Policy TOU2 Tourism Development in Settlements and Tourism Opportunity Zones
A proposal for tourism development (including a tourist amenity or tourist accommodation) will be permitted within a settlement; where it is of high quality design, meets the General Policy, accords with other provisions of the LDP and provided it is of a nature appropriate to the settlement.
This policy will also apply within the designated Tourism Opportunity Zones at Carnfunnock Country Park and at the former Magheramorne Quarry, subject to meeting any key site requirements that may be introduced at Local Policies Plan stage.
Justification and Amplification
In accordance with the LDP’s Spatial Growth Strategy the majority of tourism development should be directed to settlements as tourism benefits from the synergy arising through the concentration of existing services and facilities such as, accommodation, retail, catering, entertainment, leisure, culture and transport. In addition to promoting a sense of vitality in settlements and helping to deliver development that is sustainable, this approach will help avoid adverse impact on our tourism assets located in the countryside whilst ensuring ready connectivity to them. For example, tourism development associated with the Gobbins, should where possible be directed to the surrounding settlements of Ballystrudder, Whitehead and Ballycarry, in order to secure the sort of mutual benefits referred to.
In specific locations tourism can provide a stimulus for regeneration schemes or may be a key component of mixed use development. For example as part of the Carrickfergus Regeneration Investment Programme, Council is using heritage tourism as a central element of its approach for regenerating the town.
While the policy will provide for tourism development within settlements, account will be taken of the nature, size, scale and design of the development and its impact on the appearance and character of the surrounding area and neighbouring residential amenity. Whilst the policy requires high quality design, this aspect, will be afforded substantial weight within Conservation Areas and Areas of Townscape Character. In addition, tourism development may be precluded from particular areas within settlements, for example through alternative land use zonings or designations safeguarding the integrity of specific sites such as those of nature conservation or historic environment importance.
Tourism Opportunity Zones have been designated along the regionally important Causeway Coastal Route at Carnfunnock Country Park and at the former Magheramorne Quarry (see District Proposals Maps). Aside from their strategic location along a key tourism route, these Tourism Opportunity Zones have much to offer, including existing outdoor activities and facilities and their capacity to accommodate a range of tourist related development. Within these Tourism Opportunity Zones, tourism development should be sustainable, environmentally sensitive and of high quality design. Proposals within Carnfunnock Country Park should be sensitive to its coastal location and historic and natural features and also comply with Policy HE2 Historic Parks, Gardens and Demesnes. Development at the former Magheramorne Quarry should protect the rich biodiversity and habitats within and adjacent to the site.