Northern Ireland Planning Service

Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015
District Proposals: Belfast City Arterial Routes Strategy (Page 1 of 2)

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Arterial Routes serve as the main transport corridors into and out of the City Centre. As illustrated on Diagram 2, included for information purposes, and as referred to as part of the conceptual spatial framework for Belfast City Centre, they provide key links for communities to all city centre activities.
The Strategy formulated for Arterial Routes is intended to reflect the RDS drive to enhance Belfast City and reduce the need to travel by car. It is also intended to assist in the promotion of urban renewal throughout the City, which is of fundamental importance to the overall Belfast City Strategy.
Arterial Routes have an important role to play not only in portraying local identity, while making a significant contribution to the overall physical appearance of the City, but also encouraging regeneration based housing within the urban footprint closely integrated with existing and improved local services and facilities such as local shopping provision.
The Plan designates 18 Arterial Routes and contains a policy which sets urban design criteria for development along these, to facilitate improvement to the physical appearance of the cityscape in conjunction with the encouragement of appropriate urban renewal and restoration in these key locations.
The Plan designates 15 Commercial Nodes and 15 Shopping /Commercial Areas on most of these Arterial Routes within which specific retail and office development policies, as set out in the Strategic Plan Framework in Part 3, Volume 1 of the Plan, will apply, intended to promote appropriate scale local facilities to service adjacent local communities.
The Plan also sets additional Building Heights requirements for development within designated commercial nodes to encourage higher density land use close to public transport routes.
The designated Commercial Nodes are also designated as Areas of Parking Restraint to restrain long-stay commuter parking.
Complementary policies relating to retail and office proposals along Arterial Routes and within either Commercial Nodes or Shopping/Commercial Areas are contained in the Strategic Plan Framework in Part 3, Volume 1 of the Plan.
The designations specific to Arterial Routes are shown on Maps Nos. 4/001 to 4/004 – Belfast City and are also identified in Diagram 2 – Arterial Routes.
Designation AR 01/(1-18) Arterial Routes
The following Arterial Routes are designated in Belfast City as identified on Maps No. 4/001-4/004 – Belfast City:-
  • AR 01/01 - York Street/York Road/Shore Road
  • AR 01/02 - Antrim Road
  • AR 01/03 - Oldpark Road
  • AR 01/04 - Crumlin Road
  • AR 01/05 - Shankill Road/Woodvale Road/Ballygomartin Road
  • AR 01/06 - Divis Street/Falls Road/Glen Road
  • AR 01/07 - Grosvenor Road/Springfield Road
  • AR 01/08 - Andersonstown Road/Stewartstown Road
  • AR 01/09 - Donegall Road
  • AR 01/10 - Lisburn Road
  • AR 01/11 - University Road/Malone Road
  • AR 01/12 - Ormeau Road
  • AR 01/13 - Ravenhill Road
  • AR 01/14 - Woodstock Link/Woodstock Road/Cregagh Road
  • AR 01/15 - Castlereagh Street/Castlereagh Road
  • AR 01/16 - Albertbridge Road
  • AR 01/17 - Newtownards Road/Upper Newtownards Road
  • AR 01/18 - Holywood Road
Policy AR 02 Arterial Routes Urban Design
Proposals for new development along designated Arterial Routes will not be permitted unless they comply with the following urban design criteria:-
Development shall be built up to the prevailing building line with parking to be located to the rear of new buildings. Exceptions to this will only be permitted where the development creates significant public space;
Development shall be fine grain in nature. There shall be a presumption against large single block development; and
Building height and massing shall be appropriate to the scale of the street and shall generally be 2 to 3 storeys. Single storey developments will not be acceptable. Higher densities of development may be required within the identified Commercial Node Designations AR 3 (01-15).
The Department wishes to encourage restoration of the built frontage along Arterial Routes through the development of vacant gap sites and Development Opportunity Sites.
In general terms new development along these roads should be based on the following principles:-
  • There should be continuous frontages which maximise the opportunities to animate the street. Development should form an edge with the street and follow a common building line without major setbacks;
  • There should be a robust and adaptable urban form. To help achieve this there should be a fine grain of development whereby large development parcels are broken down into smaller units;
  • Building height and massing should be appropriate to the scale of the street. Higher densities of development may be required within designated commercial nodes along these routes, particularly for sites well served by public transport; and
  • The routes should be clearly identifiable with a distinctive image, which responds to the particular contextual characteristics.
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