From the Chair:
I posted last week about the discussions that the Village Committee has been having on progressing the Arup Plan. This is an update.
The plan you will remember made a number of proposals, and following a survey being conducted the results indicated that the village favoured exploring the development of a community hall/ structure as well as exploring environmental improvements.
At our committee meeting on Friday February 9 we came to a majority view that all potential sites for situating a structure had been exhausted. However, one committee member proposed that we look again our decision to develop on the Village Green. This view was not favoured by the majority of the committee for the reasons given in my last post:
- we are against any green-field development in and around the village, which is within the Lagan Valley Regional Park;
- the precedent that development of a green-field site would provide any developer – how could we argue against green-field development near the village if we ourselves had taken such an approach, it would clearly be hypocritical;
- the Green is outside of the BMAP settlement area; and given that,
- a significant number of people who live within the immediate area of the Green had expressed their opposition to development there, and as they would be more directly impacted we believed that their views should have primacy.
Following communication with the Council last week we have been informed that planning permission for any development on the Green would be unlikely because the Green is situated within the green-belt and, in addition, is outside of the settlement area. We have also taken the mind of the Lagan Valley Regional Park who have informed us that they would be against any development of the green-belt. All of which endorses the committee majority view about being against green-field development.
For all the reasons given above the committee is not in a position to explore any further the development of a community hall as part of the Arup plan and associated funding. While this will clearly be a disappointment for many people given their support for the initial concept of a community space, the committee would like to assure you all that the development of a community space will not drop from our agenda as we propose to try and engage with the developer of the mill site to explore ideas in this regard. However, we are under time pressure to develop viable and achievable plans and so need to press on. The Council will be actively engaged with the next stage and will produce a set of proposals. The committee will regularly update on this site what is happening.
The committee still plans to have a public meeting on Sunday, February 25 at 2pm as initially proposed. The meeting will create the opportunity to brief you in more detail as to why the various sites investigated for a structure could not be developed further. We shall also update everyone on the developing relationships between the National Trust, Woodland Trust, Belfast City Council and others in building a long-term vision for the village.
I look forward to seeing as many of you as can make it on the 25th.
Paul Mullan – Chair, Edenderry Resident’s Association