£15m housing plan approved for Mallusk

Antrim and Newtownabbey councillors approved a £15m housing proposal for Mallusk at a meeting of the borough council’s planning committee on Tuesday evening.
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Planning permission has been given for 98 new properties on two sites in the Mayfield area of Newtownabbey. The proposal will consist of detached and semi-detached houses and apartments and will be part of the wider Mayfield development. It will include a children’s playground.

Planning officer Alicia Leathem told the committee there has been a number of objections in relation to open space provision landscaping and maintenance, level of community consultation, biodiversity and additional traffic.

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The officer reported the building plan has been reduced from 126 dwellings on three parcels of land, and as a result, she said, a number of concerns were addressed. She also noted the land is zoned for housing. She indicated there has been no objection from statutory agencies.

Image of proposed detached house. Image: Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough CouncilImage of proposed detached house. Image: Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council
Image of proposed detached house. Image: Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council

Objector Ursula McCollan told councillors she has been a resident of Mayfield for 20 years. She said she has been “part of a vocal group of residents in relation to the development proposal”.

She stated she does not believe there is sufficient designated open space, some of which she suggested, is in “obscure spots” and may “risk safe play for children”.

The objector went on to say waiting until the 50th dwelling is built before the playground is provided could take two or three years. “This area is in much need of leisure facilities. There are none within the immediate facility,” she stated.

Play Park

Map of Mayfield area. Image: Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough CouncilMap of Mayfield area. Image: Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council
Map of Mayfield area. Image: Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council
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She added it would be “more acceptable” if it is installed after the 25th house is built. She asked if the play park could be “gifted” to the council to be managed.

Planning agent Gary Dodds said the applicant and project team have worked with planning officers in the design and lay-out of scheme to provide “an attractive quality environment whilst respecting amenity of existing residents”.

He added, as a result of feedback, the scheme has been amended and makes provision for a new children’s park. “The proposed areas of open space have been designed to integrate with the existing network of open spaces,” he continued.

Mr Dodds went on to say the planned development represents a £15m investment in the Mallusk area and will support 100 jobs. It is expected to commence in August.

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Threemilewater Ulster Unionist Councillor Stephen Cosgrove described the proposed playground as “inadequate” for what he described as “a substantial piece of land”.

Mr Dodds indicated it would “replicate what was previously provided and removed”. He said it has been “very difficult to come up with a scheme that suited everybody” and pointed out there is no park at present.

“We are investing in a long-term community benefit. It is very difficult to please everybody, We have come up with what we feel was the best compromise.”

Cllr Cosgrove described the park proposal as “a sticking plaster”. “Six pieces of equipment stuck in a field is grossly inadequate for what residents need on the site. ”

Entire Community

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He was told the applicant is “committed to enhancing the additional open spaces for the benefit of the entire community” and there is “more than just a play park on offer”.

The committee was given an assurance the applicant is “prepared to work with local people to come up with the best solution”.

Glengormley DUP Cllr Alison Bennington proposed the committee agreed to the officer’s recommendation to approve the application, seconded by party colleague Threemilewater Cllr Sam Flanagan.

Planning permission was granted after seven councillors voted in favour with Cllr Cosgrove, against.

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Permission was also approved for a new play park at Mayfield Park following a vote in which seven councillors were in favour and Cllr Cosgrove, against.

In an online comment after the meeting, Glengormley Sinn Fein Cllr Rosie Kinnear, a committee member, said: “I raised my views on the size of the park and asked the developer to consider increasing both size and amount of investment into the park plans as the project develops.

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“Work is due to begin on the homes in August 2024, and the park will be built half-way through (total four years, so park in two).”

In a statement issued after the meeting, committee chair Macedon Ulster Unionist Cllr Robert Foster said: “This is welcome news and will help satisfy growing demand for homes in this area of Newtownabbey.

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“With housing demand steadily increasing in our borough, this expansion will provide much-needed accommodation options for our residents, ensuring that our community remains vibrant and inclusive.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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