Planning Portal

Cookstown Area Plan 2010
Policy Framework:  Recreation and Open Space

Introduction

The provision of adequate recreational facilities within Cookstown District is the statutory responsibility of the District Council. Other bodies who contribute to the provision and development of sport, recreation and open space facilities do, however, also play an important role. These include local sports clubs, schools and colleges, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Forest Service, the National Trust and the Sports Council.
The District Council provides a range of parks and children's play facilities. The District is presently generally well served by a wide range of formal private recreational facilities including those for hockey, soccer, rugby, cricket, gaelic games and golf. The widespread provision of school amenities throughout the District also offers potential for dual use.
Provision of informal open space, particularly parkland, is widespread. Pomeroy Forest, Drum Manor, Wellbrook Beetling Mill and the Lough shore at Ballyronan are of particular importance. Throughout the remainder of the District, further informal recreation facilities exist in association with the natural resources of the area such as rivers, lakes, heritage sites, and disused railway tracks. The District is also rich interms of its potential for the further development of outdoor activities such as sailing, angling, and walking, with the Ballinderry River, the Sperrins and Lough Neagh providing the major natural resources.

Regional Policy Context

One of the major themes in the Regional Development Strategy (RDS) is to promote 'the Environment and Health including Recreation and Cultural Amenities'. The RDS aims to promote a greater awareness of the important links between the environment, health and well being by:
  • creating healthier living environments and to support healthy lifestyles; and
  • facilitating access to a range of opportunities for recreational and cultural activities.
The Department's regional planning policies for recreation and open space in Cookstown District are currently set out in Planning Policy Statement 8 (PPS 8): Open Space, Sport and Outdoor Recreation. PPS 8 contains policies for the protection of existing open space, the provision of new areas of open space in association with residential development, and the use of land for sport and outdoor recreation.
Planning Policy Statement 7 (PPS 7): Quality Residential Environments requires adequate provision for public and private open space in new residential developments.
Plan Policy ROS 1 Recreation and Open Space Zonings
4.1 hectares of land are zoned for open space and outdoor recreational use in Cookstown. A 31 hectare site is also zoned at Loughry College, which is suitable for the provision of an outdoor sports complex.
These areas will be safeguarded for open space and outdoor recreational use and planning permission will normally only be granted to proposals which are ancillary to the open space use of the land and which meet the requirements and guidance contained in Part 3 of the Plan.
There is a lack of sports pitches and large playing fields in Cookstown. The District Council proposes to rectify this shortfall through the development of a major outdoor sports complex at Loughry College. The Council also proposes to provide additional opportunities for passive recreation in Cookstown with the development of a site along the Ballinderry River.
The sites zoned for future open space and outdoor recreation are identified on the relevant Settlement Maps. These proposals are supplemented by a proposed network of walkways and cycleways and the establishment of a number of community woodlands (see Plan Policy TRAN 4 and Plan Policy AGRI 1). Developers will also be required to provide adequate areas of open space within new housing schemes in accordance with PPS 8 and PPS 7.
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