Monday, May 20, 2024
REFUSAL RECOMMENDED FOR VILLAGE SHOREFRONT SCHEME

REFUSAL RECOMMENDED FOR VILLAGE SHOREFRONT SCHEME

PLANS for a 45-unit residential development on the JC Campbell site on Rostrevor’s shorefront have been earmarked for refusal. The 2021 application – proposing the demolition of the existing car sales and garage buildings and their replacement with eight semi-detached houses, four terraced houses and 33 apartments – goes before the council’s Planning Committee next Wednesday (28 June) with a recommendation to refuse attached. Permission for the construction of a 70-bed nursing home and 41 apartments on the site was granted in 2017.

The application for this was submitted in 2009 and faced significant local opposition before it was given the goahead by the committee eight years later. It was subsequently subject to a judicial review, which upheld this decision. The committee report for the Richland Waterfront Limited proposal notes that, over the course of the application process, the council has received 27 letters of objection and 17 letters of support. Those objecting raised issues such as increased traffic, impact on habitat/wildlife, the development’s scale and mass and the setting of precedent for further high rise blocks, whilst those in favour highlighted the need for the scheme, it being less dense than the previously granted approval and the creation of employment during construction.

The report confirms that the council’s Planning Department considers that the proposal is ‘contrary to a number of relevant planning policies’, and that concerns about ‘the proposed scale, design, layout, massing, detail and density’ had been raised with the applicant’s agent during a pre-application discussion. ‘An alternative approach was suggested, based on individual properties, smaller residential units of a sensitive scale and design, with greater separation space and appropriate landscaping,’ it continues. ‘Despite the pre-application advice provided, the applicant submitted a planning application for a broadly similar layout and scheme, albeit with a slight reduction in heights. ‘The Planning Department again contacted the agent, in a letter dated 4 November 2021, following the submission of this planning application, to highlight its concerns on the proposed scale, massing, design of the proposal.’ The document states that the development would ‘result in unacceptable damage to the local character, environmental quality and residential amenity in the area’.

It is highlighted that the site, at the edge of Rostrevor’s settlement limit, is ‘located within an AONB, which has a rural appearance dominated by green areas and woodland’. ‘Notwithstanding the existing car showroom, which occupies a portion of the application site, the predominant character of the immediate area is one of Refusal recommended for village shorefront scheme Continued from front page low-density development, predominantly residential in type and scale,’ the report adds. ‘It derives largely from individual houses in individual curtilages. ‘It is considered that the proposed development does not respect the surrounding context, and is not appropriate to the character and topography of the site, in terms of layout, scale, proportions, massing and appearance of buildings, structures, and landscaped and hard-surfaced areas. ‘The scale, massing and overall form of the development, based as it is on two rows of development accessed via a central access road and dominated by predominantly large-scale apartment blocks, is not in keeping with this lowdensity edge of village location within an AONB, adjacent to a designated demesne.’

It is stated that ‘the proposal involves major buildings that, when read together, will fill almost the entire frontage of the site’. ‘The resulting visual impact is one of a continuous mass with no visual break in the overall façade along the site frontage when viewed from the Shore Road frontage and, indeed, from wider views around Carlingford Lough,’ the report says. ‘The cumulative mass and scale of the individual blocks visually reads as one continuous high-density, suburban block more akin to an inner city location.’ The document adds that the proposal’s overall massing would be accentuated ‘due to the proximity of the development to the Shore Road, the inadequate separation distances between individual buildings, which is completely at odds with this edge of village location and immediate context, the absence of appropriate landscaping, and the overall height of the proposed units’. ‘It is considered that, if implemented, this proposal would be totally out of keeping with its edge of village context,’ it concludes. ‘It will appear as an inappropriate mass of development in an area of low-density development, an unnatural appendage in this small village setting. ‘The development imposes a high-density development at the edge of the village limits, when there is an expectation for lower density as you transition from the village centre towards the outer limits and into the countryside.’

The proposal was initially for 12 semidetached houses, four detached dwellings and 29 apartments, though this was subsequently amended.

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