Major park and ride plan delayed again as Stormont ponders potential 'call in' on decision

Moira train station. Photo by GoogleMoira train station. Photo by Google
Moira train station. Photo by Google
A major Translink park and ride development in Co Down has been held up in order for a Stormont department to consider a potential ‘call in’ on its approval.

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s (LCCC) planning committee signed off on the Moira train station north site development on March 4.

An alternative site by a private developer and lobbied for by Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP in a letter to the council was refused.

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But a letter from the acting director of the Regional Planning Governance and Legislation Group within the Department for Infrastructure was provided to elected representative this week to advise direction on the planning approval.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service contacted DfI for clarity on the matter.

A spokesperson said: “The department received a third party ‘call in’ request in relation to the application following the council’s resolution at its planning committee to approve the application.

“In order for the department to have time to consider this request, a ‘holding’ direction was issued to the council on 21 March, preventing it from issuing a decision on this application until it had heard further from the department.

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“Officials are currently considering whether to ‘call in’ the application for determination under Section 29 of the Planning Act (NI) 2011. This process will be completed as quickly as possible.”

The alternative Moira site was previously favoured by Translink.

The private developer has told the LDRS of their intention to appeal the decision on its own application and to consider options including a judicial review for the Translink approval.

DfI has been identified in chambers as a “strategic parntner” to Translink on the north site development, with a report to council showing its park and ride spaces were deliberately kept low at 465 lots, so as not to trigger a significant increase in traffic and the need to upgrade the A26 junction.

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There had been previous road safety concerns raised over both park and ride sites and a nearby road junction.

Translink told councillors at a previous meeting that cars parking on nearby streets would be absorbed into the new park and ride facility. It then expected journeys on the Station Road to increase by 5%, which was below the DfI threshold to enforce major changes to road designs.