Planning Portal

PPS 8: Open Space, Sport and Outdoor Recreation
Policy OS 6

Policy OS 6 Development of Facilities ancillary to Water Sports
The Department will permit the development of facilities ancillary to water sports adjacent to inland lakes, reservoirs and waterways where all the following criteria are met:
  1. it is compatible with any existing use of the water, including non-recreational uses;
  2. there is no adverse impact on features of importance to nature conservation, archaeology or built heritage;
  3. there is no adverse impact on visual amenity or the character of the local landscape;
  4. it will not result in water pollution or an unacceptable level of noise or disturbance;
  5. buildings or structures are designed to a high standard, are of a scale appropriate to the local area or townscape and are sympathetic to the surrounding environment in terms of their siting, layout and landscape treatment;
  6. the proposed facility takes into account the needs of people with disabilities; and
  7. there is no conflict with the provisions of any local management plan.

Justification and Amplification

5.47 Water based sports in Northern Ireland are an increasingly popular activity and our rivers, reservoirs, lakes and canals are an important recreational resource. Water sports range from tranquil uses such as angling, sailing, canoeing, rowing and sail-boarding, to powered activities such as water-skiing, jet-skiing and other power boat uses. Management plans drawn up for particular water areas seek to address the compatibility of such varying demands.
5.48 The development of ancillary facilities to support water sport uses, such as slipways, jetties, boat houses, toilet and changing facilities, parking areas and access, generally requires planning permission. In considering such development proposals, the Department will assess the impact on the visual amenity and character of the area. Particular attention will be paid to the potential for development to result in over-intensive use of a site especially in or adjacent to sites of nature conservation importance, or areas designated for their landscape quality. It is the general intention of the Department to conserve the environmental quality and character of inland bodies of water and to protect them and their surroundings from harmful development.
5.49 The need for and impact of access across land to inland bodies of water will be addressed when considering proposals for water sports. Ancillary space requirements for launching, mooring and car parking can vary from modest dimensions to large compounds. Proposals for facilities must therefore demonstrate that they will not damage the wider environment. Noise, erosion of shorelines or river banks and the potential loss of amenity for other users will be considered. The Department will require good design in terms of layout, buildings and other structures and high quality treatment for boundaries either adjacent to the road or the actual waterway. Proposals should include details of all landscaping and surface treatments.
5.50 Proposals for recreational development affecting the coastline of Northern Ireland will continue to be determined in line with the policies contained in the Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland.
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