CS5 Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Closeddate_range16 Oct, 2019, 9:30am - 11 Dec, 2019, 5:00pm

CS5 Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Development proposals within the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) or its setting, will only be permitted if there is no adverse individual or cumulative impact on its exceptional landscape quality, distinctive character, heritage and wildlife, which would prejudice its overall integrity.

All new development proposals within the AONB or its setting must meet the General Policy, accord with other provisions of the plan and meet all of the following additional criteria:

  1. the nature and intensity of the proposed use is compatible with the landscape and distinctive character of the AONB; and
  2. in the case of buildings, the proposed development is sited and designed so as to integrate with the landscape, and where feasible, to enhance landscape quality;
  3. design, materials and finishes of buildings to be of high quality and to complement the design characteristics of local vernacular buildings and their settings;
  4. respect traditional boundary details, by retaining features such as hedges, walls, trees and gates;
  5. public views of key features, ridge lines and coastal headlands within the AONB are protected; and
  6. development proposals that are outside but closely interlinked with the AONB must have regard to the sensitivity of the setting and the visual relationship with the designated area.

A development proposal which clearly enhances the landscape quality and/or the distinctive character of the AONB will be supported by Council.

Development for the purposes of public access and public enjoyment of the AONB will be supported if it can be demonstrated that it will not adversely impact on the exceptional landscape qualities and distinctive character of the AONB or on its heritage assets and wildlife.

Justification and Amplification

The Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (the AONB) is a landscape of national importance that is designated by statute12 for the purpose of conserving and enhancing its natural beauty.

That portion of the AONB which falls within the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area (an area of some 370 square kilometres) is shown on the District Proposals Maps for information. Further information about key characteristics of the AONB within Mid and East Antrim is contained in the Technical Supplement 10 Countryside Assessment.

The objectives of AONB designation are to:

  • conserve or enhance the natural beauty or amenities of the area;
  • conserve wildlife, historic objects or natural phenomena within it; and
  • promote its enjoyment by the public; and provide or maintain public access to it.

These objectives also generally align with the LDP objectives, particularly Environmental Objective b) relating to the AONB.

This policy seeks to protect, conserve and where possible enhance the scenic quality and distinctive character of the AONB, and its associated environmental and heritage assets, whilst accommodating the necessary development needs of local communities and visitors to the area, in a sustainable manner.

The varied assets of the AONB provide opportunity for sustainable tourism growth and promoting health and wellbeing, in line with Council’s strategic priorities. Securing such benefits whilst safeguarding the intrinsic qualities of the AONB must not be compromised by inappropriate development.

Accordingly, all new development, both buildings and infrastructure, must respect the natural beauty of the area by relating well to local landscape character. This can be achieved through careful siting and by design that seeks to integrate new development into the landscape. In assessing applications, important considerations will relate to the appropriate scale, form, massing and height of buildings. Design details relating to materials, finishes and boundary treatment will also be important and favourable consideration will be given to proposals which reflect the design characteristics of local vernacular buildings. Respecting the traditional settlement patterns and the setting of settlements within the AONB will also be important considerations in assessing applications in such areas.

Applicants will therefore be required to minimise the visual impact of development and provide any necessary mitigation measures needed to ensure satisfactory integration into the landscape or to avoid harm to heritage assets and their settings. The protection of key views of landscape or heritage assets and how they are understood, experienced and enjoyed within the AONB will be particularly important. Proposals which individually or cumulatively prejudice the overall integrity of the AONB will be refused. Where it is possible for development proposals to enhance the AONB, for example through the provision of pathways or informal recreational facilities, Council may seek to secure the provision of suitable enhancement measures and management plans will be requested, as appropriate. Conservation, enhancement and subsequent management of important features within the AONB may be required in relation to some developments. Such enhancement however cannot be used to justify a development that would otherwise be unacceptable.

This policy should to be read in conjunction with other relevant policies in the LDP, in particular those relating to strategic countryside designations, some of which fall within the AONB:

  • CS1 Special Countryside Areas
  • CS3 Areas of Constraint on High Structures
  • Policy MIN4 Areas of Constraint on Mineral Development

In preparing proposals, applicants should also refer to the following documents:

  • Technical Supplement 10 Countryside Assessment, particularly to the Landscape Character Assessment as it relates to the AONB and its setting
  • Building on Tradition13
  • The Antrim Coast and Glens Design Guide
  • The latest AONB Management Plan14
  • 12 - Designated as an AONB in 1988 under the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (NI) Order 1985.
  • 13 - https://www.planningni.gov.uk/building_on_tradition__amended_.compressed.pdf
  • 14 - http://ccght.org/publications/Management_Plan/Antrim_Coast_&_Glens_AONB_Management_Plan-Action_Plan.pdf