Plans for a new glamping site near Ballybogey have been given the go ahead by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.
The proposal is for a glamping accommodation park with four shepherd huts, landscaping, parking, access and ancillary site works.
The 0.89 hectare site is located approximately 1.5km south east of Ballybogey.
According to the planning statement, submitted by Wilson McMullen Architects, each hut will have its own raised deck area and access pathway.
Each hut will also have its own internal cooking facilities within a kitchenette and external BBQ area.
In addition to the communal space around the huts and within the woodland, it is proposed there will be some communal play space within the woodland area and a communal terrace within the main body of the site.
The planning statement notes: “The site can therefore accommodate many varied degrees of outside space within its own boundaries, from solely private space, semi- private space for each shepherd hut, communal space for all to enjoy and wild woodland.”
The location is adjacent to Garry Bog, a national nature reserve and Area of Special Scientific Interest as one of Northern Ireland’s largest remaining areas of undamaged lowland raised bog.
Garry Bog and the nearby Garry Wood are open to the public and, according to the planning statement “could become important tourism sites in their own right in the near future”.
It adds: “Through access, communication and public awareness initiatives, the development would promote the importance of the peatlands ecology and heritage and support the conservation and restoration objectives of the recently released Northern Ireland Peatland Strategy 2021-2040.”
The planning statement concludes the proposal “is a small scale sensitively designed scheme that meets current planning policy for sustainable tourism in the countryside”.
It continues: “It does not demonstrate any harm to neighbouring residential amenity, it will not have any adverse impact on nature conservation interests, does not contribute to any unacceptable visual impact, does not prejudice road safety and represents a sustainable and high quality low density form of tourist accommodation that is currently lacking in the area.
“It will add to a vibrant and growing tourism market on the north coast and surrounding areas, will support signature tourism sites, improve accommodation offerings and diversity and support local tourism providers by increasing the ability of tourists to remain in the area for longer periods.
“It is our opinion that the proposal meets the criteria and relevant planning policy and should be considered for approval.”
Overall, the development management officer report says the proposal is “compliant with the development plan” and, as such, recommended approval.
It concludes: “The proposal represents an appropriate and compatible use and does not raise any significant concerns regarding integration, impact on existing character, scale of the proposal, provision of communal open space, design of proposed units, impact from ancillary works, the impact on natural heritage assets or the impact on residential amenity.”