Planning Portal

Ards and Down Area Plan 2015
Down District: Newcastle Environment and Conservation

Proposal NE 17 Local Landscape Policy Areas
The following Local Landscape Policy Areas are designated in accordance with Policy CON 2 in Volume 1 of the Plan and as indicated on Map No. 3/004a, Newcastle Settlement Map and Map No. 3/004b.
Those features or combination of features that contribute to the environmental quality, integrity or character of these areas are listed below.

LLPA 1 Burren River Corridor

  • river and shorelines provides local nature conservation interest and potential for public access linking countryside with open space within the town centre; and
  • includes lands retained as flood pondage following implementation of flood alleviation scheme.

LLPA 2 Bryansford Road – Enniskeen Hotel and large houses and Shimna River Corridor

  • areas of woodland and important tree groups - substantially wooded corridor of high environmental quality and visual amenity provides a good visual entrance feature into town;
  • original character defined by low density housing and areas of fine wooded landscape;
  • important archaeological site fronting Bryansford Road - scheduled St Cillan’s Fort;
  • river significant for salmon fishing and breeding and local nature conservation interest - river and trees support a range of habitats and species;
  • public access along river alongside Tipperary Wood linking to Tipperary Lane with potential for extension and linkage with Tollymore Forest Park; and
  • landform backdrop to river emphasises the visual significance of the area.

LLPA 3 Ardaluin House and grounds

  • locally important building within substantial treed grounds, former walled garden area and detached property with surrounding important tree groups; and
  • trees form a strong entrance feature into the town along Bryansford Road and attractive backcloth to infill development to the south and east.

LLPA 4 Tullybrannigan River Corridor

  • river valley corridor provides local wildlife habitat and nature conservation interest;
  • mature trees and riverside vegetation are of local amenity value; and
  • water quality is important for fishing.

LLPA 5 St Colman’s Church and Graveyard

  • small listed church and surroundings – St Colman’s Church of Ireland Chapel and its setting comprising the cemetery and attractive landscaped grounds with a backcloth of forested slopes;
  • front boundary wall/railings, gates and piers are also listed of architectural or historic merit; and
  • provides a visual break within densely built up area.

LLPA 6 Donard Park, Donard Lodge and associated planting and Glen River Corridor

  • important tree groups within surviving area of planned landscape associated with Donard Lodge forms a buffer between heavily wooded mountain slopes and the town;
  • river corridor with mature trees along river and within Donard Park are important in visual amenity terms; and
  • green area of local amenity importance within easy reach of the town centre is a popular recreation and tourist attraction.

LLPA 7 Slieve Donard Hotel and shoreline

  • prominent listed hotel and its landscaped surroundings and grounds;
  • public access along shoreline walkway between Slieve Donard Hotel to the north and beyond and Glen River to the south and associated public amenity open space at Downs Road and Central Promenade; and
  • contributes to the distinctive coastal setting and character of the town.

Built Heritage

The historical development of Newcastle and its evolution through various stages of economic development to the present day is mirrored in the character of its townscape. The principal elements in the townscape include the harbour area, The Rock, The Promenades, Annesley Mansions and Downs Road where the new Chapel stands in stark contrast to the hotel, station and a fine terrace of Victorian boarding houses. In the main body of the town, encroachment of commercial uses and redevelopment has weakened the fundamental relationships between town, open space, beaches and sea; this is especially so of Downs Road area. In contrast, the area south of Bryansford Road including The Ballagh and The Rock still reflects earlier phases in the development of Newcastle.
Proposal NE 18 The Harbour, The Rock and King Street Area of Townscape Character
The Harbour, The Rock and King Street Area of Townscape Character is designated in accordance with Planning Policy Statement 6 (PPS 6): Planning, Archaeology and the Built Heritage and as indicated on Map No. 3/004a, Newcastle Settlement Map and Map No. 3/004c.

The Harbour

The Harbour, by virtue of its location and function, has a singular sense of place quite distinct from its immediate environs. Its distinctive character, appearance, key features and intrinsic qualities and the basis for its designation derive from:
  • the robustness, simplicity and utilitarian nature of harbour structures and buildings;
  • the gentler stylised architecture of the Harbour Inn with its Dutch Gables and the stuccoed Georgian terrace of dwellings and business houses forming the building cluster straddling the coast road;
  • the Coastguard Buildings and Widow’s Row on rising ground to the south and to the west; and
  • the open space overlooking the harbour area between the coast road and King Street
The Harbour Area in general appears underused and in need of regeneration. The harbour is an important local resource but it and its environs are vulnerable to development pressures. To sustain and enhance the distinctive character and sense of place generated by the harbour and its surroundings, new development in the harbour should reflect its scale, its maritime and local vernacular and style in form, detail and materials, and be compatible in terms of use. The largely Georgian buildings forming the cluster on either side of the coast road are integral to the harbour scene but of more sophisticated architectural style. They are a significant group and emphasis should be placed on conservation of the existing fabric and character with particular attention given to massing, scale, detailing and materials. Beyond the immediate harbour area, the pattern of development becomes fragmented and better examples are listed. Nevertheless, the policies outlined should be seen as exemplars for the wider area.

The Rock

The distinctive character, appearance, key features, and intrinsic qualities and the basis for its designation within an Area of Townscape Character derive from:
  • The Rock itself, on and about which, is clustered a number of listed buildings, including St. John’s Parish Church;
  • landscaping in St. John’s Church Yard and the public garden below;
  • King Street, historically the approach to Donard Lodge (now demolished), and its environs, characterised by large Victorian Villas in their own landscaped grounds;
  • the prevailing backdrop of the Victorian seaside terraced boarding houses, stuccoed, two and three storeys and bay windows; and
  • the punctuation of this expansive but prosaic esplanade by buildings of an earlier age and of quality.
The Rock Area derives its name from the physical prominence dominating the shoreline between The Harbour Area and the junction of Bryansford Road with Central Promenade. It retains more of Newcastle’s historic character than any other section of the ‘old’ town.
This townscape has a significance and architectural style similar to elsewhere in Newcastle and other seaside resorts of the same era. It is therefore likely to experience similar development pressures prejudicial to its present character and distinctiveness. These could variously include redevelopment, multiple-occupancy, apartments, changes of use, fragmentation of sites and minor but cumulative alteration. To protect the special character of the area there will be a clear presumption in favour of conservation and re-use of existing buildings. Proposals should value and respect the physical characteristics and artefacts of existing development and pattern of land use, be subordinate in terms of massing, form, style and function, and be accurate in matters of detail, material and finishes.

King Street

The distinctive character, appearance, key features and intrinsic qualities and basis for its designation within an Area of Townscape Character derive from;
  • historically King Street was the approach to Donard Lodge ( now demolished);
  • the substantial detached villas standing in their own landscaped grounds;
  • the number of older, grander houses of distinct character such as “Woodside Cottage”, “Bay View”, “Bright View” and “Chez Noel”;
  • steeply rising ground behind Forge Row forms a backdrop to the harbour and links with the Demesne. Insensitive development of this land could have a very serious negative impact on the environmental character of the Harbour;
  • the Granite Trail ( Bogie Line) is accessed from, King Street adjacent to Forge Row where several methods were employed to convey the undressed granite to the stonemasons yard on South promenade, the harbour and the railway station on what is now Railway Street
In 1824 John Lynn opened a quarry on Millstone Mountain and laid a mineral railway line to King Street. By 1859 the railway was diverted to the more productive quarry on Thomas’s Mountain and the Granite Trail follows the route of this funicular (cable) railway, known locally as the Bogie Line.
The street has a sense of place with buildings and groups of buildings which display a distinctive character. The older buildings and groups are dispersed with more recent developments inserted into the spaces between.
Within the area, development will be expected to conform to the prevailing residential use and applicants will be expected to demonstrate how development proposals respect the overall character and topography and preserve the local environmental quality.
Proposal NE 19 Area of Archaeological Potential
An Area of Archaeological Potential is designated in accordance with Policy CON 5 in Volume 1 of the Plan and as indicated on Map No. 3/004a, Newcastle Settlement Map and Map No. 3/004c.
The area identified reflects the area of late medieval settlement and the former castle where, on the basis of current knowledge, it is likely that archaeological remains will be encountered in the course of development.
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