Planning Portal

Smith Signals Refusal For Major Retail Facilities In Antrim

Published on Mon, 15 Sep 2003
Angela Smith MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, signalled her intention to refuse planning permission for a major development in Antrim.
The Minister announced that she had formed the opinion that, on balance, it would not be appropriate to approve an application by ACI Developments Ltd for a food store, retail warehousing, and a petrol filling station, drive through/sit in restaurant and auto park at Ballymena Road, Antrim, because of the resulting likely loss of investment in Antrim Town Centre.
In explaining her decision, Angela Smith said: "In reaching this opinion, I have considered a number of factors since the previous opinion to approve this application in May 2002, particularly representations received following the issue of that Notice of Opinion. After giving very careful consideration to the issues involved, including the views expressed by Antrim Borough Council, and having visited Antrim town centre, I am convinced that there will be a loss of investment and resulting adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre if the proposed superstore is approved.
"Finally, I have instructed my officials to advise all interested parties of the reconsidered opinion and to afford them the opportunity to submit any further representations, before a final decision issues. Any further representations received will be fully considered."

Notes to Editors

  1. The proposal is for an out of town centre superstore, retail warehousing, petrol filling station, drive through/sit in restaurant, auto park and for alterations to form a new roundabout and site access at Ballymena Road, Antrim.
  2. The application was submitted on 12 June 1997 and designated as one of major importance under Article 31 of the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 on 21 July 1997, as the proposal would, if permitted, affect the whole of a neighbourhood.
  3. A number of representations were received commenting on the application. The Department on 24 August 1998 issued a Notice of Opinion to refuse planning permission. Following a Hearing before the Planning Appeals Commission the Department issued a final decision on 14 June 2000 refusing planning permission.
  4. This decision was challenged by way of a Judicial Review to the High Court in July 2000. In January 2002, the refusal decision was quashed and the Department agreed to re-determine the application.
  5. On 30 April 2002, the Department approved planning permission for a foodstore and petrol filling station at the former Massereene Hospital site on the edge of Antrim Town Centre for May Estates.
  6. On 29 May 2002 the Department issued a Notice of Opinion to approve planning permission for the ACI development at Ballymena Road, resulting in subsequent representations from a number of interested parties, including Antrim Borough Council.
  7. Further information contact Paddy Murphy, DOE Press Office,
    tel. 028 9054 0014
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