Dungannon and South Tyrone Area Plan 2010
Policy Framework: Recreation & Open Space
The provision of adequate recreational facilities within Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough is the statutory responsibility of the Borough 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, educational establishments, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Forest Service , the Department's Environment and Heritage Service and the Northern Ireland Sports Council.
The Borough Council provides a range of parks and children's play facilities. The Borough is presently well served by a wide range of formal private recreational clubs including soccer, rugby, cricket, Gaelic games and golf. The widespread provision of school playing fields throughout the Borough also offer future potential for dual use. The Borough Council is actively involved in community partnerships for the development of recreational sites.
Provision of informal open space, particularly parkland, is widespread. Dungannon Park and Windmill Wood in Dungannon, and Parkanaur Forest and Peatlands Park in the countryside are of particular importance. Throughout the remainder of the Borough, further informal recreation facilities exist in association with the natural resources of the area such as rivers, canals, lakes, heritage sites, and disused railway tracks. The Borough is also rich in terms of its potential for the further development of outdoor activities such as sailing, angling and walking, with the Clogher and Blackwater valleys and Lough Neagh providing 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 Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough are currently set out in Planning Policy Statement 8 (PPS 8): Open Space, Sport and Outdoor Recreation. The PPS 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 also requires adequate provision for public and private open space in new residential developments.
The Borough Council recognises that there is a deficiency of public open space within the heart of Dungannon and that there is a need to improve the overall attractiveness and environmental quality of its town centre. Accordingly, it proposes to provide a town park at Castle Hill (see Map No. 61b). This will provide a valuable open space for passive recreation and children's play and could also act as a venue for outdoor events to attract people to the town centre. It is also proposed to provide a pedestrian link from the park to Circular Road and the leisure centre. Elsewhere within Dungannon and in the other settlements of the Borough, the Council also intends to improve facilities for sports and children's play. Developers will also be required to provide adequate areas of open space within new housing schemes in accordance with PPS 7 and PPS 8.
Existing Open Space
Major areas of existing recreation and open space, such as parks, playing fields and school facilities, are shown for information on the relevant Plan maps. All existing open space will be safeguarded for open space and outdoor recreational use in accordance with PPS 8.
The open space areas are complemented by a number of walkways and cycleways and the establishment of a number of community woodlands (see Plan Policy TRAN 3 and Policy AGRI 1). Some open spaces are designated as Local Landscape Policy Areas (LLPAs) and proposals in these cases will also be subject to Plan Policy CON 2.