The Principal Planning officer outlined the key aspects of the application for full planning permission to reconstruct a fire damaged petrol station and associated shop. She advised the Committee that it had been due to consider the application on 19th January, 2021, but that an objection had been received at a late stage and the application was subsequently removed from the agenda to allow time for further consideration. Since January, she explained that the description of the proposal had been altered and the revised description had been advertised in the local press and neighbour notified.
The Committee was advised that the site was located within the development limits as designated in the Belfast Urban Area Plan and draft BMAP. The application had been assessed against relevant planning policy, dBMAP, SPPS and PPS3.
The Committee was advised that two further objections had been received from the nearby Beckett’s Bar. The objector raised anomalies with the floor space figures presented by the agent, and stated that additional retail floor space would be created and therefore parking provision should be increased. Further consideration of the floorspace figures revealed that the plans were accurate. However, figures relating to uses at question 24 of the P1 application form were incorrect. There was a total increase in floor space of 108sqm at the proposed petrol filling station shop, 88sqm of which was retail use. There was no change in the footprint of either the chip shop or nail bar to the front of the site. The updated floor-space figures were published to the planning portal on 3rd February.
The Committee’s attention was drawn to the late Items pack. An email had been received from an objector, Carlin Planning, raising issues which had previously been raised, including a shortfall in parking spaces and concerns regarding road safety. The Case officer’s response to the comments were provided to the Committee, including that DFI Roads had been consulted on the late objection and that their position remained unchanged. The Members were also advised that adjacent local businesses had been considered, that the site was well served by public transport and there had been no significant issues with parking or road safety at the site prior to the fire.
The Chairperson welcomed Mr. R. McCausland BL to the meeting. He was speaking on behalf of an objector, Fernmount Trading (NI) Ltd & Sharp (NI) Limited. He advised the Committee that:
· His client was concerned about the intensification of the site as the current parking provision at the site was inadequate and that his client’s car parking facilities were used as an overspill;
· the application was contrary to Policy AMP7 of PPS3, which stated that development proposals were required to provide adequate provision for car parking and appropriate servicing arrangements;
· that none of the circumstances applied in terms of Policy AMP7 of PPS3, which would allow a reduced level of car parking provision;
· DFI Roads’ position had changed over time and, in September 2020, it had considered that the application was unacceptable and that a Travel Plan and Service Management plan would be required;
· it was totally possible that carswould enterthis siteand thenrealise thatno parkingspaces wereavailable, leadingto tailbacks onto the public road which would be a road safety issue;
· the current under provision of parking had stemmed from piecemeal development and intensification of the site.
The Chairperson then welcomed Mr. D. Diamond, Kevin McShane Ltd, to the meeting. Mr Diamond advised the Committee that they had been providing transport planning and engineering support to the applicant. He explained that:
· the application fulfilled the reinstatement of an existing fire damaged Petrol Filling Station development with an associated retail unit;
· it constituted a ‘like for like’ replacement of an established land use on the site and the proposals aimed to restore the site layout to its pre-fire condition;
· DFI Roads had noted in its consultation response that the site had operated without significant traffic issues and, additionally, that the location and design of the site layout offered excellent visibility in both directions onto the Stewartstown Road;
· Kevin McShane Ltd had provided a robust analysis of parking demand and supply at the proposed site, demonstrating how the mixed nature of the site lent itself to shared parking between the different site uses;
· Council planners had concluded that the shared parking provision at the proposed site was acceptable to satisfy the nature of parking demand at this location.
The Committee granted approval to the application, subject to the imposing of the conditions set out within the case officer’s report and delegated power to the Director of Planning and Building Control for the final wording of the conditions.