Councillors gave the green light for the construction of 57 houses in the west of the town which is the next phase of a major building proposal in the area, at a meeting on Monday evening.
The application for a site at Doagh Road will consist of 27 detached, 22 semi-detached and eight detached bungalows with garages.
Planning officer Kieran O’Connell described the proposal to councillors as a”major planning application within the borough”.
He told the committee that the lay-out and design are “acceptable” adding that there are no parking or road safety concerns.
He indicated that one letter of objection had been received. This outlined concerns regarding the proposed lay-out and topography.
Gavin Rolston, a planning director, representing Ballyclare Developments Ltd, told the meeting that the company is not seeking a refusal of the application but an amendment of the design to “properly take its surroundings into account” noting a potential “level difference” with existing properties which he suggested may be “significant”.
He also highlighted the level of the relief road. He indicated that the next section of this road is expected to be completed during the next 18 months.
The first phase of Ballyclare’s long-awaited relief road was officially opened in December. It currently accesses three new developments – Ollar Valley, Rushfield and Hansons Hall.
Meanwhile, planning consultant David Donaldson welcomed the recommendation by the planning officer to approve the proposed development.
He stated that the “principle of development” has already been established by outline planning permission.
“In relation to siting, the lay-out follows closely the concept plan. The nearest houses will be several metres away,” he noted.
He pointed out that the proposed properties would be separated from the relief road “by at least 35 metres” adding that the “set back is pretty generous from the relief road”.
He went on to say that there is a “level difference” between the proposed houses and the relief road but he explained that the development has been designed around the levels of the site to “respect the existing levels without the need for retaining walls”.
“We believe the design works very well for this site and in correspondence with the approved concept plans,” he stated.
“We think it is a design which will respect the relationship with what is surrounding it.”
Ballyclare DUP Councillor Jeannie Archibald-Brown asked about the height level difference of properties and the merit of deferring the application pending a site visit.
Antrim and Newtownabbey’s principal planning officer Barry Diamond commented: “I think we are being asked to engage between two different competing developers as to how an area should be developed.
“One application has been submitted to be determined. It is not for planning to negotiate between two different developers.”
Threemilewater Alliance Alderman Tom Campbell proposed that the committee accepted the officer’s recommendation to approve the application, seconded by Antrim DUP Ald John Smyth.
The application was then approved after seven councillors voted in favour with an abstention from Cllr Archibald-Brown.
At the same meeting, an application for 55 new houses in the Hydepark Lane area of Mallusk was also approved.
Councillors were told that the £12m investment will be the second phase of the Millbridge development consisting of detached, semi-detached houses and townhouses.
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter