Northern Ireland

Helen's Bay nursing home conversion plan rejected

Planners have rejected a proposal to convert a listed building, on one of NI's most exclusive roads into a house.

The plan, by Newtownards firm R&A Developments, would have involved converting St Columbanus nursing home.

It would also have led to five new houses in part of the grounds at Craigdarragh Road in Helens Bay.

Planners blocked the development because visibility from the driveway to the main road was so poor it was deemed to be an unacceptable road safety risk.

They did accept that the restoration of the house would be desirable.

R&A, which is controlled by north Down developer Bill Rush, said the land which needed to improve visibility belonged to someone else and would cost so much to buy that it would make the whole development uneconomic.

They wanted the Planning Appeals Commission to overturn the condition relating to visibility but the commission refused.

Many houses on Craigdarragh Road are valued at more than £1m.