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Protest over Maghery land plans to be held ahead of Council meeting at Civic Centre

Maghery infill public meeting
Almost 80 people turned up to a public meeting about the issue last Thursday evening

A protest will be held outside Craigavon Civic Centre on Monday night after Council approved the development of site, which will see land infilled close to Lough Neagh, earlier this year.

Residents in Maghery have hit out at plans for the infill development at Maghery Road in Ennismore, given the proximity of Lough Neagh.

Approval was granted by the Council’s planning committee despite planners’ recommendation to refuse.

Speaking at the planning meeting in January, Sinead McAvoy, planning manager, told committee members: “A site visit was held on December 14, 2023. Officers are of opinion that the proposed development fails to comply with all the relevant policies. On that basis the officers’ recommendation is that planning permission be refused.”

However, councillors overturned that recommendation and granted approval.

Alderman Gareth Wilson (DUP) commented: “When you’re out there in real time I felt I totally changed my view on what was proposed. It’s a relatively short addition in my view in terms of what’s proposed here.

“…there on conditions [as to the type of material which may be deposited], I am of the view that this is something we could accommodate. The key part is, it’s not going to be anything toxic.”

Fellow DUP representative, Councillor Scott Armstrong, added: “I think it was very beneficial for me just to [be] on site because I’m not not too familiar with the land there. This infill will actually improve [the site]. It would be beneficial.”

Councillor Alan Mulholland concurred with his party colleagues: “When I was there and saw the land first hand, I sort of thought that if the person was going to try and make this into more of a greenish pasture, it is my opinion too that it would be an improvement.”

On Thursday past, almost 80 people turned up to a public meeting to discuss next steps in their quest to reverse the decision, including going directly to the Department for Infrastructure, led by Upper Bann MLA John O’Dowd.

A petition has already surpassed 1,000 signatures.

And tonight (Monday) a protest rally will be held outside Craigavon Civic Centre at 5.15pm – just ahead of Council’s full monthly meeting.

Related: Maghery residents launch petition after plans for infill site approved close to Lough Neagh

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