Subject: Urgent Request for Advocacy at Lisburn and Castlereagh Planning Meeting (LA05/2022/0033/F)

We wrote to our elected representatives to ask them to speak on our behalf – this is the letter we sent.

Dear [Local Elected Representative’s Name]

I hope this email finds you well. We are writing to you as concerned members of the Drumbeg community regarding the proposed development with reference number LA05/2022/0033/F. We have been aware of this development for the past 17 months, and despite raising several serious concerns during this time, they have yet to be addressed adequately we outline the concerns below.

Our request is that you advocate for us on this matter as our elected representative at the planning meeting. Throughout this process our voices have remained unheeded and now we have an opportunity to be listened to, through you.

The urgency of our request is compounded by the fact that this proposed development is scheduled to be one of the first to be heard by the newly elected planning committee potentially on July 3rd. We believe it is crucial that our local elected representatives advocate on our behalf to ensure our concerns are given due consideration.

One of our primary concerns relates to the zoning of the land in question. The Zoning of these 2 extra fields by extending the Settlement Development Limit (SDL) compared to that which existed previously in 1997, took place in the LAP2001. No explanation of why or who was consulted after our thorough investigation has been forthcoming. The question is now subject to a FOI. Furthermore, the entire area that fronts the proposed application on to the Quarterlands Road is “White land” encompassing Site 1 and part of site 2 of this application. This” White Land” area has stayed fixed since 1990 and part of the LVRP, AONB since the mid-1960s.

In addition, a further assessment in December 2022 by NI Water (Information Management Unit) indicated that no further connections are being permitted and Drumbeg WWTW has been closed to future development. Furthermore, we are deeply concerned about the waste-water situation in the vicinity, specifically related to the Drumbeg wastewater treatment works (WWTW). On February 2nd, 2023, a letter from Northern Ireland Water was sent to David Honeyford MLA, with case reference number DH249 and CMS reference 9200123/56542. The letter stated that Drumbeg WWTW is currently operating at capacity. As a result, any new planning applications received by NI Water for consultation will receive a negative response, with a recommendation for the planning authority to disapprove the application.

This information further supports our concerns and underscores the need for refusal of the proposed development considering the existing waste-water limitations.

Given the gravity of these issues and the lack of response to our concerns over the past 17 months, we kindly request that you actively advocate for us at the upcoming Lisburn and Castlereagh Planning Meeting. Your support in highlighting the unresolved concerns surrounding the zoning of the land and the strain on waste-water infrastructure will be invaluable.

We believe that the newly elected planning committee should be made fully aware of these critical matters, and we trust that you will utilize your position to ensure our voices are heard. By raising these concerns, we hope to foster a transparent and responsible decision-making process that upholds the interests of the local community.

We would like also, to emphasize the vital importance of preserving the entire Lagan Valley Regional Park, which is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The proposed development poses a significant threat to the delicate balance of biodiversity in the area.

We would point out that the ” NIEA Natural Environment Division (NED) dated 6 January 2023 states that according to the Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (CeDAR) some 30 species of known conservation status have been recorded at 0.5 KM radius beyond sites redline boundary.”  Wildlife do not observe Boundaries. In addition, “NED recommended absolute minimal loss of extant Hedgerow (ancient hedgerow ca.100m) and vegetation as possible and retention of maximal extant vegetative biodiversity as possible. The extant vegetation on site is of high ecological value”.

  • SPPS 2 The Natural Heritage
  • Policy NH 2 Species Protected by Law pg 13
  • Policy NH 5 – Habitats, Species or Features of Natural Heritage Importance pg 16
  • Policy NH6. AONB 5.14, 5.15, 5.16, 5.17
  • Lagan Valley Regional Park (LVRP)  Themes 1,4,5,6

We would also point out that Ulster wildlife have found clear sign of Barn Owls on the site.

It is truly disheartening to witness the disregard for the need to safeguard our wild spaces and protect priority protected species that inhabit this region. The Lagan Valley Regional Park is not only a loved and cherished natural habitat but also a valuable recreational and educational resource for our community. It is imperative that we prioritize the long-term preservation of this invaluable asset for the benefit of both current and future generations – see Quarterlands Documents 1, 2, and 3 prepared by us available on our website

These are very large 5-bedroom mansions (Ground floor to ridge equivalent to 3 storey Houses) to be set towering over adjacent cottages and bungalows all of which are 1 to 1.5 storeys high. The intrusion into present residents privacy in Rural Cottages, Zenda Park, Hambleden Park and Quarterlands Road will be significant. Please see the aerial video of the location on our website to understand the scale.

We would draw your attention to the wide range of aspects of the Strategic Planning Policy Statements which this development completely disregards.

  • SPPS 2015 SPPS 6 The Built Heritage 4.7 pg. 16, 4.12 pg. 17
  • SPPS 7 Quality Residential Environments
    • Policy QD1 pg. 4, 
    • Policy Context 1.2 pg. 5 
    • Policy Objectives 2.1 pg. 10
    • Site Characteristics 4.12, pg. 18
  • Addendum to SPPS7 Safeguarding the character of Established Residential Areas 1.3
  • Policy QD1 of SPPS 7
  • SPPS 7 1.5, 1.6,
    • Policy LC1 Protecting Local Character 2.1, 2.2
    • Policy LC1 is an Amplification of QD1
  • SPPS 21 Sustainable Development in the Countryside CTY1, CTY2, CTY13, CTY14, CTY15

In conclusion we are deeply disturbed by the continuous and significant incremental alterations made by the developers to their original submission in January 2022. Throughout the year they have changed the numbers and positions of houses, added a wide wayleave that resembles a road into neighbouring fields, and removed their promised 5m wildlife corridor boundary planting scheme.

This flagrant disregard for their own commitments raises serious doubts about their integrity and their true intentions behind this development. We implore you to hold the developers accountable for these deceptive tactics and ensure that the proposed development aligns with the principles of environmental preservation and responsible land use.

We would greatly appreciate your prompt action on this matter, as the planning meeting is fast approaching. Please keep us informed of any progress or updates related to this issue. We have faith in your commitment to serving the community and trust that you will represent our concerns with dedication and resolve.

If you would like further information the documents outlining in detail these concerns can be found on our website or join us in our Zoom meetings and we will answer any questions.

Thank you for your attention and support.


The Quarterlands Group