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Ards and Down Area Plan 2015
Down District: Strangford

Strangford is a small picturesque village located approximately 13 kilometres to the north west of Downpatrick. The village overlooks the narrow entrance to Strangford Lough and sits opposite Portaferry.
Strangford is a popular local and tourist facility due to its outstanding natural setting and the quality of its built environment. It is located against the backdrop of a highly visible undulating ridge of gorse covered hills on the shores of Strangford Lough which extend from Downpatrick along the southern edge of Strangford Lough to Portaferry on the Ards Peninsula where they create a ‘gateway’ at the mouth of Strangford Lough. The strong visual connection between Strangford and Portaferry is reinforced by the wooded estates on both shores and the physical link provided by the ferry between the two settlements.
Strangford is located within the Strangford Lough Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The village has been a designated Conservation Area since 1985. The centre of the village is located on a square adjacent to the harbour. There are several buildings of individual merit in the Conservation Area and these, in conjunction with groupings of other buildings, contribute significantly to the overall appearance of the village. The Conservation Area is framed by trees and high land at Old Court and Compass Hill to the north and at the Rectory and Lodge to the south. Both these areas are identified as distinctive landscape settings to the village within the Northern Ireland Landscape Character Assessment.
Strangford is a small service centre and residential village and is a popular attraction for tourists and day-trippers. The village hosts a range of facilities including primary school, church, Health Centre, Post Office, shop and a number of offices, and has a regular public bus service to and from Downpatrick.
Proposal SFD 01 Settlement Limit  
A Settlement Limit is designated in accordance with Policy SETT 1 in Volume 1 of the Plan and as indicated on Map No. 3/017a, Strangford Settlement Map.
The designated Settlement Limit is drawn to reflect the need to protect the natural setting of the village as referred to above while providing for its limited housing role in the local area.
Proposal SFD 02 Housing Policy Area
The following Housing Policy Area is designated in accordance with Policy SETT 2 in Volume 1 of the Plan and as indicated on Map No. 3/017a, Strangford Settlement Map. Development of the lands below will be subject to the following Key Design Considerations:
HPA 1 Lands north of Downpatrick Road
  • housing development to be a minimum gross site density of 20 dwellings per hectare;
  • the existing trees along the western and northern boundaries of the site shall be retained and supplemented by an 8-10 metre belt of trees of native species to provide screening for the development and help integrate it into the surrounding countryside;
  • the retention of existing vegetation along remaining boundaries supplemented by the planting of trees of native species; and
  • the design, finishes and materials of the proposed dwellings shall be appropriate to the site’s location adjacent to a designated Conservation Area.
The existing approved access onto the Downpatrick Road can accommodate up to 50 dwellings. Additional development will require an alternative access provided to the satisfaction of DRD Roads Service.
Planning applications within the Housing Policy Area will also be processed in accordance with the requirements of all prevailing planning policy.
Proposal SFD 03 Local Landscape Policy Areas
The following Local Landscape Policy Areas are designated in accordance with Policy CON 2 in Volume 1 of the Plan and as indicated on Map No. 3/017b, Strangford Settlement Map and the relevant Down Countryside Map.
Those features or combination of features that contribute to the environmental quality, integrity or character of these areas are listed below.

LLPA 1 Church, Rectory, The Lodge and associated grounds

  • prominent listed Stella Maris RC Church and surroundings on southern coastal edge of Strangford which are visually significant in views from the Lough and Ards peninsula and a good entrance feature into the village;
  • substantial locally important dwelling “The Lodge” and its landscaped surroundings containing a series of associated dwellings with distinctive character - The Watch House and a small gatelodge;
  • considerable amount of woodland within the original grounds of The Lodge and new plantations to the south; and
  • important mature trees within attractive walled grounds surrounding rectory on opposite side of road.

LLPA 2 Old Court, Strangford House and headland

  • landform, tree cover, views, heritage features and conservation value combine to provide Strangford village with a strong and beautiful landscape setting;
  • 18th century listed Strangford House, a prominent feature in the local townscape seen against a backcloth of mature trees, and associated grounds including paddock and walled gardens comprising its setting;
  • scheduled archaeological monument of regional significance – ruins of stone tower (visually significant from Lough and Portaferry);
  • surroundings of heritage features comprise attractive planned parkland landscape of Old Court estate formerly owned by the DeRos family with evidence of planned avenues;
  • localised hill – Compass Hill is visually prominent from Lough;
  • significant areas of woodland on Compass Hill and to the north west near Sarah’s well and trees throughout the area along boundaries;
  • public access on Compass Hill as community woodland with potential for continuous public footpath from Castle Street, over Compass Hill and back to Castleward Road through Dufferin Avenue and the Strangford Path;
  • series of listed structures – Boatman’s House, Katherine Quay, Chapel of Ease and boundary walling, boating house, pool and Sarah’s well;
  • planned intervisibility/views between Castleward demesne and Audley’s Castle in particular and Old Court Estate across Castleward Bay; and
  • nature conservation interest - shores and adjoining Castleward Bay and Strangford Lough have enormous significance for wildlife and carry many international designations - partly managed as an RSPB reserve.
Proposal SFD 04 Area of Archaeological Potential
An Area of Archaeological Potential is designated in accordance with Policy CON 5 in Volume 1 of the Plan and as indicated on Map No. 3/017a, Strangford Settlement Map.
The area identified reflects the area of the post medieval settlement around a long used natural harbour where, on the basis of current knowledge, it is likely that archaeological remains will be encountered in the course of development.
Proposal SFD 05 Existing Amenity Open Space and Recreation
The following areas of existing amenity open space and recreation use are designated in accordance with Planning Policy Statement 8 (PPS 8): Open Space, Sport and Outdoor Recreation and as indicated on Map No. 3/017a, Strangford Settlement Map:

Amenity Open Space

  • The Square: Recreation Area
  • The Green/Quay Road: Recreation Area
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