What is PPS21?

PPS21 is a set of rules and guidelines introduced in November 2008 by the Planning Service to create more opportunities for development sites within the countryside.
PPS21 is an amended set of rules to replace the old PPS-14.

PPS21 sets out planning policies for all of NI with the exception of town/village boundaries.

The aim of PPS21 is to manage & develop the countryside.
PPS21 supersedes all previous policies and previous greenbelts.

The Policy has been active now since 24th November 2008 as a final policy and has relaxed the restrictions on development within the countryside.

Who can apply for Planning Permission?

Basically Anyone!!

Anyone who fits into one of the Planning categories stated in PPS21, the policy is NOT restricted to Agriculture.

What are the main categories of PPS21?

PPS21 has brought in several new categories with individual new rules to help development which can only be applied under the following categories:

CTY 2a- New Dwellings in Existing Clusters
CTY 3 – Replacement Dwellings
CTY 4 – Building/Barn Conversions
CTY 6 – Personal & Domestic Circumstances
CTY 7 – Dwellings for Non-Agricultural Business
CTY 8 – Infill Sites / Gap Sites
CTY 9 – Residential Caravans & Mobile Homes
CTY 10 – Dwellings on Farms
CTY 11 – Farm Diversification

What do I do now?

If you think you have a site, a building to replace or convert, or need advice, contact MQD now and we will discuss with you the options available.

We offer a free office or site consultations for all our clients to determine the viability of making Planning applications.

At MQD we only take on viable applications and as a result have an impressive approval rate!

CTY 2a – New Dwellings in Existing Clusters

This is a new category introduced in the final publication of PPS21 and allows for a dwelling to be applied for within an existing cluster of development provided all the following points are met:

1. The cluster of development lies outside of a farm and consists of four or more buildings, excluding buildings such as garages, outbuildings and open sided buildings of which at least three are dwellings.
2. The cluster appears as a visual entity in the local area
3. The cluster is associated with a focal point such as a social / community building/facility, or is located at a cross-roads etc.
4. The site provides a suitable degree of enclosure and is bounded on at least two sides with other development in the building cluster.
5. The site can integrated into the existing cluster through rounding off and consolidation and will not significantly alter its existing character.

Contact MQD to discuss your own specific project.

CTY 3 – Replacement Dwellings

Planning permission may be granted for a replacement dwelling as long as the dwelling to be replaced exhibits the essential characteristics of a dwelling and as a minimum all external structural walls are substantially intact.

In cases where a dwelling has recently been destroyed, for example, through an accident or a fire, planning permission may be granted for a replacement dwelling. Evidence confirming the previous status and condition of the building and the cause and extent of the damage will however have to be provided.

The replacement of existing dwellings is important to the renewal and up-grading of the rural housing stock.

All permissions for replacement dwellings granted under this policy will be subject to a condition requiring demolition of the existing dwelling or restricting its future use if it is to be retained as part of the overall scheme proposal.

Important information for replacement dwellings:

  • Suitable for anyone – not related to farming
  • Exhibits characteristics of a dwelling
  • Substantially intact
  • Generally replaced on footprint
  • Only replaced once
  • Existing Access / Entrance

Contact MQD to discuss your own specific project.

CTY 4 – Barn Conversions in Northern Ireland

Within rural area there are a range of older buildings, including some that have been listed, that are no longer needed for their original purpose.

These buildings can include school houses, churches and older traditional barns and outbuildings. The reuse and conversion of these types of buildings represent a sustainable approach to development and reuse of existing buildings within the countryside.

This applies to agricultural buildings that have a residential style construction i.e. masonry / stone walls with existing openings.

Planning permission will be granted to proposals for the conversion and adaptation if necessary, of a suitable non-residential building such as disused barns for a variety of alternative uses, including, single dwellings or conversion to several residential units. Such proposals will be required to be of a high design quality and integrate suitably into the surrounding landscape.

Important information for Barn Conversions:

  • Suitable for anyone – not related to farming
  • Suitable for all types of buildings of permanent construction
  • Cattle Sheds / Agricultural Buildings etc. not suitable
  • Creates a new dwelling where a green-field site is unavailable
  • Existing Building retained: renovated & extended
  • In some cases the existing building can be converted into more than one dwelling
  • VAT – Can be reclaimed same as new build
  • Access / Entrance

Contact MQD to discuss your own specific project.

CTY 8 – Infill Sites / Gap Sites

Planning applications will be permitted for the development of a small gap site sufficient only to accommodate up to a maximum of two houses within an otherwise substantial and continuously built up frontage, provided this respects the existing development pattern along the frontage in terms of size, scale, siting, plot size and meets other planning and environmental requirements.

The definition of a substantial and built up frontage includes a line of 3 or more buildings along a road frontage without accompanying development to the rear.
This has been reduced from a minimum of 6 and therefore brings forward many more opportunities for development as there are many instances in the countryside with 3 houses in a row with a small gap field between.

It may also be acceptable to consider the infilling of such a small gap site with an appropriate economic/business development proposal including light industry where this is of a scale in keeping with adjoining development, is of a high standard of design, would not impact adversely on the amenities of neighbouring residents and meets other planning and environmental requirements.

Important information for Infill Gap Sites:

  • Line of 3 or more Existing Buildings
  • Site must be between 2 buildings
  • All buildings must be Visually-Linked
  • Substantial, Built-up Frontage
  • Along Road/Private Lane Frontage
  • Site can be for 1 or 2 dwellings
  • Special Circumstances: Light Industry
  • Access / Entrance

Contact MQD to discuss your own specific project.

CTY 10 –Sites / Dwellings on a Farm

Under the new Planning Policy, one dwelling is permitted on a farm every 10 years (applies from 2008 on).

The Planning Service has conceded that there is still a need for new dwellings on farms to accommodate both those engaged in the farm business and others who live in the rural community.

To help minimise impact on the character and appearance of the landscape these dwellings are to be located and grouped close with an established group of farm buildings.

New houses on farms will not be acceptable unless the existing farming business is both established and active for at least a period of 6 years. The applicant will therefore be required to provide the farm’s DARD business ID number along with other evidence to prove active farming over the required period.

Important information for Dwellings on a Farm:

  • Active Farm Business / Landowner
  • Business ID / Evidence for 6+ years
  • New site once every 10years
  • Can be Sold-Off
  • Visually linked with Existing Farm Buildings / Dwelling
  • No Buildings – Best Location Available
  • Existing Laneway (preferably)
  • Also applicable for Equestrian farmers, Donkey Sanctuaries
  • Special Circumstances: Out-lying Farms / Sites
  • Access / Entrance

Contact MQD to discuss your own specific project.

Farm Diversification under PPS21 – CTY 11

Due to the recent difficulties in the farming industry there has been an increasing desire by some farmers to diversify into another area. To do this you may be considering a new business running alongside your farming business or a new venture altogether.

If you are considering changing the use of a farm building or if you are intending to change the use of farmland, you may require planning permission. Although a grant or form of funding may be provided from another body for the proposal you wish to implement, it does not necessarily follow that planning permission will be granted.

Under Planning Policy statement 21, planning permission will be given for a farm diversification scheme that can be run in conjunction with the normal activities on the farm.

This policy is designed to promote sustainable types of diversification in the countryside that include such schemes as farm shops, agri-tourism, tourism accommodation etc.

The use of existing converted buildings is encouraged although new buildings will be permitted if a good case for the scheme is put forward.

Important information for Farm Diversification:

  • Active Farm / Forestry / Equestrian Business
  • Diversification to Tourism / Agri-Tourism – open farms
  • Run in conjunction with the Agricultural Operations on the farm
  • Appropriate to location & do not effect Neighbouring Dwellings
  • Re-use / Adapting Existing Farm Buildings
  • New buildings in Specific circumstances
  • Small Scale businesses
  • Access / Entrance
  • Examples: Self-Catering/B&B, Caravan/Camping Site, Health & Beauty
  • Examples: Farm Shops, Craft Shops, Day-Care/Crèches
  • Examples: Golf Course, Game Zones, Clay-Pigeon Shooting

Contact MQD to discuss your own specific project.