Magherafelt Area Plan 2015
Strategic Plan Framework: Environment and Conservation
Magherafelt District contains a diverse range of both upland and lowland landscapes whose wildlife habitats and heritage features give the District its distinctive identity.
The story of human activity within the Plan area is illustrated by archaeological sites and monuments, vernacular and historic buildings, features and structures surviving from past industries, planned parkland landscapes and the pattern of streets and buildings in the District’s towns. This heritage is finite and vulnerable and it is important that it be cherished and protected for the benefit and enjoyment of both present and future generations. The District contains a wealth of recorded archaeological monuments and buildings, listed as being of special architectural or historic interest, and a number of historic parks, gardens and demesnes of special historical interest. There is one designated Conservation Area (Draperstown) in the District.
Sites of conservation importance are identified on Map No. 1 Countryside Map, Map No. 2 Environmental Designations Map and the relevant settlement maps.
Regional Policy Context
The RDS is based on a number of guiding principles, one of which is the protection and enhancement of the environment through an approach to development and policy formulation, which has the condition of the environment as a central deciding factor. One of the key regional challenges will therefore be to accommodate future development while protecting and caring for the environment.
The Department’s regional planning policies for the protection of conservation interests are currently set out in PPS 2 – Planning and Nature Conservation, PPS 6 – Planning, Archaeology and the Built Heritage and PPS 6 (Addendum) – Areas of Townscape Character.
Other Departmental regional planning policies in relation to the environment including protection of rural landscapes, assessment of environmental effects of proposals and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are set out in PPS 21 - Sustainable Development in the Countryside and the Rural Strategy.
The Northern Ireland Biodiversity Strategy 2002 sets the framework for biodiversity action. The Strategy describes the main features of biodiversity in Northern Ireland, identifies the main factors affecting it and proposes a number of measures to support biodiversity conservation up to 2016.
Considerations Arising From the Habitats Regulations Assessment Process
In accordance with Regulation 64B of The Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995 (as amended) an appropriate assessment has been carried out on the impacts of the Plan Proposals on twelve European sites within or in close proximity to the Plan Area.
Arising from the appropriate assessment consultation zones have been identified, where appropriate, for European sites and Annex 1 species, the Whooper Swan. Proposed developments within these consultation zones will be scrutinised to ensure, that in line with the Habitats Directive, there will be no adverse effects. Maps showing the consultation zones are contained in the Habitats Regulations Assessment Report published along with the Plan. In addition, any industrial development which is likely to adversely affect a European site through aerial deposition will be subject to a Habitats Regulation Assessment.
Where wastewater treatment works capacity is not sufficient to cope with a proposed development, the developer will be required to work with the Department and Northern Ireland Water (NIW) to ensure that there will be no likely adverse affect on any European or Ramsar site, by phasing development to co-incide with sufficient wastewater treatment provision, or by providing interim sewerage treatment arrangements.
Areas of High Scenic Value are designated on the West Lough Neagh Shores and the Slieve Gallion Slopes as identified in the Countryside Section in Part 3 of the Plan and as indicated on Map No. 1 - Countryside.
In determining applications for planning permission within Areas of High Scenic Value the Department will consider how proposals will conserve and enhance the landscape of the Area of High Scenic Value. Particular regard will be paid to the siting, massing, scale and design, materials, finishes and landscaping of proposals in order to ensure that development will integrate well into the topography and landscape and respect the scale of, and materials used in existing vernacular and traditional buildings in the surrounding area.
In accordance with PPS 6 – Planning, Archaeology and the Built Heritage, LLPAs are designated to help protect the environmental assets within or adjoining settlements.
LLPAs are designated in and adjoining the following towns and villages:
and in or adjoining the following small settlements:
- Upperlands; and
- The Woods.
The LLPAs are identified on Map No. 1 - Countryside and the relevant Settlement Maps. Clarification Maps are available on the Department’s website or from the Local Area Planning Office.
The use of Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) will be considered by the Department for those LLPAs where trees contribute significantly to visual amenity, or where trees are considered under threat from development. In cases where a Tree Preservation Order is already in existence the LLPA policy will act in addition to and without prejudice to any other statutory provision associated with this Order.
Where riverbanks are included within a LLPA the Department will normally require that access is provided to the river corridor, as part of any development proposal. A landscape buffer may also be required between any development and the river corridor to maintain its intrinsic environmental value.
Where LLPAs contain significant parts of historic parks, gardens or demesnes, conservation areas, listed buildings, and archaeological monuments this policy will apply in addition to and without prejudice to any other statutory provision or policy relating to these features.
In accordance with PPS 2 – Planning and Nature Conservation, sites of local nature conservation importance are designated within the open countryside as identified on Map No. 1 – Countryside. Clarification Maps are also available on the Department’s website or from the Local Area Planning Office.
Where exceptionally a development is permitted which might adversely affect the nature conservation interests, the Department will endeavor to ensure that such effects are kept to a minimum. Consideration will be given to the use of conditions in order to protect the conservation interest or to require appropriate mitigation measures. Where appropriate, developers may be asked to enter into a planning agreement to secure these outcomes.
Areas of Townscape Character
Areas of Townscape Character (ATCs) are designated in accordance with PPS 6 - Planning, Archaeology and the Built Heritage and PPS 6 - (Addendum), Areas of Townscape Character. ATCs are designated in Magherafelt, Maghera and Upperlands as indicated on the relevant Settlement Maps Nos 5, 6 and 30. Clarification Maps are available on the Department’s Planning NI website or from the Local Area Planning Office.
Planning applications within ATCs will be considered in the context of prevailing regional planning policy and the Plan Proposals.
All settlements have their own identity and character, derived from the sense of place that comes from human activity, which over time has shaped the present built form. In some places, the variety, or consistency of the overall character, including style of construction and in some instances landscaping, is particularly distinctive or pleasing, and merits specific protection from inappropriate change.
The Department wishes to ensure that new development respects the distinctive character and appearance of the townscape in the designated areas. The Department also considers that the characteristic built form in these areas can inform developers in preparing development proposals elsewhere in these settlements, in order to reinforce local identity. Detail on the traditional character, appearance and key features of the ATCs and advice on development within these areas is provided in Part 4 of the Plan.
Areas of Archaeological Potential
In accordance with PPS 6 – Planning, Archaeology and the Built Heritage, Areas of Archaeological Potential are highlighted for information on the relevant Settlement Maps in Part 4 of the Plan. They relate to:
- Desertmartin; and
These areas indicate to developers where, on the basis of current knowledge, it is likely that archaeological remains will be encountered in the course of continuing development and change. Developers are advised to liaise with the Department before submitting any proposals within these areas.
Planning policy in relation to archaeology is contained in PPS 6.