Planning Portal

Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Regional Planning Policies: Policy CON 4 Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest


The Northern Ireland landscape is almost entirely man-made or man-modified, the outcome of some 9,000 years of human activity which has left us with a rich legacy of archaeological and historical features. Tombs and forts, castles and churches, townhouses and farmhouses, grand architecture and vernacular buildings and industrial features are all significant sources of information about our past, and often landmarks in our present surroundings. They are part of our common heritage.
The modern landscape and townscape is the product of continuing change, and will continue to change in response to the needs of society. However it is important to protect the archaeological, historical and architectural legacy for the enjoyment and understanding of future generations. The Department has the responsibility for identifymg, recording and protecting the man-made and built . heritage through scheduling historic monuments, listing buildings of special architectural interest and designa$g Conservation Areas and other areas of heritage significance.
Conservation needs have to be balanced with development pressures. In some cases protection will be essential, in others it is sufficient to ensure that changes are appropriate for the particular situation. In dealing with historic buildings it is also important to retain as much of the original fabric of the building while extending the working life of the property.
Policy CON 4 Buildings of Architectual or Historic Interest
This policy has been superseded by: PPS 6-Planning,Archaeology and the Built Heritage
To conserve the character of buildings listed as being of special architectural or historic interest.
Northern Ireland contains many buildings of special architectural or historic merit, important for their intrinsic value and for their contribution to the character and quality not only of settlements but also to the open countryside. The continued conservation of such buildings and their settings is therefore of considerable importance in retaining the quality of the built environment.
In dealing with proposals for development which would affect listed buildings, the architectural quality or historic interest of the building or its setting will be considered together with their importance to the character of the landscape or townscape.
There will be a general presumption in favour of the preservation of all buildings listed as being of architectural or historic interest. Only in the most exceptional circumstances will consent be granted for demolition or partial demolition. Retention adrepair is always preferable to replacement. Proposals to retain only the facade of a building will not normally be acceptable.
Alterations to a listed building may sometimes be necessary in order to repair, modernise or adapt the building. Such alterations may be acceptable but will be expected to:
  • maintain the architectural character and integrity of the building;
  • preserve the original fabric;
  • preserve and retain external and internal features considered to be of architectural or historic importance; and
  • use traditional materials; the use of non-traditional materials will not normally be permitted.
Alterations or extensions which are unsympathetic to the character, structure or appearance of listed buildings will not be permitted.
The continued use of listed buildings will be encouraged. Proposals for the change of use of a listed building may be acceptable - especially where they help prolong its viable use or enhance-its appearance. Uses which would detract from the appearance or character of the building or its setting or result in a loss of architectural integrity will not normally be permitted.
The setting of a listed building is often of great importance. As a result, development which is likely to adversely affect the setting of a listed building will not normally be permitted.
Where necessary the Department will use its powers under the Planning Order to deal with unauthorised works to a listed building or the carrying out of urgent works to preserve such a building.
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