Plans for a new ice-cream parlour and takeaway in Markethill are to be recommended for approval.
The recommendation will go to the November planning meeting of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
The proposed development – at the former Minish family shop at Newry Street in the town – was first revealed by Armagh I back in July.
Updated plans were subsequently brought forward for the site.
And now planners are poised to recommend that the new enterprise should be allowed to proceed.
It comes despite a number of objections made by neighbours.
The former grocery store – opposite the health centre – has been vacant for the past couple of years.
This new development would see the creation of a hot food takeaway and ice cream parlour – with some seating also to be made available on the premises for customers to ‘sit in’ and dine.
Both the takeaway and ice-cream parlour would have separate doors side by side.
There would also be toilet provision, including shared disabled facilities, to the rear of the unit.
Papers accompanying the proposals described Markethill as a “thriving” town centre, which already has “a range of different shops, including bakeries, hairdressers, grocery shops, a supermarket, appliance stores, hot food takeaway and cafes”.
Documentation indicated that parking is readily available along Newry Street on both sides, and a footpath connecting the unit to the broad main street.
The intention was for opening hours to be between 9am and 11pm, Monday to Saturday, and on Sundays, from 1pm until 11pm.
One of those objecting said it was a residential street and “parking is already an issue for many”.
Potential for noise and odour were also cited in opposition, with one respondent saying: “Our homes will reek of a chippy, we won’t be able to enjoy our outside space.”
And they added: “The opening hours will create noise pollution when many are trying to sleep (many with young children). I like to feel safe in my home and do not need the added worry of strangers milling about at late hours.”
Another objector said they had only been made away of the plans after the story appeared online.
In her comments to planners, she advises: “Markethill already consists of chippys, ice cream parlours and other comparing establishments, some of which have been around for years. This new business will affect them.
“Having this in a residential area is unnecessary, the smells will linger. This will attract strangers, noise, loss of parking facilities and and quite possibly loitering in our quiet neighbourhood.
“Personally I think this needs to be discussed with the locals who will have to deal with the consequences.
“I have spoke to other residents who have only heard about this when seen on social media.”
Despite the objections, planners have considered the proposals and are of the opinion that the ice-cream parlour and takeaway is suitable for the site.
The recommendation to approve goes to committee this month, but will still be subject to formal ratification later in November.
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