North Down and Ards Council have posted a questionnaire on the planning section of their website, the purpose of which seems to be to canvas the opinion of people living within the zone affected by the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan (BMAP) 2015. This affects the residents of Groomsport because BMAP designates what are considered to be important urban zones as ‘Areas of Townscape / Village Character’ (ATCs).
Groomsport is included under the auspices of BMAP and additionally, has the harbour area designated as an ATC. You can perhaps get a flavour of the attraction of the area from this piece written by Paul Maddern in The Guardian – Winter beauty wrought by wear and tear.
You should study the following maps – produced as part of the BMAP brief, before you complete the questionnaire.
1 - area of archaeological interest
2 - local landscape policy area, showing settlement development limits.
3 - area of village character
4 - composite map 6, showing open space, coastal policy area, housing land use policy area, housing limit etc
These maps can be accessed at: http://www.planningni.gov.uk/bmap_northdown_library_villages.htm
It is important to recognise that the ATC - shown most clearly by Map3, does not include the whole village – just the harbour area. Your comments should therefore focus on that area in particular.
It is worth bearing in mind that a comprehensive study was conducted in early 2013 by The PaulHogarth Company and an Integrated Village Plan was produced. You can access the plan here on the GVA website.
The Groomsport Village Association committee hopes that the view from Main Street, across the harbour towards the coasts of Antrim and Scotland would be maintained following any future developments and that the view from the harbour, towards the village would not be sullied by the inappropriate placement of apartment blocks etc. in the Main Street area.
We would stress that, in our view, future development within the Groomsport ATC should be very limited, in order to preserve this village as a retreat from the bustle of local high density urban areas. The character should be of a calm, relaxing seaside village – a small step back into the past perhaps! We would emphasize that the integrity of the grassy areas of Holme Field and the harbour entrance area, should be preserved.
We think that development, whether it be within the constraints of traditional style and materials or using more modern, innovative styles and materials, should be sympathetic and complementary to the existing built environment. High quality, well justified design is of paramount importance within the Groomsport ATC.
We would encourage all villagers to complete the questionnaire – available here.