Full planning permission for a large quarry on land between the Saintfield Road and Creevy Road near Lisburn has been refused.
The proposal was for the excavation of 500,000 tonnes of gritstone per annum from a 9.6 hectare area through drilling and blasting. The proposal also involved a new access to the Saintfield Road, a compound area with car parking, office, canteen, laboratory, wheel wash and weighbridge and storage shed and the formation of visual screening bunds with flooding of the quarry void at the end of 20 year extraction period to form a lake at 130 Saintfield Road, Lisburn.
The planning application for the project was submitted by Conexpo (NI) Ltd in October 2014.
The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) today published the independent report and recommendations prepared by the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) following a public local inquiry into the proposal held in March/April 2017.
The PAC report includes full consideration of the planning issues and recommends that planning permission is refused.
“Importantly, the report found that there was unacceptable uncertainty about the impact on people’s living conditions and amenity as a result of noise from the proposed operations. The economic benefits of the proposal were not considered to outweigh or override the well founded objections to the proposal,” a DfI spokesperson said.
“In arriving at the final decision, the Department carefully considered and agreed with the independent report and recommendations.
“The Department remains cognizant of its statutory duty to process planning applications and reach decisions on planning related matters. On that basis, the Department believes that it is in the public interest to take this decision without further delay. The Department will continue to apply these principles to other decisions as and when they are ready to be taken,” the spokesperson added.
Taking to Twitter to welcome the refusal decision, Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: “Delighted the local community in the Boardmills/Creevy area near Lisburn have prevailed in their campaign to oppose a quarry development that would have devastated their rural way of life. As local MP I fully supported their campaign, made submissions and gave evidence to the PAC.”