Rostrevor hotel decision delayed

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

A DECISION on the bid for a 100-bed hotel in Rostrevor has been delayed due to missing images requested by the planning department.
The images of what the hotel would look like from parks and surrounding roads are outstanding in the application.
It comes as planning officers recommended to refuse the outline planning permission for a 100-bed hotel at a site off the Greenpark Road.
The ambitious application was before the monthly planning committee of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council last Wednesday (June 6).
Despite acknowledging the development could be great news for the district, the senior planning officer said they had to recommend a refusal as planners had asked for more information to make "an informed decision" on four separate occasions and have not yet received the requested information from the agent.
The planner said they had no choice but refuse the application as "this information is material to the determination of this application".
“We had requested, along with the Historical Environment Department (HED) in September 2017 and in January, February and March of 2018, photo montages of what it [the proposed hotel] will look like in conjunction with the historic parks and wider road network," she said.
She added that despite some of that information being submitted in the 10 days before the planning meeting last week, the planning department was still recommending refusal as "the agent had been afforded sufficient time".
She added that information submitted late was "still not what was requested".
She told the planning committee they felt they had no option but to refuse as they had "well utilised the planning fee" and if they spent any more time on it, it "would likely be at a cost to the council".
Before hearing from supporters of the application, chair of the planning committee Councillor Mickey Larkin told councillors that "planning officers have not had the time to dissect or interrogate with the HED on this recently submitted information".
A council legal advisor reminded councillors that "if it has not been consulted upon then it would put this committee in a difficult position" and for this reason Sinn Fein Councillor Willie Clarke asked to defer the application.
However, DUP Councillor Garth Craig said "due process has not clearly been followed" in the application and he felt he was "not in a position to make any recommendation".
He said that agents "know what is expected of them".
SDLP Councillor Declan McAteer said council "needs to encourage a hotel the size of this, especially in Rostrevor area" adding that he thought it was "more appropriate to defer and allow officers the chance to consult on the new information".
His party colleague, Councillor Mark Murnin agreed that while "we need to be encouraging development, we cannot be held to account by people who do not want to help us".
Planning consultant Michael Graham said he had been brought in on the application 10 days ago and would work with officers if the application was deferred to get the information that they need.
He said because it was a large application, he would want the application to come back to the committee before a final decision was made.


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