Agenda item


            The Senior Planning Officer outlined the application to the Committee and explained the following key issues that were relevant to consideration of the application:


·        Principle of retail warehousing at the location;

·        Impact on the character and appearance of the area;

·        Provision of car and cycle parking; and

·        Access.


            He reported that there had been six objections from three planning consultants that acted for the operators and owner of the neighbouring premises that had raised concerns with regard to character, context, building line, parking, principal of retail development and loss of landscaped area.  He added that there had been no objections received from any consultees.


            He stated that, having regard to the development plan, relevant planning policies and other material considerations, it was recommended that the proposal would be approved.


            The Chairperson welcomed Mr. M. Kelly, Planning Consultant, Gravis Planning, to the Committee who was speaking in objection to the application, on behalf of a neighbouring business.  He stated that the principal concern with regard to the proposal were related to design, parking and servicing.


            He reported that the proposed unit was located to the front of the site with the majority of parking located at the rear and that it was considered the siting of the proposal was unacceptable in its current form and outlined how it was contrary to Policy DES1 of the Plan Strategy which outlined planning policy related to the principal of urban design and required that any new development would respond positively to local context and character.


            He stated that it was also considered that exceeding the existing building lines would also have a detrimental effect on his client’s lands by obscuring the view of the site and unit when approached from the south along the Boucher Road which would likely affect his client’s existing business and its ability to attract potential customers.


            He explained how the proposals to locate parking at the rear of the premises and servicing arrangements were contrary to the Plan Strategy and clear evidence that the proposal was too large for the site.


            The Chairperson thanked Mr. Kelly for his representation and welcomed Mr. E. Loughry, speaking on behalf of the applicant, to the meeting.  Mr. Loughry explained that the proposal had been found to comply with the Council’s Plan Strategy and that the Boucher Road was one of the largest retail warehouse locations in Northern Ireland. 


            He stated that the proposal would not cause any significant retail impact to any centres protected under planning policy and that there was a clear need for the proposal which had been designed to comply with the Council’s policies of design, traffic, and environment. 


            He reported that the proposal had been assessed in terms of contaminated lands, sustainable urban drainage, climate change resilience and water treatment and infrastructure capacity and that it had been shown to be acceptable. 


            He explained that the traffic and parking requirements of the proposal had been assessed three times by DfI Roads, which found the reduced car parking provided and layout acceptable and consistent with the Council’s approach to reduce car reliance.


            Mr. Loughry stated that the objectors did not take any issue with the principal of retail warehousing at the location and that their principal concern was the position of the building sitting close to the road frontage.  He added that the applicant agreed with the case officer, that there was a need to provide active frontages on Boucher Road and to ensure vibrancy throughout the day, and that by locating most of the car parking behind the building, screens large car parking areas makes an important urban design improvement to the area. 


            He concluded by stating that the proposal would not have a significant negative impact on the surrounding context or character of the area and would remove a derelict brownfield site and provide a contemporary designed flagship store.  He requested that the Committee approved the application.


            The Committee agreed to approve the application, subject to conditions, and delegated authority to the Director of Planning and Building Control to finalise the wording of the conditions.


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