Green light for over 20 new dwellings on site of former primary school in Larne

A planning application for 22 new homes on the former site of Corran Integrated Primary School in Larne was given the go-ahead at a meeting of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Planning Committee on Thursday morning.

Twenty-nine objections were received by planners to the proposal for 12 chalet bungalows and 10 semi-detached houses at Blackcave North.

Principal Planning Officer Gary McGuinness told councillors that the density “reflects the surrounding area” and landscaping will “retain the existing vegetation and enhance it in a way that will enhance this area”.

Mr McGuinness reported that objections highlighted issues such as character of the proposed development, retention of open space, overlooking and traffic congestion.

Blackcave North, Larne. Pic Google

However, he stated that the planned lay-out is of “high quality” adding that the development will “enhance the area” and “remove unsightly” portable buildings.

Mr McGuinness said he believed that objectors’ concerns have been addressed.

One objector Robert McAuley claimed that the site is “meant to be retained as a green site”.

He highlighted concerns over sewerage capacity in the Larne area and density of the planned housing development suggesting that it is “out of character with the area”.

He also noted: “There are no semis in this area. There are over 300 detached houses but there are no semis.”

Larne Lough DUP councillor Alderman Paul Reid stated: “Sewerage would be a matter for NI Water. This committee does not refuse on that ground. We would put conditions on subject to satisfactory approval of NI Water.”

The applicant’s agent Tom Stokes told the meeting: “I believe the scheme is of extremely high quality. The proposed density is comparable and not out of context.

“Each dwelling has a spacious back garden and the size of these gardens is a key indicator that the site is not over-developed.”

In response to concerns over road congestion and parking, Mr Stokes pointed out that this would be “significantly less” than when the site was occupied formerly by a primary school.

He went on to say that the new housing would be 30 metres from the nearest existing property and there will be”strong mature vegetation around the site”.

Replying to a query by Coast Road Sinn Fein Councillor James McKeown, he said that existing shrubbery will be retained with new planting planned.

He dismissed any suggestion of the location being a “green field” site stating that the classification is “brown field”.

After seeking confirmation of no objection from Transport NI, Ald Reid  proposed that the application be approved. His proposal was seconded by Larne Lough Alliance Cllr Robert Logan and approved unanimously.

Corran Integrated Primary and Nursery School moved to a new £3m building in Larne’s Seacourt estate in 2019.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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