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Newry, Mourne and Down District Council: Preferred Options Papers

Local Development Plan – Newry, Mourne and Down District Council have taken the first step in preparing a new Local Development Plan by issuing a Preferred Options Paper (POP).

The POP sets out council’s vision for how the council area will develop over the next 15 years, providing information on settlements which will be targeted for further growth, the amount of land required for housing and employment, information on transport proposals to be progressed, and an outline of the package of measures to be considered in order to protect the natural and built environment.

Below is a summary of the key themes emerging from the Preferred Options Paper that has been published for consultation.

Settlement hierarchy:

  • Development to be focused on Newry, Downpatrick and towns to grow population base
  • Saintfield, Castlewellan, Killyleagh and Bessbrook - upgraded to towns
  • Newtownhamilton, The Spa, Shrigley and Attical - all downgraded
  • Burren given its own classification as a village; no longer part of Warrenpoint


  • 15,092 homes required to accommodate housing demand up to 2030; 838 units per annum for the council area. We consider the basis upon which this number of units was calculated to be flawed and lacks consideration of wider social and economic factors which influence housing demand
  • 1,906 social housing units from 2016-2021. Need is highest in Newry, Newcastle, Warrenpoint, Downpatrick and the rural hinterland
  • Need identified for elderly and specialist care accommodation
  • Proposing to retain existing zonings where sites have secured planning permission
  • Uncommitted zonings will be reviewed and unzoned if deemed to be undeliverable or unnecessary; this work has yet to be undertaken


  • Ambition to create 9,213 jobs by 2030 but POP lacks detail on the interrelationship with housing land and the promotion of key settlements. No figure provided on the amount of employment land required
  • Ambition to maximise Warrenpoint as a local hub and major port
  • 154 ha of undeveloped employment zonings, primarily in Newry and Downpatrick; possibility of lands being de-zoned
  • Despite large amount of undeveloped land council are proposing a 20% uplift in the amount of zoned land; no evidence to support this proposal
  • Considering small employment zonings in small settlements to promote small business


  • Tourism opportunity zones proposed
  • Strategic transport routes to be protected
  • Land required to deliver strategic transportation proposals to be protected:
  1. Strangford Road - Saul Road Link
  2. Ballynahinch Bypass
  3. Rathfriland Road Link, Newry
  4. Newry Southern Relief Road
  5. Narrow Water Bridge
  6. A7 Rowallane to Dorans Rock, South of Saintfield


  • Areas of Constraint on Minerals Development proposed for AONBs, ASSIs and Areas of High Scenic Value
  • Mineral Safeguard Areas proposed
  • All Areas of Townscape Character and Conservation Areas to be reviewed
  • Proposed the review and extension of Special Countryside Areas


  • No policies or proposals included within POP; council will issue a separate document within the year

The closing date for the receipt of representations to the POP is Friday 24 August.

1 June 2018

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