Planning Portal

Ards and Down Area Plan 2015
Down District: The Spa

Spa is a small picturesque village located 3 kilometres to the south of Ballynahinch. The settlement developed as a popular nineteenth century health resort due to the presence of the Chalybeate water springs. The village is characterised by its abundant tree coverage and with the centre of the settlement given over to large open fields, it portrays a distinctly rural character.
The Spa is essentially a residential village with a low level of community facilities near to Ballynahinch, which acts as the nearest local service centre. As a result of its location off a main trunk road, The Spa enjoys only a limited public bus service.
The surrounding landscape is characterised by pronounced drumlins divided by marshy hollows, loughs and bogs.
Proposal SA 01 Settlement Limit
A Settlement Limit is designated in accordance with Policy SETT 1 in Volume 1 of the Plan and as indicated on Map No. 3/018, The Spa Settlement Map
The designated Settlement Limit reflects the need to preserve the existing compact form and scale of the village together with its rural character and setting. It is designed to prevent further ribboning of development away from the centre of the village, while allowing for small scale housing opportunities linked to existing development at The Beeches.
Proposal SA 02 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. 3/018, The Spa Settlement Map and the relevant Down Countryside Map.
Those features or combination of features that contribute to the environmental quality, integrity or character of these areas are listed below.

LLPA 1 Spa Nursing Home and surroundings

  • locally important residential properties with significant numbers of surrounding mature trees;
  • contributes significantly to the visual amenity and character of this area; and
  • forms an attractive edge to the settlement and a good entrance and exit feature.

LLPA 2 Mountcaper and surroundings

  • significant bank of mature trees along roadside provides an attractive frontage to the road and a pleasant tree lined driveway to a cluster of traditional dwellings; and
  • forms an attractive edge to the settlement and a good entrance and exit feature.

LLPA 3 Fishbourne House and associated vegetation

  • locally important characterful building overlooking the main crossroads in The Spa; and
  • surrounded by mature vegetation and trees which are an important landscape feature.

LLPA 4 Spa Wells and Assembly Rooms

  • listed building (Assembly Rooms) and listed Grove Cottage and their surroundings including historically important and listed wells within their grounds;
  • wells/springs play integral role in history and identity of the settlement; and
  • important mature trees and vegetation within the grounds and along site boundaries present an attractive aspect onto main crossroads in The Spa and contribute to the character of the settlement.

LLPA 5 Echohall and surroundings

  • listed house and gardens presenting an attractive frontage onto Spa Road to the front and Ballymaglave Road to the rear;
  • significant mature trees and newly planted ornamental trees within grounds of Echohall;
  • visually linked with important groups of mature trees and vegetation and newly planted woodland to the other side of Spa Road and Ballymaglave Road; and
  • creates impression of heavily treed landscape and provides unique setting to the listed building.

LLPA 6 The Maze

  • important tree groups on historical site of The Maze now occupied by modern private housing; and
  • surviving remnants of mature vegetation and trees along the periphery of the site screen the housing and maintain the rural and heavily treed character of this part of the settlement.

LLPA 7 Private dwellings and surroundings Ballymaglave Road/Dunmore Road

  • important tree groups - character of area derives from single dwellings in heavily wooded and mature surroundings containing for example a traditional farmhouse (Sandymount) and an historically important well.

LLPA 8 Lands adjoining Spa Road and Dunmore Road

  • area of local amenity importance – open fields, largely free of built development, penetrate to the centre of settlement at important road junction and contribute to the essentially rural character of The Spa; and
  • contains two modern dwellings with attractively landscaped gardens.

LLPA 9 Spa Presbyterian Church and old school

  • listed church and gates and stone built former school building within grounds;
  • important mature trees along Ballymaglave Road contribute to setting of church and visual amenity of the area; and
  • focal listed building overlooking main crossroads within The Spa.
Proposal SA 03 Existing Amenity Open Space and Recreation
The following areas of existing amenity open space and recreation use are designated in accordance with Planning Policy Statement 8 (PPS 8): Open Space, Sport and Outdoor Recreation and as indicated on Map No. 3/018, The Spa Settlement Map:

Active Open Space

Hillside: Playground

Amenity Open Space

Hillside: Recreation Area
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