Planning Portal

Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Regional Planning Policies: Policy HOU 6 Living Over the Shop

Policy HOU 6 Living over the Shop
This policy has been superseded by: PPS 12-Housing in Settlements
Planning permission may be granted for residential use above shops and other business premises.
The Department will encourage the provision of housing close to, and within, town and village centres, provided that the central area retail and commercial functions are not prejudiced.
Vacant space, over shops and offices, in town and village centres is commonplace. The Living over the Shop (LOTS) project was set up in 1989 in Great Britain to demonstrate the feasibility and economic viability of using vacant space above shops and to demonstrate ways in which wasted space can be brought back into use, usually for affordable rented housing.
The re-use of existing vacant space is a cost-effective means of creating additional housing accommodation with other benefits to the social life and economic vitality of the town. For example the fabric of the property is put into good repair and maintained, there may be increased security for commercial premises, and public may be available for repair and renovation. The combination of these practical improvements, and the subsequent rental income, enhances the capital value of the property. The supply of housing is increased; town centres remain populated outside business hours; a resident population may increase economic activity in the town; pressure on green field sites is reduced; and the preservation of buildings of architectural and historic interest may be assisted.
LOTS schemes could make a significant contribution to the enhancement of town and village centres and offer opportunities for supporting urban regeneration policies.
Planning permission may be granted for residential use above shops and other business premises in Use Classes 1, 2 and 3 of the Planning Order, provided they comply with normal planning and environmental considerations. For example, they should have satisfactory accesses, facilities for the storage of fuel and refuse and space for clothes drying.
The level of car parking provision which would be appropriate will be considered in the circumstances of each particular case.
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