Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015
Strategic Plan Framework: Urban Environment Policies
Policy UE 1 Urban Design
|Within the designated Character Areas, outside designated Protected Housing Areas in Belfast City Centre and other designated City and Town Centres and Arterial Routes, planning permission will only be given to development proposals which comply with the urban design criteria in the District Proposals.
Specific design criteria for city and town centres and Arterial Routes are contained in the District Proposals. These are based on the recommendations of the consultant’s report.
Policy UE 2 Conservation Areas
|In Conservation Areas planning permission will only be granted to development proposals which meet the additional design criteria as set out for individual Conservation Areas in the District Proposals.
The existing Conservation Areas are:
* No additional design criteria are provided for these Conservation Areas.
To prevent erosion of character from inappropriate development, new development should respect heritage in terms of massing, scale, elevational appearance, materials and quality. Whilst some sites may be capable of assimilating dramatic architectural contrasts, the general objective is to be sensitive to the built heritage context. Where the Department judges that new development should reinforce the special architectural or historic qualities of the area that provide its legible character, new design should have particular regard to issues such as scale (of windows, doors, floor to ceiling heights etc.), vertical emphasis (bay, frame, fenestration etc.), rhythm and elevational form (solid to void composition).
In residential areas the Department will seek to retain trees and hedges which are important to the character of the area.
In commercial parts of Conservation Areas, the Department will seek to ensure that a high quality of design of shop front is achieved. This should respect the architectural qualities of the host building in terms of scale, form and materials. It is important that the elevation reads as an entity and that new shopfronts do not visually divorce the ground and upper floors by giving an over visual dominance to the glazing on the ground floor. This can be achieved through use of elements such as pilasters, fascias, stallrisers and subdivision of glass. Materials should be based on those traditionally used and respect the age and character of the area.
Policy UE 3 Areas of Townscape Character and Areas of Village Character
Within designated Areas of Townscape Character and Areas of Village Character planning permission will only be granted to development proposals which protect or enhance the key features of the designated area, including those set out in the District Proposals and which meet the relevant Key Design Criteria from the list below as set out for individual Areas in the District Proposals.
Works to existing buildings, including alterations and extensions, shall be subordinate in form and scale, and complementary in terms of architectural style, detailing and materials to the host building(s).
Special regard shall be given to the important compositional role of corner ites and key buildings.
Where the application is for sinage, the size, shape and position of the proposed signage shall reflect the scale and facade of the host building. Sign on timber fascia shall comprise traditional hand painted signs or hanging boards, and lighting sall be unobtrusive and remote. Only exceptionally, when it is well designed and there is no potential for clutter shall signage be permitted above fascia level.
Key Design Criteria
- Building Height
- New buildings shall be designed so that heights of eaves, cornices, ridge heights and storey heights conform to those in the adjoining buildings (where relevant) as set out under specified height restrictions.
- New Buildings shall not exceed 3 storeys in height
- Density/Building Footprint
- New dwellings shall be detached or semi-detached. Terraced, town house or apartment developments will not normally be permitted
- The size, ploy ratio and ratio of footprint to open space in new developments shall be compatible with those of the historic character and appearance in the immediate neighbourhood.
- All new or replacement structures on a site shall be located so that the relationship between the existing buildings and the site boundary is retailed.
- Landscape Quality
- Development shall not incluse the removal of trees and ares of soft landscaping between the building line and the boundary of the road or footway.
- Development shall not include removal of front garden areas and/or traditional front boundary structures.
- Hedging or other boundary treatment in new developments shall be in keeping with those traditionally used in the area.
- Uniformity of Design/Layout
- New or replacement buildings shall replicate existing forms, layout, materials and detailing of the buildings within the area.
- Alterations and extensions sall use the same wall and roofing materials as those of the main building.
- The same standards of detailing and design will be applied to all development whether on the street frontage or to the rear of the buildings and whether exposed to or hidden from public view.
- Facing brick shall not be used in finishes except in chimney stacks and shop window openings shall be retained.
- Development shall not include new side extensions to dwellings.
- Townscape Quality/Detailing
- Extensions and alteration works to the rear of terraces shall be subordinate in character to the main building on the street frontage and will be no more than 2 storeys high.
- New works shall not disrupt the exiting silhouette of a roof.
- External finishes shall reflect the style and materials in the area and shall not include the use of artificial stonework or pebbledash.
- Replacement windows shall be the same size, shape and style as those traditionally used in the area.
- Brick detailing around doors and windows shall be retained.
- New dormer windows shall be located on the rear roof elevation. In exceptional cases where a dormer is required on the front roof elevation it shall be of pitched design and in scale with the existing building and its fenestration.
- Fire escapes shall be provided within the existing building envelope. Otherwise, they shall be provided on rear elevations and every attempt shall be made to ensure that they are not visible from the public street.
- Natural slate or dark grey smooth concrete titles shall be used as a roofing material.
- Historic Buildings and Structures
- Existing historic structures located behind the principal premises that form the street frontage shall be retained.
- The retention of existing historic ancillary structures shall take precedence over the requirements for additional vehicle access.
- The enlargement of existing ground floor windows and door openings in street facades shall be carried out in a traditional manner.
The Plan Proposals for protection of the built heritage are based on identification of Areas of Townscape or Village Character, identification of those ATCs which merit Conservation Area Designation and formulation of appropriate planning policies to manage change.
All settlements have their own identity and character derived from the physical setting, the appearance of buildings and their relationship to the spaces between them. Over time human activity has shaped the built form and produced the sense of place that exists today. In some places the variety or consistency of the overall character is particularly distinctive or pleasing and merits specific protection from inappropriate change.
The Plan Area has a legacy of fine buildings and areas of character, which provide a particular “sense of place“ and which are worthy of protection from the pressures of unsympathetic development. The urban area is diverse in its historical character, which includes city and town centre commercial areas, Edwardian outer suburbs, Victorian inner suburbs, seaside resorts, railway settlements, rural villages, industrial canal villages, inter-war private housing and post-war social housing.
ATCs or AVCs are designated in all 6 Council areas that make up the Belfast Metropolitan Area. 53 are designated in Belfast, 13 in Lisburn, 4 in Carrickfergus, 7 in Castlereagh, 13 in Newtownabbey and 11 in North Down.
Priority will be given to designating the following 5 ATCs as Conservation Areas as part of a phased approach to designation subject to resources. The 5 are:
- The Holy Lands in Belfast;
- Thiepval in Castlereagh;
- Abbeyville in Newtownabbey
- Fernagh in Newtownabbey; and
- Bangor Central.
This does not preclude future designation of any identified ATCs, or other areas, as Conservation Areas under Article 50 of the Planning (NI) Order 1991