DES3 & HOU4 - Tall Buildings and Density of Residential Development - Change required: (a) We are not supportive of setting guideline heights.
Based on the analysis undertaken we recommend that the threshold of 35m AOD is revisited and the text ‘those which are significantly higher
than their surroundings’ is removed as there is no guidance to determine what is significantly higher. (c) Criteria is unsound as it doesn’t read
across other policies in the plan specifically those set out in the Built Heritage section. (d) Replace ‘Contribute to a cluster or an interesting
skyline when grouped together’ with ‘Contribute to a cluster or create a focal point or beacon (a Point Block) which acts as a form of marker
contributing to a positive skyline.’ As drafted there is a conflict in respect of the clustering and grouping and assessing each application on its
own merits. Individually, or in groups, tall buildings can affect the image and identity of the city. Para 3.4 of the Technical Supplement 06 states
that ‘Tall buildings are generally easily recognisable and act as key landmarks within a city’s skyline either individually or as a cluster.’ (our
emphasis) (e) Replace ‘Support locations of civic or visual importance including major transport nodes, civic spaces and areas of high
employment’ with ‘Support locations of civic or visual importance including major transport nodes, civic spaces, areas of high employment, at
arrival points into the city, waterfront and areas of regeneration including those identified as Development Opportunity Sites and masterplans’
Consideration should be given to including criteria in DES3 that 'regard should be had to extant masterplans/frameworks or extant planning
permissions whereby locations for taller buildings are identified or approved…'. (f) Add ‘will bring significant regeneration benefits and contribute
positively to place‐making’ similar to other UK cities it should be acknowledged that taller buildings can act as catalysts for wider regeneration.
Skylines of cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Birmingham act as markers and signposts of regeneration. (g) Remove ‘Existing tall
buildings within Belfast will not set a policy precedent for similar development on adjacent sites.’ This is unsound because it is an invitation to set
aside an assessment of context and character, factors which are genuine and important material considerations in making a planning decision
within the new policy framework. The PAC decision (ref: 2013/A0124) is of particular relevance.
CGR 1 - Community Cohesion and Good Relations - Change required: That the policy be amended. Criterion (a) and (b) should be deleted.
Criterion (c) reworded to state that where the opportunity exists to improve future connectivity across peace infrastructure and create permeable
neighbourhoods that this should be incorporated into design proposals. No change to criterion (d) and (e). These changes would assist in making
the policy sound as the revised criteria is found on good planning principles and paragraph 4.17 of the SPPS.
TRAN 8 - Parking and Servicing Arrangements Change required:Policy TRAN 8 is unsound as the policy fails the tests of CE 2 and C4. The
policy should introduce flexibility and we would suggest deletion of ‘DfI standards’ and replacement with ‘published standards.’
TRAN 9 - Parking Standards within areas of Parking Restraint Change required: The policy fails to satisfy the test of CE2 in that the evidence
base prepared to support the policy is not provided within the technical supplements and the recommendations following from Council’s Car
Parking Strategy (published in May 2018) have not been provided. We respectfully suggest that Council prepares an up to date evidence basis to
support this policy and on the basis of the evidence collated reassesses whether the evidence supports this policy position.
OS 3 - Ancillary Open Space Change required: There is insufficient evidence within the technical supplement to support the policy proposed
A robust, up to date evidence basis should be prepared to support this policy.