At Belfast City Council ’s Planning Committee meeting, elected members agreed to the proposed re-construction of a petrol station and retail until at 228-232 Stewartstown Road Belfast.
The proposal, by the Hoey Family Pension Fund of Crossmaglen, includes the replacement of fuel tanks, pumps and canopy alterations, as well as an alteration to the roof of hot food takeaway venue and compactor, and the provision of an EV charging facility.
Fire broke out at the petrol station in 2017 and since this time the service station has been operating from temporary premises on site, built on an area previously used for parking.
The original application was previously approved by the Planning Committee in April last year but was quashed in a judicial review over parking provision at the site.
The latest council report states the Department for Infrastructure Roads Division had “initially objected to the application on the basis of insufficient parking and requested a whole suite of information from the applicant”.
It adds: “This information was not provided, and whilst DfI subsequently indicated that they considered the application a significant like-for-like replacement, they did not formally withdraw their initial objection or request for information
The report states: “Further to the quashing of the original decision, Belfast City Council have reconsidered the proposed development. Additional information was submitted by the applicant following the decision of the court, with a Transport Statement, prepared by Karen McShane Transport Consultant, on behalf of Hoey Family Pension Fund.
“The council re-consulted with all previous consultees and re-notified all neighbours and objectors, as per statutory requirements. Further to comments from consultees and review by the case officer, further additional information was submitted including proposed floor plans and proposed site drainage layout.”
Following the latest consultation, DFI Roads and other statutory consultees offered no objections, and council officers recommended approval to the station being reconstructed.
Objections to the plan were received by the council from the owner occupiers of the adjacent Becketts Bar and Restaurant. The concerns raised related to overdevelopment, intensification of the site, road safety, traffic flow, parking and circulation.
A representative for the objectors told the Planning Committee: “The essence of the current objection remains the same. It is noted solely as a parking issue, as stated in the case officer report – but substandard parking arrangements directly impact upon road safety, and also the amenity of local residents and businesses.”
The council report states: “The objector raised anomalies with the floor space figures as presented by the agent, and states that 88 sqm of additional retail floor space would be created and not 45 sqm and therefore parking provision should be increased. Further consideration of the floorspace figures revealed that floor space indicated on plans were accurate.”
The report adds: “The proposal will allow existing fire damaged facilities to be reinstated and upgraded to a modern petrol filling station with retail facility which will support the needs of the local community.
“The layout, design and appearance is typical of contemporary retail PFS Services. There will be no significant impact on the amenity of neighbouring dwellings and consultees have considered noise, nuisance and traffic and raise no objections.
“Upon completion of the works to reinstate the shop on its former footprint the temporary shop facility, which was built on an area of parking within the site, will be removed.”