Planning Portal

Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Planning Strategy: The Strategy Background

The purpose of the Strategy is to contribute to the quality of life in Northern Ireland. The Strategy is an attempt to meet rural society's development needs and aspirations, to protect the environment and to encourage environmentally sustainable development. A primary principle of the planning system is stewardship of the environment A long term perspective of the community's needs must be taken.
Northern Ireland is a region of great variety and contrast in its communities, landscapes and patterns of development. The Strategy must provide for the specific circumstances of particular areas; for the range of community requirements and the variety of development issues.
Key elements of the former Regional Physical Development Strategy 1975-95 included the regeneration of Belfast combined with the protection of its setting and the planned development of a network of selected towns described as the District Towns (the main towns in Council Districts). The City of Belfast is, and will continue to be, the principal regional centre in Northern Ireland. The Department's approach to its future development is set out in the Belfast Urban Area Plan 2001. In practice, the District Towns Strategy was applied flexibly over the years in response to the popular demand for more choice.
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