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Ards and Down Area Plan 2015
Countryside: Proposals COU 7 - COU 12

Proposal COU 7 Historic Parks, Gardens & Demesnes
The following historic parks, gardens and demesnes of special historic interest are designated as indicated on the relevant Countryside maps and in Appendix 7:
Ballywalter Park, Carrowdore Castle, Greyabbey House, Mount Stewart, Portavo House, Rubane House, Ballytrim, Castleward, Castlewellan Castle, Crossgar House (Tobar Mhuire), Delamont, Finnebrogue House, Killyleagh Castle, Mount Panther, Myra Castle, Rademon, Ringdufferin, Rowallane, Saintfield House, Seaforde House, Tollymore Park, Tyrella House.
Ballywhite House, Quintin Castle, Ballee House, Ballydugan House and Church Hill are identified as retaining only some elements of their original, historic form (supplementary sites).
The character and appearance of the modern landscape of Ards and Down Districts owes much to the division and enclosure of the landscape, and its management and planned enhancement, since the 17th century. These designed landscapes - parks, gardens and demesnes - have been changed through time, under management, neglect or new uses that in some cases, their historical character may not be obvious.
While the original house may have been demolished, the planned landscape of demesnes with their distinct boundary features still make a valuable contribution to the quality and character of the local landscape. In addition, six sites within the Plan area are managed by Forest Service or the District Council as Forest or Country Parks or by bodies such as the National Trust to provide access to the public and comprise an important recreational and tourist asset. Whatever their present individual character and condition, these designed landscapes continue to contribute to the distinctive appearance and character of the local landscape particularly along the fringes of Strangford Lough or in the vicinity of settlements.
Within the Plan area, six parks, gardens and demesnes retain some elements of their original character and design to an extent that they remain valuable for their special historic interest and these have been designated by the Department as supplementary sites.
These areas are detailed in a Register of Parks, Gardens and Demesnes of Special Historic Interest in Northern Ireland, published by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. This Register summarises the historical significance of each site and the contribution such planned features make to the local landscape. It also seeks to encourage the public, as well as owners, to value and support the protection and maintenance of such sites.
Prevailing regional policy for the protection of historic parks, gardens and demesnes is set out in Planning Policy Statement 6, (PPS 6): Planning Archaeology and the Built Heritage.
Proposal COU 8 Areas of Constraint on Mineral Developments
Areas of Constraint on Mineral Developments are designated as indicated on the relevant Countryside and Settlement Maps, and include areas designated for their nature conservation importance and/or scientific value within the Plan area.
By their nature, scale, location and duration of operation, mineral developments frequently impact more severely on the environment than any other form of development. They can damage or destroy sites of nature conservation or earth science value and sites of historic and archaeological interest. They can also have a significant visual impact on the landscape and an adverse effect on the amenity of the people nearby.
Areas of Constraint upon Mineral Developments have been identified in order to safeguard the most valuable and vulnerable areas of the environment within the Ards Borough and Down District from the detrimental effects of mineral extraction. Their identification has taken account of nature conservation interests, the archaeological and built heritage, landscape quality and character as identified in the Northern Ireland Landscape Character Assessment 2000, visual prominence, amenity value, geological interest and beaches in the coastal zone.
Designated Areas of Constraint on Mineral Developments also include, in view of their nature conservation importance and/or scientific value:
  • ASSI’s, ASIs, Ramsar sites, SPA’s, SAC’s, Nature Reserves and Strangford Lough Marine Nature Reserve as indicated on Environmental Designations Map and in Appendix 4.
  • Sites of Local Conservation Importance designated in the Plan (Proposal COU 3) as indicated on the relevant Countryside Maps and Newtownards Settlement Map  and in Appendix 5, and including those designated by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency over the life of the Plan.
Proposals for the development of mineral resources within these areas will be determined in accordance with prevailing regional policy, which is set out in Policy MIN 3 of ‘A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland’.
Proposal COU 9 Ballynahinch Informal Park and Ride and Park and Share site
A site with development potential for an informal park and ride/park and share site is identified on the A7 Belfast Road, Ballynahinch close to the intersection with the proposed Ballynahinch By-Pass as indicated on the relevant Down Countryside Map.
Prior to the completion of a feasibility study, conducted by or on behalf of Roads Service, into the suitability of the site for the proposed use, planning permission will not be granted for any other form of development which would prejudice the provision of Park and Ride or Park and Share facilities.
In order to encourage modal shift from private cars to public transport, the site is identified on a key commuter route into Belfast along which Goldliner bus services operate. It is anticipated that the site, if found to be suitable, should provide 20-50 car parking spaces.
It is intended that the feasibility study will be completed within 2 years of publication of the Adopted Plan. The Department will continue to protect only those sites, which the feasibility study has shown to be suitable for the purpose.
Proposal COU 10 Clough Informal Park and Ride and Park and Share site
A site with development potential for an informal park and ride/park and share site is identified on the A7 Car park at Clough, adjoining the roundabout with the A25 Downpatrick Road as indicated on the relevant Down Countryside Map.
Prior to the completion of a feasibility study, conducted by or on behalf of Roads Service, into the suitability of the site for the proposed use, planning permission will not be granted for any other form of development which would prejudice the provision of Park and Ride or Park and Share facilities.
In order to encourage modal shift from private cars to public transport, the site is identified on a key commuter route into Belfast along which Goldliner bus services operate. It is anticipated that the site, if found to be suitable, should provide 20-50 car parking spaces.
It is intended that the feasibility study will be completed within 2 years of publication of the Adopted Plan. The Department will continue to protect only those sites, which the feasibility study has shown to be suitable for the purpose.
Proposal COU 11 Industrial Site, Ballynahinch Road, Crossgar
A site comprising 3.95 hectares is identified for industry at Ballynahinch Road and is indicated in Appendix 8 and on the relevant Down Countryside Map. Development of the site shall be subject to the following Key Design Considerations:
  • entire site to be used for general or light industrial use as specified in Class 4, 5 and 11 of the Planning (Use Classes) Order (Northern Ireland) 2004 and no other purpose;
  • development layout and design to be of a high quality appropriate to this rural area;
  • the provision of a satisfactory means of access and associated visibility splays onto the Ballynahinch Road; and
  • retention of surrounding trees and vegetation, except those required to be removed to provide a satisfactory means of access, to reduce the impact of industrial usage in the rural setting.
The site includes a former sawmill and a building formally used as an egg packing store and now in use for poultry lairage. It is considered that the site may be required to service local specialised industry in keeping with current uses and will provide additional local employment opportunities within walking distance of the village of Crossgar. Planning applications within the site will be subject to the requirements of all prevailing planning policy.
Proposal COU 12 Existing Industrial Lands at Belfast Road, Downpatrick
Existing industrial lands at Belfast Road, Downpatrick are designated in accordance with Policy IND 1 in this Volume of the Plan and as indicated on the relevant Down Countryside Map.
Downpatrick has a large, 34.14 hectare serviced industrial estate on the Belfast Road with 12.52 hectares of remaining developable land. 35 industrial units and a new office block have been built near the entrance to the estate, with a number of office blocks with storage and factories built further within the site. The remaining lands have been laid out, serviced and landscaped in accordance with the planning approval.
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