TOU5 Hotels, Guest Houses and Tourist Hostels in the Countryside

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

Policy TOU5 Hotels, Guest Houses and Tourist Hostels in the Countryside

The development of a hotel/guest house/tourist hostel in the countryside will be permitted where it complies with Policy TOU3 All Tourism Development in the Countryside and only in any of the following circumstances:

  1. Conversion and re-use of an existing rural building.
  2. Replacement of an existing rural building.
  3. New build proposal on the periphery of a settlement.

In addition the following specific criteria relating to the relevant circumstances must be met:

a) Conversion and re-use of an Existing Rural Building

A proposal for the conversion and re-use of suitable rural buildings for tourism uses, including as a hotel, guest house or tourist hostel will be assessed under Policy HE8 Non-listed Locally Important Building or Vernacular Building.

b) Replacement of an Existing Rural Building
  1. the building is of permanent construction;
  2. the existing building and its replacement are both of sufficient size to facilitate the proposed use in accordance with the accommodation requirements set out in Tourism (NI) Order 1992;
  3. the existing building is not a listed building;
  4. where the existing building is a vernacular building and/or is considered to make an important contribution to local heritage or character, replacement will only be approved where it is demonstrated that the building is not reasonably capable of being made structurally sound or otherwise improved;
  5. the redevelopment proposed will result in significant environmental benefit; and
  6. the overall size and scale of the new development, including car parking and ancillary facilities, will allow it to integrate into the surrounding landscape and will not have a visual impact significantly greater than the existing building.
c) New Build Hotel, Guest House or Tourist Hostel on the periphery of a Settlement
  1. the proposal is firm rather than speculative;
  2. there is no suitable site within the settlement or other nearby settlement;
  3. there are no suitable opportunities in the locality to provide a hotel, guest house or tourist hostel either through:
    • the conversion and re-use of a suitable building(s); or
    • the replacement of a suitable building(s); and
  4. the development is close to the settlement, but will not dominate it, adversely affect landscape setting, or otherwise contribute to urban sprawl.

Where the principle of a new building on the periphery of a settlement is established through meeting the above criteria, Council will apply a sequential locational test, with preference being attributed to sites in the following order:

  • land adjacent to the existing settlement limit, subject to amenity and environmental considerations.
  • a site on the periphery of the settlement limit which currently contains buildings or where the site is already in a degraded or derelict state and there is an opportunity to improve the environment.
  • an undeveloped site close to the settlement where the development could be visually integrated into the landscape.

Any proposed change of use or replacement of a hotel, guest house or tourist hostel approved under this policy to a non tourism use will be resisted, unless it is demonstrated that:

  1. the facility is not viable in the long term, and
  2. there is sufficient alternative provision in the locality to offset the loss of tourism benefit.
Expansion of Existing Hotels, Guest Houses and Tourist Hostels

A proposal for the expansion of an existing hotel, guest house or tourist hostel will be permitted where it meets Policy TOU3 All Tourism Development in the Countryside and the following criteria:

  1. new or replacement building(s) are subsidiary in terms of scale to the existing building(s) and will integrate as part of the overall development; and
  2. any extension or new building should respect the scale, design and materials of the original building(s) on the site and any historic or architectural interest the original property may have.

Justification and Amplification

Conversion and re-use of an Existing Rural Building

The potential for the conversion and re-use of suitable rural buildings for tourism accommodation, (including use as a hotel, guest house or tourist hostel), will be assessed under Policy HE8 Non-listed Locally Important Building or Vernacular Building.

Replacement of an Existing Rural Building

Replacement of an appropriate building(s) for tourism accommodation, (including use as a hotel, guest house or tourist hostel), will be favourably considered in circumstances where the environmental benefit of full or partial replacement will outweigh the retention and conversion of the building. The condition of the building and the feasibility of repairing and maintaining it will also be taken into account in assessing such proposals. Good design is of paramount importance and redevelopment proposals must be sensitive to the rural setting and local distinctiveness.

New Build Hotel/Guest House/Tourist Hostel on the periphery of a settlement

New buildings for these forms of tourist accommodation should usually be located within settlements in order to take advantage of existing services and facilities, provide ready access for visitors and employees and to minimise the impact on rural amenity and character. However, it is important that firm proposals for such projects are not impeded due to a lack of suitable land within settlements, particularly in popular tourist areas. Where the case for a location outside a settlement can be clearly demonstrated; the selected site should be as close to the settlement as possible, subject to amenity and environmental considerations, as this is usually more sustainable than a more remote site. A proposal must also respect the character of the settlement and its setting in the surrounding landscape. This in turn will require careful site selection, layout, design and landscaping. Proposals which are deemed to be acceptable in principle will be required to include sufficient mitigation measures, including landscaping and design, to ameliorate any negative impacts and secure higher quality development.

To allow informed consideration all applications made under this policy will be expected to be accompanied with the following information:

  • Sufficient evidence to indicate how firm or realistic the particular proposal is and what sources of finance are available (including any grant aid) to sustain the project.
  • Detailed information of an exhaustive search to illustrate that there is no reasonable prospect of securing a suitable site within the limits of the particular settlement or other nearby settlement.
  • Justification for the particular site chosen and illustrative details of the proposed design and site layout.

The grant of planning permission will not in itself allow for inappropriate alternative uses if an approved scheme for some reason does not go ahead. While Council cannot require business enterprises which become uneconomic to continue, alternative land uses will only be approved if there is sufficient alternative accommodation in the locality to provide for tourism benefit in line with any regional or Council’s tourism strategy.

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