Drive Thru kiosk at Castle Mall gets go-ahead

THE conversion of a disused toilet block into a drive-thru bakery and coffee shop has been given the green light by planning officers.

Colin Johnston and Clear Partnership is behind the plans for a proposed drive thru bakery/coffee shop, kiosk, indoor/outdoor seating, public toilets, landscaping and car parking.

The application site is located within the Central Carpark adjacent to Antrim Castle Mall.

The Council owned site currently exists as a car park serving customers of Castle Mall, visitors to Antrim Castle Gardens and the wider facilities within Antrim town centre.

A toilet block occupies the eastern portion of the site. This is subject to a separate application for consent to demolish approved in March 2022. A meeting of the Planning Committee this week was due to hear that consultees had no objections, subject to conditions. Four neighbouring properties notified and no letters of representation were received.

A report described the proposed drive-thru restaurant as ‘relatively modest in size’ at 199m2.

The building is rectangular in shape with a flat roof and maximum ridge height of 5.25m above ground level. The building is to be completed using aluminium cladding to external walls and roofing coloured grey. Aluminium window and door frames are to be used.

There is a proposed outdoor seating area to the west of the main building and a bike stand. Access to the drive-thru will be taken at the southeastern corner of the site and continues around the western end of the site in a clockwise fashion.

The proposal is located within Antrim’s designated conservation area, however it is noted that the site is currently a hard surfaced car park ‘holding little architectural merit’.

However, the Department’s Historic Buildings Unit was consulted on the proposal, given its potential impact upon existing listing buildings nearby, including Antrim Castle Gatehouse and a number of properties on Market Square.

However is considered that the works involved will invigorate this part of Antrim town centre, by replacing a redundant toilet block with a modern drive-thru restaurant.

It was considered there will be no detrimental impact upon this area of Antrim Town nor upon any building or structure of architectural interest.

The closest neighbouring properties to the site lie in excess of 75m away to the northeast along Menin Road, but with a busy intervening road, Castle Way, and a high wall associated with the Dublin Road PSNI station in between.

The council’s Environmental Health Section was consulted on the proposals and offered no objections in relation to neighbour amenity.

The report said that the proposed development site is in close proximity to ground used previously as a saw mill and gas works.

As a result, the applicant submitted a Preliminary Risk Assessment prepared by RSK.

The report stated that, as per the Land Contamination: Risk Management guidance, a Generic Quantitative Risk Assessment was required to quantify potential pollutants.

An intrusive ground investigation was recommended to inform the assessment,

The report said that EHS is content to offer pre commencement conditions to carry out further investigative reports. The Regulation Unit of NIEA has also offer similar conditions.

DFI Roads offered no objections to the proposal subject to conditions.

Overall, planners considered that the principle of the development and the design of the proposal was acceptable, that the proposal will not have an unacceptable impact upon the character or appearance of the site and the surrounding area and that there will be no significant detrimental impact upon neighbouring properties, and therefore recommended planning permission be granted.

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