Housing Executive to appeal refusal for Travellers’ site

The temporary site created in the Rathenraw Estate for members of the Travelling Community. INAT07-404AC
The temporary site created in the Rathenraw Estate for members of the Travelling Community. INAT07-404AC

The Housing Executive is set to appeal a decision to refuse planning permission for a temporary Travellers’ site in Antrim.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Councillors were informed on Monday night that the authority is to appeal Antrim and Newtownabbey Council’s decision to refuse the retrospective application for the site in the town’s Rathenraw estate.

Housing Executive chiefs had met with councillors on Monday night to present the annual Housing Improvement Plan for the borough.

Councillor Drew Ritchie took the opportunity to ask for an update on the Housing Executive’s position towards the controversial application, following the council’s refusal in May.

Cllr. Ritchie said the site has been in operation for “well over a year”, adding: “I would like an update on the Travellers halt in Rathenraw.”

He also sought clarification over an extra caravan at the site.

A Housing Executive representative told councillors that since the council’s decision to refuse planning permission for the temporary site, the authority had now “lodged a formal appeal with the Planning Appeals Commission”.

“We are awaiting further feedback from the Planning Appeals Commision for a time scale for that to take place,” the Housing Executive rep said.

Referring to the extra caravan on the site, she explained that the van was to “replace an existing caravan which was in very poor condition; there are no additional people”.

The application sought retrospective planning permission for the siting of a facility for Irish Travellers for a temporary period of two years.

The proposal included the provision of four caravan spaces with associated car parking spaces and a prefabricated utility for each caravan pitch.

Two hundred and twenty seven letters of objection and one petition of objection with a total of 300 signatures had been received.