Larne housing plans rejected amid concerns over Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Housing developments on the outskirts of Larne have been turned down amid concerns over their potential impact on an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

It is understood appeals have been lodged with the Planning Appeals Commission after a decision by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council to refuse permission for the two developments adjacent to The Woods in Drains Bay after more than 60 objections.

The council has turned down a proposal for nine new dwellings, 40 metres north of The Woods and 50 metres east of Blackcave Crescent in the Co Antrim village.

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The council’s decision notice said there are “no over-riding reasons why this development is essential in the countryside and could not be located within a settlement”.

It added: “The proposal would, if permitted, result in an adverse impact on the exceptional landscape quality and distinctive character of Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”

It also stated that, if permitted, it would “result in the loss of open space” and “would mar the distinction between a settlement and surrounding countryside and result in urban sprawl, a suburban style build of development and not integrate into the surrounding landscape”.

Also it was said it has not been “demonstrated through the submission of sufficient information on the means of waste water treatment and disposal”.

There were 38 letters of objection to the proposal highlighting issues such as “setting a precedent for further encroachment into open space”, potential for increase in traffic/impact on road safety; loss of privacy; overshadowing/loss of light and impact on established character.

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive objected saying there is “no identified affordable housing need at this site and no requirement to provide affordable housing units within this proposal”.

An application for ten houses by the same developer, Carnlough Developments Ltd, adjacent to The Woods, was also turned down by council planners. There were 25 letters of objection highlighting similar issues.

The site is also located in the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the proposal was refused for the same reasons.

The Housing Executive said: “There is no identified affordable housing need at this site. Therefore we do not require provision of affordable housing units within this proposal. We also note the site itself also appears to fall outside the development limits of Larne as per the Larne Area Plan 2010.”

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