69 new homes get the green light at Crebilly

Sixty-nine new homes have been given the go-ahead on the outskirts of Ballymena, at a meeting of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Planning Committee on Thursday, writes Michelle Weir LDR Reporter.

The proposed site is adjacent to Crebilly Road and extends towards the M2 and is part of a larger development which is currently under construction.

The council’s Principal Planning Officer Gary McGuinness told the meeting that the application is a “reconfiguration of a previous approval”.

“Due to ground conditions in certain areas, the proposal could not be completed,” he added.

Mr McGuinness said that there have been no objections to the application and the overall density is “in keeping with the surrounding area”. A play park has been included.

He told councillors that bat surveys were carried out in 2012 and 2015 but failed to identify any active bat roosts.

Agent Tom Stokes said that it is a “hugely successful scheme”with 80 homes already built and sold.

He indicated that the lay-out had to be amended due to “some bad ground conditions in the north eastern corner”.

He explained that density will now be reduced from 77 properties to  69 with the area of open space increasing.

He went on to say that the next phase of the development represents a £12m investment with 50 to 60 construction workers on site daily.

In response to a query by Larne Lough DUP councillor Alderman Paul Reid about addressing NIEA’s concerns over bats, Mr Stokes said that there have been various surveys carried out on site over the years.

He added that eight houses are being “dropped” and this area is being left as open space.

NIEA (Northern Ireland Environment Agency) Natural Environment Division had requested an additional tree survey to determine if any further information is needed in relation to bats.

However, the planning department said it was of the opinion that the proposed reduction in density and lack of evidence of any protected animals being infringed, it is not necessary to request further information.

Bannside DUP Councillor Tom Gordon asked about the ground conditions that did not allow some building to take place.

Mr Stokes explained that “on a particular small pocket of the site”, ground had been “too soft to build traditional foundations for houses”.

Bannside TUV councillor Alderman Stewart McDonald asked who would maintain the play park and grass areas. He was advised that this would be the responsibility of a management company.

The development proposal was approved unanimously after being proposed by Ald Reid and seconded by Ald McDonald.