a small, open cordoned off area. It originally had limited indoor and outdoor seating and an extraction system, fixed outdoor seating and a retractable awning were added.

These changes have potentially lead to a 50 percent increase in customers and a detrimental impact on car parking. The application noted that while two letters of support received, there were also over 70 objections.

Causeway Coast and Glens Council refused the application for the Berne Road cafe. Credit Google MapsCauseway Coast and Glens Council refused the application for the Berne Road cafe. Credit Google Maps
Causeway Coast and Glens Council refused the application for the Berne Road cafe. Credit Google Maps

Following consultations, the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) Roads recommended refusal of the application as it could “prejudice the safety and convenience of road users since adequate provision cannot be made clear of the highway for the parking, turning and loading/unloading of vehicles which would be attracted to the site”.

The council’s senior planning officer, Jennifer Lundy, said insufficient information was provided to address DFI Roads’ concerns.

Ms Lundy added: “Objectors employed consultants and carried out surveys in 2020. The surveys showed that the car park was extensively heavily parked, with no additional parking. It also concluded that the cars were parked on the only footpath, restricting pedestrian access and forcing them onto the road”.

Michael Worthington represented Berne Road residents at Wednesday’s meeting, and said the development was “unlawfully built”, contrary to planning policy, and recommended for refusal several times.

“Residents have had their living conditions severely prejudiced by this development,” Mr Worthington said. “This application has been presented on previous occasions and nothing has been done by the applicant to address the road safety issues.

“Customers have created parking demand, which the café can’t provide for as it doesn’t own any other land. Cars often park partially on the footpath which means pedestrians, often with prams and small children, are forced off and onto the public road.”