SIXTEEN new homes are to be built on the outskirts of Donaghadee – despite the objections of several local residents.

Another housing scheme on High Bangor Road won planning approval last week, this one to be built opposite the town’s Hadlow Hills development and next to Donaghadee Rugby Club’s playing fields.

The new homes are to be built on what was agricultural land, and will be suburban homes broadly similar to some of those built in Hadlow Hills.

A total of 12 locals objected to the scheme, citing issues such as the impact on infrastructure and traffic in the area, as well as objecting to the principle of further development in the area and worrying about falling property values.

But planners dismissed those arguments when the scheme came up at Ards and North Down Council’s Planning Committee last Tuesday night.

Pointing to large similar residential developments already in the area, officials concluded there’s no reason to block the 16 homes from being built.

The development will make ‘an attractive and quality residential environment’, said a planning official, and it will be set back from High Bangor Road with ‘substantial new landscaping to soften’ the look of the housing scheme.

The 16 homes also shouldn’t make much difference to current traffic levels on the main road, the official stated.

Northern Ireland Water objected to the development, the firm bringing up its regular complaint that it doesn’t have enough sewer capacity for more housing schemes across most of the northern half of County Down.

Planners concluded that permission to build can be granted anyway, as long as the developers don’t start construction until they have a written agreement in place with NI Water sorting out a solution to the issue.

The Department for Infrastructure’s Rivers section also demanded a guarantee in writing that issues with drainage in the area will be dealt with before building work begins.

Quizzed by councillors about the scheme, a property consultant admitted that it’s not possible to walk or cycle from the development directly into Donaghadee town centre, which he blamed on ‘a pinch point’ at an NI Water substation.

“You would have to cross the road onto a wide footpath directly across to walk down uninterrupted,” he said. “There’s not a crossing, but we can have pedestrian crossing points – dropped kerbs.

“It is quite a busy road; it’s unfortunate, but there’s nothing we can do about the pinch point. It might be something that we look at in the future in terms of the arrangement with NI Water, it may be possible to relocate that in due course.”

He added that the solution for NI Water’s issues ‘is technically possible’, as there’s a sewage treatment works around 400 metres away, but as yet there’s no timescale for nailing the agreement down.

The committee unanimously agreed to grant planning permission for the 16 homes.