TOU4 Tourist Amenities in the Countryside

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

Policy TOU4 Tourist Amenities in the Countryside

New Proposals

The development of a new tourist amenity in the countryside will be permitted where it meets Policy TOU3 All Tourism Development in the Countryside and it is demonstrated that:

  1. it is in association with and requires a site at or close to a particular tourism attraction located in the countryside; or
  2. the type of tourist activity in itself requires a countryside location.

All proposals that include buildings must make provision in existing or replacement buildings, where possible.

Where a proposed tourist amenity is of regional or Borough wide importance or is otherwise significant in terms of the extent of new build or the scale of engineering operations it must demonstrate substantial benefit to the regional and/or the Borough’s tourism offer as well as sustainable benefits to the locality. Such applications must be supported by a tourism benefit statement and a sustainable benefit statement.

Extension/Expansion of an Existing Tourist Amenity

A proposal for the extension or expansion of an existing tourist amenity will be permitted where it meets Policy TOU3 All Tourism Development in the Countryside.

Where possible, such proposals including buildings will be expected to be accommodated through the conversion, reuse or extension of existing buildings on site, unless it can be demonstrated that this is not a feasible option. In circumstances where Council accepts a new or replacement building it should be sited and designed so as to integrate with the overall development.

Any conversion, extension or new building should be of high quality design and respect the scale, materials and finishes of the original building(s) on the site and any historic or architectural interest they may have.

Justification and Amplification

A tourist amenity is defined by the Tourism (NI) Order 1992 as an amenity, facility or service provided primarily for tourists but does not include tourist accommodation.

Tourist amenities are diverse in terms of their nature, scale and function and not all proposals can be facilitated within a settlement. For example, a visitor centre may have a specific functional need to be located in close proximity to the particular countryside attraction it is intended to serve. The policy therefore provides for tourist amenities in the countryside where the tourism activity and associated facilities require a rural location in terms of their functional or site/area specific requirements.

The impact of proposals on rural character, landscape and areas of natural/ historic environment importance is a key consideration in their assessment, particularly within areas designated for such qualities. Proposals associated with particular tourism assets in the countryside will also be assessed against Policy TOU1 Safeguarding of Tourism Assets.

In order to facilitate assessment of large scale proposals or those that are significant for the Council area or NI, applications must be accompanied by a tourism benefit statement to demonstrate the value of the proposal in terms of tourism revenue and employment opportunity and also how it will further the aims of any regional or Council’s tourism strategy. Council will usually refer such proposals to Tourism NI for comment in regard to tourism benefit. Such proposals are also required to deliver sustainable benefit to the rural locality and applications must also be accompanied by a sustainable benefit statement to demonstrate such merits. Relevant considerations are set out in Appendix B Tourist Amenities in the Countryside - Sustainability Assessment.

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