Magherafelt Area Plan 2015
Strategic Plan Framework: Open Space, Sport and Outdoor Recreation
Provision of open space, sport and outdoor recreation facilities throughout the District is the statutory responsibility of Magherafelt District Council. Other public agencies such as the Departments of Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development and Education, the Sports Council for Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive also provide and manage a variety of publicly accessible outdoor recreation facilities and open space.
Sports and outdoor recreational facilities are also provided by various private organisations, including bowling, tennis, hockey, GAA, golf, rugby and soccer clubs. School playing fields have the potential for dual use by the public outside school hours.
The natural resources of the District, such as the River Bann, Lough Neagh and the Sperrin Mountains, also provide a wealth of opportunities for active outdoor pursuits such as sailing, water sports, angling, and walking.
The District contains a variety of informal outdoor recreational open space, particularly forests. Moydamlaght and Portglenone Forests are examples. Informal recreation facilities also exist in association with the natural resources of the area such as rivers, lough shores and heritage sites. A section of the Loughshore Trail (part of SUSTRANS National Cycle Network) lies within Magherafelt district and provides a leisure cycle route in the District.
Regional Policy Context
The Regional Development Strategy (RDS) aims to promote the important link between environment, health and well-being and places an emphasis on supporting healthy lifestyles and the promotion of health in the community.
The Department’s regional planning policies for recreation and open space are currently set out in PPS 8 - Open Space, Sport and Outdoor Recreation. PPS 7 - Quality Residential Environments, requires adequate provision for public and for private open space in new residential developments.
Existing Open Space
Major areas of existing open space are shown for information only on the relevant settlement maps in Part 4 of the Plan. Within these areas planning applications will be determined in accordance with the provisions of prevailing regional planning policy. Any other areas of existing open space, including children’s play areas and kick-about areas, within housing developments have not generally been identified, are however also covered by the same safeguarding provisions of prevailing regional planning policy.
An assessment of open space and outdoor recreation provision in the District was undertaken as part of the plan preparation process and details are provided in the Open Space, Sport and Outdoor Recreation Technical Supplement to the Plan.
Some open spaces have been identified as Local Landscape Policy Areas (LLPAs) within which development proposals will also be subject to Policy CON 2 of the Plan.