Residents protest at drive-through plans | Belfast UK

Residents protest at drive-through plans

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Knockhill residents and local political representatives have voiced opposition to the plans

Belmont residents have held an emergency meeting and protest over a Planning Service decision to recommend plans for a drive-through restaurant in their area.

The site at Knockhill Park had originally been earmarked for nine apartments and four units, but residents have learned this month that the Planning Service is to recommended an amendment to the initial application that will see a fast food drive-through restaurant with 19 carpark spaces built instead.

The CT first highlighted the opposition to the amended plans in November last year.

Residents were first notified of the new plans in September last year, and since then the Planning Service have confirmed it has received 208 letters of objection.

On learning that the Planning Service had recommended the plans, residents held an emergency meeting and a protest on Monday, August 10.

They will hold a second protest at the site today (Thursday, August 13) at 6.30pm and are hoping for high attendance from all residents.

Paula Stephens has been a resident of the area for the last three years. “I live facing the site and will be staring right at it,” she said.

“We are also very concerned about how it will affect the schools in the area. It’s already difficult getting into Ballyhackamore because of the traffic.

“Children will have to pass what is already a very heavy traffic spot to leave the prep school next door to the site.”

“I thought the plans had been rejected until I received a letter from the Planning Service on June 23 (which stated) that the plans had been recommended. It all seems to have happened very quickly,” Mrs Stephens said.

Local politicians are in full support of the residents’ campaign. East Belfast Councillor and Lord Mayor of Belfast, Naomi Long, said: “My colleagues and I continue to strenuously oppose this application and support residents’ objections to it.

“The idea that noise, disturbance, lighting, traffic, litter and odours potentially generated by a drive-through restaurant would not have a harmful impact upon both the quality of life of local people and upon the integrity of the area of townscape character immediately abutting the site is, to my mind, utterly ludicrous.

“Previous approvals for mixed-use residential and retail offered a more sustainable option and I would urge the planners to reconsider their views on this drive-through.”

A Planning Service spokesman said: “The application is for the erection of a drive-through KFC restaurant on the site of a former filling station at 327-329 Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast.

“Belfast City Council’s Town Planning Committee was consulted on August 6 with an opinion to approve the application.

“The application was deferred by the committee to allow consideration of any additional material planning matters. When these matters have been fully considered the Department will re-consult the Town Planning Committee.”

Residents’ representatives and local councillors will meet the Planning Service to discuss the plans on Tuesday, August 25.

“Climate policy is characterized by the habituation of low expectations and a culture of failure. There is an urgent need to understand global warming and the tipping points for dangerous impacts that we have already crossed as a sustainability emergency that takes us beyond the politics of failure-inducing compromise. We are now in a race between climate tipping points and political tipping points.”
David Spratt, Philip Sutton, Climate Code Red, Australia, Published July, 2008

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