8.3.1Improving the health and wellbeing of communities in Mid and East Antrim is a key aim of Council’s Community Plan. Accordingly Council, in association with other statutory partners has a role in ensuring that all our residents have good access to these public services and facilities.
8.3.2The SPPS states that the LDP should allocate sufficient land to meet the anticipated needs of the community, in terms of health, education and other public services. It is therefore important for the LDP to protect land for new education, health, community and cultural facilities, and where a firm proposal is in place on the part of a service provider land will be identified for such purposes in the Local Polices Plan.
8.3.3The LDP also seeks to safeguard against unnecessary loss of valued neighbourhood services and support viable and necessary community infrastructure which play and important role in social interaction and community cohesion.
8.3.4Details regarding existing education, health, community and cultural facilities in Mid and East Antrim and proposals for future development are contained in Technical Supplement 11 Health, Education and Cultural Facilities.
8.3.5The LDP strategic approach to meeting these community needs is set out in our policy aim below.
To meet the anticipated needs of the community, in terms of health, education and other public services by:
allocating sufficient land for such uses where there is a firm proposal in place on the part of a service provider;
supporting viable and necessary proposals for new or enhanced facilities;
safeguarding against the loss of these valued facilities and land zoned for such uses; and
ensuring access to these services and facilities is convenient to new and existing residential areas.
8.3.6The policy aim will be delivered through the strategic subject policy set out below.
Policy COM1 Education, Health, Community and Cultural Facilities
Where necessary land will be reserved for education, health, community and cultural uses either through a zoning or key site requirement on a land use zoning as designated in the Local Policies Plan.
A proposal for development of new or enhanced education, health, community or cultural facilities will be permitted where it meets the General Policy and accords with other provisions of the LDP. New facilities must also be located in appropriate and accessible locations within settlements where there is good connectivity with public transport and active travel infrastructure.
A proposal for alternative use of an existing education, health, community or cultural facility or on lands identified in the LDP for such uses will not be granted, unless in exceptional circumstances where it can be demonstrated that the existing facility/designated site has become surplus to requirements and is not viable for an alternative community use.
Justification and Amplification
8.3.7This policy also applies to residential care homes and nursing homes.
8.3.8As unforeseen demand for new education, health, community or cultural facilities may arise over the lifetime of the LDP, this policy facilitates a flexible approach to respond to the need and also to make the most effective use of existing facilities and infrastructure within settlements.
8.3.9The protection of existing facilities or committed sites for new facilities is particularly important where these are in highly accessible locations for all members of the community. Where a proposal involves change of use or redevelopment of an existing education, health, community or cultural facility for an alternative use, evidence must be provided to confirm that it is no longer required and that it cannot be used for an alternative community infrastructure use.