Planning Portal

Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Regional Planning Policies: Policy IC 6 Expansion of Existing Enterprises

Policy IC 6 Expansion of Existing Enterprises
This policy has been superseded by: PPS 4-Planning and Economic Development
Planning Permission may be granted for the expansion of existing industrial or business enterprises in the countryside where the resultant development remains appropriate in scale for the location.
There are already many industrial and business enterprises which are located in rural areas. Some are long established, others normally small in scale have been granted planning permission to operate in disused rural buildings. Many of these enterprises will over time need to expand and/or diversify. While such expansion is desirable for job creation, it can radically change the nature of the enterprise and its impact on the local environment. It is therefore important to weigh carefully the advantages to the rural economy of job creation or an improved industrial facility against the potential for an adverse impact on the rural environment.
The expansion of existing industrial or business enterprises which are currently located in the countryside may be considered acceptable where:
  • there is no significant increase in the site area of the enterprise. Minor increases and rounding off of the existing site may be acceptable;
  • there is no significant addition of new buildings. Within Green Belts and Countryside Policy Areas new building (except for minor extensions to existing buildings) will generally not be permitted. Outside Green Belts and Countryside Policy Areas new buildings may be permitted, provided they are small in scale and provided the resultant development is appropriate in scale for the location and can be satisfactorily integrated into the local landscape;
  • the open storage of materials, which can be visually unsatisfactory, can be adequately screened from public view. Such screening will need to be of an acceptable form and effective throughout the year;
  • the increase in trade would not result in unacceptable traffic levels on nearby roads or a significant increase in use of an existing substandard access;
  • the new development, together with the existing facilities, remains of a scale appropriate to the rural area and will not result in an unacceptable loss in the amenity of the area. In particular the impact on nearby properties and the appearance of the development from public roads will be of importance; and
  • there would be no increase in existing or potential pollution or nuisance problems.
Where expansion proposals would result in a significant expansion in the scale of the , development, with increasing local environmental impacts, it may be necessary to relocate in an industrial area. Exceptionally, where it is accepted that relocation is not possible for particular operational or employment reasons, expansion may be permitted.
In all cases where permission for expansion is granted, the Department will require reasonable measures to be taken to ameliorate the impact, not only of the extension but also of the existing enterprise, on the local environment. Such measures, where required, will normally be considered essential for the grant of permission. Where necessary, planning agreements may be used to secure environmental improvements. Conditions will also be imposed to ensure there is adequate landscaping, parking and servicing provision.
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