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14/07/2014

NI Northern Area Plan makes waves

Words: Roger Milne
Giants Causeway

Northern Irish environment minister Mark H Durkan has published a report which will help provide greater certainty on planning decisions for people living in Ballymoney, Coleraine, Limavady and Moyle.

The minister has published the report from the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) on objections to the Draft Northern Area Plan (DNAP) and indicated where his department and PAC are in agreement over the strategy. The final plan is expected to be adopted in early 2015, and will provide a firm foundation for local authorities in the area when the planning function is transferred to them in 2015.
 
The minister said: “In areas where the PAC recommendations support the Draft Plan for what will be the Causeway Coast and Glens area, it is likely that my department will accept these, unless there is a good reason not to."
 
Areas where the PAC agrees with the department include:
 
- housing allocations for towns and villages
- allocation of lands for economic development
- town centre first approach
- a bespoke policy for Rathlin Island to enable development of single dwellings for 'local' people
- policies and designations to protect the Giant’s Causeway Coast and Glens World Heritage site.
 
The report demonstrates there is an adequate supply of development land to meet the needs of the new council area beyond the notional end date of the Northern Area Plan of 2016.
 
Durkan concluded: “My officials will be working through the full detail of all of the PAC Report’s recommendations and liaising with key stakeholders."

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