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Council moves to give greater protection to Conservation Areas

20 Sep 2017
A move which will give added protection to the character of properties in Conservation Areas has taken a step closer following its approval by Belfast City Council.

At its meeting last night (Tuesday 19 September), the Planning Committee agreed to the adoption of Article 4 Directions in the Adelaide Park and Malone Park Conservation Areas in south Belfast. The decision will now be submitted to the Department for Infrastructure for its approval.

Once approved by the Department, this will be the first time these Directions have been introduced in Northern Ireland. They enable the Council to restrict permitted development rights which previously have not needed planning permission. This includes work such as the replacement of doors and windows, the erection of porches, the erection of gates or fences and the creation of hard standings to front lawns, all of which can impact on the character of properties within a Conservation Area.

The move comes after extensive consultation with residents in the Adelaide Park and Malone Park areas, during which 80 per cent of respondents said they were in favour of the new limitations being introduced.

“This is an important move for the protection of properties with Conservation Areas,” commented Councillor Donal Lyons, Chair of the Planning Committee.

“The Council has a duty to take action to ensure the character of a Conservation Area is protected. These Article 4 Directions are primarily about protecting and enhancing the built heritage of the areas concerned and preserving the historic elements of properties which give these areas their character.

“All too often, the character of an area can be blighted by insensitive alterations to individual properties – works which, in the past, we have been powerless to prevent. The introduction of, these Article 4 Directions will allow us to have a greater degree of control over works which may seem relatively minor but which can have a detrimental effect on the individual property and the surrounding area.

“The fact that our proposal was met with such an overwhelmingly positive reaction shows that there is a demand for these alterations to have to go through the planning process, and we will now be looking to repeat this process in other Conservation Areas across the city,” concluded Councillor Lyons.

Also at last night’s meeting, the Committee agreed with a proposal from the Historic Environment Division to list two buildings on North Street. The listing comes on the back of Building Preservation Notices issued by the Council, and is the first time that buildings have been listed as a result of this process.
A move which will give added protection to the character of properties in Conservation Areas has taken a step closer following its approval by Belfast City Council.