Ards and Down Area Plan 2015
Policy Framework: Regional Policy Context
The Regional Development Strategy, (RDS), seeks to meet a number of key regional challenges as part of its Spatial Development Strategy, including the need to “facilitate the development of education, health and commercial services, cultural and leisure amenities necessary to meet the needs of a growing population”.
Policy SPG-ECON 5 is to undertake or where appropriate, facilitate a programme of infrastructure improvements essential to business needs and identifies social, cultural and community facilities as the infrastructure which enhances the quality of life.
Policy ECON 6.1 aims to meet the educational and training needs of the Region by maintaining a well developed network of schools and colleges and by facilitating improved access to education and training opportunities, including linkage with associated childcare provision.
The RDS identifies Newtownards and Downpatrick as main hubs to be developed as the major locations providing employment services, and a range of cultural and leisure amenities. Decisions on the future location of new public sector development for a variety of functions, including health and education, will take into account the strategic role of the main towns.
The Department’s regional planning policies for allocating lands to meet community needs within the Plan area are currently set out in “A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland” and within Draft Planning Policy Statement 21 (PPS 21): Sustainable Development in the Countryside.
Supplementary Planning Guidance is contained in Development Control Advice Note 9 ‘Residential and Nursing Homes’ and Development Control Advice Note 13 ‘Crèches, Day Nurseries and Pre-school Playgroups’.