Pastures apartments get the green light

The Gateway Project.
The Gateway Project.

Council’s Planning Committee have given the green light to a compassionate housing element of the Green Pastures ‘Gateway’ Project at Ballee.

At their latest monthly meeting in Ballymena on Thursday, members backed the recommendation of planners to approve the application by Compassion Ministries Ltd,, c/o Green Pastures, for the erection of 20 apartments (four blocks) with associated external storage units, access from Antrim road, car parking, landscaping and associated site works, on lands north of 140 Antrim Road, adjacent to Ballee Roundabout.

Compassion Ministries are a church based, not-for-profit organisation “providing care, compassion and support for people facing challenge from all walks of life” and the committee was informed by Principal Planner Gary McGuinness that their planning application is one constituent of the Green Pastures Project and relates to “the compassionate housing element” of the project.

He said the original outline application envisaged three blocks at the location but that this had been amended to four units, two three-storey each comprising six one-bedroom flats and two two-storey units comprising four one-bedroom apartments each.

Mr McGuinness stated that the application had attracted three objections which highlighted issues such as increased traffic, the proposal being out of character and disruption during construction.

However, he said the planning authority was satisfied that these objections had been addressed either through policy or consultee responses and that as such the Planning Department recommended approval.

In response to a query from Councillor Stephen Nicholl, Mr McGuinness confirmed that all applications relating to the Green Pastures project “regardless how minor” will come before Council.

The committee went on to accept the planner’s recommendation to approve the application by Compassion Ministries Ltd. on the proposal of Councillor Beth Adger, seconded by Alderman Tommy Nicholl.

The Gateway Project, to be sited at Ballee, aims to provide a business park, training, social and student housing, a nursing home, a church, hotel and retail premises.

Plans for the huge site adjacent to the Ballymena by-pass road also include 200 houses, a 60-bed hotel and 40-bed nursing home and leisure facilities including a football pitch.