Planning Portal

Draft PPS14 Sustainable Development in the Countryside
Policy CTY 11: Justification & Amplification

4.90 The countryside of Northern Ireland is valued for its intrinsic landscape character, nature conservation interest and built heritage, as well as being a resource for tourism and recreation. While the countryside is constantly changing in response to human activity, the pace of change is now more rapid than ever. This has resulted in the erosion of the rural character of parts of the Region, some of which now appear sub-urbanised and built-up due to the cumulative effect of ongoing development. It is crucial therefore to ensure thatnew buildings and any associated ancillary works do not result in a detrimental change to, or further erode the rural character of an area, rather they should seek to maintain and protect the special qualities and unique character of our countryside.
4.91 There are a number of different ways in which new development in the countryside can impact detrimentally on rural character. One building by itself could have a significant effect on an area if it is poorly sited or designed and would be unduly prominent, particularly in more open and exposed landscapes.
4.92 On other occasions a new building may have little impact by itself. However, when taken cumulatively with other existing and approved buildings and their ancillary features in the vicinity, it could result in a build up of development detrimental to the rural character of that area.
4.93 In assessing the cumulative impact of a building on rural character the matters taken into consideration include the following:
  • the intervisibility of the proposed building with existing and approved development10;
  • the vulnerability of the landscape and its capacity to absorb further development; and
  • the siting, scale and design of the proposed development.
4.94 In order to maintain and protect the rural character of an area the new building should respect the traditional pattern of settlement; that is, the disposition and visual appearance of land and buildings in the locality of the proposed development. Accordingly, to be considered acceptable, a new building in the countryside should:
  • adopt the spacing of the traditional buildings found in the locality; or
  • integrate sensitively along with a group of existing buildings, such as a farm complex.
4.95 It is considered that ribbon development is always detrimental to the rural character of an area as it contributes to a localised sense of build-up and fails to respect the traditional settlement pattern of the countryside.
4.96 The assessment of the impact of a new building on rural character will be judged from critical views along stretches of the public road network; shared private lane-ways serving existing or approved dwellings; public rights of way and other areas of general public access and assembly. There may also be occasions where combined views from individual private laneways, located in close proximity to each other, will be relevant in assessing the impact of a proposal on rural character.
4.97 The impact of ancillary works associated with a new building on rural character will also be assessed. In particular the access arrangements can often raise awareness of and draw attention to new development and when read in conjunction with other existing or approved accesses can have a combined impact damaging to the rural character of an area.
10 Approved development relates to unimplemented extant planning permissions for new buildings
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