Council backs family’s plan to help deaf girl at Ballycarry

MEA Council has rejected a recommendation from planners to refuse an application to build a single one-storey dwelling in Ballycarry.

Planners had recommended refusal of the outline application, lodged by Mr D Parke, for the dwelling some 160m north of 7 Loughanlea Lane, Hillhead Road.

A case based on medical grounds relating to the applicant’s daughter had been submitted to justify the case for special person and domestic circumstances under policy CTY6.

But planner Denise Kerr told last Thursday’s planning committee meeting that, having carefully considered the personal circumstances, the case was “not considered by planners to be sufficient to justify a dwelling in the countryside” and that it was felt that “no genunine hardship would result” should planning permission be refused.

She also stated that no objections had been received to the application by either neighbouring residents or statutory consultees.

Speaking in support of the applicant, Cllr Gregg McKeen pointed out that the aim was to give the applicant’s five-year-old daughter who suffers from severe deafness a better quality of life.

“This is all around quality of life,” said Cllr McKeen who pointed out that the family currently live in a development where she cannot go out to play on her own due to her severe deafness.

“In the countryside she can have the freedom to do that,” he said.

Also addressing the committee, the child’s mother said her daughter had been born with severe hearing loss and had to wear two hearing aids.

She also said her daughter had recently been diagnosed with a syndrome which would lead to progressive hearing loss and deafness.

Mrs Parke said her daughter loved being able to go outdoors and that a pony had been obtained for her “to give her an interest” with which she needs regular contact.

In response to a query from Cllr James McKeown, she said she believed that the proposed dwelling in the countryside would, given her daughter’s young age, be of long term benefit.

Cllr Paul Reid proposed that the committee did not accept the refusal recommendation of planners and that they grant approval to the application and was seconded by Cllr Gordon Lyons.

Cllr A P Wilson said that while he understood planners “being strict” regarding policy, he felt the “special domestic and personal circumstances long term needs” had been well described by Mrs Parke.

When put to the vote the proposal was carried unanimously by 11 votes.