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Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Regional Planning Policies: Policy HOU 14 Conversion to Houses

Policy HOU 14 Conversion to Houses
This policy has been superseded by: PPS 6-Planning, Archaeology and the Built Heritage
Planning permission may be granted for the change of use of a traditional building of architectural or historic merit to residential accommodation.
Changing patterns of rural life mean that a range of traditional buildings of architectural or historic merit, including some that have been listed, are no longer needed for their original use. These include mills, schools, churches, and the like.
Residential use may be the key to the preservation of these buildings. As an exception to the the normal policy of constraint in Green Belts and CPAs, need will not have to be proven to justify historic only, the new residential use, subject to certain design constraints.
Each proposal will be determined on its merits. The policy only refers to sympathetic changes of use and such new dwellings are not and do not become replacement opportunities. The development proposal must be conversion of a building of merit, requiring a minimum of work to convert. The conversion should maintain or enhance the existing character of the building - see Policy CON 4. Design is particularly important, as it is the character of existing buildings that is the basis for making an exception to strict planning control. Approval will not be given to a redevelopment scheme involving substantial demolition of a building of merit or large extensions.
The residential curtilage to be created, as part of the proposal to convert the building, should not have a harmful effect on the nual character of the countryside, particularly in areas of high quality landscape.
Planning permission will be dependent on the conversion and change of use making a significant contribution to the landscape, by retaining and enhancing a building of special architectural or historic interest, or traditional character. This is particularly important where the building is not closely associated with other buildings.
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