A planning appeal has been lodged after permission was refused to demolish the Old Bank Building on Lower Mill Street, Ballymena, to make way for a new apartment complex.
The original application application was submitted with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council on 24 August 2021 by E&C Inns (trading as Adair Arms Hotel) seeking approval to demolish the existing building, to make way for a new three-storey detached building, consisting of 12 apartments over three levels.
The design included the formation of a new car park, boundary fence and associated planting.
The decades old building was a best known for originally being a branch of the Belfast Banking Company, before transitioning to the Northern Bank (now Danske Bank), and more recently was used as a doctor’s surgery.
The 6,635 square foot building was previously listed for let, described as a ‘prominent red brick building located in Ballymena town centre’ offering ground floor and upper floor rental space (these have been recently used) as well as off street parking to the rear. Further floors in the building have not been used recently and are said to require some works.
Planners previously refused permission on a number of points:
• Quality Residential Environments in that it has not been demonstrated that the proposal will create a quality and sustainable residential development;
• Access to Public Road in that it has not been demonstrated that the proposal will not prejudice road safety or significantly inconvenience the flow of traffic;
• Archaeology and the Built Heritage in that it has not been demonstrated that the proposal will not negatively impact the Setting of a Listed Building (Adair Arms Hotel).
The proposal was also met with strong opposition from many Ballymena residents who cited their concerns back in September last year, when the application was first submitted. Residents voiced dismay over the potential demolition of the landmark building to see more apartments in the town centre.
In total 57 objections to the development were received from residents across the borough.
Anyone wishing to participate in the appeal, must submit their return to the Planning Appeals Commission NI (www.pacni.gov.uk) no later than 4.00pm on Friday 30 December 2022.