Planning Portal

Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Regional Planning Policies: Policy GB/CPA 1 Designation of Green Belts and Countryside Policy Areas

POLICY GB/CPA 1 Designation of Green Belts and Countryside Policy Areas
The provisions of PPS 21 will take precedence over this policy.
To establish Green Belts and Countryside Policy Areas through the development plan process.

Green Belts

The strategic objectives of these planning policy areas are:
  • to prevent the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;
  • to prevent neighbouring settlements from merging;
  • to safeguard the surrounding countryside;
  • to protect the setting of settlements; and
  • to assist in urban regeneration.
In addition to its strategic role in restraining development pressures it is important that the open countryside in the Green Belt makes a positive contribution to meeting the outdoor recreation needs of the urban population.
Green Belt designation also provides the opportunity for the enhancement of urban fringe areas in the knowledge there is a long-term commitment to retain their open character.

Countryside Policy Areas

The strategic objectives of these planning policy areas are:
  • to protect areas of countryside under pressure from development;
  • to protect the visual amenity of areas of landscape quality; and
  • to maintain the rural character of the countryside.
All new Green Belts and CPAs and alterations to the boundaries of existing Green Belts and other previously designated policy areas will be based on Countryside Assessments and will be established through the development plan system after consultation with District Councils, local communities and the public.
It will be essential to strictly control development within Green Belts and CPAs in order to achieve the strategic objectives. There will therefore be a clear presumption in Green Belts and CPAs against any new building and against any new use of land, which might create a demand for more buildings, apart from a limited number of uses, which are in principle appropriate to a rural location. No other development will normally be allowed unless there are overriding reasons why that development is essential and could not be located in a town or village, or in a part of the open countryside not subject to policy constraint.
Policy GB/CPA 2 defines the development that is appropriate to a Green Belt or CPA but also makes it clear that to be acceptable, even those types of development must respect the open character and environmental qualities of these rural policy areas in terms of their visual amenity and local impact. Protection of these qualities is paramount and in certain special landscapes of national importance, within Green Belts or CPAs, no development at all will be permitted unless it is in the wider public good.
Much of previous rural policy has generally stood the test of time and has been retained. Individual policies and practice have been refined and amplified in the topic sections, from the benefit of experience and to ensure greater clarity and consistency of application. Any changes from previous policy have been made to have greater regard for local Northern Ireland circumstances, to take into account new issues such as farm diversification and to reflect the wide ranging comments of the consultation exercise.
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