Fermanagh Area Plan 2007
Social Base: S5 Development in Dispersed Rural Communities
Within those areas designated as Dispersed Rural Communities, the Planning Service accepts that the rural character and traditional settlement pattern is one of individual houses scattered throughout the countryside together with clustering around one or more focal points. The Planning Service accepts therefore that there is scope for some additional individual dwellings, either to consolidate existing focal points or in the wider rural area, without altering the particular rural character of these Dispersed Rural Communities or contributing to build-up of development.
In the wider rural area within these communities it is essential that such new dwellings be located on sites which can be visually integrated with the landscape and are of an appropriate rural design. Suburban road frontage development will therefore not normally be considered appropriate in such locations and there will also be a presumption against ribbon development. In certain circumstances sites immediately outside the boundary of the identified townlands may relate visually to those comprising the Dispersed Rural Community. In these circumstances, provided there is no conflict with other Plan policies, the Planning Service may deal with proposals as if the site were located within the Dispersed Rural Community.
Each of the Dispersed Rural Communities has one or more traditional focal points which would be a suitable location for a small group of well designed rural houses such as a traditional clachan style development. These could be developed either by the private sector or the public sector e.g. the Northern Ireland Housing Executive or the Rural Housing Association. The layout and design of the group should respect the rural character of the location and although the development may not be constructed all at the same time, it must be in accordance with a comprehensively designed layout. Aghadrumsee already has a small group of houses developed by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and a scheme has recently been completed in Knocks for the Rural Housing Association. In exceptional circumstances where there is a proven need consideration may be given to an appropriate site located away from one of the focal points depending on the individual merits of each case.
The Planning Service also recognises that there may be a need for a small shop e.g. sub Post Office or grocery shop to service local needs. This may be accommodated by converting part of an existing dwelling house or by new build. In either case the siting, scale and design must reflect the rural location and any shop front or signage must be appropriate.
In seeking to promote rural regeneration and recognising the importance of locally based employment, the Planning Service would particularly encourage the re-use or conversion of derelict buildings for small scale industrial or tourism enterprises. The size, scale, siting and design of any new building should respect the rural location and the potential impact on the environment or residential amenity should be minimal.
Proposals for all new development in Dispersed Rural Communities should also comply with the policies of the Plan and strategic and regional planning policies. In this respect is should be noted that in some locations there may be a limit on the number of septic tanks which will be permitted, for reasons of public health or environmental protection. Additionally, the Department's Protected Routes Policy as currently set out in the Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland will continue to apply in rural communities which will be treated as "other rural settlements". (See Policy PSU 5 of the Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland).