Planning Portal

PPS 4: Industrial Development
Development Control: Small Off Farm Rural Enterprises

42. The Department recognises the importance of enterprises emanating from the local community in the regeneration of declining rural areas. Where possible such enterprises should be contained within existing buildings. The countryside contains many non-agricultural buildings which have outlived their original purposes. Examples include old mills, rural schools, churches and other community buildings. Unless alternative uses can be found, they may suffer decay and dereliction leading to the despoilation of the rural landscape. The re-use of redundant non-agricultural buildings for industrial purposes will be permitted where
  • the building is genuinely redundant in respect of the use for which it was constructed and/or last occupied;
  • any alteration or extension of the building to accommodate its re-use is in keeping with the character of the building and respects the architectural heritage of the area; and
  • the scale and type of operation can be absorbed into the rural environment without leading to a significant loss of amenity.
43. Where new buildings are required to accommodate a small rural enterprise, the Department will normally prefer them to be erected in settlements. In order to prevent a proliferation of urban-type development, permission will not be granted for new industrial buildings in Green Belts and Countryside Policy Areas. The Department will, however, adopt a more flexible approach to the location of small rural industries in the rest of the Northern Ireland countryside. In exceptional circumstances, where there is no suitable land within a settlement, planning permission may be granted for a specific industrial project outside the limits of development, but on land visually associated with the settlement. Sites remote from any settlement will not normally be approved. The project must be a definite proposal for an enterprise which could make a significant contribution to the local economy and not a speculative scheme.
44. Where the exceptional policy outlined in paragraph 43 is applied, the Department will consider options in the following order:
  1. A minor extension to the existing development limit, subject to amenity and environmental considerations.
  2. Any site close to the development limit which currently contains buildings or where the site is already in a degraded or derelict state and where the opportunity exists to improve the environment.
  3. A greenfield site in close proximity to the settlement and clearly associated with it.
Development proposals likely to detract from the setting of the settlement or to contribute to urban sprawl or ribboning would not be acceptable.
45. Planning permission for new industrial buildings in the countryside will normally be subject to conditions
  • regarding the design of the proposed buildings;
  • requiring landscaping of the site;
  • requiring a satisfactory means of effluent disposal;
  • controlling access, external storage and car parking; and
  • controlling the scale and design of development.
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