Planning Portal

Ards and Down Area Plan 2015
Ards Borough: Comber Commerce

Comber’s main shopping streets are Castle Street and Bridge Street, with a small number of shops in High Street and Mill Street. Retail business located within the defined town centre is, in the main, a mix of food, convenience, durable goods and retail services.
Comber performs a local shopping role and competes with Newtownards and Belfast. There are a number of vacant properties, mainly in Mill Street, Bridge Street and Castle Street.
The town centre as defined reflects its current and anticipated retailing function.
Development proposals within the Town Centre will be processed in accordance with prevailing planning policy, currently contained within Planning Policy Statement 5, (PPS 5): Retailing and Town Centres.
Proposal CR 19 Town Centre
A Town Centre is designated for Comber as indicated on Map Nos. 2/003a, Comber Settlement Map and 2/003e, Comber Town Centre Map.
The main shopping streets within Comber Town Centre are Castle Street and Bridge Street, part of High Street and Mill Street. The defined area will ensure the continuance of a compact and attractive shopping environment, offering both choice and convenience.
Proposal CR 20 Development Opportunity Sites
The following Development Opportunity Sites are designated in accordance with Policy SETT 3 in Volume 1 of the Plan and as indicated on Map No. 2/003e, Comber Town Centre.

Lands along the southern side of The Square

The buildings extending along the entire length of the southern side of The Square were last used as a car showroom. The site presents a redevelopment opportunity within the centre of the town. However, it also forms an important element within the Area of Townscape Character and would require sensitive development in conformity with Proposal CR 14. Any new building should present a continuous frontage to retain the sense of enclosure within The Square. The site would be suitable for a range of uses including commercial/residential/civic in accordance with prevailing regional town centre policy.

25-35 Bridge Street

The site lies along the southern side of Bridge Street in an area of mixed use. The buildings on site are mainly small residential units. There is a considerable area of backland between the dwellings and St. Mary’s Church, a listed building. Future development proposals should carefully consider impact upon the listed building and the Area of Townscape Character under Proposal CR 14 of the Plan. There is currently no suitable access onto Bridge Street to facilitate the site. The access arrangements for this Development Opportunity Site would require careful consideration of the existing accesses, both adjacent and opposite the site. Any future detailed design proposal must address this issue and the nature and extent of any future proposed site would determine if a right turning facility is required. The site has potential for a range of uses including commercial/office/ residential in accordance with prevailing regional policy.

Lands along the southern side of Castle Street

Castle Street is a busy narrow commercial street characterised by its small commercial units. The street currently suffers from a degree of congestion. The lands to the rear of the buildings fronting the streets are under utilised and represent an opportunity for Town Centre development. The area is currently in a number of ownerships and would have to be developed as a whole. The main constraint to development is access; this would have to be taken through an existing entrance as permission is unlikely to be granted for a further opening which would have a detrimental effect of the streetscape. Any access would be required to be to the satisfaction of the Roads Service.
Proposal CR 21 Town Centre Housing  
The following areas of Town Centre Housing are designated in accordance with Policy HOU 3 in Volume 1 of the Plan and as indicated on Map No. 2/003e, Comber Town Centre Map. They include parts of:
  • The Mews
  • Stepping Stones
These areas provide a valuable housing stock and are home to established communities which contribute to the variety and vitality of life in the Town Centre. The Mews provides a valuable source of social housing close to the Town Centre facilities.
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