Larne Area Plan 2010
Natural Environmnet: Policies and Proposals
Within Larne Borough there are ASSI's at Blackburn, Garron Plateau, Gortnagory, Larne Lough, Scawt Hill and Straidkilly Wood and Waterloo. In addition Larne Lough is a Special Protection Area which includes the Swan Island SPA and Ramsar Site, and Garron Plateau is a Special Area of Conservation. The Borough has 2 National Nature Reserves at Straidkilly and Swan Island. These areas will be protected and development likely to adversely affect such sites will not normally be permitted. In addition development which would adversely affect other areas of nature conservation importance will also not normally be permitted.
The network of protected sites covers only a small proportion of the Borough. The survival of the full range of the Borough's flora, fauna, geological and physiographic features requires that nature conservation issues be fully considered in assessing planning applications generally. Consequently careful consideration will be given to the nature conservation implications of any development proposal where it is known that the proposal may threaten any significant feature of nature conservation value or adversely affect a site of local nature conservation interest.
The Countryside Assessment of the coastal area concluded that the land most closely associated with the shore is considered to be of such importance that any inappropriate development would severely affect the amenity of this valuable landscape. The Countryside Policy Area designation applies additional restrictions to new development to the extent that no new development will be permitted except:–
- where the proposed development is of such national or regional importance as to outweigh any potential detrimental impact to the coastal environment; and
- where no feasible alternative site exists within an existing urban area.
The analysis of the Countryside Assessment has concluded that the rural area around Larne is under excessive pressure for development which is likely to alter its rural character. The Green Belt designation is intended to prevent urban sprawl into the countryside around Larne, protect the setting of the town and nearby settlements and assist in urban regeneration. Within this area the detailed Green Belt policies currently contained in the Rural Strategy will apply.
- The Islandmagee Peninsula
- The countryside to the south and south west of Larne Town outside the Green Belt.
- The area covering the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The results of the Countryside Assessment have revealed that the Islandmagee Peninsula and the Countryside to the south and southwest of Larne town outside the Green Belt are under threat from excessive or inappropriate development which could adversely affect their rural character. The proposals for a Countryside Policy Area (CPA) for Islandmagee and one for the South Larne area will ensure that these areas are protected. The Antrim Coast and Glens A.O.N.B. to the north of Larne is a landscape of exceptional value which must be protected from inappropriate forms of development. The erection of a single poorly located or badly designed development may have a serious effect on this sensitive landscape. Consequently a Countryside Policy Area is considered appropriate for this area. Within all of these CPAs the detailed policies currently contained in the Rural Strategy will apply.
Additionally within the Antrim Coast and Glens A.O.N.B. detailed guidance on the siting and design of new buildings and additions to existing buildings is provided by the Antrim Coast and Glens A.O.N.B. Design Guide, in order to preserve the best of the man made environment in this sensitive area.
Trees and Hedgerows
Trees and hedges make an important contribution to the visual amenity of the Borough in addition to supporting wildlife habitats and helping to integrate development into the landscape. Trees and hedges within existing settlements and housing developments also contribute significantly to the urban landscape. In a situation where a tree of significance or a group of trees of significance are under threat the Department may make a Tree Preservation Order to afford them protection.
Landscaping schemes will be expected to accompany all planning applications to assist in the integration of new development into its surroundings and to supplement, enhance or replace existing vegetation. The Department will encourage, where possible, the retention of existing trees and hedges in the landscape in order to help integrate proposed new development.
In new housing developments the design and layout must take account of existing vegetation to be retained and indicate new planting. The Department will normally seek to ensure that development be kept outside the falling distance of existing trees and that new development does not damage existing tree root systems. Planning approvals will be conditioned to ensure that adequate protection is given to trees to be retained prior, during and after construction work.