Paintball business approved despite fears for therapy horses at nearby stables

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A Co Down paintballing business has been given unanimous council approval despite concerns raised for the wellbeing of therapy and eventing horses at a neighbouring stables.

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council (LCCC) has granted retrospective change of land use permission for ‘Juggernaut Paintball’ Hillsborough, with the facility already operating for some months.

An objector, Mrs Skelton raised her concerns at the council’s planning committee over fears for her horse riding business, as the paintball applicant also operates a nearby go-kart race track which was also given retrospective planning. The go-kart track is currently under an environmental health noise abatement order.

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Alderman Martin Gregg 'disappointed' that planning application is retrospective. Pic credit: LCCCAlderman Martin Gregg 'disappointed' that planning application is retrospective. Pic credit: LCCC
Alderman Martin Gregg 'disappointed' that planning application is retrospective. Pic credit: LCCC

She said: “My family moved to this rural area 30 years ago to keep horses in a rural and quiet area.

“There is an ongoing noise issue from the go-karting that has not yet be resolved, and yet here we go again, this (paintballing) will have a major impact on us as a family and the welfare of our animals.

“The go-karting and paintballing will have an accumulative effect of noise, the paintballing sounds like gunfire.

“The lay of the land on hills has an amphitheatre effect on the noise, it is distressing and unpredictable.”

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Mrs Skelton detailed the equine business as providing mental health and therapeutic support, as well as horse riding for the disabled.

An agent for the applicant (Raymond Lyons) told the committee: “The sound is not as loud or startling as has been made out, it is less than background levels.

“The go-karting does not factor into this application and is being dealt with by a noise abatement notice.”

Under scrutiny from elected representatives the planning committee heard from environmental health that a noise abatement order was “being complied with” at the go-kart business, though it was being appealed.

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It was also heard in chambers that the paintballing “popping” noise was being “confined in a forest” with no requirement to mitigate sound any further.

Committee chairperson, Martin Gregg (Alliance) said: “I am surprised that there are no proactive conditions to mitigate the sound, though I am reasonably content that council officers have an eye on this.

“It does however disappoint me that this is a retrospective application before us, which shows some non-compliance with planning and this site has a history of this.”