Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
The Context: Consultation Responses Background
The Department received a total of 109 responses during its consultation process, including
the report on the rural clinics. The respondents were not constrained by the main issues identified
in the leaflet and they submitted wide ranging, constructive and detailed comments. Over 900 separate
suggestions were made for future planning policy, practice or procedure. There was no consensus expressed.
There was, however, a strongly held view that planning policy placed too much emphasis on centralisation
and channelling people into larger settlements. There was also concern that the present rural planning
policy was inappropriate to Northern Ireland and that insufficient distinction was made between the
circumstances in different parts of the country. Some groups and individuals were in favour of relaxing
planning restrictions on rural development. Others emphasised the importance of facilitating economic
activity. Yet others saw conservation of the natural and man-made environment as the top priority.