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Call to suspend house building at Larne West ‘until link road completed’

East Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA John Stewart has called for a moratorium on house building in the Larne West area until a link road is completed.

Mr Stewart was commenting on a planning application lodged with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for almost 200 new homes at the Ballyboley Road area of Larne, adjacent to the Lindara development and Blackthorn Rise.

It will be comprised of 189 dwellings,47 detached, 120 semi-detached, four maisonettes and 18 apartments.

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The application includes plans for a “neighbourhood centre” to include a filling station, retail unit, hot food/cafe as well as a children’s play area, open space, landscaping and parking.

In addition, plans include road improvements at Donaghy’s Lane / Antiville Road.

Last year, planning permission was approved for 19 new houses for a site at Ballyhampton Road also in the Larne west area.

Commenting on the new application, Mr Stewart said: “I have no objection to the type and design of the housing proposed for the second phase of the Nuport Development plan for the lands off Ballyboley Road.

“It’s a well-designed scheme with the correct mixture of house types and good provision of open space and green corridors. What I do object to is the failure of past developers – aided by lack of enforcement by both the council planning department and the Department for Infrastructure, Roads Service – to  complete and link up the new Larne West (Ballyloran) distributor road which was envisaged as far back as 1992.

“The council is responsible for planning.  It can’t simply keep passing hundreds of new houses in Larne West and expecting all the new occupants to funnel down the Linn road or Donaghy’s Lane to access the A8 and the town centre.  The unavoidable school run out of Hampton Manor, the Beeches and the other newer developments has become a nightmare.

“I have written repeatedly and had virtual meetings with senior planners in the council as well as Roads officials but no one in authority seems to be listening.

‘No public transport’ option

“The planners have missed several opportunities to condition completion of the bottom section of the Ballyloran Link road to approval of recent planning applications.  Signalising the Donaghy’s lane/ Antiville junction will not solve the problem.  The problem is lack of alternatives  in and out of all these new suburbs.  There is currently no public transport option whatsoever.

“As I have said before, there should be a moratorium on new house building in Larne West until the link road is completed.  It is up to the council planning committee to finally  step up and take decisive action on this once and for all.”

It is understood that as many as 600 new homes are planned in the Larne West area.

Meanwhile, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has been seeking a meeting with Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon over the completion of the Ballyloran Link road.

However, a letter received by the council from the Infrastructure Minister stated the construction of the Larne West distributor road is the “responsibility of the developers of the adjacent lands” and that the “planning approval grant for further housing in this area is conditioned to provide additional transportation infrastructure”.

“These road improvements including Donaghy’s Lane and Antiville Road will assist traffic movements and progression in this area.”