UUP MLA for South Down John McCallister has spoken of his delight after learning that a deferral has been secured on the highly controversial planning application at Shore Road, Annalong.
Mr McCallister met with residents last week to update them on this important development. He said, “I along with other local politicians, as well as my Newry and Mourne Council colleague Harold McKee, have been working tirelessly on this issue. I wrote to the Chief Executive of Newry and Mourne District Council and highlighted the right-of-way issue, and urged them to proceed with caution.
“I also reminded the Council how residents have utilised this strip of land as a means of vehicular access to the rear of their properties for years far in excess of that required to establish a legal right of way. I also pointed out that visitors to the area use the land to park cars whilst walking along the coastal path or visit the Harbour Inn, and how fishermen use this land to access their boats.
“I stressed that this development will forcibly deny many people the access to which they have become entitled.” Mr McCallister claimed that any intention by Newry and Mourne District Council to divert a public right of way should be subject to public consultation with those affected by such a decision. He added, “To date, no such consultation has taken place which may leave the Council vulnerable to a challenge through Judicial Review.”
Keen to point out that he is fully supportive of the redevelopment of the old smoke house, Mr McCallister said his issue remains with the proposal to build five houses in a small space. “I simply can’t see how these houses can be accommodated in such a small space without seriously damaging the aesthetics of the shoreline.
“I firmly believe that the cramming of these houses on the shoreline behind the existing properties represents exploitation of the land to the detriment of local residents and visitors alike. It has taken a lot of hard work by a great number of individuals to secure this deferral. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Colin McCord for steering the local residents group in their efforts to fight this planning application. These residents have my full support and I will continue to do everything in my power to fight this contentious planning application,” added Mr McCallister.