Agenda item


            The Members considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       Members of the Planning Committee are asked to agree to hold a Special, in-person, Planning Committee meeting in August to consider planning application LA04/2019/1540/F proposed Centralised Anaerobic Digestion facility at Dargan Road.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       That Members agree to hold a Special, in-person meeting, at a date and time in August to be agreed in consultation with the Chairperson.


3.0       Background


3.1       LA04/2019/1540/F - Centralised Anaerobic Digestion (CAD) plant to include a bunded tank farm, (6no. digester tanks, 2no. buffer tanks. 1no. storage tank and associated pump rooms), biogas holder, biogas conditioning system, temperature control system, waste-water treatment plant (WWTP), motor circuit control room building, hot/cold water recovery system, feedstock reception and digestate treatment building, product storage building, odour control system and associated tanks, emergency gas flare, back-up boiler, administration/office building, car parking, 3no. Weighbridges, fire water tank and pump house, pipelines to existing combined heat and power (CHP) plant engines, switchgear earth bunding, 3no. accesses to existing Giant's Park Service road infrastructure and ancillary plant/site on lands to the northwest of existing Belfast City Council Waste Transfer Station, 2a Dargan Road


3.2       Members will be aware that, under the current decision making arrangements, as agreed by the Council on 4th May 2021, ‘for those decisions in respect of which the Chief Executive has a conflict of interest or which have a political sensitivity, she may decline to exercise delegated authority. Such decisions will be deferred until governance arrangements can be resumed or if necessary due to urgency through a physically convened meeting.’


3.3       Following a request from the applicant, the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Strategic Director of Place and Economy, has agreed that a Special, in-person, meeting will be held to consider the aforementioned planning application.


3.4       As background, the application was submitted in June 2019 and first brought to the Committee for its consideration in August 2020, where it was deferred, due to a late objection having been received and for the Committee to undertake a site visit. The application was brought back to the Committee in January 2021 and was deferred again, to allow a Non-Mandatory Pre-Determination Hearing, which was held in February 2021. The application was brought back to Committee again in April 2021, where the Committee resolved for Planning Officers to consider proposals to refuse planning permission.


3.5       Members of the Planning Committee are asked to agree to hold a Special, in-person, meeting in August to consider the application. It is proposed that the time and date for the meeting will be agreed in consultation with the Chairperson.


3.6       The Planning Committee has two meeting dates scheduled in August.  Given that there are no meetings in July, there is likely to be a high volume of applications which are required to be considered on the meeting on Tuesday, 17th August.


3.7       A Design and Conservation Member Training Workshop is currently scheduled to take place on Thursday, 19th August.  It is also felt that, if any applications cannot be considered due to time pressure on Tuesday 17th August, the Thursday can be used as a reserve meeting if necessary. Officers are therefore exploring the potential to hold the Special, in-person, meeting on another date.


            Financial & Resource Implications


3.8       None identified.


            Equality or Good Relations Implications/

            Rural Needs Assessment


3.9       None identified.”


            The Planning Manager advised that the planning application for the CAD facility (LA04/2019/1540/F) would now likely be heard on Thursday 19th August 2021, being the reserve day for the Planning Committee. However, Members’ agreement was being sought for an additional meeting date in the event that it was required.


            The Members of the Committee agreed to endorse the recommendations within the report.


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