The long awaited policy on planning in the countryside has now been published. Minister for the Environment Edwin Poots launched Planning Policy Statement 21 on 1 June 2010 - it replaces the draft policy which has been in place since November 2008.
Key policy changes include:
- the introduction of a new policy: 'New Dwellings in Existing Clusters'. Planning permission will be granted for new dwellings at an existing cluster of development where: the cluster lies outside of a farm and if it consists of four or more buildings; it appears as a visual entity; at identified focal points (such as a church or a school); integrates into the existing landscape and will not have an adverse impact on residential amenity;
- a new criterion which states that planning permission for farm diversification proposals will only be granted in conjunction with existing policy if it can be demonstrated that the business is currently active and established;
- a new criterion for houses on farms regarding permission to develop on an alternative site where there are demonstrable health and safety reasons or verifiable plans to expand the farm; and
- a definition of 'active farming', 'curtilage' and 'built up frontage'.
Planning Service is holding over 2,400 applications which would have been refused under draft PPS 21. All of these will now be re-assessed under PPS21 and decisions will be issued as soon as possible. PPS 21 is available to download from www.planningni.gov.uk and from local Divisional Planning Offices. If you would like any advice on any aspect of the new policy please contact Claire, Elaine or Louise at Community Places (telephone 9023 9444). Click here to download our Factsheet on PPS 21.