Planning Portal

Ards and Down Area Plan 2015
Policy Framework: Housing (Page 1 of 3)

Housing continues to place the greatest demand on the land resource throughout the Plan area. Need for additional housing land is created by the formation of new households through natural increase in the population, inward migration and the trend to smaller household sizes. That need includes variety in dwelling size, type and tenure to meet the particular requirements of groups such as the elderly, people with limited incomes and people with disabilities.

Regional Policy Context

Prevailing regional planning policy for housing development is currently contained in the Regional Development Strategy, (RDS), in relevant Planning Policy Statements, (PPSs) and in “A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland”, (the Rural Strategy). A Planning Policy Statement, PPS 12 - Housing in Settlements was published in July 2005.
The RDS has introduced a radical change in the manner in which the amount of land for housing development is to be allocated to, and distributed throughout, a plan area. The RDS identifies a need for 208,000 new houses in Northern Ireland in the period 1998-2015 and allocates this growth to each district council area by means of “Housing Growth Indicators”.
The RDS allocates 10,500 housing units as an appropriate “Housing Growth Indicator” for the period 1998-2015 to Ards Borough and to Down District respectively. It is the task of this Plan to distribute the growth allocated to each district in accordance with the strategic planning guidance in the RDS.
Achieving balanced communities and social cohesion, consistent with the RDS (SPG-HOU6), requires that social diversity and inclusion should characterise new housing development. Affordable housing, social housing and housing to meet the special needs of community groups such as the elderly and disabled will be required.
Planning Policy Statement 7 (PPS 7): Quality Residential Environments 2001, sets out the Departments regional planning policies for achieving quality in the design and layout of new residential developments. It embodies the Government’s commitment to sustainable development and the Quality Initiative. The Statement contains criteria-based policies against which all proposals for new residential development will be assessed, with the exception of single dwellings in the Countryside. These will continue to be assessed under policies contained in the Rural Strategy, pending publication of a PPS, which will apply to housing in the countryside.
Zoning of lands for housing development will not of itself convey permission to develop. All development proposals must demonstrate to the Department how quality objectives are to be achieved. Development of housing lands will require to be designed and implemented in accordance with prevailing regional planning policy on housing and with the relevant policies of this Plan. In addition, Key Design Considerations are detailed in the Plan which are specific to certain sites and which should be taken into account in the preparation of site proposals.
Many development sites will require the improvement of existing infrastructure and/ or the provision of additional infrastructure to enable the development to take place. The infrastructural works may include roads, water and sewerage or land drainage. It is presently government policy to require developers to bear all or part of these infrastructural costs. This policy applies to both public and private sector developments. Where appropriate, planning agreements under Article 40 of the Planning (Northern Ireland ) Order 1991 may be used to enable developers to proceed.
Supplementary planning guidance for residential development is contained in 'Creating Places-Achieving Quality in Residential Development', published in May 2000. It is the principle guide for use by intending developers in the design of all new housing areas.
In addition, the Department has published Development Control Advice Note (DCAN) 8: Housing in Existing Urabn Areas, which will be material to the determination of planning applications for small unit housing within existing urban areas.
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