An application to build 15 “luxury high-end” apartments on the site of the demolished Lakeview House in Lurgan has been approved.
The application came before ABC Council’s planning committee tonight (Wednesday).
The many-featured application, on a site at Gibson’s Hill, on the Gilford Road in Lurgan, also includes the restoration of the walled garden.
Armagh I first revealed the current proposals last summer and on Monday revealed the recommendation to approve would go to committee for consideration this evening.
Lakeview House was razed to the ground in September 2018.
Senior planning officer Sinead McAvoy said the application was before the planning committee due to the number of objections received.
She told the meeting tonight (Wednesday), that the concept was to reflect the original building, over three floors, with large areas of communal open space, with raised flower beds and allotments.
Ms McAvoy said the officers were of the opinion, after considering all third-party assessments, that the development complies with all relevant planning policies.
Lakeview House had been demolished and there was nothing they could do about that but the development seeks “to replicate it” in one large building rather than as an estate.
As Armagh I reported on Monday, residents had previously lobbied against a housing development going up on the site of the historic home a decade earlier.
Lakeview House had stunning features and boasted beautiful gardens and the site has remained largely untouched since demolition.
The current application will see the development of 15 “luxury” apartments in total, as well as the restoration of the walled garden.
There will also be a communal courtyard and communal store/building and garden rooms.
The redevelopment of the overall site incorporates the addition of “luscious” landscaped gardens too.
The plans also allow for the alteration of the existing private laneway to provide passing bays for future tenants, as well as other siteworks. There would be over 30 parking spaces provided with two designated disabled bays.
The application was made in the name of Craigavon-based Endeavour Building Ltd.
It described the former Lakeview House as having lain abandoned and vacant for a number of years.
As we reported on Monday, TSA Planning – in a supporting statement to council in recent weeks – said the scheme would be in keeping with surroundings and the former Lakeview House, which was described as a “key focal point within the landscape” prior to the fire.
It adds: “It was very important to the applicant that an appropriate scheme was designed for this site which was in keeping with the elegance and proportions of the previous Lakeview House.
“The original form of Lakeview House consisted of a sizeable manor house with outbuildings forming a courtyard.
“Taking this into consideration it was therefore considered that a luxury apartment development would be a fitting replacement on these lands, compared to the redevelopment of the site for a housing estate.
“The proposals are therefore reflective of the original building form in terms of design, scale and massing.
“This development proposal consists of the erection of a new high quality scheme comprising a total of 15 apartments – 11 two-bed apartments and four three-bed apartments – which will sit within luscious landscaped grounds, including a walled community garden/allotments for residents.”
Ms McAvoy told the planning committee on Wednesday that shrubbery along the access lane would be retained and a few trees – which were dead – would be removed. One passing bay on the lane was included to avoid the need to widen the laneway.
Niamh Mulholland, who was there to object, raised a number of issues over the removal of trees, which were subject to Tree Preservation Orders, and the location of the development.
She also highlighted that there was no footpath provision and no details of lighting along the lane and given that the road was not likely to be adopted no guarantee of any future lighting.
Ms Mulholland said it was a shame Lakeview House had to be demolished and it was a shame if the area and the historic trees should go the same way because of “reckless” actions.
Tom Stokes, of TSA Planning, attended the meeting and responded to some concerns raised, reitering earlier assurances given in writing.
He said DfI had raised no objections, and added that, at its closest point to the rear of a property at Lakeview Meadow was 18 metres away.
He said, if approved, there would be much-needed jobs through construction with the provision of 15 “generously-sized apartments”, ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 sq feet, all set within mature grounds and aimed at the over-55 age group.
Mr Stokes said while a number of trees would have to removed, there would be 80 new trees planted and 1700 sq metres of shrubbery planted.
Ms McAvoy said a number of conditions had been laid down and still had to be met before any construction took place on site. This included a wildlife-friendly lighting scheme.
Ulster Unionist Councillor Sam Nicholson proposed the recommendation to approve be accepted. This was seconded by Alliance Councillor Peter Lavery.
The application was formally approved.
More details on this story to follow.