Last week the Planning Department released the draft Local Development Plan 2030 and the 8 week consultation period is now underway. The current Development Plan was implemented in 2010 and set out the planning policy for the South Tyrone Council area. Now the new Plan, which covers the Mid Ulster Council area, will come into force once the consultation period is completed and the final draft is adopted by the Council, probably next year.
This is quite an important moment in time for any businesses in mid Ulster that has aspirations to expand their manufacturing or retail base over the next 10 years. The Local Development Plan - 2030, once adopted, steers the decisions made by the Planning Department in the Council, so it is important that businesses investigate what is being proposed and make their view heard now.
For example, there continues to be a growth of new businesses starting up in the Mid Ulster Council area. These businesses will need to be accommodated in industrial and retail space, however right now the demand exceeds the supply. The draft Local Development Plan recognises this fact and that there is the potential of 8500 new jobs being created in the area in the coming 10 years. These jobs need to be catered for but where? The draft Plan does suggest that 170 hectares of new land will be allowed for economic development spread equitably across the Council area. The draft Plan states, “within towns, proposals for economic development of land zoned will have to conform with the Plan (subject to meeting any Key Site Requirements) and in all other cases proposals will be determined on their own merits. With regards villages and small settlements, proposals that are of an appropriate scale, nature and design compatible with nearby residential use, will be given favourable consideration”
The draft Plan goes on to suggest that provision be allowed for small workshop accommodation of no more than 100 sq. meters floorspace for self employed forming part of the existing curtilage of a dwelling which is inhabited by the operator of the workshop.
Another point made in the draft plan is, “given the prevalence of self-employment and small businesses in the rural area in Mid Ulster, a small workshop type development will be considered acceptable on a infill site, an edge of settlement location...”
There are already many industrial and business enterprises located in rural areas - some long established while others are small scale. Over time these businesses may wish to expand and request planning permission. The draft Plan proposes that while they will accept requests, the economic impact from the proposed expansion will be weighed up against the adverse impact upon the rural environment.
The Mid Ulster Council have been running exhibitions and drop-in sessions throughout the Council area on the proposed Development Plan - (the last one being 15 March in Galbally). Further information in these sessions and an online copy of the Plan are available on the Council’s website.