Planning Portal

Durkan approves major multi million pound development on derelict Newtownards site

Published on Mon, 21 Oct 2013 by
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has announced outline planning permission for a huge mixed use development in Newtownards.
The development could provide up to 400 jobs and will occupy 10.3 hectares, transforming the now derelict Crepe Weavers Factory site in Newtownards.

The development includes industrial, leisure and business units; two nursing homes; a 100 bed hotel; a neighbourhood centre to include a crèche/nursery, retail units, a Health Centre and a bank; several hot food outlets; a petrol filling station and 96 residential units.

The application is an Article 31 planning application, that is, one of such a large scale that the Minister makes the decision whether to approve or reject.

Mark H Durkan said: “This will be a tremendous economic and social boost for the area. This 10 hectare site has been derelict for some time and its redevelopment will provide a much needed employment boost for the town, while providing valuable community and tourism facilities.

“A significant part of the site will be reserved for industrial purposes and the mixed use components will also generate much needed employment. I have sought to ensure that the non-industrial units cannot proceed on their own by including a planning condition to build a number of industrial units at the outset.

“The development has the potential to accommodate as many jobs as the factory once supported at its peak and represents the best opportunity to improve the appearance and vibrancy of the site at its gateway location on the southern edge of the town. The local shopping and community facilities will be used by residents within the site and beyond and will also attract visitors and benefit from passing trade.”

The Minister concluded: “There are currently 31 Article 31 decisions in the system and I will continue to make the right decisions quickly after I have thoroughly considered all of the issues. This decision is further evidence of my determination to clear the backlog of planning applications and provide a planning system that can deliver. What I and DOE are about is a better environment and a stronger economy. This decision will certainly contribute to that.”

Notes to editors:

1. Planning application X/2010/0296/O was submitted to DOE Planning and Local Government Group on 2 April 2010.

2. The applicants are Marm Developments.

3. The site is located on lands to the east of Comber Road and to the south of the new Southern Link Road in Newtownards.

4. A significant proportion of the former industrial buildings on the site have been demolished.

5. The textile factory closed in 2005 and subsequent industrial uses ceased in 2010.

6. The application was for demolition of existing buildings and proposed mixed use development comprising industrial units (Class B2 & B4), business units (Class B1(a) (b) & (c)), leisure complex, two 70 bed nursing homes (Class C3), a 100 bed hotel (Class C2), a 4-island petrol filling station, several hot food outlets & cafes, neighbourhood centre to include creche/ nursery (Class D1(b)), retail use (Class A1), a Health Centre (Class D1(a)), a bank (Class A2(a)) and not more than 96 residential apartment units (Class C1). (Amended proposal to provide new roundabout (at Cambourne housing estate entrance) and road improvements at Comber Road access and new access on Comber Road/Castlebawn Link Road (with associated alterations to existing road layout).

7. The Department received seven letters of objection, two letters of representation and five letters of support in relation to the application.

8. The application was designated one of major importance under Article 31 of the Planning (NI) Order.

9. The application was dealt with by the Department of Environment’s Strategic Planning Division.

10. For media enquiries contact DOE Press Office Tel: 028 9025 6058 or out of office hours call the EIS Duty Press Officer on 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.
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