Additional parking plan for Newcastle

Additional parking plan for Newcastle

24 November 2021

A PLAN to develop a major extension to Donard Park car park in Newcastle has been approved by planners.

Newry, Mourne and Down Council is investing £250,000 to formally develop a grass overspill area at the foothills of the Mournes to provide 165 new spaces.

Local planners gave the scheme the green light at their monthly meeting last week, with the extended car park featuring 13 dedicated spaces for drivers with mobility issues.

As part of the development proposal on land west of the existing car park, a six metre high ball stop fence is being erected and a 1.8 metre high paladin fence. 

There will also be a number of new footpaths, new lighting, landscaping and drainage.

None of the statutory agencies have objected to the local authority proposal, but concern was expressed by one resident about the anti-social behaviour of young drivers using the car park.

Recommending that the council proposal should be approved, planners said the current overspill car park is considered to be site a “sufficient distance” from adjacent dwellings to prevent “any unacceptable impacts”.

Planners say taking into account planning policy, consultee responses, planning history and responses, approval is recommended subject to a positive response from the Natural Environment Division which is currently outstanding.

Planners have also stipulated that prior to any work starting, a final drainage assessment, including a detailed drainage network design and demonstration of how so-called out-of-sewer flooding will be addressed, must be agreed with them.

No retained trees will be allowed to be felled or uprooted as part of the work to provide the new parking spaces.

Planners have also warned that care will need to be taken during the construction phase to ensure there are no polluting discharges.

Council chairwoman Cathy Mason and Mournes councillor Willie Clarke are both pleased that formal planning approval for the car park extension has been granted.

Cllr Mason said she was delighted to see what she described as “significant investment” in Newcastle to provide much-needed car parking for residents and visitors.

“There has been considerable increase in so-called staycations and users of the outdoors and this investment will help alleviate the pressure on parking in the resort,” she added.

Cllr Clarke said the current overflow car park behind the football pitch at Donard Park was “unsightly and difficult to manage in wet weather”.

He continued: “The new car park will provide much-needed spaces at the foot of the Mournes.

“Newry, Mourne and Down Council is investing a significant amount of money to replace the overspill park with a larger, more attractive one that will better serve the southern part of town that is seeing significant regeneration and development.”

Cllr Clarke said the design of the new park took into account the need for improved environmentally friendly provisions such as electric car charging points, solar powered lighting and improved landscaping.

He added: “Although not required for planning, it is anticipated that improved picnic areas and potential for a sensory garden can also be incorporated at a later date. It is essential that we get security and management of car parking right at this popular location.”