Planning consultants: DOE ‘negligent and incompetent’ in dealing with Lineside supermarket

A planning consultancy firm has slammed the DOE for its handling of plans to build a third Coalisland supermarket, accusing the department of being “negligent from the outset”.

  • Supermarket plans “should never have been validated”
  • Applicant undercharged on planning application fee by almost £600
  • Drawings are “inaccurate and inadequate”
  • DOE either showing “remarkable assistance” to the applicant – or they have been “negligent from the outset”
  • Access, movement and parking plans are “fundamentally flawed”
  • The applicant “has made no attempt to mitigate against noise and light pollution”

Matrix planning consultancy said DOE staff were “not competent” in dealing with plans to build a Lineside Newell Stores in the town, saying the application “should never have been validated”.

In a six-page letter against the supermarket proposals, the Newtownards-based consultants said: “This application is significantly flawed and the fact the department has not realised this and are still processing the application only goes to reinforce the vote of no confidence that the objectors should hold.

“Basic details have not been included and one has to wonder why the department is continuing to ignore these facts and assist the applicant.”

In their letter against the proposals, Matrix Planning Consultancy outlined six areas of concern with the supermarket plans.

They said the applicant submitted “inadequate and inaccurate information”, including highlighting an area of land that was outside of their control.

Plans to build a roundabout in the town was not under the applicants’ control – as it lay on a public road.

“The site therefore cannot be accessed nor approved from a Roads perspective. It should never have been validated,” Matrix said.

“The applicants are now faced with withdrawing and trying to submit a third application or the application being refused as there is no way access can be provided to the proposed site as per the policy requirements.”

Matrix also pointed out inconsistencies in the surface area of the supermarket, with some areas of the application varying between a gross figure of 1,535m sq and 2,809m sq.

They also claim the applicant should have been charged a planning fee of £13,327 – but was instead only charged £12,730.

Concerns with the lack of information on the position of the air handling units, floodlighting, and noise pollution were also raised.

Matrix said the plans do not give enough room for parking, with no information given on the servicing areas for lorries.

“We would indicate that the parking allocation cannot even be considered when the floorspace calculation is yet to be agreed as the parking allocation is directly related to the floorspace,” Matrix said.

“I do not propose to go through all the problems with the access, movement and parking, as it is so fundamentally flawed.”

The consultants said the proposal is of “poor visual quality” in both materials and design, and will “detract from the historic character of the canal basin”.

“The proposal will be visually dominant when viewed with the existing streetscene and will be overbearing to the buildings either side and to the rear,” they said.

“The traffic generated by this type of proposal will have a considerable and detrimental impact on amenity value of the canal basin and the quality of the open space and environmental heritage already in existence.”

Matrix Planning Consultancy objected to how the DOE has dealt with the proposals, and “the unlawful development that was allowed to occur on the site with the department’s full knowledge”.

“This resulted in the collapse of a bank at the rear of the site adjoining Moume Cresent and damage to properties backing onto the proposed site,” the letter states.

“A retrospective application was submitted to build a retaining wall, as a result of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) action. The Department took no action despite being made aware of the situation and potential ramifications.”

The objections come after a Rossdale Developments Ltd director confirmed they intend to purchase a neighbouring building owned by architects, who previously objected to the plans.

The controversial plans to build a Newell Stores supermarket on the site of the disused Lineside egg store were sent back to the design stage after the planning authority raised several concerns over the proposals.

The divisive supermarket development was scrapped earlier this year following intense pressure from residents and community groups.

But the plans were scaled back and resubmitted for consideration on Thursday, September 15.

Homeowners in Mourne Crescent submitted objections to the new plans, revealing they have launched legal action against the developers.

A snapshot survey carried out by Coalisland Post suggested more than four in every five householders in the town are against plans to build a new supermarket at the Lineside.

>View all our coverage of the Lineside supermarket application

>View the planning application

What do you think about the proposals? Is a third Coalisland supermarket too much, or is it a welcome source of employment for the town? Let us know your views by commenting below






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