Craigavon Area Plan 2010
Policy Framework: Housing
The need for new housing in Craigavon Borough over the plan period will primarily be due to the formation of new households through population increase and the long established trend towards smaller average household size. Craigavon Borough also has a role to play in attracting mobile housing demand so in-migration will increase the local need for housing. It is also recognised that there is a variety of different housing needs in terms of dwelling size, type and tenure. Of particular importance are the specialist needs of certain groups within society, such as those on limited incomes, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
The need for new housing in the Borough will be accommodated within the main urban area of Lurgan, Portadown and Central Craigavon. In recent years much of the development pressure experienced in the Borough has been for individual houses in the rural area. Through the designation of villages and smaller settlements, where there is a presumption in favour of individual dwellings and small housing developments, it will be possible to facilitate much of this demand. Dwellings proposed in the countryside will continue to be determined by the Department in accordance with the provisions of A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland or any subsequent prevailing regional planning policy.
Within the context of meeting local housing needs and ensuring balanced communities, it is important to deal with the needs of the Travelling community. Craigavon Borough is identified in the Department for Social Development's publication "New Policy on Accommodation for Travellers" as one of the main areas in Northern Ireland where Travellers are found. Policy HOU 4 of the Rural Strategy requires development plans to take account of the accommodation needs of the travelling community and states that plans may identify locations suitable for Traveller's sites, or set out site selection criteria. The RDS also requires that consideration must be given to the distinctive needs of the Travelling community. The approach set out in the Plan is in accordance with the public consultation draft of Planning Policy Statement 12 (PPS 12): Housing in Settlements as being prepared by the Department for Regional Development (DRD). Planning permission was granted under application N/1995/0038 for a serviced site for Travellers at Monbrief Road, Central Craigavon in January 2001.
Regional Policy Context
The Regional Development Strategy (RDS) takes a long-term perspective and sets out a strategic approach to the distribution and form of housing throughout Northern Ireland. The aim is to ensure the future pattern of housing, and its critical relationships with employment, transport and the environment, are managed within the principles of sustainable development to secure the maximum benefits for all people
The major themes in the RDS relating to housing include:
- managing housing growth and distribution;
- supporting urban renaissance; and
- achieving balanced communities.
The RDS has set a housing growth indicator up to 2015 for Craigavon Borough of 8,500 dwelling units. The target for the share of the housing growth to be accommodated within the existing urban areas is set at 60% for towns with over 5,000 population. Progress towards meeting this target will depend upon the nature and character of these towns and the likely availability of land and buildings, which should contribute to the urban housing drive.
As mentioned previously, under provision of The Planning (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2003, the Craigavon Area Plan 2010 is an "excepted plan" for which the need to be in general conformity with the RDS does not apply.
The housing policies and proposals in the Plan will complement the regional policy context to ensure that an adequate supply of housing land is available to meet the housing needs of the Plan area in a manner consistent with the objectives of the Quality Initiative.
Planning Policy Statement 7 (PPS 7): Quality Residential Environments requires designers of new housing schemes to pay careful attention to the characteristics of each development site, including the landform, landscape and wider setting. In this way, new buildings can be successfully integrated into their surroundings. Each site will be required to be developed in accordance with the provisions of PPS 7, and in doing so, to make adequate provision for open space, landscaping and neighbourhood facilities. For each site zoned for development, additional key site requirements, which developers will be expected to meet, are also set out in Part 3 of the Plan.
The policies contained in PPS 7 apply to all residential development proposals in Northern Ireland, with the exception of proposals for single dwellings in the countryside, which will continue to be assessed under policies contained in A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland.
Planning Policy Statement 8 (PPS 8): Open Space, Sport and Outdoor Recreation sets out the Department's planning policies for the provision of new areas of open space in association with residential development. It embodies the Government's commitment to sustainable development, to the promotion of a more active and healthy lifestyle and to the conservation of biodiversity.
Supplementary planning guidance for residential development is contained in Creating Places - Achieving Quality in Residential Developments. It is the principal guide for use by developers in the design of all new housing areas. The guide is structured around the progress of design and addresses the following matters:
- the analysis of a site and its context;
- strategies for the overall design character of a proposal;
- the main elements of good design; and
- detailed design requirements.
The guide emphasises that a flexible approach will be taken for designs which will demonstrably result in the creation of quality places with a unique identity.
In addition, the Department published in June 2002 a revised Development Control Advice Note 8: (DCAN8) Housing in Existing Urban Areas. This will be material to the determination of planning applications for small unit housing within existing urban areas.
Planning Policy Statement 12 (PPS 12): Housing in Settlements is being prepared by the Department for Regional Development. A public consultation draft was published in November 2002.
Craigavon Urban Area is one of the largest urban centres in Northern Ireland, providing a wide range of high order services for the Borough and a wider catchment. The urban area is identified as a main hub in the Regional Development Strategy (RDS). A greater emphasis on development within the urban area, particularly for housing, will help with the growth of Craigavon and ease the pressure on villages and smaller settlements within the Borough, thus helping to retain their character and identity. Large scale housing development will continue to be located within the urban area where there is ease of access to employment opportunities and a range of shopping, recreation and community facilities. Lurgan, Portadown and Central Craigavon are the preferred locations for new housing development in terms of infrastructure and comunications.
The housing zonings will more than accommodate the anticipated need for additional dwellings over the plan period. Accordingly, a phased approach to the release of housing land is adopted. Land within Phase 1 is sufficient to meet the anticipated need well beyond the housing land review in 2005. Provided all the key site requirements for these sites are met, proposals for their comprehensive development will normally receive favourable consideration at any time over the plan period. Phase 2 housing land will be held in a land bank and safeguarded for potential future housing development. The Department will monitor new housing development in Lurgan, Portadown and Central Craigavon and the release of Phase 2 housing land will be the subject of a housing land review in 2005. This housing land review will also include Phase 2 development land in villages and smaller settlements. The need to release this land, either in part or in full, will be dependent upon the uptake of Phase 1 land. The overall amount developed, the distribution of the take-up and the proportion located within the existing urban area will all be taken into consideration.
Both Phase 1 and Phase 2 housing zonings are able to cater for a range of housing densities. In zoning specific sites, the capacity of the local infrastructure and road network has been taken into account. However, some infrastructural improvements may be required on Phase 1 zonings and as a result, where necessary, individual sites may need to be developed in stages to keep pace with the provision of that infrastructure. Phase 2 zonings may require more significant infrastructural improvements.
In zoning sites for housing, care has been taken to ensure that these do not unduly interfere with environmentally sensitive areas, either in terms of features of the natural environment or heritage interest. However, on some sites specific conservation and amenity interests will need to be adequately protected in designing the site layout. Key site requirements are set out for each housing zoning, and other development sites, where appropriate, in Part 3 of the Plan and these should be addressed in the submission of comprehensive design schemes to accompany planning applications for the development of these sites (see PPS 7).
The Plan cannot anticipate all locations where development opportunities for housing might arise. Land and buildings may become available for development, which have not been zoned for housing, where a presumption in favour of housing development is appropriate, subject to prevailing regional planning policy. Such development sites are often located in old industrial areas and in or near the central areas of towns. The encouragement of housing development at these locations contributes to a sustainable pattern of development, facilitates increased use of public transport and can contribute to increasing the vitality of the central areas of towns.