Derry Area Plan 2011
Natural Environment: Proposals/Policies (Page 2 of 3)
New development will not normally be permitted within the AoLNCAI. Exceptions to this may include proposals which:
- relate to changes of use and conversions of existing buildings which could accommodate sensitive development and where such existing buildings and structures are neither unsightly nor obtrusive elements in the landscape;
- are aimed at enhancing and maintaining the interest of these areas.
Since some of these areas lie outside settlement boundaries, consideration of development proposals will take account of all other relevant rural planning policies. In assessing development proposals, the Department will have particular regard to the existing character and interests of the area and proposed changes to that character. Development which is likely to increase noise significantly, or detract from the quiet enjoyment of the areas will be resisted.
The AoLNCAI contain a small amount of built development, much of which consists of traditional and historic buildings. These add to the amenity of the areas and the Department will encourage the sympathetic re-use and rehabilitation of these properties. The loss of these remaining buildings and their replacement with unsympathetic design solutions will be resisted. However, proposals which may be acceptable include informal recreational activities, creation or enhancement of pedestrian access, tree planting, woodland management and schemes specifically aimed at enhancing the landscape or improving the nature conservation interest.
The Department will safeguard land at Skeoge for a Community Woodland and, in consultation with the City Council and other relevant bodies, review the potential for additional Community Woodlands over the Plan period.
The land at Skeoge is currently in the Department’s ownership and will be developed over the Plan period as a Community Woodland. A joint initiative by the Departments of Agriculture and Environment is intended to promote Community Woodlands near large towns and cities. The aims are to provide peaceful places for people to relax, walk and enjoy sports, the arts and leisure activities, as well as contributing to farm and forest business. Northern Ireland has very little woodland in comparison with the rest of Europe and major areas of woodland and forest tend to be in rural areas remote and not readily accessible to town dwellers. By planting new woods and maintaining existing ones near to centres of population, areas of derelict land, public open space and land difficult to farm can be transformed into attractive woodland. They may be used to link existing woodlands and open spaces, and provide green corridors, extending from the open countryside into the urban area.
In order to protect the amenity value of trees and woodland the Department will where appropriate:
- make Tree Preservation Orders on woodlands, groups of trees and individual specimens which contribute to the visual amenities and character of the surrounding area;
- require the retention of trees and hedgerows in development proposals wherever possible; and
- encourage the proper and beneficial management of trees and woodland.
Trees can be protected if they are of public amenity value by the making of a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). This prohibits the cutting down, topping, lopping or wilful destruction of trees without the consent of the Department. Where protected trees have to be felled the Department will require that suitable replanting occurs. Subject to the availability of resources, the Department will initiate a programme of Tree Preservation Orders within the Derry City Council Area to protect trees which make a particular contribution to visual amenity.