Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Planning Strategy: The Strategy Settlements
The Department will no longer seek to direct population or development to selected settlements nor will it be bound by a rigid interpretation of a hierarchy of settlements - towns, villages and smaller settlements - ranging from small to large. It will however seek to meet the development needs of society and protect the environment. In preparing development plans, the Department will take account of differing circumstances throughout Northern Ireland.
Within commuting range of the Belfast Urban Area there are acute pressures for development. There are some settlements where, for reasons of topography, landscape, infrastructure or amenity, there is little scope for further development. Some smaller settlements consist mainly of recent housing development with few or no community facilities. It would be inappropriate for large-scale development to take place in these places.
However, many settlements in the Greater Belfast Area have the capacity for further significant development, to accommodate their own growth and also to provide for the needs of a wider area. In these settlements, the objective will be orderly and progressive development, respecting the environment and well related to the existing settlement.