Jordan’s Mill car park could be forced to close within a matter of weeks, the Ulster Star can reveal.
A planning application for the temporary retention of the popular Antrim Street car park for another year, which was due to be considered by the council’s Planning Committee on Monday, August 7, has been withdrawn.
The car park has been at the centre of a protracted planning dispute and is earmarked for longer-term redevelopment. It was closed for most of 2016 after the council served an enforcement notice on its owner.
Councillors eventually gave the green light for the facility to reopen in December last year, for a maximum period of two years, following a campaign which attracted considerable support from local traders and members of the public.
However, following the threat of possible legal action from other car park operators in the city, elected representatives were advised to rethink that decision.
Withdrawal of the latest application means the car park is likely to have to close within weeks.
Planning Committee Chairman, Cllr Luke Poots - a supporter of the campaign to keep the car park open - expressed disappointment that the facility looks set to close.
He said the public, particularly those who use the car park to visit shops in the city centre, will lose out as a result of the closure.
Cllr Poots, whose father, Lagan Valley MLA Edwin Poots, also spoke out in support of keeping the car park open, said he “felt let down” by some other political representatives for the area who were against retaining the much-used facility.
News of the likely closure will be a bitter disappointment to the many hundreds of people who have called for the car park to be kept open.
The Support Jordans Mill Car Park Facebook page, set up to campaign for the reopening of the facility, has more than 1,300 supporters.
Commenting on the future of the Antrim Street site, Cllr Poots said: “I am happy that the applicant has secured planning permission for a mixed use development [apartments and commercial units] and I would be hopeful that this will proceed quickly and the site won’t be vacant for long.”
The Star attempted to contact Ralph Parking Management, operators of the car park, and Turley planning consultants, who have represented the owner of the site, for comment. However, neither had responded at the time of publication.