PPS 7: Quality Residential Environments
Policy QD 1: Site Characteristics
4.12 Proposals must respect the individual characteristics and features of the site itself. These include topography, existing buildings, features of the archaeological or built heritage and landscape features such as rivers, streams, trees and hedgerows, which make an important contribution to the biodiversity and ecology of an area. Proposals should identify and, where appropriate, protect and integrate heritage and landscape features into layouts in a suitable manner. Further information on the Department’s policies for the protection of landscape and heritage features can be found in PPS 2 ‘Planning and Nature Conservation’ and PPS 6 ‘Planning, Archaeology and the Built Heritage’ respectively.
4.13 Particular care will be necessary in preparing layout proposals on sloping sites in order to minimise the impact of differences in level between adjoining properties, existing or proposed. The use of prominent retaining walls within and at the margins of sloping sites will be unacceptable. In such cases the Department is only likely to accept low density development which would entail minimal works of excavation. Developers may also wish to consider the use of specific house designs which respect topography, such as split level dwellings. Where changes in ground level between buildings are unavoidable the Department will generally expect these to be accommodated by the use of planted banks. In all cases developers will need to demonstrate that their proposals will avoid significant overshadowing, overlooking and loss of privacy.