Fermanagh Area Plan 2007
Social Base: Housing
The population of Fermanagh has increased by over 3,000 during the last 20 years and if this trend continues the population could reach 57,500 by the end of the plan period in 2007. At the same time the average household size is decreasing and this together with the increase in population has implications for future housing demand. The majority of the housing stock in Fermanagh is in owner occupation with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive currently holding around 25% of the total housing supply. An increasing feature of the housing market in Fermanagh is housing association provision particularly relating to special needs, principally the elderly and disabled. In common with many other areas there has been a large growth in the number of private residential and nursing homes throughout the District, although this may have peaked since the introduction of the 'Care in the Community' initiative. Most housing is concentrated in towns and villages although a significant number of new dwellings have been constructed in the countryside in recent years. The Rural Housing Association is active outside the built up areas and has recently canvassed interest in a number of rural communities, for small housing groups and the renovation of derelict houses. The Northern Ireland Housing Executive policy document "The Way Ahead" outlined a new, more flexible approach to housing in rural areas including revised grant aid and proposals for new build in isolated rural settlements. Of particular relevance in Fermanagh, given the high level of rural housing unfitness is the grant assistance available for replacement dwellings.
- to ensure an adequate supply of available housing land in settlements
- to encourage high standards of design in new housing layouts and for single dwellings in the countryside
- to protect the character and amenity of existing residential areas in settlements
- to encourage a range of housing types in new developments to meet the different housing needs of the community
- to encourage the re-use of vacant space over shops in town and village centres for residential purposes
- to ensure that landscape proposals in relation to housing developments take account of the landscape character of their surroundings.
- to encourage the re-use of vacant or derelict properties in settlements and the countryside
- to encourage the retention of vernacular dwellings in Fermanagh.
The Department's Strategic and Regional Planning Policies for Housing are currently contained in "A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland" published in September 1993.