Storm Brews Over Oaklee Housing Plans in Newcastle

Oaklee Homes Group Ltd, a housing association, have made an application for a development of 15 apartments and one house at the site of the former SERC campus in Newcastle at 2-4 Donard Street. (Planning application R/2012/0081/F)

The old college site at 2-4 Donard Street in Newcastle where a proposal for social housing has been drafted up by Oaklee Hoasing Association.

Newcastle Councillor Carmel O’Boyle said: “The planning department intend to bring an opinion to approve the above planning application to DDC’s Council meeting on Monday 26 November. I am appalled that the planners have reached this opinion and can assure the local residents of Newcastle, particularly those whose lives will be most severely disrupted by an acceptance of this decision, that we have no intention of agreeing to this.

“In spite of all of the concerns raised at a public meeting to Oaklee by elected representatives from all parties and by local residents, the planners have decided to disregard our views. The access along Donard Street is already a nightmare, yet the Roads Division seem to find no difficulties with the application. There is a pub and a taxi rank across the road from the site, and the planners have no problem with this either.

“I know I speak on behalf of all elected representatives when I say that we will oppose this every step of the way, all the way to the Minister and to a possible Judicial Review.

“Planners should have notified elected representatives of their decision prior to placing it on a schedule for the end of this month. There were four letters of objection and three petitions containing the names of 174 local people. All this is to be discarded and disregarded by the planners? I think not.”

Also in agreement in opposing the decision, Alliance Councillor Patrick Clarke said: “I am not opposed to social housing but I believe the planners would be wrong to approve this development. This will all bubble up in 4-5 years and we will be dealing with the outcomes of it then. The social housing is proposed to be built beside an off license, fast food outlet and taxi stand. There are also elderly residents in the area including in Railway Street. This is just a case of over-development. It is social housing in the wrong location.”