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Contamination fears among issues raised as Portadown drive-thru on car wash site refused

An application for outline approval to build at Bridge Street, close to the Asda store, has been considered in-depth with five reasons given for turning it down

Bridge Street Portadown drive-thru plans

ABC Council has refused an outline planning application for a new drive-thru on the site of a car wash facility in Portadown.

The planning officer in charge of the Bridge Street application listed five reasons why the development should not be allowed to proceed.

An outline application is usually submitted and typically followed by a submission for full approval.

But the outline plans for the site have been deemed unacceptable.

Armagh I revealed last August that the application had been made in the name of Belfast-based Hylands Developments.

The drive-thru cafe – offering over 1,600 sq ft of floorspace – was to have been a new-build facility representing a very significant investment in the town.

Neighbouring residents at Eden Manor and Bridge Street – as well as close by businesses such as Asda and KFC, together with Edenderry Orange Hall – were written to and advised of the proposals.

One letter of objection was received in response.

A number of the statutory agencies consulted were of the opinion that the application should be refused.

On traffic issues, such as increase in vehicle movement and parking provision, DfI Roads had voiced concerns that no transport assessment form had been submitted.

There were also concerns in relation to the development site being on “contaminated land”.

The professional planning officer’s report states: “The site was previously used as a petrol filling station. The tanks may be decommissioned but not removed.

“A Preliminary Risk Assessment is required to determine contaminates on the site given its previous use; to date this has not been received. This is required to determine the application.”

NI Water also had concerns.

The report states: “There is a public foul sewer within 20m of the proposed development boundary.

“A high level assessment has indicated potential network capacity issues. This establishes significant risks of detrimental effect to the environment and detrimental impact on existing properties.

“For this reason NI Water is recommending connections to the public sewerage system are curtailed.”

ABC Council’s own environmental health team had been requesting “more details in relation to noise, odour and contamination”.

According to planners, the agent had not provided a “sequential test or reasoning” behind the location for development at Bridge Street and, as such, the proposal was “not consistent” with planning policy.

The report states: “Within town centres retail development and other uses which will generate significant numbers of people will be encouraged and promoted as the most sustainable locations with optimum accessibility by a range of means of travel.

“The town centres provide the main opportunity for further commercial expansion. The proposal will not be sited within Portadown town centre or primary retail core where development of this kind is recommended.”

And it adds: “Officers, in consultation with the environmental health department, are not satisfied that, given the layout, construction type and separation distances involved it has not been demonstrated that the proposal is not expected to give rise to any adverse noise or odour impact to the amenity of residential properties.

“In terms of the generation of litter, the proposal includes a refuse area to the side of the building. Officers are not content that the proposal includes adequate facilities on the premises for the storage/disposal of refuse generated by the business.

“Officers consider that the proposed design and layout are inappropriate for the area and are not sympathetic to the surrounding environment in terms of its siting, layout and landscape treatment and will have unacceptable adverse impact on the amenity of the town centre shopping area and its residents.”

After detailed consideration, the submission for outline approval was refused and council has written to the applicant to inform them of this decision.

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