Planning Portal

PPS 3: Access, Movement and Parking
Policy AMP 9

Policy AMP 9 Design of Car Parking
The Department will expect a high standard of design, layout and landscaping to accompany all proposals for car parking. Planning permission will only be granted for a proposal where all the following criteria are met:
  1. it respects the character of the local townscape / landscape;
  2. it will not adversely affect visual amenity; and
  3. provision has been made for security, and the direct and safe access and movement of pedestrians and cyclists within the site.

Justification and Amplification

5.60 The amount and arrangement of car parking can have a significant impact on the quality of both the built and natural environment. All proposals for parking and associated facilities should therefore be well designed, respect local character and their wider setting. They should also provide for safe and convenient access / egress and direct and safe internal movement for cyclists and pedestrians, including people with disabilities and others whose mobility is impaired.
5.61 Security is of particular importance in the design of car parks. The Department will therefore expect developers to address this matter, particularly in relation to multi-storey and basement car parking, and would encourage developers to seek advice from the Police Service of Northern Ireland Opens link in a new browser window, Architectural Liaison Service.

Surface Level Car Parks

5.62 Surface level car parking should generally be broken up to avoid the creation of a vast expanse of “dead space”. This can be achieved by way of a well-designed landscape scheme, which includes appropriate boundary and surface treatments. In urban situations the re-arrangement of buildings and space within the layout may in some instances be a more appropriate solution.

Temporary Car Parks

5.63 In assessing proposals for temporary car parks on sites awaiting redevelopment the Department will normally still require a landscaping scheme incorporating details of boundary and surface treatments.

Multi-storey Car Parks

5.64 The design of multi-storey car parks should reflect the character and appearance of the surrounding townscape in terms of form, scale, massing and use of materials. Building lines should adhere to those already established, while public facades in particular should be designed to create visual interest. Blank screen walls will not be acceptable as these can have a negative impact on the street scene.

Parking within Buildings

5.65 The design of basement or semi-basement car parks requires careful attention to ensure that they are safe to use and do not have a negative impact at street level by the creation of dead frontage.
5.66 Surface parking underneath a raised ground floor can create the same effect to an even greater extent, particularly where ground floor elevations are entirely made up of metal grids or finished in an unimaginative way. This can effectively remove life from the street and contribute to the creation of a threatening and unpleasant environment. Such an approach to the provision of car parking will be unacceptable.

Rural Car Parks

5.67 The amount and arrangement of car parking in rural locations can have a significant impact on the natural environment, particularly in sensitive locations. The development of larger schemes in the countryside, such as those to serve tourist facilities or rural golf courses, need particular care in respect of their scale and design. Overflow parking to cater for increased demand for special events should not generally be a hardened surface and use should be made of concrete grass pavers with pockets of soil which encourage the growth of grass, general vegetation or shrubs to hide the concrete.
5.68 The design, layout and landscaping of rural car parks should seek to retain the open nature and visual amenity of the countryside. In addition matters such as floodlighting, will require careful design in order to minimise their impact on visual amenity.
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