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Fermanagh Area Plan 2007
Social Base: Settlement

Fermanagh is a predominantly rural District. The majority of the population (70%) resides in the rural area with the remaining 30% in the 3 main towns, Enniskillen, Lisnaskea and Irvinestown. Whilst the 1991 census showed that the population of some rural wards has increased and others decreased, the total rural population has remained virtually static in the 20 years between 1971 and 1991.This is indicative of the strong tradition and continuing desire on the part of Fermanagh people to live in the rural area. A large proportion of this population is distributed throughout the range of large and small villages in the District.
In some villages the problem of land unavailability has constrained development and the Department has taken this factor into account in defining limits of development.
The settlement pattern of parts of rural Fermanagh is also typified by small clusters of houses centred on a church, a school or a hall generally in isolated areas which act as the social focus for a wide range of townlands.
A significant proportion of the population is still engaged in farming and individual farm houses with groups of farm buildings together with farm workers cottages are a traditional feature of the countryside.
In recent years a significant number of new dwellings have also been built in the Fermanagh countryside.


  • To promote the role of Enniskillen as the focus for large scale development in Fermanagh.
  • To promote the roles of Lisnaskea and Irvinestown as small towns serving the needs of their rural hinterlands.
  • To ensure that each town and village has sufficient developable land to meet local needs and to provide flexibility, allowing for a range of different forms of development throughout the Plan period.
  • To promote towns and villages as vibrant and attractive places in which to live, work and invest by protecting and enhancing their physical environment, encouraging economic regeneration and removing dereliction.
  • To make effective use of existing and new infrastructure.
  • To promote the planting of trees along the main routes into towns and villages in order to extend the distinctive treed character of the Fermanagh landscape into settlements.
  • To ensure the form, character and appearance of each town and village and their surrounding countryside are protected so as to prevent urban sprawl, ribbon development and the coalescence of settlements.
  • To conserve and enhance the natural and man-made environment and encourage high quality new development in all settlements.
  • To encourage and strengthen community identity and the role of the village or rural community as a focal point for its rural hinterland by encouraging the provision of social, community or recreational facilities on suitable sites.
  • To ensure, within reason, that adequate account is taken of land availability in identifying development land.
The Department's Strategic and Regional Planning Policies relating to Settlement are currently contained in "A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland"" published in September 1993.
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