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‘Serious flood risk' at Mallusk development, residents claim

The land proposed for a housing development beside Hyde Park, Mallusk. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Gareth McKeown

A PROPOSED 44 dwelling housing development in Co Antrim has sparked concern among residents who say the land is a serious flood risk.

The development adjacent to Trench Lane, Mallusk was first proposed 10 years ago, but the size of the project has reduced over time.

Now the plans are back on the table once again and many residents are not happy.

In letters of objection to the development, concerns have been raised regarding the safety of young children in the neighbouring residential areas, the increase in noise pollution and heavy traffic through construction as well as a possible depreciation of local house prices.

In one such correspondence it has been suggested that a more suitable purpose for the land would be a play park.

Of principal concern to some residents is the very real threat of flooding, with at least two serious incidents reported within the past six years in what is considered locally a regular problem in the field.

The land in Mallusk lies partly within the flood plain of the Ballymartin River and the scale of the flooding has been captured on video by Lee Bowan, who lives at Hyde Park Manor, beside the development land.

The videos show fast flowing water running through the field as a result of prolonged heavy ran and the river running over its banks. Mr Bowan felt compelled to speak out about the flood risk and raise awareness before any building commences.

"If I wasn't doing something like this and trying to notify people in some way I would feel awful. You're talking maybe a year and a half's time, maybe two years these houses get built, next thing they're flooded."

Mr Bowan has said there is no quick fix to the problem.

"Even if they were to raise the ground as it sits now to make it higher so that area didn't flood then all you're doing is pushing the water elsewhere, somebody else gets flooded as a result of that."

Another local resident Dave McComiskey said his objection to the development was a "matter of conscience" in respect of his concerns over future flooding

and called the planned development a "big concern" for people in the community.

A Department for Infrastructure spokesman confirmed that Rivers Agency has been consulted on the planning application by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council Planning Department and recognised that part of the site "lies within the flood plain of the Ballymartin River", but that no houses will be built on this.

The spokesman said: "In line with Planning Policy Statement 15 'Planning and Flood Risk', a Flood Risk Assessment has been submitted by the applicant.

The applicant's professional advisors have been in discussion with Rivers Agency to ensure that no houses will be built in the flood plain of the Ballymartin River.

"A further planning consultation with an amended housing layout was received by Rivers Agency on 12 May 2016. Rivers Agency is currently considering its response to this consultation."

A spokesman for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council added: "The application remains under consideration and a number of statutory bodies have been consulted including Rivers Agency."

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