Policy TOU1 Safeguarding of Tourism Assets
Planning permission will not be granted for development that would in itself or in combination with existing and approved development in the locality have an adverse impact on a tourism asset such as to significantly compromise its amenity, setting and tourism value.
This policy provides for the safeguarding of all tourism assets, including those which are subject to protection for other reasons under various legislative or policy instruments and those which are not subject to such protection.
Justification and Amplification
Within the context of this policy, a tourism asset is defined as any feature associated with the built or natural environment which is of intrinsic interest to tourists.
The safeguarding of tourism assets from unnecessary, inappropriate or excessive development is a vital element in securing a viable and sustainable tourism industry. To allow such development could damage the intrinsic character and quality of the asset and diminish its effectiveness in attracting tourists.
There are many diverse features or combinations of features associated with the natural and historic environment in Mid and East Antrim which are of intrinsic interest to tourists. Some examples include the Coast Road defining the Causeway Coastal Route, the Gobbins, the Antrim Coast and Glens AONB, Slemish, our Conservation Areas and historical and archaeological sites such as Carrickfergus Castle.
The policy is applicable to all forms of development which may impact adversely upon a tourism asset. Adverse impact will include visual impact, for example within an area of high landscape quality or in a Conservation Area, either of which could be important for attracting tourists. Adverse impact upon a tourism asset could also arise through other sources, for example odour, noise, dust or pollution of air or watercourses. What constitutes ‘adverse impact’ and the determination of the extent of its influence are matters of planning judgement and each case will be assessed on its merits.
However, this policy is not intended to prevent all development. Development that will not significantly compromise the overall tourism value of the asset may be facilitated. Where the tourism asset is large scale, for example the AONB, key locations of tourism value at a local level should be the focus of the policy. Development of a tourist amenity intended to provide sustainable access to or interpretation of a tourism asset, as provided for through Policy TOU4 Tourist Amenities in the Countryside, will be required to be sensitive to the inherent qualities and setting that underpin the tourism value of the asset.
Some tourism assets will be afforded protection from inappropriate or excessive development through statutory designation or other policies in the LDP. This policy is intended to complement such measures in the specific interests of tourism while affording protection to other undesignated environmental assets on the basis of their tourism value alone.