Northern Ireland Planning Service

Magherafelt Area Plan 2015
Part 3: Countryside

Related Maps

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The character of the countryside throughout the District, its landscapes, biodiversity and heritage are detailed in the Countryside Assessment Technical Supplement and aspects of the rural economy are outlined under Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing in Part 2 of the Plan.

Regional Policy Context

The overall aim of the Spatial Development Strategy in the RDS in relation to Rural Northern Ireland is to develop an attractive and prosperous rural area, based on a balanced and integrated approach to the development of town, village and countryside, in order to sustain a strong and vibrant rural community, contributing to the overall well being of the Region as a whole.
Designation COU 1 West Lough Neagh Shores Area of High Scenic Value
An Area of High Scenic Value is designated on the West Lough Neagh Shores as identified on Map No. 1 - Countryside.
The distinctive landscape of the West Lough Neagh Shores was identified in the Northern Ireland Landscape Character Assessment 2000 as an area of scenic quality and is designated in the Plan as an Area of High Scenic Value. The area extends, within the Magherafelt District, along the western shoreline of Lough Neagh from Traad Point, through the flat pastures, bog and wet woodland on the fringes of Lough Neagh and Lough Beg to the woodlands of Portglenone Forest.
Policy for the control of development in Areas of High Scenic Value is contained in Policy CON 1 in Part 2 of the Plan.
Designation COU 2 Slieve Gallion Slopes Area of High Scenic Value
An Area of High Scenic Value is designated on the Slieve Gallion slopes as identified on Map No. 1 - Countryside.
The Slieve Gallion slopes were identified in the Northern Ireland Landscape Character Assessment 2000 as an area of scenic quality and are designated in the Plan as an Area of High Scenic Value. The area is largely within Magherafelt District and forms a distinctive landscape of scenic farmland and deep wooded glens along the western fringes of Slieve Gallion.
Policy for the control of development in Areas of High Scenic Value is contained in Policy CON 1 in Part 2 of the Plan.
Designation COU 3 Sites of Local Nature Conservation Importance
Sites of Local Nature Conservation Importance are designated in the locations identified on Map No. 1 - Countryside.
Sites of Local Nature Conservation Importance are designated in accordance with PPS 2 – Planning and Nature Conservation. Sites have been identified on the basis of their flora, fauna or earth science interest. Detailed descriptions of their characteristics are provided in the Countryside Assessment Technical Supplement.
Policy for the control of development within Sites of Local Nature Conservation Importance is contained in Policy CON 3 in Part 2 of the Plan.
Designation COU 4 Dispersed Rural Communities
Dispersed Rural Communities (DRCs) are designated at Carntogher and Sixtowns as identified in Map No 1 - Countryside.
The boundary of Carntogher is also identified in Map No 3 - Carntogher.
One focal point has been identified in Sixtowns DRC, the Sixtowns Resource Centre and St Patrick’s Church, around which future development may be appropriate.
Proposals for residential development within the designated area(s) will be regulated in accordance with the provisions of regional planning policy and the criteria established below relating to clusters of residential development.
  • The layout should be informal reflecting a clachan style and should not take the form of a suburban type layout typical of urban locations;
  • Individual buildings should be simple in form, avoiding ornate front projections and should be modest in scale;
  • Development should normally be located close to an existing focal point;
  • The number of dwellings in any one cluster should be subject to a maximum of six;
  • Existing mature vegetation should be retained;
  • Existing dwellings should be retained where possible and where necessary restored to a habitable standard;
  • Where appropriate development should be located within a vacant farmyard complex.
The designation of Dispersed Rural Communities (DRC) is based on the criteria contained within PPS 21 - Sustainable Development in the Countryside.
Carntogher DRC is located to the north north-west of Maghera on the edge of the Sperrin Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Sixtowns DRC is located to the south west of Draperstown within the Sperrin Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Plan designation has identified the Sixtowns Resource Centre and St Patrick’s Church as the focal point around which future development may be appropriate.
Carntogher and Sixtowns are not served by a public sewerage system. Developers will be required to make arrangements for new development proposals which will satisfy consent to discharge, issued under the Water (NI) Order 1999.
Proposals for non-residential development will be assessed in accordance with the provisions of prevailing regional planning policy.
Designation COU 5 Historic Parks, Gardens and Demesnes
The following historic parks, gardens, and demesnes of special historic interest are designated as identified on Map No. 1 - Countryside and the relevant settlement maps:  
Ampertaine House (or Ampertaine),
Ballyscullion House,
Moyola Park.
There is also a Supplementary site at Rockwood, situated beside Ampertaine Primary School, Upperlands.
Prevailing regional planning policy for the protection of historic parks, gardens and demesnes of special historic interest is set out in PPS 6 - Planning, Archaeology and the Built Heritage.
Division and enclosure of the landscape since the 17th century has strongly impacted on the appearance of the modern landscape of Magherafelt. These designed landscapes – parks, gardens and demesnes – have changed through time, under management, neglect or new uses so that their historical character may not always be obvious.
The planned landscapes of demesnes with their distinctive features and integration into local vistas still make a valuable contribution to the quality and character of the local landscape.
These areas are detailed in a Register of Historic Parks, Gardens and Demesnes of Special Historic Interest in Northern Ireland, published by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. This Register summarises the historical significance of each site and the contribution such planned features make to the local landscape. It also seeks to encourage the public, as well as owners, to value and support the protection and maintenance of such sites.

Transportation Schemes

Proposal COU 6 Park and Ride / Park and Share Transportation Scheme at Castledawson Roundabout
A site with development potential for a park and ride/park and share Transportation Scheme is identified on Map No. 1 - Countryside.
Policy for the protection of new Transportation Schemes is contained in PPS 3 – Access, Movement and Parking, Policy AMP 4.
In order to encourage a modal shift from private cars to public transport, the site is identified on a key commuter route between Belfast and Londonderry along which Goldliner bus services operate. It is anticipated that the site, if found to be suitable, may provide additional car parking spaces to facilitate need.
Prior to the completion of a feasibility study, conducted by or on behalf of Roads Service, into the suitability of the sites for the proposed use, planning permission will not be granted for any other form of development which would prejudice the provision of Park and Ride / Park and Share facilities.
Proposal COU 7 Park and Ride / Park and Share Transportation Scheme outside Maghera
Two sites with development potential for park and ride/park and share Transportation Schemes are identified on Map No. 1 - Countryside.
Policy for the protection of new Transportation Schemes is contained in PPS 3 - Access, Movement and Parking, Policy AMP 4.
In order to encourage modal shift from private cars to public transport, the sites are identified on a key commuter route between Belfast and Londonderry along which Goldliner bus services operate. It is anticipated that each site, if found to be suitable, may provide additional car parking spaces to facilitate need.
The provision of a slip road as identified in Plan Proposal COU 9 would compliment the provision of Park & Ride/Share facilities at this location.
Prior to the completion of a feasibility study, conducted by or on behalf of Roads Service, into the suitability of the sites for the proposed use, planning permission will not be granted for any other form of development which would prejudice the provision of Park and Ride / Park and Share facilities.
Proposal COU 8 Transportation Scheme for a new road link between A6 and Aughrim Road
A road line for a Transportation Scheme for the provision of a new link road between the A6 and Aughrim Road is identified on Map No.1 – Countryside and Map No. 4 - Industrial Lands, Creagh.
Policy for the protection of new Transportation Schemes is contained in PPS 3 – Access, Movement and Parking, Policy AMP 4.
This road line will stretch between the roundabout on the A6 to the Creagh Road. Part of this road accessing the industrial area from A6 has been constructed.
Proposal COU 9 Transportation Scheme for a new slip road on the northern side of the A6, between the A6 and Tobermore Road, outside Maghera
A road line for the provision of a new slip road between the A6 and Tobermore Road is identified on Map No.1 Countryside Map.
Policy for the protection of new Transportation Schemes is contained in PPS 3, Policy AMP 4.
The provision of this slip road would complement the provision of Park & Ride/Share facilities identified in Plan Proposal COU 7.
Zoning COU 10 Land Zoned for Industry
19.33 Hectares of land at the A6, Creagh is zoned for Industry as identified on Map No. 4 – Industrial Lands, Creagh.
Key Site Requirements
  • The site shall be accessed by a purpose built industrial access road, linking to the A6 at the roundabout at the entrance to the industrial area.
  • Existing trees and vegetation along the northern boundary of the site to be retained.
  • Existing trees along the laneway defining that part of the western boundary adjacent to the electricity sub station are to be retained.
  • Contemporaneous with the new development, the existing vegetation along the northern boundary is to be augmented by the planting of a 15 metre landscaping belt of trees and vegetation of native species, to provide screening for the development from the A6 and to assist integration of the industrial buildings.
  • Contemporaneous with the new development, the eastern boundary and also the eastern half of the southern boundary (contiguous with the disused airfield) are to be planted by an 8 to 10 metre belt of trees and vegetation of native species to provide screening for the development from Creagh Road and to assist integration of the industrial buildings.
  • Landscaping within the site shall be agreed with the Department at planning application stage.
  • A badger survey of the site will be required to be submitted along with any planning application and in advance of any site works. Appropriate protection measures are to be implemented in accordance with the recommendations of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
  • The developer’s attention is drawn to the high voltage overhead lines that cross the site which will impose development constraints in their vicinity.

Creagh Business Park

Invest Northern Ireland owns a 22 hectare serviced Business Park at Creagh which is identified on Map No. 4 - Industrial Lands, Creagh.
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