Planning Portal

Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Regional Planning Policies: Policy DES 7 Ribbon Development and Infill

Policy DES 7 Ribbon Development and Infill
The provisions of PPS 21 will take precedence over this policy.
Planning permission will be refused for a building which creates or adds to a ribbon of development.
Ribbon development is a line of buildings, served by individual accesses, extending along a road, without accompanying development of the land to the rear. A ribbon does not necessarily have a continuous or uniform building line. Buildings sited back from a road, staggered or at angles to the road and with gaps between them can represent ribbon development, if they have a common frontage to the road and are visually linked when viewed from the road.
Demand for this type of development arises for several reasons, most notably on the roads radiating from settlements, because services may be in existence along the road and proximity to these reduces the cost of development.
Ribbon development has consistently been opposed and will continue to be unacceptable, primarily on grounds of visual amenity, reinforced on occasions by road safety objections. This type of development is not attractive. It often uses suburban siting and design solutions, which are detrimental both to the character and amenity of the countryside. It creates a built-up appearance when viewed from the road; it sterilises backland, often hampering the planned expansion of settlements; and makes access to farmland difficult.
Ribboning is not a category of development that can be defined by numbers, although, if there are two buildings proposed fronting a road and beside one another, there could be a tendency to ribboning. In these circumstances, unless the developer can produce a design solution to integrate the new building or buildings into the landscape, and there are exceptional and special circumstances for building on that site, permission will not be granted.
The infilling of gaps between houses in the countryside will not normally be permitted. Exceptionally, there may be situations where the development of a small gap, sufficient to accommodate one house and within an otherwise substantial and continuously built up frontage, may be acceptable. Each application will be considered on its merits and in relation to the constraints set out in policy DES6. The proposed building would have to be well designed, appropriate in size and form to the neighbouring buildings, and the whole development should integrate with its surroundings. There must also be no site specific objections such as road safety.
Most frontages however are not intensively built up and have substantial gaps between buildings, giving visual breaks in the developed appearance of the locality. Development of these gaps would be visually undesirable.
Approval for infill development will be the exception rather than the norm, as in most cases infilling amounts to the creation of ribbon development.
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