Planning Portal

Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Regional Planning Policies: Policy PSU 4 Access Layout Servicing and Parking

POLICY PSU 4 Access Layout Servicing and Parking
This Policy has been superseded by: PPS 3-Access, Movement and Parking
Development proposals will normally be required to meet the Department's standards for access, car parking, servicing and the design and layout of roads.
New development will often affect the road network surrounding it, and it is part of the function of development control to ensure that any adverse effects are avoided or minimised. Planning permission can be considered for development where:
  • the proposal would not result in a significant increase in traffic congestion or be a hazard to road safety;
  • the design and layout of roads, footpaths and accesses are to a satisfactory standard; and
  • sufficient off-street parking and servicing is made available in a manner which is visually satisfactory.
The extra traffic which will be generated by a new development may occasionally necessitate road improvements in the area of the scheme. To the extent that any traffic problems can be expected to arise directly from the proposed development, a condition may be imposed requiring appropriate improvements to be made before implementation and a Planning Agreement may be made.


New development will generally require an access to a public road, whether by the opening of a new entrance, or by utilising an existing access. Direct access on to main traffic routes must be avoided as far as practicable - see Policy PSU 5. Where feasible, access should be to a secondary road. The standards for access onto classified roads, including sight lines, radii and gradients, will vary according to the road classification. Unclassified roads account for the remainder of the road network and new accesses to these roads will normally be permitted provided the appropriate standards are complied with and there is no unacceptable traffic hazard as a result.
The number of accesses onto a given stretch of road and proximity to junctions will be relevant in the assessment of traffic hazards. The combining of individual access points along a road will be encouraged as this tends to increase road safety.
The Department's publication "Layout of Housing Roads, Design Guide" sets standards for the dimensions and layout of residential roads. This will assist developers with the preparation of layout proposals. It sets out standards consistent with a safe layout, whilst giving freedom to designers to experiment with alternative designs in both traditional and shared surface layouts. The primary objective is to encourage safe and attractive residential areas. Designers will be expected to pay particular attention to the formation of accesses, the capacity of roads and the type of traffic appropriate to them. Due regard should also be paid to the access requirements of cyclists and pedestrians, including those with a mobility handicap.
The safety of pedestrians and other road users is of paramount importance when designing the layout of residential developments. The Design Guide has therefore:
  • established a road hierarchy which will restrict the generation of large volumes of traffic in housing areas, by limiting the numbers of houses served by each category of road; and
  • introduced speed control measures to restrain vehicle speeds.
In town centre locations, developers will normally be expected to include proposals for the provision of rear servicing facilities where practicable. The need for rear servicing will be assessed on the merits of each individual case. It is recognised that historic settlement patterns may be a constraint upon the provision of rear servicing.

Car Parking

The objective of car parking standards is to ensure that sufficient space is provided for the accommodation of parked vehicles, having regard to the location, layout, size, shape, access needs and design quality of the space. The provision of parking spaces to appropriate standards will ensure that parked vehicles do not become either a safety hazard, an obstruction to vehicle or pedestrian movement, or a visual nuisance.
The standards incorporate the concept of operational and non-operational parking. Operational parking space is required for cars and other vehicles regularly and necessarily involved at the operation of a business or a particular building. Non-operational parking space is required for traffic which does not have to park at the particular premises.
Full operational parking will normally be required with all development. The provision of non operational parking by developers will be decided after consideration of the following factors:
  • access and traffic management;
  • environmental impact;
  • the level of parking provision which can be provided within the site being developed;
  • the availability of adjacent public car parking; and
  • the acceptable level of local on-street car parking.
A condition on a planning permission may require a maximum or a minimum number of spaces to be provided.
In some instances developers who cannot provide adequate car parking at their sites may be required to contribute to the cost of public car parking in the vicinity.
The Department will publish its car parking standards in due course. In the meantime, Divisional Planning Offices will give guidance on parking provision.
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