Planning Portal

Minister signs off Magherafelt Area Plan 2015

Published on Wed, 14 Dec 2011
Minister of the Environment, Alex Attwood, signs off the adopted Magherafelt Area Plan 2015
Department of the Environment
14 December 2011
Attwood launches new planning framework for Magherafelt area
A new planning framework which will boost development and aid economic recovery in the Magherafelt area has been launched by Environment Minister Alex Attwood.
The framework, the Magherafelt Area Plan 2015, has been published following a lengthy public consultation process that included an Independent Examination by the Planning Appeals Commission of objections to the Draft Plan. There was a delay between 2004 and 2008 in progressing the Draft Plan towards Independent Examination as a result of litigation at that time against the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) – a matter that has subsequently been resolved.
The Plan sets out a policy framework to guide development in Magherafelt District Council area and includes a commitment to sustainable development whilst protecting the natural and man-made heritage. The Department for Regional Development has determined that the Plan is in general conformity with the Regional Development Strategy.
Speaking at the launch of the Plan, Alex Attwood said: “Today is a highly significant one for the people of Magherafelt district. This plan will provide greater certainty in the planning process which can only help the overall development of the area and make the town a better place to live, work and invest. It will provide a sound basis to facilitate sustainable growth and high quality development in Magherafelt District whilst protecting, and where appropriate, enhancing the natural and man-made environment.
“It marks the culmination of a lengthy consultation process during which many interested people and organisations put forward their vision as to how the district should grow and develop and I would like to thank them for their interest and their representations. Their contribution to the preparation process has been invaluable.”
Notes to editors:
  1. The Plan designates settlement development limits for Magherafelt, Maghera, Bellaghy, Castledawson, Draperstown, Tobermore and 21 small settlements. It also designates Carntogher and Sixtowns as Dispersed Rural Communities. Town Centre boundaries, Primary Retail Cores and Development Opportunity sites are identified in Magherafelt and Maghera.
  2. 150 hectares of land is identified for housing in the towns and villages and over 60 hectares are allocated for industry to cater for the development of the district over the Plan period and beyond.
  3. The Plan also recognises the importance of the District’s landscapes including the Sperrin Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Areas of High Scenic Value. Local Landscape Policy Areas are also designated within and adjacent to settlements in order to highlight locally significant areas of landscape quality or amenity value. Other areas of conservation interest, both natural and man made are protected through the designation of Sites of Local Nature Conservation Importance and Areas of Townscape Character.
  4. Traffic routes to be protected for the upgrade of the A6 between Toome and Castledawson and the A31 Magherafelt bypass are also shown in the Plan together with proposals for additional Park and Ride/Share facilities at Castledawson and Maghera.
  5. The adoption of the Magherafelt Area Plan follows the Department’s consideration of the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) Report of the Independent Examination held during 2009 to consider objections to the Draft Plan which was published in April 2004.
  6. Delay in progressing from Draft Plan stage to Independent Examination was caused by litigation against the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the Plan.
  7. The Department is publishing a number of documents along with the Plan including the PAC Report of the Independent Examination and an Adoption Statement setting out the Department’s consideration of the recommendations contained in the Report.
  8. The Plan and all supporting documents can be accessed at the Department’s website: www.planningni.gov.uk or purchased from the Western Area Planning Office, County Hall, Drumragh Avenue, Omagh BT79 7AF or the South Antrim Area Planning Office, County Hall, 182 Galgorm Road, Ballymena, BT42 1QF
  9. For further information contact DOE Press Office on 028 9025 6058 or 028 9025 6057. Outside office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager Number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
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