Friday, 22 June 2012

Portrush - In the Doldrums 2

Environmental Improvement Scheme
Vandalism of a Tourism Asset?

This perspective 'flattens' the foreground

To protect key environmental assets for the tourist industry.

Many areas which are important to the tourist industry owe their attraction to the exceptional quality of the landscape or particular features of the built environment. Examples include Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Conservation Areas and historical and archaeological sites. It is important however to protect the qualities of such areas from unnecessary or excessive development. There is a delicate balance in many cases between exploitation of a natural resource and over development which would destroy its intrinsic character and quality.

This Strategy sets out policies to protect various areas of quality landscape and important features of the natural and manmade environment. In some cases, tourist development may be acceptable in an area of stricter planning control - see Policy CO 5. Other individual tourist assets may not be protected by such policies. In all situations the policy will be to protect important assets for the tourist industry, including scenic routes, and to prevent their damage or destruction for short term gain and exploitation.

Snippets from a 2006 Planning Appeals Commission Report re.Portballintrae [PDF file]
[Portballintrae and Portrush fall within the remit of Coleraine Borough Council and the Coleraine Divisional Planning Office]

6.1 SPG-ENV 2 relates specifically to the coastline, requiring its conservation.  This guideline seeks to “keep open those strips of land or spaces right on the coastline where the public can walk along the seaside or just enjoy the views out to sea” (page 183).

5.32 ... The views along Beach Road towards Runkerry Point are dramatic and, contrary to the appellant’s claim, they are of more than local amenity value.  The presence of street furniture along Beach Road does not detract from these views because so much of the promontory is seen.

5.34 The best solution would be to maintain the  appeal sites free of further development even though there are no protective policies in force to retain their prevailing sense of openness. Approval of house-building here could set a precedent for other schemes between the coastal road and the shoreline.

6.31 When the ‘Salt Pans’ corner on Beach Road just past the harbour is turned, the vista changes from the horse-shoe bay with its sheltered anchorage to the extensive seascape views that stretch from the Skerries in the west to the stepped sequence of Causeway headlands in the east.  If permitted, the appeal proposals would, for the first time, create a very substantial and continuous barrier along the northern side of Beach Road, completely severing the intimate relationship that has always existed between this part of the village and the superb sea and coastal views.


It would appear that this Planning Appeals Commission report has fallen on deaf ears and blind eyes in Coleraine Borough Council and in the Coleraine Divisional Office of the DOE Planning Service as erosion of the visual landscape and seascape has been acquiesced to in Portrush and Portballintrae

The new 'street furniture' off Kerr Street in Portrush doesn't just detract from the view; it blocks it.

But to end on a more positive note: Causeway Coast - A Place of Inspiration