Policy TOU8 Major Tourism Development in the Countryside – Exceptional Circumstances
A proposal for a major tourism development in the countryside will only be permitted if it fully complies with Policy TOU3 All Tourism Development in the Countryside and meets all of the following exceptional circumstances:
demonstration of exceptional benefit to the regional tourism industry;
demonstration that the proposal requires a countryside location by reason of its size or site specific or functional requirements; and
demonstration of sustainable benefit to the locality.
All proposals brought forward under exceptional circumstances must be accompanied by a statement demonstrating how the proposal meets all the above criteria.
Justification and Amplification
This policy makes provision for major tourism development projects in the countryside in exceptional circumstances for proposals that offer exceptional benefit to the tourism industry in Northern Ireland. The ability of the proposed development in itself to attract tourists to Northern Ireland will be significant in assessing whether it will offer exceptional benefit to the tourism industry. A further consideration will be the extent to which the proposed development meets a regional or sub-regional market need that is identified in any regional tourism strategy.
This policy will not facilitate approval of relatively minor proposals for tourism development, for example a single hotel or guest house or small scale self catering development, as such proposals are unlikely in themselves to offer exceptional benefit to the tourism industry or be of a scale that requires a countryside location. However, a proposal that offers a tourist amenity likely to attract significant numbers of visitors along with a commensurate level and quality of visitor accommodation will fall to be considered under this policy.
To allow informed consideration all applications made under this policy will be expected to be accompanied with the following information:
A tourism benefit statement that will demonstrate the value of the proposal in terms of tourism revenue, increased visitor numbers to Northern Ireland and the locality, and also how it will further the aims of any regional tourism strategy.
Sufficient evidence to demonstrate how realistic the particular proposal is and what sources of finance are available (including any grant aid) to sustain the project.
Justification for the particular site chosen and illustrative details of the proposed design and site layout.
A sustainable benefit statement taking account of the considerations set out in Appendix B Tourist Amenities in the Countryside - Sustainability Assessment.
All such proposals in the countryside to be considered under exceptional circumstances will be subject to consultation with Tourism NI. The impact of proposals on rural character, landscape and natural/historic heritage assets is an important consideration in their assessment, particularly within areas designated for such qualities.