DOWN Councillor Cadogan Enright has expressed his shock and disbelief that the need for an Environmental Impact Statement has been ruled out for the proposed development in Delamont Park on Council land in a sensitive environmental area.
Councillor Enright said, “Whatever the merits of the development it is unimaginable that the potential impacts to this sensitive environment should not be taken into account. I cannot see how the planning service can legally determine that an Environmental Assessment Impact is not required for the Viking Village in Delmont Park, a development that is clearly already in breach or planning guidelines. We cannot have one set of rules for ordinary people looking for planning, and a second set of rules for the Authorities or the Rich and Powerful as often seems to be the case in this district”.
“This location is one of great sensitivity, with wading birds, the Heronry and the environmental designations of this area. The proposed footfall of 300 visitors per day, and the type of guest envisaged for the Viking Village is quite different from the family groups and individuals who frequent this wonderful Local Park and wildlife area at present”.
Councillor Cadogan Enright continued, “Additionally the proposal for treating sewage makes no sense to me. As a manager with Cadbury Schweppes I was part of a team that installed a reed bed system in one of their factories, and am aware of the technical pros and cons. The effluent types need to be very predictable and professionally monitored, and this would not be possible with in the context of this proposal. The size of the system for treating 300 persons would also simply be too large, even if it were technically possible within the park without damaging this sensitive coastal site in Strangford Lough.”
Councillor Enright said “The term “reed bed system” is now coming into disrepute in the planning context. It seems to be used in planning applications where there is no realistic chance of a sewerage connection, and as a code for getting approval without having to deal with the reality of waste disposal.”
“If the Viking Village is to proceed, then its location, its impact on the Park and on the Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) all need to be carefully considered and not brushed aside as suggested by the planning service.”
“If this project were to proceed without an environmental assessment I would be forced to oppose it and appeal any decision in its favour. I have visited the planning service in Rathkelter House in Market Street to insist that this decision be reviewed.” Concluded Cllr Enright.