Planning Portal

Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Regional Planning Policies: Policy TOU 3 Tourist Accommodation

Policy TOU 3 Tourist Accommodation
This policy has been superseded by PPS 16 Tourism
To give favourable consideration to proposals for Hotels, Guesthouses and Self catering accommodation in existing settlements and in appropriate rural locations.
Weaknesses, in terms of shortcomings of quality and quantity, have been identified in the accommodation sector in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Tourist Board is seeking to encourage improvement in both the range and quality of accommodation available. While much of the accommodation needs may be met within existing settlements it is accepted the nature of tourism is such that a wider choice of locations is required.
Within Green Belts and Countryside Policy Areas planning permission may be granted for the sympathetic conversion of existing buildings or the change of use and minor extension to buildings to provide tourist accommodation. Proposals for new-build tourist accommodation may be acceptable in some locations provided a special tourist need, or exceptional benefit to the tourist industry, can be demonstrated.
Outside Green Belts and Countryside Policy Areas proposals for tourist accommodation will normally be acceptable in the countryside where they are farm-based or where they meet a clearly identified tourist need. It is vital that the scale and location of any new development is appropriate and that the design and materials to be used are in keeping with the locality. The loss of amenity by local residents will also be an important consideration.
It will be necessary for applicants to identify and detail a positive need for a particular type of tourist accommodation in any area.
Hotel development can bring economic and employment benefits for the local community and support a range of amenities. A major hotel development with function and conference facilities which serves as a social focal point for the community would rarely be acceptable in the open countryside as a result of the scale of the development and level of activity generated.
In some locations outside Green Belts and Countryside Policy Areas a well conceived hotel development which meets a clearly identified tourist need may be acceptable. The location, scale and environmental implications of the proposed development will be the critical considerations see Policy DES 5.
The provision of additional good quality self-catering accommodation is a development priority for the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
Northern Ireland has a wealth of old rural houses built in a traditional and vernacular style. The renovation of such houses to form self catering holiday accommodation would ensure their continued use and may be acceptable provided the development meets normal planning and environmental considerations.
Often proposals for self-catering accommodation are in areas in which the provision of permanent housing would be contrary to policy on development in the countryside - see Policy GB/CPA1. Where such a proposal is acceptable on the basis of meeting tourist need, it is essential that the accommodation intended for tourists is retained as such. To this end, the Department will attach a condition requiring that the accommodation be used for holiday occupation only and not for permanent residential accommodation.
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