SGS7 Retail Hierarchy

Development within the designated town centres will be permitted provided that it maintains their primary retail function and wider role as a focus for business, leisure, cultural and other appropriate town centre uses. Retail activity elsewhere should be focussed within lower tier centres, which will be expected to retain a core of local shopping facilities and accommodate any new retail development, commensurate to their position in the retail hierarchy. The Retail Hierarchy is set out below:

Table 5.6 Retail Hierarchy

Tier

Title

Description

Centres

1

Town Centres

Provides (or has the potential to provide) a range of shops, services, businesses and community facilities to a significant hinterland which includes smaller neighbouring towns or suburbs.

Ballymena
Carrickfergus
Larne

2

Small Town Centres

Provides (or has the potential to provide) a range of shops, services, businesses and community facilities to serve a hinterland which includes neighbouring small towns and villages.

Whitehead
Ahoghill
Broughshane
Cullybackey
Portglenone5

3

Local Centres

Provides (or has the potential to provide) a limited range of shops, services, businesses and community facilities to serve the immediate local area.

Greenisland
Galgorm

4

Village Centres6

Provides (or has the potential to provide) a limited range of shops, generally comprising a grocery store, occasionally a petrol filling station, and other small shops of a local nature serving a small village and surrounding rural area.

Kells/Connor
Cargan
Carnlough
Clough
Martinstown
Ballygalley
Ballystrudder
Glenarm
Glynn
Ballycarry

Justification and Amplification

In recognition of the LDP Spatial Growth Strategy and their position in the top tier of the settlement hierarchy, the principal focus for retail growth and other town centre uses shall be within Ballymena, Larne and Carrickfergus town centres. In regard to the RDS, this also reflects the regional status of both Ballymena and Larne as ‘main hubs’ and of Carrickfergus as a key location within the Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area. Larne is also designated as a ‘gateway’.

Whilst the second tier towns vary in size and provision of services, they contain centres which perform an important function in meeting both the daily and weekly needs of local communities. Therefore, in keeping with the SPPS and to support and sustain these centres as vibrant town centres, the LDP adopts a town centre first approach for retail and other main town centres uses.

The retail hierarchy also recognises that appropriate provision for retail facilities in the villages, small settlements and local centres can complement the main town centres. Thus, opportunities for small scale provision in line with a town centre first approach and of a scale and nature appropriate to the character of a settlement, shall be encouraged where this helps to meet the daily shopping needs of local residents and necessary local services.

The policy approach of the SPPS is to resist the development of inappropriate retail facilities in the countryside as this has potential to undermine the town centre first approach and may impact adversely upon rural character and amenity. The SPPS does set out some exceptions which may be considered outside settlement limits. However, as these are exceptions, specific provision for this form of retailing is not incorporated within the retail hierarchy. Operational subject policy is nevertheless set out in Part 2.

  • 5 - Note Portglenone is identified as a village in the LDP Settlement Hierarchy
  • 6 - Also includes designated Small Settlements

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