Planning Portal

Magherafelt Area Plan 2015
Strategic Plan Framework: Housing (Page 2 of 2)

Land within Urban Footprints

The Regional Development Strategy (RDS) aims to provide an increased share of future residential development within the existing urban footprint to reduce greenfield housing extensions and to encourage compact urban forms, in order to promote sustainable forms of development. The RDS states that targets for individual towns will be set through the development plan process.
In Magherafelt District it is anticipated that land within urban footprints will provide approximately 960 dwellings in Magherafelt town and 332 dwellings in Maghera. These estimated figures include the following elements:
  • Dwellings built between January 2000 and August 2010.
  • Commitments (potential yield from sites with extant planning approval).
  • Additional yield from uncommitted urban capacity sites.
  • Windfall allowance.
In Magherafelt town it is estimated that development within urban footprints will represent approximately 44 % of the total housing provision for the town over the Plan period. In Maghera the corresponding figure is estimated at 40%. The remaining housing allocation for each town will be provided on greenfield sites beyond the defined urban footprint of the respective towns.
The higher anticipated yields in terms of units constructed on some sites within the urban footprint reflects the higher densities expected on these compared to greenfield sites.

Site Densities

Site densities are specified in the key site requirements in Part 4 of the Plan in line with prevailing regional policy and in response to specific site circumstances. A minimum site density has been specified in the key site requirements for urban capacity sites and greenfield sites within the towns of Magherafelt and Maghera and for Housing Land Use Policy Areas in the villages. This is to ensure the optimum use of land and to accommodate the housing allocation identified for each settlement in the Plan.
A maximum site density is also stipulated for greenfield sites within the towns and on greenfield sites beyond village cores. This is to ensure that greenfield sites are not developed to excess at the expense of urban capacity lands or lands within the core areas of villages. It will also minimise the potential for significant divergence between the Plan housing allocation framework and the RDS strategic objectives.
Development will be acceptable within the specified density range. A maximum density has not been set for urban capacity sites or sites within the core areas of villages.
A number of zonings in the Plan, following the Independent Examination, have no density key site requirement. For the purposes of calculating the Plan provision in these instances the density of the approved planning application, or 20 units per hectare was used. Prevailing regional planning policy will be used to determine an acceptable density for such sites.
Policy HOU 2 Protected Town Centre Housing Areas
Within designated Protected Town Centre Housing Areas planning permission will not be granted for redevelopment or change of use from housing.
In accordance with PPS 12 – Housing in Settlements, Protected Town Centre Housing Areas are designated in Magherafelt and Maghera as identified on the relevant town centre maps in Part 4 of the Plan.
The Department will resist the spread of commercial uses into areas which have a useful longer term residential life. They provide a valuable housing stock and are homes for established communities which contribute to the variety and vitality of life in the town centre.

Accommodation for the Travelling Community

Within the context of meeting local housing need and ensuring balanced communities it is important to deal with the needs of the travelling community; therefore, proposals for traveller’s accommodation that meet identified local need should be encouraged, subject to meeting prevailing regional policy, currently PPS 12 - Housing in Settlements. These proposals will be expected to clearly demonstrate how they meet identified local need and the planning authority will assess this in consultation with The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE).
As with all development proposals, careful consideration will need to be given to the impact of the proposal on both surrounding land uses and the environment. Proposals that have a significant detrimental impact on surrounding land uses or the environment will be resisted.
The RDS, (SPG-HOU 6) requires that consideration must be given to the distinctive needs of the travelling community. Policy HS 3 in PPS 12 requires that where a need is identified and a development plan is under preparation, a site should be identified. NIHE has carried out a Housing Needs Assessment and there are no Traveller accommodation needs currently identified for the Plan Area.  This assessment will be subject to regular review by NIHE.

Social Housing

Social housing provision in the Plan Area will be determined in accordance with prevailing regional planning policy, currently set out in PPS 12 - Housing in Settlements and PPS 21 - Sustainable Development in the Countryside. Policy HS 2 of PPS 12 states that in locations where a demonstrable housing need is identified by the NIHE, planning permission for housing proposals will only be granted where provision is made for a suitable mix of house types and tenures to meet the range of market and social housing needs identified. The proportion of land or units to be set aside for social housing will be determined as part of the development control process. Implementation will be achieved through the application of Quality Initiative principles to specific development proposals and, where appropriate, through Planning Agreements to secure a proportion of social housing in major new developments.
Within the villages and small settlements, Policy CTY 5 of PPS 21, now provides the policy context for consideration of small social housing schemes in appropriate locations on the edge of settlements where sites are not available within settlement development limits.
A detailed Housing Needs Assessment has been prepared by NIHE and will be subject to regular review. It will be a material consideration when assessing the requirement for social housing provision. Schemes being brought forward by Housing Associations through the Social Housing Development Programme plus potential yield from those zoned housing sites that are within NIHE's ownership should meet current identified social housing need in Magherafelt and Maghera up to the end of the Plan period in 2015.

Affordable Housing

Policy SPG - HOU 6.4 of the RDS places an onus on development plans to consider if there is a need for an exceptional housing land response to ensure a local supply of affordable housing and if local planning policies are required as a result of this.
There is currently no mechanism in place for the Plan to specifically address this issue in respect of its housing designations.
The Plan, however focuses development at higher densities in urban areas, promotes mixed housing developments to accommodate balanced communities and promotes improved infrastructure and communications in the District. These planning measures may indirectly make a positive contribution to affordability issues.

Second Homes

Pressure from second home development was not raised as an issue as part of the public participation process leading to the formulation of the Plan Proposals. The 2001 Census indicates there were only 14 second homes in the District at the time of the Census.
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