Whitehouse planning row rumbles on

A LONG-RUNNING planning dispute involving Newtownabbey Council and a resident of Whitehouse Park was put on hold for at least another month on Monday, March 12.

The saga, which has cost the council many thousands of pounds in legal fees over recent years, concerns infilling at the rear of a house at 67 Whitehouse Park, and on council-owned land at Gideon’s Green.

Last Monday night, members of the council’s Planning Committee were asked to approve an application for re-contouring the raised garden using existing in-situ materials. But despite Planning Service putting forward an approval opinion, Mayor Billy Webb and several other councillors raised concerns about the level of infill at the site and the type and size of trees proposed for planting as part of landscaping plans at the rear of the property.

“This is one of the most protracted planning applications I’ve witnessed in the past 15 years,” Mr Webb told the meeting. “It has seen councillors out of office, Planning Service staff into retirement and the main objector to her grave.”

However, despite being concerned about the length of time it is taking to bring the saga to a conclusion, alderman Webb described the latest application as “totally unacceptable.”

Urging members to approve the application, Deputy Mayor Victor Robinson said: “This has gone on for far too long. It is becoming ridiculous and we need to use some common sense and get this done and dusted. The place is a mess and we need to get this approved and out of the road.”

Despite his plea, members voted by 16 votes to three to defer the matter for another month so that planners can provide detailed clarification regarding infill levels and landscaping issues.