Magherafelt Area Plan 2015
Introduction: Policy Context
The Plan is prepared within the context of the priorities of the Northern Ireland Executive as set out in the Programme for Government, taking into account European, National and Regional policies which have implications for the future pattern of development within the District.
European and UK Context
The European Union and the United Kingdom have embraced the principle of sustainable development based on stewardship of the environment. This principle has been widened in its scope to include both economic and social considerations. The Northern Ireland Executive in its Sustainable Development Strategy: 'Everyone’s Involved', have set out six Guiding Principles to achieve its vision of society in this Region developing in a sustainable way:
- Living within environmental limits;
- Ensuring a strong, healthy, just and equal society;
- Achieving a sustainable economy;
- Using a sound science responsibly;
- Promoting Opportunity and Innovation and
- Promoting good governance.
Regional Development Strategy
The Regional Development Strategy for Northern Ireland 2025 "Shaping Our Future" (RDS) published in September 2001 and amended in June 2008, sets out a dynamic strategic spatial planning framework for Northern Ireland to guide physical development within the region until 2025 and it provides an overarching strategic framework for development plans.
A consultation document on the 10 Year Review of the RDS was published in January 2011. It is intended that, when published in final form, the 10 Year Review will replace the current RDS.
At the heart of the RDS is the principle of ensuring a better quality of life for everyone now and for generations to come by seeking to meet the objectives of sustainable development.
The RDS contains a Spatial Development Strategy which aims to provide a strategic focus which will guide future development in order to provide a balanced and equitable pattern of sustainable development across the Region. In the context of the RDS, Magherafelt District lies within Rural Northern Ireland.
The overall aim of the RDS for Rural Northern Ireland is to develop an attractive and prosperous rural area, based on a balanced and integrated approach to the development of town, village and countryside, contributing to the overall well-being of the Region as a whole. This is to be achieved by action on a series of Strategic Objectives and Supporting Strategic Planning Guidelines.
The Department for Regional Development (DRD) has determined, in accordance with Article 28(7) of the Planning (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2003, that the Plan is in general conformity with the RDS.
Regional Transportation Strategy
The Regional Transportation Strategy 2002 - 2012 (RTS) is a ‘daughter document’ of the RDS. The RTS supports the RDS and makes a significant contribution towards achieving the RDS vision for transport.
DRD commenced the review of the RTS in 2011 and has developed proposals for a revised draft Regional Transportation Strategy with support for sustainable economic growth at its core. The consultation document maps out the future direction for transportation beyond 2015 when the current transport plans are timed to expire.
The purpose of the RTS is to improve access to regional, national and international markets thereby contributing to sustainable patterns of development and movement, and to promote integration between different modes of travel.
The RTS identifies strategic transportation investment priorities and considers potential funding sources and the affordability of planned initiatives. Implementation of the RTS in the Plan Area is through the Regional Strategic Transport Network Plan (RSTNTP) and the Sub Regional Transport Plan (SRTP).
Planning Policy Statements
Planning Policy Statements (PPSs) set out the policies of the Department on particular aspects of land use planning and apply to the whole of Northern Ireland. Their contents have informed the Plan preparation and the Plan Proposals and they are material to decisions on individual planning applications and appeals within Magherafelt District. Details of PPSs are contained in Appendix 2.
The Department has a rolling programme for the preparation of new PPSs and the review of existing PPSs. Where new or revised PPSs are published in final form they will supersede the corresponding policies within the Plan.
PPSs may from time to time be revised to take account of changing circumstances, including experience gained through the development planning and development management processes. Good practice guides may also be issued to illustrate how concepts contained in PPSs can best be implemented.
A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland (the Rural Strategy), published in September 1993, contains a number of strategic policies, but essentially comprises a compendium of planning policies setting out, on a topic basis, the factors that the Department takes into account when reacting to development proposals. It is of relevance to Magherafelt District.
The Strategic section of the document has been superseded by the RDS, whilst the topic sections are progressively being replaced by PPSs. Policies within the Rural Strategy remain material considerations until superseded by PPSs.
Regional Supplementary Planning Guidance
The Department’s publication, ‘Creating Places’, issued in May 2000, in furtherance of the Quality Initiative to improve the quality of new housing developments, provides guidance on the design, character and layout of new housing areas in Northern Ireland. The guide describes the contributions to quality and sustainability that developers will be expected to make through the design of new residential developments.
A Design Guide for Rural Northern Ireland is also available. Its purpose is to improve the quality of design in the countryside and to help to ensure that new buildings fit into the landscape.
The Department also publishes and updates, as necessary, a set of Development Control Advice Notes (DCANs), which explain the planning criteria, and technical standards that the Department considers when dealing with specific categories or particular aspects of development in Northern Ireland. DCANs are listed in Appendix 3.
It should be noted that the Department is continuously reviewing its regional planning policies and advice. It is therefore advisable to contact the Local Area Planning Office to ascertain the current relevant policies and supplementary guidance that apply within Magherafelt District. Regional planning policy and supplementary planning guidance can also be obtained from the Department’s Planning NI website.