Northern Ireland news

Council goes against recommendation to back GAA pitch plans

The plans will see one full size pitch, a club house, floodlighting, and a private entrance built onto Warrenpoint Road, Rostrevor

PLANS for a new GAA sports complex in south Down have been approved by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council - despite recommendations to refuse it.

The application was backed by members of the council planning committee.

Only six members took part in the decision as another six declared an interest in the proposals.

Submitted by St Bronagh's GAA, the plans will see one full size pitch, a club house, floodlighting, and a private entrance built onto Warrenpoint Road, Rostrevor.

Concerns were expressed around the potential impact the development would have on the rural environment and traffic congestion.

The proposal received more than 1,000 letters and two petitions of support. Several letters of objection (59) and a petition with 16 signatures were sent by local residents, the Drumsesk Residents Association and South Down MLA Jim Wells.

The objection letters outlined concerns surrounding noise and light pollution, road safety concerns, flooding concerns and impact on wildlife including squirrels, otters, birds and bats.

Sinn Fein's Mickey Larkin said: "I think this is an exceptional application and I think it's essential for the survival of the club and growth of the club.

“It's also essential for the community in Rostrevor and as an exception to the policy, I will be proposing that this is overturned to approve this case.”

Despite the approval, council officers informed members that the application would now need to go before the Department for Infrastructure for a final decision due to application going against a statutory consultee.

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