Planning permission is granted for over 20 new houses at Ballycarry

A planning application for 21 new homes in Ballycarry has been approved by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Planning Committee despite concerns over proximity to a historic church and graveyard.

The proposal for three detached and 18 semi-detached houses relates to a site at the junction of Main Bentra Road and Bridgend Road.

St John’s Church, a grade B1 listed building is located to the east of the site and Templecorran cemetery to the west with a late 16th/early 17th century bawn to the south.

Sign up to our daily NorthernIrelandWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Speaking at a meeting of the Planning Committee on Thursday morning, the council’s principal planning officer Gary McGuinness said that the proposed development is recommended for approval.

St John's Church, Ballycarry

He explained that the lay-out of the site is regarded as “acceptable” and the density “reflects the surrounding area”, the garden sizes are “acceptable” and house types are “attractive”.

“There will be no negative impact on St John’s Church, a listed building,” he stated.

However, he reported that Historic Monuments have indicated that five of the houses would “impact negatively” on Templecorran graveyard.

Mr McGuinness went on to say that landscaping has been proposed at the front of these properties with vegetation between the site and Templecorran graveyard.

He added that 19 objections have been received which expressed concern over the character of the proposed development, impact on residential amenity and “loss of village feel”.

Mr McGuinness pointed out that these concerns have been addressed through the consultation process.

The officer proceeded to read an email from NI Monuments that urged hedging boundaries to be retained.

The correspondence suggested that “outstanding concerns” about Templecorran seem to have been “dismissed by council without being resolved”.

It claimed that the decision would “result in adverse impact on the site of a monument which has seen considerable investment from council and Historic Environment Division” and was described as “a tourist asset for the borough”.

“The impact will only become clear when development is complete”, the email suggested.

Commenting on the correspondent’s lack of attendance at the meeting, Larne Lough DUP councillor Alderman Paul Reid said: “Once again, I am frustrated that HED refuses to come. This is an important objection only they cannot take the time to come and explain to us but send an email which we cannot ask questions on.”

Ald Reid noted that DfI Roads has no objection.

He added: “I know the area very well. There is housing all round it. I would be happy to propose we accept the officer’s recommendation.”

Knockagh Independent Councillor Bobby Hadden stated: “This is a recurring theme with HED which fails to attend these meetings regularly but objects regularly.

“I want to record our annoyance with that. I would like to second the proposal.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter