Durkan publishes report on Northern Area Plan

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Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has published a report to bring more 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) without delay. This Draft Plan identifies land for specific uses that will help the economy and boost balanced growth, development and employment in these areas.

The final Plan, expected to be adopted in early 2015, will also provide a firm foundation for Council’s to formulate their own plans when the planning function transfers to them after the Reform of Local Government in 2015.

Mark H Durkan said: “Publishing this report introduces a degree of certainty about potential development opportunities and will assist those that wish to make investment decisions.

“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. This is not only open and transparent but introduces further certainty in this period before the final Plan is adopted.”

Areas where the PAC agree with the Department include:

l housing allocations for towns and villages;

l allocation of lands for economic development;

l town centre first approach;

l a bespoke Policy for Rathlin Island to enable development of single dwellings for “local” people;

l and policies and designations to protect the Giant’s Causeway Coast and Glens World Heritage site.

The Minister concluded: “My officials will be working through the full detail of all of the PAC Report’s recommendations and liaising with key stakeholders.

“This final Plan is not something we are imposing on the area. It will be the result of good partnership working with councils, government departments and the local community all working together to get the best Plan for this area.”

The PAC report is now available on the DOE Planning website, www.planningni.gov.uk together with a Ministerial Statement which provides guidance on the status of the report.