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Council planners to defend Gosford housing refusal despite decision going against their recommendation

Gosford Castle with the adjoining car park in the foreground. Photo: Zygimantas Stonkus

Members of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s planning committee have been assured planning officers will defend a committee decision which is now being appealed “comprehensively and robustly”.

On Wednesday, January 12, this year, the committee decided to go against a recommendation made by planning officers and reject a planning application.

The application sought permission to build a residential development comprising 11, 1.5 storey dwellings (thee detached, two semi-detached and six townhouses), private amenity space, parking, landscape scheme including a walled garden, maintenance plan and ancillary site works at lands adjacent to Gosford Castle in Gosford Forest Park.

The committee did so as it was of the view there are no overriding reasons why this development is essential in a rural location and could not be located within a settlement and a belief the development would lead to a loss of, or cause harm to, the character, principal components and setting of Gosford Forest Park and Castle grounds.

This decision was contrary to the recommendation made by the council’s planning officers to approve the application and is currently the subject an appeal to the Planning Appeals Commission.

At a meeting of the council on June 27, Alderman Jim Speers asked for an explanation as to how the local authority would defend the case given the officer recommendation had been overturned by members.

However, at a meeting of the planning committee on Thursday, July 7, a report presented to members of the committee confirmed the decision will be defended no differently to every decision officers are required to defend.

“Notwithstanding the fact members resolved to refuse planning permission, contrary to the recommendation by planning officers, this was a Council decision and for that reason, officers will comprehensively and robustly defend that decision during the appeals process,” reads the report complied by Council’s head of planning Damien Mulligan.

“The fact officers’ recommendation was overturned by members will not detract from the strength of Council’s defence.”

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