Planning Portal

Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Regional Planning Policies: Policy HOU 13 Replacement Dwellings

Policy HOU 13 Replacement Dwellings
The provisions of PPS 21 will take precedence over this policy.
Planning permission will be granted for the replacement of a dwelling house, subject to certain criteria.
Replacement dwellings are the single largest category of housing development in those areas of the countryside which are subject to policy constraint.
While replacement of existing dwellings allows for the renewal and upgrading of the housing stock, permissions have also been sought to replace vacant buildings, which have not been occupied in recent years or have been used for other than residential purposes.
In general the continued use, with adaptation if necessary, of existing houses, especially those of traditional design, will be encouraged in preference to replacement but this is not always the preferred solution of the applicant.
Planning permission will only be granted for a replacement dwelling in a Green Belt or CPA when the building to be replaced is a dwelling house and fulfils certain criteria.
The dwelling house must:
  • exhibit all the essential characteristics of a dwelling house;
  • be in use, or have last been used, as a dwelling house. This use must not have been abandoned or changed from another use, without previous planning approval;
  • be occupied or be capable of occupation with minor renovation; and
  • be in the ownership of the applicant, or have a reasonable prospect of being in the control of the applicant
A dwelling house, that has changed its use, requires express planning permission to go back to the original residential use, even if the change of use did not constitute development.
The essential characteristics of a dwelling house will include the existence of reasonably sound and complete walls and roof, windows and doors that are intact, and internal arrangements to enable its occupation as a dwelling house. In order to be readily capable of occupation, it should be reasonably weatherproof or at least capable of being made so with minor repairs. It should have the normal requirements of living available, although-these facilities, or the quality of the building, may not necessarily be of a standard considered acceptable in a modern dwelling house. There may be instances where an existing dwelling, which fulfils the replacement criteria, should not be replaced for good planning reasons. Each case will be considered on its merits.

Replacement of Listed Dwelling Houses

Permission will not normally be forthcoming to replace a dwelling house which is listed as having special architectural or historic interest. It is necessary for listed building consent to be obtained for any works for the demolition of a listed building, or for its alteration or extension, in any manner which would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest.

Replacement of Seriously Damaged Dwelling Houses

Applications for replacement dwellings will be decided on the condition of the dwelling to be replaced. Where no dwelling exists or if there is a structure that does not meet the criteria for a replacement dwelling, then planning permission will not normally be forthcoming, even if approval was previously granted for a replacement dwelling on the site.
Exceptionally, when a recently inhabited or habitable dwelling is destroyed by an accident planning permission may be granted for a new dwelling, in situ. Evidence about the status and previous condition of the building and the cause and extent of the damage must be provided.

Replacement of Tenanted Dwelling Houses

It will not normally be possible to approve an application for replacement of an existing house that is tenanted. This is because almost all tenanted dwellings in Northern Ireland are subject to legislation which limits the rights of a landlord to gain possession and occupation.

Siting and Design of Replacement Dwellings

Visual impact is the critical consideration regarding the siting and design of replacement dwellings. The siting of a replacement dwelling should be within the same curtilage as the existing building, to take advantage of any natural features or mature planting and to reduce the visual impact of new larger dwellings with extensive gardens. Off-site replacements will not normally be allowed.
The siting and design of the total new development should not create a visual impact significantly greater than the existing building, in order that it be satisfactorily absorbed or integrated into the landscape. The promise of substantial landscaping, as a means to reduce the impact of a prominent and overly dominant dwelling in the longer term, is unlikely to be considered an acceptable design solution.
Restrictions which could result in failure to satisfy basic minimum standards, will not be imposed on the size and design of a replacement. However, it is unlikely that a house of a size significantly in excess of the one it is replacing will be appropriate, if its visual impact is significantly greater. The size of the dwelling may be constrained by the size of the existing site. In such cases, planning permission will be refused, on the grounds that the proposed development does not meet the criteria for replacement dwellings.
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