Planning officials are recommending that proposals for a new filling station and shop in Craigavon should be turned down as they no not comply with policy.
Armagh I revealed last month that fresh proposals for the development at Carn had emerged with the intention now to construct a retail unit almost three times the size of what was originally intended.
Approval for the development at the corner of Carn Road and the Charlestown Road – proposals for which were first revealed by Armagh I in 2019 – had been given in April last year to Ennismore Pension Fund.
The site – described as “undeveloped land” – has since changed hands, it is understood, with fresh proposals being brought forward.
The new applicant is Derrygavad Holdings Ltd, and the intention has been to “reconfigure” the site already approved.
This would mean a larger retail unit being built as part of the overall development.
It would also represent a significantly higher financial investment in the area.
One of the conditions of the previous approval related to the size of the retail unit.
What was originally approved was a services area of 301 sq metres. The new application has been seeking approval to increase this by 229 sq metres.
The new application would also see a much larger shop floorspace as part of the overall services facility, increasing from 120 sq metres to 325 sq metres – giving a new shop/food area of around 3,500 sq ft.
The shop would include a hot food deli, as well as a seated cafe and toilet provision.
This would be within an overall ‘services’ area of 5,800 sq ft, which also includes staff provision.
It would boast an eight-bay petrol station accommodating five pumps. Parking provision – for both HGVs and cars – and associated siteworks form part of the overall proposals.
While the previous application for the site had been given the go-ahead, these latest proposals are being recommended for refusal.
That will be the opinion which officials will present to the next sitting of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s planning committee.
In advocating refusal, they argue that the proposals as they stand “would result in the loss of land zoned for economic development use”.
Their reasoning says that the “proposal is not considered to be an exception due to the size of the retail floor space proposed, such that the retailing is not considered to be ancillary development”.
They also find that the proposals are contrary to some elements of planning policy as it has “not been demonstrated that the proposal will not have an adverse impact on the vitality and viability of existing retail centres within the local area or that suitable alternative sites are not available”.
It will be up to councillors to decide whether or not to accept the recommendation to refuse.
If they do agree with officials’ findings, the applicant will, of course, have the right to appeal or amend the proposals.