Planning Portal

Minister Signs off Ards Down Area Plan

Published on Mon, 30 Mar 2009
Launch of Adopted Plan
Environment Minister Sammy Wilson today launched a new framework for future planning applications in Ards and Down.
The Ards and Down Plan 2015 identifies new land in both council areas which will be zoned for housing, industry and other uses. The Plan also contains measures intended to alleviate traffic problems.
The new plan will also protect and enhance natural and built assets in both council areas, identifying important sites for conservation.
The Plan is published following a lengthy public consultation process and consideration by the Department of recommendations by the PAC on the Plan content.
The Minister said at the launch of the plan: “This is a highly significant event in the planning calendar for both councils.
“The plan provides a broad menu of proposals intended to ensure the continued economic and social development of both areas.
“The Department is confident it provides the certainty in the planning framework to guide both districts in the future.”
The new area plan indentifies:
•Within Ards Borough, 317 hectares of land zoned for housing in three major towns (Newtownards, Comber and Donaghadee) to cater for all aspects of housing need;
•In Down District, 240 hectares of land zoned for housing in the three main towns (Downpatrick, Ballynahinch and Newcastle) to cater for all aspects of housing need;
•A total of 32 hectares of land zoned for industry in the main towns in Ards Borough;
•In Down District a total of 25 hectares zoned for industry in addition to existing industrial lands.
•A total of 79 sites of local nature conservation importance throughout Ards and Down and 11 areas of Townscape Character – five in Down District and six in Ards Borough.
•A total of 152 local landscape policy areas and two areas of high scenic value to ensure development properly integrates into the landscape.
The plan also:
•Addresses major transportation issues through the identification of a site for a new bypass for Ballynahinch and new distributor roads for both Newcastle and Downpatrick to alleviate traffic circulation issues in the towns. Three sites for ‘Park and Ride’ and ‘Park and Share’ schemes are identified to reduce the number of private cars on local roads.
The Ards and Down plan will inform members of the public, developers, statutory authorities and other interested parties of the policy framework and land use proposals which will guide planning application decisions up to 2015.
As well as identifying sites for appropriate development and for conservation, the plan identifies, defines, designates and safeguards specific areas where the retention of or provision of extra retail, services, leisure and other community facilities will benefit the local population.
The plan will promote appropriate growth of the tourism industry.
Copies of the Ards and Down Area Plan 2015 and associated documents can be obtained from Downpatrick Planning Office.
For ease of reference the Plan has been published in two packs to cover each of Ards Borough and Down District.  Each costs £35.
Copies of the PAC Report are available, priced £10 and copies of the Adoption Statement are available priced £10.
Copies are also available on the website.
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