PPS 5: Retailing and Town Centres
Objectives and Approach
5. The Government's policy objectives for town centres and retail developments are:
- to sustain and enhance the vitality and viability of town centres;
- to focus development, especially retail development, in locations where the proximity of business facilitates competition from which all consumers are able to benefit and maximises the opportunity to use means of transport other than the car;
- to maintain an efficient, competitive and innovative retail sector; and
- to ensure the availability of a wide range of shops, employment services and facilities to which people have easy access by a choice of means of transport.
6. The Department is committed to allowing freedom of choice and flexibility in terms of retail development throughout Northern Ireland and to assist the provision of a wide range of shopping opportunities to which the whole community has access. It is not the function of land use planning to prevent competition among retailers or between methods of retailing, nor to preserve existing commercial interests. However, the Department recognises the value and importance of established shopping areas in town, district and local centres, and is therefore committed to protecting their vitality and viability.
7. The Transportation Principles announced by the Minister for the Environment in January 1995 and the document 'Transportation in Northern Ireland - The Way Forward' launched in October 1995 have set a new direction for transportation planning in Northern Ireland. This new policy direction will seek to balance aspirations for mobility and the need for economic growth against responsibility for conserving the built and natural environment for future generations. The overall aims of policy will be to reduce, where possible, the need for travel; encourage the use of alternatives to the private car and provide an efficient, safe and accessible transportation system that offers better choice and mobility for all its users. The Department is committed to these policy aims and will determine applications for major retail development in accordance with the achievement of these aims. In pursuit of these aims, the Department will place particular emphasis on public transport provision and on ensuring good access for pedestrians and cyclists.