Planning Portal

Ards and Down Area Plan 2015
Policy Framework: Regional Policy Context

SPG- ECON 1 of the Regional Development Strategy, (RDS) is to promote a balanced spread of economic development opportunities across the Region focused on the main regional cities and urban hubs/clusters. It places an onus on development plans to provide a generous and continuous supply of land for employment purposes.
SPG-ECON 2 of the RDS (revised June 2008) aims to exploit the economic development potential of the key transport corridors by promoting and exploiting the potential for economic development at selected locations on the strategic network of key transport corridors and links.
SPG-ECON 4 of the RDS (revised June 2008) is to provide an ample supply of land to facilitate economic growth and protect such land from losses to other uses.
The RDS also aims to develop an attractive and prosperous rural area, which, within the context of the RDS, includes the Plan area. This will be achieved by acting on a number of strategic objectives, including:
  • Developing a living and working countryside which recognises the unique rural character of the Region and contributes to a sense of belonging in local rural areas;
  • Promoting the continuing renewal and revitalisation of towns and villages in Rural Northern Ireland; and
  • Improving the accessibility of the rural community to employment, services and regional amenities.
Policies and proposals addressing RDS objectives in respect of industry within the rural area, specifically the open countryside, villages and small settlements are contained in Part 3 of this Volume and Volumes 2 and 3 of the Plan.
Regional development control policies for industry are currently set out in Planning Policy Statement 4, (PPS 4), Industrial Development, published in March 1997. The Department published a consultation draft intended to replace the existing PPS 4 in January 2003 entitled “Industry, Business and Distribution. Work is well advanced on this replacement PPS and it is anticipated that it will be published shortly in its final format.
Directive 96/82/EC, known as the Seveso II Directive, was implemented in Northern Ireland by the Control of Major-Accident Hazards Regulations (NI) 2000 and the Planning (Control of Major-Accidents Hazards) Regulations (NI) 2000. These are specifically concerned with the implementation of Article 12 of the Directive which requires that the objectives of preventing major accidents and limiting their consequences are taken into account in land-use planning policies and that these objectives are pursued through controls. There is also a requirement to set up appropriate consultation procedures to facilitate implementation of these Regulations.
The Plan does not identify new development sites for the use or storage of hazardous substances. The determination of planning permission for such proposals may entail the submission of an Environmental Statement, which may be accompanied by an application for consent to store hazardous materials on a site. Granting consent to store hazardous substances would establish a consultation distance within which Planning Service is required to consult with Health and Safety Executive (Northern Ireland) and Northern Ireland Environment Agency on proposals for new development.
Details of such guidance and procedures for controlling development in relation to hazardous substances are contained in the Department’s publication entitled “Development Control Advice Note 12 - Planning Controls for Hazardous Substances” available from Divisional Planning Offices or Planning Service Headquarters.
Policy IND 1 Existing Industrial Sites
Existing industrial land designated in the Plan will be safeguarded against inappropriate development.
Lands in existing industrial use have been designated in Newtownards, Comber, Donaghadee in Ards Borough and in Downpatrick, (including lands at Belfast Road), Newcastle, and Ballynahinch in Down District and are indicated on the relevant settlement maps in Volumes 2 and 3 of the Plan and relevant Down Countryside Map.
Throughout the Plan area it is important that a supply of industrial land be retained within settlements in order to secure the proper economic development of the Plan area and to meet the needs of local communities. The Department therefore considers it necessary to safeguard existing industrial land within settlements from competing uses. This policy will help maintain the overall level of industrial provision and in line with the RDS will allow for a continuous supply of land for employment purposes.
Where land designated as existing industrial land is being proposed for an alternative purpose to that specified in this Plan it will be necessary for developers to demonstrate that the proposal will not result in a deficiency of industrial land.
It has not been possible to identify all areas in existing industrial use but the precautionary principle inherent in this policy will apply when an alternative use is being proposed for all lands in existing industrial use.
Within these areas, planning applications will be determined in accordance with the provisions of prevailing planning policy.
Proposal IND 2 Proposed Industrial Land, Ards Borough
A total of approximately 32 hectares of land are zoned for industry in Ards Borough, comprising:
  • Newtownards: 27 hectares
  • Comber: 5 hectares
Favourable consideration will be given to development proposals on land zoned for industry provided that it is accordance with the requirements and guidance set out for each of these areas in Volume 2 of the Plan.
Applications for planning permission on lands zoned for industry will be processed in accordance with prevailing planning policy.
It is in the interests of the Plan area that adequate sites are identified for industrial uses. Accordingly the Department has zoned land for new industry to meet the needs of industry and business enterprises over the Plan period.
The principal site development requirements affecting zoned lands are set out in the relevant settlement sections in Volume 2 of the Plan. These include the provision of infrastructure, landscaping and appropriate access arrangements as well as matters relating to form, design and layout of development. It is considered that the range of sites will provide flexibility in choice of site for developers. Lands proposed for industry are identified on the relevant Plan settlement maps.
Proposal IND 3 Proposed Industrial Land, Down District
A total of approximately 25 hectares of land are zoned for industry in Down District, comprising:
  • Downpatrick: 20 hectares
  • Ballynahinch: 5 hectares
  • Newcastle: 0.3 hectares
Favourable consideration will be given to development proposals on land zoned for industry provided that it is accordance with the requirements and guidance set out for each of these areas in Volume 3 of the Plan.
Applications for planning permission on lands zoned for industry will be processed in accordance with prevailing planning policy.
It is in the interests of the Plan area that adequate sites are identified for industrial uses. Accordingly the Department has zoned land for new industry to meet the needs of industry and business enterprises over the Plan period.
The principal site development requirements affecting zoned lands are set out in the relevant settlement sections in Volume 3 of the Plan. These include the provision of infrastructure, landscaping and appropriate access arrangements as well as matters relating to form, design and layout of development. It is considered that the range of sites will provide flexibility in choice of site for developers. Lands proposed for industry are identified on the relevant Plan settlement maps.
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