Planning approval for new homes at listed property Ballyhamage House in Doagh despite objections
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The application was approved at a meeting of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s planning committee.
Ballyhamage House, on the Burn Road, a grade B2 listed building, is a two-storey Georgian house built around 1800 with an attached former chapel.
The planned development proposes 44 dwellings comprising townhouses, semi-detached and detached dwellings and apartments, Of these, 37 arenew-build properties and the restoration of Ballyhamage House will accommodate seven dwellings.
Planning officer Joanne McHendry told the committee that there were 31 objections, seven of which related to listed building consent. Other concerns related to loss of character, impact on traffic and on flora and fauna and potential flood risk.
However, the officer said that there would be “no detrimental impact on the listed building” and there were no road safety concerns, no flood risk and “no significant” material heritage concerns.
A report to councillors says: “The proposed properties have their own identity, without offending the character of the surrounding area or the design or character of the listed building on the application site. Overall, it is considered that the design and appearance of the proposed scheme is acceptable.
“Throughout the consultation process, Historic Buildings’ priority was to ensure that critical views of Ballyhamage House were unobstructed and that it remained the focal point of the development
“It is considered that with the low number of trees proposed to be retained and their sparse locations that there would be no significant impact upon thecritical views of the listed building.
“Objectors have raised concerns regarding the impact of works on the listed building. However, Historic Buildings has recommended a number of conditions are attached should development be approved, to ensure that no damage is caused to the part of the building which is to be retained and to ensure that the materials used are of appropriate quality in the interests of maintaining the character and appearance of the listed buildings.
“It is considered that the proposed works will not have a significant detrimental impact upon the listed building and that the proposed works will improve the visual attractiveness of the site as a whole and bring life back to an abandoned yet important listed building.”
Airport Sinn Fein Councillor Annemarie Logue, the council’s swift champion, asked about the proposed number of swift nesting boxes and if the RSPB had been consulted. She stressed the need for the birds to be protected if they are nesting at the site every year.
Barry Diamond, the council’s Head of Planning, acknowledged that the swift is “the bird of the borough” but he said that it is not a protected species.
“We are aware of their presence on the site. We are over-compensating in relation to the swift boxes.”
The applications for listed building consent to enable part demolition, conversion and alterations of listed buildings and the new dwellings was approved unanimously.