Planning Portal

Ards and Down Area Plan 2015
Ards and Down: Downpatrick Commerce (Page 2 of 2)

The Primary Retail Core is essentially linear in shape, consisting mainly of the shops in Market Street, but also includes stretches of Irish Street, Scotch Street, English Street and St. Patrick’s Avenue. Included are the Grove Shopping Centre and a variety of small convenience and comparison goods shops.  
Whilst most of the shops are small, independent units with a limited choice of product, the recent arrival of new convenience and comparison goods shops has introduced national and foreign chains stores into the southern end of Market Street. These changes have effected a shift in the focus of shopping activity towards this lower end of Market Street.
The Primary Retail Core is short and compact, its shopping frontages are largely continuous, and it has the bus station and ample parking in close proximity. It is therefore convenient to shoppers. It is also within walking distance of a significant amount of housing which provides added customer support.
The Core also contains professional and financial services, such as Banks and Building Societies, which are convenient in a shopping environment. Proliferation of office uses at street level within shopping frontages can however displace significant amounts of retail floorspace, reduce shopper activity, and affect the commercial viability of retailing.
Proposal DK 25 Development Opportunity Sites
The following Development Opportunity Sites are designated in accordance with Policy SETT 3 in Volume 1 of the Plan and as indicated on Map No. 3/002h, Downpatrick Town Centre Map.

Courtyards to the rear of English Street and Irish Street

There are a number of courtyards accessed by archways in Irish Street, and between English Street and Market Street. The stone buildings in these yards have to a large extent fallen into disuse but offer potential for refurbishment and new uses. The character of these courtyards could be used positively to provide attractive settings for specialist retailing, craft workshops or coffee shops etc. The emphasis would be on retention of the buildings and their sensitive conversion in sympathy with the character of the Conservation Area.
Pedestrian movement stimulates commercial activity. Opportunities to provide pedestrian links between Market Street and English Street should be explored in considering development proposals.
Requirements for access and car parking to service backland development in the Conservation Area will have to be carefully and sensitively balanced against the overriding need to protect townscape quality.

Frontage to the Car Park at Scotch Street

Access to the car park off Scotch Street creates a gap in the street frontage immediately adjacent to the Conservation Area. The opportunity exists to establish a continuous terraced frontage by building in the gap while retaining archway access to the public car park behind. This approach was successfully used at the entrance to the Irish Street car park.

Junction of Market Street and Irish Street

This site is presently occupied by the car park for the Bank at the comer of Market Street and Irish Street. There is an opportunity for commercial development to fill the gap between the Bank and the main commercial frontage of Market Street.
Shops and offices would be appropriate uses. Development should reflect the scale of Market Street and the character of the adjacent buildings in Irish Street, presenting a well-designed frontage to strengthen the townscape in Market Street.

Site of the Police Station, Irish Street

Relocation of the PSNI Station would leave a fine listed building and a large area of backland with the potential for development. Removal of the security treatment to the facade of the building would restore the frontage to Irish Street and improve the townscape of the Conservation Area at a prominent location. Preferred uses for the building would be housing or offices, in order to avoid changes to the facade of the Listed Building at ground floor level, which are generally necessary for retail use. Other uses may be acceptable, subject to sensitive treatment of the Irish Street facade.
The backland offers opportunities for development in depth, for example, Town Centre housing. The site is suitable for high density development and is suitably located to increase the support population for local shops in Irish Street. Access to the site should avoid opening new gaps in the Irish Street frontage.
Proposal DK 26 Town Centre Housing
The following areas of Town Centre Housing are designated in accordance with Policy HOU 3 in Volume 1 of the Plan and as indicated on Map No. 3/002h, Downpatrick Town Centre Map. They include parts of:
  • Stream Street;
  • Scotch Street;
  • Saul Street;
  • Irish Street;
  • Mary Street;
  • Lynn Doyle Place;
  • Bridge Street; and
  • Quoile Fold.
There are a number of established communities at the above locations in, or near the Town Centre.
The Quoile Fold is an excellent example of a good quality housing development in a Town Centre location. Town Centre Housing can also assist in securing the refurbishment and reuse of buildings of architectural and historic interest and importance. Schemes at Stream Street and English Street are good examples of how refurbished buildings can add to Town Centre housing stock with benefits to townscape in the Conservation Area.
The town centre housing areas also contain listed buildings at 73 Irish Street, 9 & 10 The Green, Irish Street and 14-24 Saul Street.
Proposal DK 27 Local Centre
A Local Centre is designated at Ballymote in Downpatrick as indicated on Map No 3/002a, Downpatrick Settlement Map.
The Ballymote Centre was developed by the Town Centre Project Office, jointly funded by the Department and by Down District Council and provides a range of services for the immediate community, for example, grocery store and post office, butchers shop, chemist, hairdressers, charity shop and hot food carry out as well as office accommodation.
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