Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015
Strategic Plan Framework: Housing (Page 1 of 6)
Regional Policy Context
The Regional Development Strategy (RDS) sets policy directions for the provision of housing that aim to deliver development in a more sustainable manner, and it provides a number of Strategic Planning Guidelines and measures for housing development throughout Northern Ireland that recognise the need to:
- manage housing growth in response to changing housing need (SPG-HOU 1);
- direct and manage future housing growth to achieve more sustainable patterns of residential development (SPG-HOU 2);
- set Housing Growth Indicators to guide the distribution of housing in the Region over the period to 2015, through the development plan process in accordance withthe Spatial Development Strategy (SPG-HOU 3);
- promote a drive to provide more housing within existing urban areas (SPG-HOU 4);
- encourage an increase in the density of urban housing appropriate in scale and design to the cities and towns of Northern Ireland (SPG-HOU 5); encourage the development of balanced local communities (SPG- HOU 6);
- create and sustain a living countryside with a high quality of life for all its residents (SPG-RN1 2); and
- support the network of service centres based on main towns, small towns and villages in Rural Northern Ireland (SPG-RNI 3).
Within this context, the RDS emphasises that the development plan process should adopt a sequential approach to the allocation of land for housing in cities and towns. This involves using a search sequence that focuses firstly on the re-use of previously developed land and buildings informed by capacity studies, and consideration of previously undeveloped land within the existing urban area, before deciding the location and scale of settlement extensions.
In accordance with SPG-HOU 3 the RDS allocates 42,000 housing units as a Housing Growth Indicator for the Metropolitan Urban Area, and 9,000 units for the Metropolitan Rural Area. It also sets a specific framework for the location of future housing growth in the Plan Area (SPG-HOU 3.1 and HGI 4) which will:
- accommodate an increased share of future residential development within theexisting urban area;
- provide for major areas of planned expansion on the key transport corridors at Lisburn and Newtownabbey focusing housing development near areas of employment growth and integrating with suburban rail links and other primary public transport services;
- focus housing on existing land zonings and ‘whitelands’1 and smaller sites to be determined in the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan; and
- allow a significant planned expansion in the small towns of Ballyclare, Carryduff and Moira in the Metropolitan Rural Area.
In addition to the RDS, prevailing regional planning policy for housing development is currently contained in a number of relevant PPSs, and in the Rural Strategy.
PPS 7 Quality Residential Environments, sets out the Department’s 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 PPS contains criteria-based policies against which all proposals for new residential development including those on land zoned 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 by DRD, which will apply to the countryside.
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.
11‘Whitelands’ referred to in the Plan are those areas identified in the Belfast Urban Area Plan 2001, situated between the 1993 development limit and the inner edge of the Green Belt, which were intended as a reserve of development land to meet needs beyond 1993.