PPS 4 (Draft): Industry, Business and Distribution
The Role of Development Plans: Acceptable Uses and Allocated Areas
3.10 The Department recognises that the changing nature of employment requires a more flexible approach to the types of business acceptable in particular locations. This is necessary to assist in supporting job creation and attracting incoming investment. There are a number of high technology, knowledge driven enterprises, and a range of employment creating uses, such as light industry, R&D and some Class 3 high technology office uses which may be acceptable and compatible within an area allocated for industrial and business development. To facilitate such related development and enterprise, the Department will, where appropriate, identify areas for business park development in development plans, where a range of specified business uses will be acceptable, to promote flexibility and choice and help meet the needs of a fast-changing technologically driven market.
3.11 While such flexibility will generally be promoted, development plans may also need to restrict the particular types of industrial or business use permissible within a zoned site, based on local circumstances and environmental factors. Where appropriate, plans will also provide specifically for the types of industry which, although necessary, may be detrimental to amenity or a potential source of pollution. They will also ensure that development by such industries is separated from land uses which may be sensitive to their effects.
3.12 Development plans will, where appropriate, identify sites or areas where development should incorporate a mixture of uses, including residential, and will identify the suitable uses. The plan may indicate if conditions or planning agreements are likely to be used to secure an appropriate mixture of uses.
Storage and Distribution
3.13 Development plans will not necessarily need to identify a specific supply of land separate to the general industrial and business supply for storage and distribution, as in most cases such usage will be compatible with adjacent industrial or business development.
3.14 There may be a need in development plans, however, to identify and safeguard sites in situations where there is a limited choice of sites available with the required accessibility which are also able to accommodate a high volume of goods vehicles.
3.15 In this context, development plans will take into account the Regional Development Strategy policy guidance that transport dependent industries that focus on the storage, movement and delivery of goods should be located in the transport corridors at well accessed nodes normally on the edges of towns.
3.16 The RDS seeks to facilitate the clustering of engineering and high technology type businesses, such as those found in ICT and biotechnology, which can contribute to the region’s competitiveness by promoting innovation and improved business practices.
3.17 Development plans will, where appropriate, identify locations for such clusters taking into account RDS policy guidance on this matter. Suitable locations identified by the RDS for such business clusters include the centre of corridor towns, at established major business nodes within towns, or in ‘industrial office park’ developments at the edge of towns, normally as part of mixed-use schemes, with preferred locations at road or road-rail nodes, and transport interchanges.
3.18 It is envisaged that most new office development will continue to be concentrated within established town centres, and the RDS in ECON 1.3 seeks to promote town centres as the major locations and first choice for expanding service employment. Further office development can help reinforce the existing administrative and service functions of many settlements, as well as creating new employment in locations accessible to large sections of the population. Within larger towns, office areas within the town centre may be identified in the relevant development plan.
3.19 Where, however, a business park is identified in the development plan for the area (see 3.10), the plan will identify the criteria under which Class 3 office development will be acceptable in the business park. The plan may, on occasion, identify other areas in settlements where Class 3 or Class 2 office development will be acceptable.
3.20 The Planning (Control of Major-Accident Hazards) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000 amends the Planning (Development Plans) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1991 to require that in formulating its policies in a development plan, the Department shall have regard to the prevention of major-accident hazards and require that the written statement shall have regard to such matters. In doing so, the Department will take into account the siting of establishments where hazardous substances are used or stored, and the development of land within the vicinity of establishments where hazardous substances are, or may be, present.