Planning Portal

Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Regional Planning Policies: Policy IC 17 Small Office and Business Development

Policy IC 17 Small Office and Business Development
This policy has been superseded by:  PPS 4-Planning and Economic Development insofar as it applies to Class B1 of the 2015 Use Classes Order:
To facilitate the development of small office and business uses in appropriate locations.
There is often a need for small offices within urban areas but outside town centres. Examples include, estate agents, insurance brokers, building societies, solicitor banks and local offices of essential public services. These offices which provide essential local services will normally only be permitted in or adjacent to existing or proposed commercial areas and neighbourhood centres. Office development will only be permitted in local shopping centres where the scale does not detract from the retailing function of the centre. An appropriate level of office development which provides local services may be permitted in villages and other smaller rural settlements.
Proposals for such uses will normally only be acceptable where:
  • the use is clearly designed to serve a local need;
  • the floorspace is limited to a maximum of 200 sq metres;
  • there is no loss of good housing stock;
  • the proposal is not located in a predominantly residential area;
  • the development meets parking standards and environmental considerations.
Many small businesses begin with people working from their own homes. Advances in technology now allow a wider range of business activity to be carried out from individual residences. In many cases the level of activity is of such a limited scale that planning permission would not be required. Favourable consideration may be given to applications for home working, where deemed necessary, in residential areas or rural dwellings provided:
  • work is carried out primarily by persons living in the residential unit;
  • the business use is clearly secondary to the main use of the property as a dwelling house;
  • the use is carried out totally within the existing building;
  • there will be no loss of amenity for neighbouring residents - for example from noise, vibration, advertising, visual amenity or traffic generation; and
  • the use is not one which by its nature would attract more than occasional visitors.
Where approval is granted the permission will be strictly controlled by conditions.
This policy will not apply to industrial uses such as car vehicle repairs at residential properties see instead policies IC 1 and IC 2.
Telecottages - small scale centres designed to provide a centralised information and communication service using modern technology - may be approved in villages or smaller settlements where the objective is to reduce remoteness and stimulate local rural development. Approval will however be subject to the normal environmental and other policy considerations.
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