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Craigavon Area Plan 2010
Policy Framework: Tourism

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Tourism in Craigavon Borough is based on its easily accessible location in the heart of Northern Ireland, its natural land and water-based assets, its heritage features and the contribution of purpose-built attractions. The Borough offers a range of active and passive places of interest and things to do with a combination of the old and the new. Lough Neagh and the River Bann are the Borough's main natural assets. Access to the Lough has been enhanced, by the Borough Council, at Oxford Island with the well-designed Discovery Centre, and at Maghery, where the Borough Council has developed a Country Park. Close to Oxford Island, Kinnego Marina is popular for water sports, whilst fishing is a traditional pastime around Lough Neagh, the River Bann and the Blackwater. The Craigavon lakes offer 69 hectares of natural environment close to the urban area, and the Craigavon Golf & Ski Centre is unique in Northern Ireland. The tourism potential of the Borough is further enhanced by an extensive network of cycleways, the National Cycle Network and the Ulster Way.
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) estimates that in 2001 Craigavon Borough's share of the overall tourism market of Northern Ireland was 2% (approximately £7 million). Tourism can provide a number of economic and social benefits and whilst there is potential for future growth of this sector within Craigavon Borough, this should not be at the expense of its environmental assets. This is in line with the approach of NITB outlined in its document "Tourism in Northern Ireland - A Sustainable Approach" . This sets out the principles of sustainable tourism that will be applied by the Tourist Board in assessing proposals for tourism development throughout Northern Ireland.

Regional Policy Context

One of the key roles of the Regional Development Strategy (RDS) is to provide the spatial framework to accommodate changing tourism and leisure habits, whilst conserving the key assets of the natural and built environment.
The RDS provides the following Strategic Planning Guidelines:
  • to promote a sustainable approach to the provision of tourism infrastructure;
  • to establish a world wide image for Northern Ireland, based on positive images of progress, and attractive places to visit;
  • to protect and enhance a varied range of tourism development opportunities; and
  • to identify Major Tourism Development Opportunities for the Private Sector to Develop "Destination Resort" complexes in Northern Ireland, based on distinctive Tourism Themes.
The Department's regional planning policies for tourism in Craigavon Borough are currently set out in A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland. This contains policies for tourism development, tourism accommodation and the protection of tourism assets. It also addresses caravan and camping sites and advance directional signs.
Plan Policy TOU 1 The South Lake Zone
Within the South Lake Zone, two areas are designated, A and B as shown on Map No. 5 Craigavon Urban Area. Within Area A favourable consideration will be given to proposals for tourism, recreational and cultural development. Within Area B favourable consideration will be given to proposals for tourism, cultural, community, civic and recreational development. Both areas, A and B, are subject to the following key site requirements:
  • the proposal integrates appropriately with its surroundings;
  • the proposal will not have any significant detrimental impact on conservation interests and seeks, where appropriate, to enhance these interests;
  • the proposal will not lead to an unreasonable or detrimental impact on amenity, traffic movement or road safety;
  • the proposal provides suitable access for the disabled;
  • the proposal will provide adequate car parking, cycle parking and facilities for bus and taxi access;
  • the proposal will be accessible by a choice of means of transport;
  • the proposal incorporates public access for walking and cycling within the area and along the lake shore;
  • the form, scale, design and landscaping of the proposal is appropriate to its landscape setting; and
  • the proposal demonstrates that there will be no detrimental impact on the nature conservation interest of Craigavon North Lake, as a result of tourism or recreational activities.
The South Lake Zone is zoned to provide an attractive location for tourism, cultural, community, civic and recreational schemes to enhance the role and image of the central area and provide facilities for Borough residents and visitors. It occupies a prestigious location on the shores of Craigavon South Lake, with good communications links to the rest of the Borough and beyond. This is an ideal location to contribute to the tourism potential of the Borough. The landscape setting will require a high standard of design from development proposals.
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