'Major' housing development at former factory site

Proposed site layout.
Proposed site layout.

Plans for a "major" new housing development on part of the former Courtaulds factory site in Carrickfergus have been approved.

A planning application for 146 houses, with open space including a children's playground area, was approved at last week's meeting of Mid and East Antrim's Planning Committee.

Located to the north west of Carrick town centre, the 6.5 hectare site stands alongside existing housing at Minorca Drive.

The development has been given the green light subject to resolution of possible contamination issues, according to Senior Planning Officer, Denise Kerr.

Speaking at the meeting, Ms Kerr added: "It's a major housing scheme and it's accompanied by an environmental statement because of the contamination known to be at the site, due to it being part of the former Courtaulds complex."

Developers chose a membrane over the site as the preferred method of controlling contamination, the meeting heard.

Following a query from Cllr John McDermott on whether this method would prevent future homeowners from carrying out minor building work, a planning officer added: "There will be construction solutions that will allow people the freedom to put up their fences, sheds, porches and minor extensions to their properties."

Meanwhile, areas of open space will be maintained by a management company to be set up in conjunction with residents, members were told.

The Courtaulds textile factory at one time employed thousands of people from east Antrim and the surrounding area.

The company closed its Carrick site in the early 1980s.

Part of the land on which the factory was based was previously subject to testing over possible chemical contamination in 2005.