Area Plan's answer to Dromore's housing needs

SOME 27 hectares of land have been zoned for housing in Dromore under the new Banbridge/Newry and Mourne Draft Area Plan.

The plan makes provision for 1,249 dwellings in Dromore between now and 2015, though that includes dwellings already built since the end of December 1998 and others already in the pipeline.

The Plan establishes a development limit for Dromore which is said to take account of the town's role as "a local hub" (with the capacity to accommodate and provide a wide range of complementary services) while protecting its natural setting.

It has been drawn, the Plan tells us, to generally consolidate the form of the town while allowing some urban expansion on the southern side of town adjacent to the bypass.

It is also said to recognise the important contribution to the settling of the town of certain natural barriers to expansion, namely "the high quality landscape along the river valley and elevated land associated with the town's drumlin landscape setting", thereby helping to curtail urban sprawl into the countryside.

The plan concludes that there is "a substantial amount" of under-utilised and previously developed, or 'brownfield', land within the previous development limit and so the new limit maximises the use of existing land within what it calls the town's "urban footprint".

Housing sites have been selected, it says, to allow for the efficient use of land within that footprint, to provide choice in the housing market and to include existing commitments.

Other factors influencing site selection are said to include town centre and public transport accessibility and the aim of minimising detrimental impact on the environment.

Sites zoned for housing (in respect of which planning permission has already been granted) include 1.79 hectares at Milebush Road, 3.04 at Hillsborough Road (north of Jubilee Heights), 0.26 at No.3 Hillsborough Road, 0.17 at 35 Hillsborough Road, 2.20 at Ballymacormick Road, 3.10 at Mossvale Road West, 1.41 at Quillyburn Manor, 0.22 at 45 Banbridge Road, 3.07 at Banbridge Road/Barban Hill, 0.08 at 1 Castle Street and 0.31 at 14 Circular Road.

Therefore, of the 27 hectares zones for housing 15.65 hectares are already committed.

Sites zoned for housing in respect of which planning permission has been sought include 3.76 hectares at Mossvale Road East, 0.40 at Banbridge Road (opposite Glen Brae), 0.27 adjacent and to the rear of 3-9 Circular Road, accounting for another 4.43 hectares in total.

Remaining sites zoned for housing are found at Jubilee Road/Milebush Road (2.11 hectares) Moss Lane/Mossvale Road (1) Mount Street (1.40) Barban Hill/Denfort Lodge (1.20) Wallace Park/Mourne Grange (0.58) and Barban Hill/Lynn Avenue (1.02).

The Housing Needs Assessment identified a social housing need of 20 dwellings for Dromore, for which sites at Moss Lane/Mossvale Road (eight dwellings) and Mount Street (12 dwellings) have been identified.