Planning Portal

PPS 5: Retailing and Town Centres
Town Centres

14. Town centres consist of a mixture of land uses, often interdependent and with a variety of roles. They provide shopping, employment, services and facilities for all the community. An attractive and flourishing town centre can enhance the quality of life of its visitors, stimulate economic investment and support and encourage a whole range of cultural, leisure, social and commercial activity. The location of such uses in town centres, which are normally also the large section of the population. Shopping largely underpins the use and value of town centres and makes a major contribution to their vitality and viability. Accordingly, town centres should normally be the first choice for major new retail developments.
15. The Department is committed to protecting the vitality and viability of existing town centres. The Department will seek to ensure adequate provision of retailing and related facilities, accessible to the whole community, through support for and enhancement of established town centres.
16. The Government has recognised the special difficulties that have faced Northern Ireland's town centres and has responded by facilitating and implementing regeneration measures. Many town centres are showing signs of revitalisation and the Department aims to encourage and maintain this trend.
17. The Department also recognises that the centres of smaller towns in Northern Ireland may be particularly vulnerable because of their size, to the impact of out-of-centre retail development. the potential impact of proposed retail development on these centres will, therefore, be a material planning consideration.
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