Sam Foster Announces Decision On Warrenpoint Harbour Planning Application
Published on Thu, 10 May 2001
The Minister of the Environment, Mr Sam Foster MLA, today announced that a planning application by Warrenpoint Harbour Authority for port facilities including a deep-water quay, cargo handling area and public open space at Warrenpoint Old Town Dock and foreshore, is to be refused planning permission.
In explaining his decision, Mr Foster said: "I have accepted the recommendation of the Planning Appeals Commission, that planning permission be refused, and their finding that an overriding regional or national need for the development, in its totality, has not been established.
"I have therefore concluded that the proposal fails to meet current policy requirements and that planning permission should be refused."
Notes to Editors
- The application by Warrenpoint Harbour Authority (WHA) was submitted to the Planning Service on 25 November 1998.
- The proposal is for a deep-water quay and cargo handling area, training wall, stern loading ramp and public open space.
- The 6.6 hectare site lies immediately to the south-east of the existing harbour facility and to the south-west of the town square and Marine Parade/Havelock Place. It includes the Old Town Dock and present informal Marina area.
- An Environmental Statement was submitted.
- A Notice issued on 11 May 1999 applying Article 31 of the Planning (NI) Order to the application on the grounds that the proposed development would, if permitted, be of significance to the whole or substantial part of Northern Ireland as well as affecting the whole of a neighbourhood.
- Almost 1,500 representations were received, commenting on the application.
- A Public Inquiry to consider the representations was held during September 2000.
- In a report dated 8 March 2001 the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) recommended planning permission for the proposed development should be refused.
- The Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland requires the Department to take into account the contribution of major development proposals to meeting national or regional needs, the environmental effects of the proposal and the availability of alternative options.
- The developer is therefore required to demonstrate that there is an overriding national or regional need for the development and, where appopriate, that a thorough examination of alternatives has been made and that the alternatives are unsuitable.
- While the Commission concluded that regional justification for a deep-water quay would be established, no overriding national or regional reason was demonstrated for other elements of the proposal, ie training wall, stern loading ramp and additional storage space. The Commission also considered that a feasible alternative for deeper-water facilities existed.
- The Commission further concluded that while some environmental impacts of the development could be satisfactorily controlled, the loss of the Old Town Dock, the potential impact on tourism and the effect on the character and setting of Warrenpoint, would be unacceptable.
- For further information please contact Philip Maguire, DOE Press Office, Tel 028 9054 0013.