Residents up in arms on ‘garden grabbing’

Mid Ulster architect says new council planning department needs more staff
Mid Ulster architect says new council planning department needs more staff

Gilpin Park residents are up in arms over a proposed development which they claim is ‘garden grabbing at its worst’.

Their objections centre on a proposed new build in the garden of a house at 79 Gilpin Park, Dollingstown.

The proposal is to come before the Planning and Regulatory Committee of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council - the body now responsible for considering planning applications.

Officials have recommended the proposal be approved, despite receiving 14 objections to the plan.

A residents’ spokesman said: “Gilpin Park has remained as it was originally built in the late 1950s and was built to a certain specification as per planning.

“This new build will change the appearance of Gilpin Park and directly impact on the houses to the rear of this proposed development.

“Residents have voiced their concerns regarding the safety of traffic trying to emerge from the cul-de-sac onto the main road, which already is dangerous and another house built on this corner could prove detrimental to residents’ safety.

“Already 14 objections have been posted to the planners with various worries and concerns regarding this build and the impact it will have on the estate.

“This is a case of garden grabbing at its worse and is of no benefit to Gilpin Park.”

The spokesman went on to say the residents’ complaints should be taken into account as some of them have lived there all their lives and deeply care about the environment in which they live along with the character of the estate.

They are also appealing to their local political representatives and the planning office to ‘protect their estates and villages from unnecessary over development and deprivation of open green 

In setting out reasons for recommending approval the minutes to come before the committee state: “The Council considered that the proposal accorded with the policies of the development plan... It has taken into consideration all other material matters, including matters raised in response to consultation and publicity. Any material harm that the development would otherwise give rise to could be offset by the conditions imposed.

“Officers have considered carefully all objections to the proposals. Officers have come to the view... the objections do not amount... to a reason for refusal and all issues that have been raised have been adequately addressed and the relevant bodies consulted.”

Among conditions imposed on the plans are the retention of trees identified on the site and prior to commencement of work parking spaces must be provided to the front of No.79.

The applicant was advised to consult with NI Water on existing water and sewer infrastructure.

They said 14 objections had been received (three addresses were not provided). Issues raised were: the size of the site could not accommodate the proposed dwelling – ‘garden grabbing’; the proposal would break the building line of the dwellings to the rear; loss of light and impact on visual amenity. 
overlooking and loss of privacy, impact on sight lines; an additional dwelling will adversely affect on-street parking provision; the road network and sewerage was at capacity for the area; loss of trees and impact on wildlife; impact of on Roads