I am excited that Ards and North Down Borough Council has published its Local Development Plan Preferred Options Paper (POP) and is encouraging the local community to provide feedback to ensure that forthcoming strategies are a true reflection of local views.
This is the first time we as a community have an opportunity to really influence how the place we call home will look in the future.
I would encourage all residents of all ages to find out more about the Plan and make your feelings and preferences known
The POP represents the start of formal work by the Council on the preparation of the Local Development Plan (LDP) for the Borough. The LDP will detail how the Borough should grow over the next 15 years and will identify how land is used, what will be built and where, whilst protecting our environment.
The POP is designed to promote discussion and encourage feedback on key issues that are likely to influence the direction of the new Plan. It outlines the vision and strategic objectives along with a set of key issues and associated options for addressing them.
The future Local Development Plan will be one of the most important things to consider when deciding planning applications in the future. For example, if an area of land is shown as a housing site in the LDP, it means the principle of building houses on the land has already been accepted, even before any application for planning permission is made.
The same is true for land shown as retail and employment. That is why it is important for the local community and business owners to get involved and make their views known at the Preferred Options stage.
Ann McCullough, Head of Planning, says: “For many, the first time they come across a plan and planning policy is at a time that they wish to comment on a planning application so it is important to get involved now.”
“I would encourage our communities and all stakeholders who have an interest in the future development of our Borough to get involved in the Local Development Plan process from the outset.”
“The more people who take part by giving views on the POP, the more the forthcoming Plan Strategy and Local Policies Plan will be a true reflection of local views.”
Local Development Plans are created to safeguard the environment, enable adaptation to climate change and help secure high quality accessible design. Once finalised, Ards and North Down Borough Council’s LDP will provide a degree of certainty for communities, businesses and investors, as well as a framework for guiding decisions on individual planning applications.
The Preferred Options Paper document, together with the associated documents, can be viewed and downloaded from the Council website at www.ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/resident.
The documents are also available to view during normal office hours at the Council’s offices in Church Street, Newtownards, and at the Town Hall, Bangor.
The consultation period for the Preferred Options Paper will run for a period of 12 weeks from 28 March 2019. All responses must be in writing and received by 5.00pm on the 20 June 2019.
Responses can be submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to LDP: Preferred Options Paper, Local Development Plan Team, 2 Church Street, Newtownards.