2.1.1 Few areas of Britain have the combination of natural and man-made
environments that are found in the Cotswolds. The District has the largest
area designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the
greatest number of conservation areas, and the greatest number of listed
buildings of any district in England. There are also numerous scheduled
ancient monuments, historic parks and gardens and sites of special
scientific interest (SSSI). Specific countryside designations offer
statutory protection to the areas of highest quality, but even beyond those
areas, the landscape of the Cotswolds is of a high standard and worthy of
2.1.2 However, the Cotswolds is a lived-in landscape. Its appearance changes with different farming regimes and the seasons. Many of these changes are outside planning control, but, where controls do apply, the planning system must be flexible enough to allow the rural economy to adapt in order to ensure economic and social well-being.
2.1.3 The policies in this Chapter aim to protect and enhance the District’s environment by ensuring that resources are managed efficiently and effectively in new development, and that development respects our natural environment and built heritage.
2.2.1 The management of natural resources - to ensure that they are sustained - is important to the good stewardship of the environment. One of the objectives of the Cotswold Community Plan (2001-2005) is that new development should not destroy the resources essential for future generations.
2.2.2 Land, soils, energy, water, biodiversity and minerals all contribute to our quality of life locally and at the global scale. Tackling the causes, and adapting to the impacts, of global climate change is fundamental to Government policy on issues such as sustainable development, planning, energy, water, transport and waste.
2.2.3 The Local Plan strategy is based on sustainable development and interpreting what this means within the District. The prudent use of natural resources is one of the Government’s objectives for sustainable development, and, given the high quality of the Cotswold environment, is of particular importance locally. This involves conserving resources, developing alternatives to their use and minimising waste by promoting more sustainable methods of waste management, both during the construction and operation of new development.
2.2.4 The Council will encourage proposals that reduce the consumption of energy and other finite resources. It will promote, through the implementation of Policy 1, the sustainable management and enhancement of resources during the construction and operation of all new development. The objectives of the policy are to:
- reduce the demand for, and make the most efficient use of, natural resources;
- promote the use of alternatives;
- optimise the re-use and recycling of waste resources, including minerals; and
- protect and enhance natural resources where possible.
All proposals for development have an impact on natural resources and will therefore need to be assessed against Policy 1.
POLICY 1: NATURAL RESOURCES
Applications for development will only be permitted where it can be demonstrated that, wherever practicable:
(a) natural resources, such as energy (including renewable and finite sources), land (including soils), water, biodiversity and minerals, will be managed efficiently and in the most sustainable manner;
(b) the use of renewable energy will be promoted; and
(c) the generation of waste will be minimised and more sustainable methods of waste management promoted, both during the construction of and operation of the development.
NOTES FOR GUIDANCE:
1. Sustainable Measures: The principle of managing resources sustainably is
applicable to all development. However, the measures that can be
incorporated into development proposals will vary according to the size,
location and nature of the proposal. Some practical guidance on achieving
more sustainable resource use through environmentally sustainable
construction and design are listed below.
2. Energy: Energy should be used efficiently and effectively during the construction phase of development and measures should be incorporated into the design of development to enable the efficient use of energy during its operation. The conservation of energy, through high standards of energy efficiency in the design of buildings, their materials of construction and their layout/orientation, will be encouraged. Measures to reduce the need to travel and to promote alternative modes of transport to the private car should be incorporated into development. Reference should be made to the transport policies of this plan, the Local Transport Plan, and other relevant transport strategies. Opportunities to use renewable sources of energy should also be promoted, subject to the criteria of Policy 2 ‘Renewable Energy’ and other relevant policies of the Local Plan.
3. Land: Land is a finite resource and should be used fully and effectively in an environmentally acceptable manner. Special consideration should be given to the development of derelict and/or contaminated land and also to the development of unstable, or potentially unstable, land. Where possible such land should be brought back into productive use. In accordance with PPG3 (Housing), the re-use of previously developed land will be given preference over the development of greenfield land provided it is in a more accessible location and is not contrary to the other policies or proposals of the Local Plan. See Policy 18, Policy 19 and Policy 20.
4. Water: Techniques to enable the efficient use and collection of water during the operation of a development should be included into the design. The use of sustainable urban drainage and water treatment systems should be incorporated where possible. Advice will need to be sought from the Environment Agency on the impact of development proposals on water resources and the appropriate techniques to be used. Reference should also be made to Policy 6 ‘The Water Environment’, which covers flooding.
5. Biodiversity: Measures to avoid adverse impacts on (and where possible mitigate, compensate and/or enhance biodiversity) should be incorporated into development proposals. Reference should be made to the Bio-diversity Action Plans for Gloucestershire and the Cotswold Water Park. The specific nature conservation policies of the Local Plan should also be referred to in this context.
6. Minerals: Minerals are a finite natural resource that should be used efficiently and in an environmentally acceptable manner. Materials should be re-used on site where possible, and recycled materials should be used in preference to primary sources of minerals where appropriate. Gloucestershire County Council determines applications for mineral extraction. Reference should be made to the Gloucestershire Minerals Local Plan, which sets out preferred areas of mineral extraction and development policies for mineral development in the County to 2006.
7. Waste: The generation of waste from the construction and operation phases of development should be minimised as much as possible. Measures such as re-using existing materials and soils on site should be incorporated into the construction process. Waste minimisation techniques and measures to promote the recycling and composting of waste, including the provision of space to enable waste separation, collection and recovery of recyclable materials, should also be incorporated into the detailed design of the development. Developers of housing allocations specified later in this plan, will also be expected to contribute towards the costs of providing
compost bins and recycling boxes for each new household. Reference should be made to the Gloucestershire Waste Local Plan.
2.2.5 The development of renewable sources of energy can make a valuable contribution to tackling the rate of climate change and enable us to live in a more sustainable manner. Cotswold District, like most rural areas, has opportunities for renewable energy, but the exploitation of these must be carefully weighed against the need to protect our unique natural environment and heritage. The Cotswold Community Plan (2001-2005) encourages inward investment and business expansion, but only in ways that are consistent with sustainable living and the character of the District.
2.2.6 Planning Policy Statement 22 ‘Renewable Energy’, which sets out the Government's commitment to facilitating the development of renewable energy sources, recognises that this must be consistent with protecting the local as well as global environment. In particular, care should be taken in assessing proposals for renewable energy projects in sensitive, designated areas, such as the AONB and areas of nature conservation, archaeological or historic importance.
2.2.7 The Government has underlined its policy “to stimulate the exploitation and development of renewable energy sources wherever they have prospects of being economically attractive and environmentally acceptable” in its White Paper ‘Our Energy Future - Creating a Low Carbon Economy’, published in February 2003. The paper identifies a national target of generating 10% of UK electricity requirements from renewables by 2010.
2.2.8 Regional Planning Guidance for the South West (RPG10) encourages the
greater use of renewable energy sources and their integration into more
energy efficient new-build or redevelopment proposals. It sets a minimum
target of 11-15% for the South West electricity production to be from
renewable sources by 2010. The Revision 2010 process on behalf of the
Government Office has put a draft target forward for the South West and the
Regional assembly. Gloucestershire County Council will agree a final target
with the six district councils in the County and Cotswold District will be
expected to contribute to that target.
2.2.9 The report ‘Renewable Energy Assessments and Targets for the South West’ (GOSW, April 2001), identifies that the principal potential for renewable energy development in Gloucestershire is from small-scale schemes, especially hydro and individual wind turbines. The most likely developments of a strategically significant nature in the County are considered to be a small wind farm (4-10 turbines) and a biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant, most likely in or near the Forest of Dean.
2.2.10 In the Cotswolds, although a variety of renewable energy projects may be proposed, the most likely installations will relate to solar or wind power, through the provision of solar panels or erection of wind turbines. If insensitively located, solar panels can cause visual harm, particularly to listed buildings and within conservation areas. Wind turbines can fulfil an important role in the creation of energy, but they can also have a visual impact over a wide area that can be unacceptably damaging. The noise of blade movement and interference with radio transmissions can also cause problems. When turbines are grouped in numbers to create 'wind farms' their impact on the landscape is likely to be particularly great. The Cotswold landscape, especially the open, unspoilt vistas over the high wolds and the dramatic skyline of the escarpment edge, is likely to be particularly vulnerable in this respect, such that acceptable sites may well be difficult to find.
2.2.11 Biomass is a potentially important source of renewable energy. It involves the production of energy from any biological material of recent origin produced from agriculture or forestry. Energy crops, which can be used directly as solid fuels to generate heat and electricity, are one of the main types of biomass. There is scope, in economic and environmental terms, for the production of short rotation willow coppice, an energy crop, particularly in the Cotswold Water Park. However, any associated biomass energy facility would need to be sensitively located due to the scale of the installation required to make it commercially viable and the environmental constraints of the Cotswold Water Park and surrounding area. An appropriate location within the Water Park for such an installation may be difficult to find, though brownfield sites within nearby towns may be suitable.
2.2.12 Policy 2 specifies the criteria against which proposals for renewable energy projects will be assessed taking account of the above issues.
POLICY 2: RENEWABLE ENERGY
Proposals for renewable energy installations will be permitted provided that the proposed development:
(a) would not result in any significant loss of amenity due to noise or interference with telecommunication reception;
(b) would not result in an unacceptable risk to public health or safety, including harmful environmental effects from any associated transmission;
(c) does not, by its visual impact, significantly harm the character or appearance of the Cotswolds AONB, Special Landscape Areas, historic landscapes, archaeological sites, or the character or setting of Conservation Areas or listed buildings;
(d) does not significantly harm the ecology of habitats, other biodiversity interests or sites of archaeological importance; and
(e) is justified, where necessary, in terms of national energy policies of local and regional requirements.
NOTES FOR GUIDANCE:
1. Renewable Energy Installations: These would include any structure or
installation designed to harness energy that occurs naturally in the
environment, such as from the sun, the wind, the fall of water, geothermal
energy, or combustible or digestible industrial, agricultural or domestic
2. Operation of Wind Turbine Installations: Wind turbine installations are electricity-generating plants, which will be protected from development that would impair their operation. Such development will include any structures that would reduce local wind speeds.
2.2.13 Although agriculture has been experiencing considerable change, it will remain the major land use in the District, with a continuing significant influence on the appearance, character and use of the countryside.
2.2.14 Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 7: Sustainable Development in Rural Areas advises that a key principle of sustainable development is that priority should be given to the use of previously-developed (‘brownfield’) land in preference to the use of greenfield sites. It further indicates that, where significant development of agricultural land is unavoidable, poorer quality land should be used in preference to land of higher quality, subject to other sustainability considerations.
2.2.15 Other relevant policies and the relative scarcity of higher quality agricultural land in the Cotswolds are factors to be taken into consideration when determining development proposals.
POLICY 3: HIGHER QUALITY AGRICULTURAL LAND
Development involving the permanent loss of the best and most versatile agricultural land (in grades 1, 2 and 3a of the Agricultural Land Classification) will be permitted only if the development cannot sustainably be accommodated either on previously-used land within urban areas or, failing that, on agricultural land of a lower grade.
NOTES FOR GUIDANCE
1. Best and Most Versatile Land: The Agricultural Land Classification system
classifies land into five grades (grades 1-5) with grade 3 divided into two
sub-groups (3a and 3b). The grades are determined by the limitations of the
land in relation to agricultural use; grade 1 having very minor or no
limitations, grade 5 having very severe limitations. The best and most
versatile land is defined as that within grades 1, 2, and 3a. This is land
considered to be the most flexible, productive and efficient in response to
inputs. Land of moderate or poor quality is graded 3b, 4 and 5. The District
Council has maps that provide a broad indication of the distribution of
agricultural land quality in Cotswold District.
2. Permanent Loss: Although certain land uses, such as golf courses, may not result in the development of buildings and hard-surfaced areas, they can result in changes to the landform and soil quality that prevents long-term restoration to best quality agricultural use.
3. Suitable Land: Agricultural land quality is one of several planning considerations that need to be taken into account, when determining the location of development. Just because land happens to be of a lower agricultural quality, it should not be assumed that it will be considered suitable for development. General planning principles and other policies of the Local Plan, including landscape impact, biodiversity and archaeological interests, may rule out development.
2.3.1 Almost any development proposal will have some degree of impact on the environment. Anything that is built will be seen from somewhere, and any change of use of a building or land will result in changed circumstances on or around the site. Impact, however, need not be detrimental. Some development can improve a site or locality. Much will depend on the nature of what is done, its size and scale and where it is located. What is acceptable on one site may be totally inappropriate on another.
2.3.2 In order to assess the impact of new development, and ensure that no significant harm is caused, it is essential that sufficient information is available when a proposal is being considered.
2.3.3 Guidance on the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations (1999) is given in DETR Circular 02/99. This includes setting out the circumstances under which environmental assessment (EIA) will or may be required.
2.3.4 In situations where EIA is not required, applicants and the local planning authority are still expected to have full regard to the environmental implications of proposals. The precautionary principle will be taken into account where there is uncertainty surrounding the potential environmental impacts of particular actions. This means that an action should be avoided unless, or until, its effects are more clearly understood. Specific guidance, regarding the environmental impact of development in the Cotswold Water Park, is contained in Section 11: The Upper Thames.
POLICY 4: ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Development that is likely to significantly harm the natural or built environment, owing to its nature, size or location, will only be permitted if the benefits outweigh the environmental impact.
NOTES FOR GUIDANCE:
1. Assessing Environmental Impact: In order for a proper assessment of
environmental impact to be carried out, applications should be accompanied
by an appropriate level of information, which will vary according to the
size and nature of the proposal and its location. Information may be
required in relation to noise, visual intrusion, air emissions, light
emissions, biodiversity impact, traffic generation, or any other factor of
the development which could cause demonstrable harm to interests of
acknowledged importance. If the proposed development falls within one of the
categories covered by the Town and County Planning (Environmental Impact
Assessment) Regulations 1999, a full environmental statement may be
2. Planning Conditions and Obligations: Policy 49: Planning Obligations and Conditions sets out a framework for dealing with prevention of, or compensation for, adverse environmental impacts.
3. Harm: This includes adverse impact on the amenities of residential properties or businesses as well as the appearance, character or tranquillity of the area
2.3.5 The Local Plan can help to avoid or minimise adverse effects on the environment and communities by:
- controlling the location of potentially polluting development;
- controlling operations; and
- ensuring that incompatible uses of land are separated to avoid potential conflict.
This contributes to the following Community Plan objectives:
- That everyone should enjoy a healthy, clean environment; and
- To care for our landscape, biodiversity, and built heritage.
2.3.6 The air can be polluted through gaseous emissions, and water polluted
by the discharge of solid or liquid pollutants into groundwater or water
courses. In areas where the community values quiet enjoyment and
tranquillity, noise can be similarly detrimental, as can vibration, dust,
smell and the intrusion of light and heat. Many of these pollution sources
are dealt with by separate legislation and regulations, but they remain
material considerations in planning. National planning policy, notably
‘Planning and Pollution Control’ (PPS23) and ‘Planning and Noise’ (PPG24)
give further guidance on the relationship between planning and other
statutory controls affecting environmental issues. The District Council will
continue to work closely with other authorities and bodies who have more
direct control or responsibility for pollution issues through consultation,
seeking advice and providing information. Particular care will be taken in
relation to the redevelopment of contaminated land, and in relation to
hazardous substances that have radiological effects and other statutory
2.3.7 Certain sites and pipelines in the District are designated as notifiable installations, by virtue of the substances stored, transmitted or used. Some developments, such as housing, may be incompatible with such sites for safety reasons. The Council holds maps showing the location of these sites. The Health and Safety Executive is consulted on any application within or close to defined areas. Advice on any possible risks will be taken into account when decisions are made.
POLICY 5: POLLUTION AND SAFETY HAZARDS
1. Permission will not be given for development that:
(a) would result in an unacceptable risk to public health or safety, the environment, general amenity or existing land uses because of its location or due to the potential pollution of air, water, land or sky;
(b) is likely to cause significant noise nuisance, unacceptable light levels and spillage, vibration, dust or smell, particularly if this is likely to harm an existing business or other neighbouring land use; or
(c) lies within a protected area around sewage treatment works or similar installations
2. The Council will seek, through conditions on planning permissions or legal agreements, to control the construction and operation of any development to minimise levels of pollution, of whatever type, and risk to :
(a) public health or safety;
(b) the environment;
(c) general amenity; or
(d) existing land uses.
NOTES FOR GUIDANCE:
1. Unacceptable Risk: This is especially critical in relation to the
redevelopment of contaminated land, where the form and extent of
contamination must be pre-determined. When considering potential pollution
of air, regard will be had to the County-wide Air Quality Strategy for
Gloucestershire. Previously contaminated land should be fully investigated
and appropriate remediation measures must be carried out before any
2. Public Health and Safety: Possible public health and safety risks can be caused by development which is proposed close to hazards, such as overhead power lines or hazardous installations. Similarly, proposals for overhead power lines and hazardous installations should avoid public areas. Also there are potential risks from locating development on or near unstable land, contaminated land or near existing potentially polluting developments. Incompatible land uses should be kept separate in order to reduce the potential for conflict.
3. Protected Area: The Environment Agency or Water Utilities may identify such areas around their installations if there could be environmental health or other problems caused by development in the near vicinity.
2.3.8 There is increasing concern for the protection of the water
environment, which not only serves as a source of water but provides
essential habitats and a valued resource for recreation and public
enjoyment. The numerous rivers and streams of the Cotswolds, which have
helped create its attractive landscape, add greatly to the unique character
of so many Cotswold villages and towns. River valleys also offer great
possibilities for improved public access and the quiet enjoyment of the
countryside. Should it be restored, the Thames and Severn Canal will offer
similar opportunities for public access and recreation. Although the
responsibility for the protection of the water environment lies primarily
with the Environment Agency, the planning system also has an important role
2.3.9 Development within a river’s flood plain could increase flooding, thus creating risks for people and property. The capacity of the flood plain can be reduced by inappropriately located development. The flow of water may be impeded and the development itself may lead to increased surface water run-off. Planning Policy Guidance Note 25 ‘Development and Flood Risk’ (PPG 25) states that built development in functional floodplains “should be wholly exceptional and limited to essential transport and utilities infrastructure that has to be there”. Even beyond the flood plain, development can exacerbate flooding and drainage problems elsewhere. PPG25 advises that the consideration of flood risk and its management should be applied on a whole-catchment basis and not restricted to flood plains. The Environment Agency publishes indicative flood zone maps showing areas at risk from flooding. The PPG indicates the appropriate planning responses to differing levels of flood risk according to a sequential approach under which priority should be given to the development of sites with the lowest risk. Climate change is expected to increase the risk of flooding. Development, therefore, should not increase flood risk and, where possible, it should reduce existing flood risk, for example, by incorporating sustainable drainage systems.
2.3.10 Existing watercourses and their associated ponds and wetlands need to be protected from the possible adverse effects of new development. Developers should always seek the advice and, when required, consent of the Environment Agency before any works are carried out around, or affecting, watercourses. Rivers form important wildlife corridors and require adequate buffer zones free of development and accessible for maintenance purposes.
2.3.11 In some areas, particular types of development can have a significant effect on the local hydrology. Within the Cotswold Water Park the hydrological system is complex and not yet fully understood. In some cases, it may be necessary for specific, detailed, studies to be carried out by a developer in order to assess the potential impact of a development proposal on the hydrology of the area.
2.3.12 The quality of water in rivers and streams affects local wildlife and fisheries. Particular attention needs to be given to proposals that would lead to risks of pollution, through the discharge or escape of effluents or other material, into watercourses or groundwater. The proper management of wastewater can help to reduce such potential risks.
2.3.13 There is concern about the volume of water in many Cotswold rivers and streams and underground strata. There is evidence that some valleys are becoming increasingly dry during the summer months, particularly towards their source. The Environment Agency will carefully control new abstraction licences in areas where low water levels are causing problems. Development proposals that require high levels of abstraction may not be permitted in areas where such problems are being experienced.
2.3.14 The Thames and Severn Canal is an important part of the water drainage system, even though much of it has been infilled and neglected. If restored, it has the potential to play a significant role in local water resource management, and any reservoirs that feed the system will need protection.
POLICY 6: THE WATER ENVIRONMENT
1. Development will not be permitted within or affecting river valleys and their tributaries:
(a) which would harm the water environment, and associated biodiversity, or which would result in the pollution of watercourses or groundwater;
(b) which would cause significant visual harm to the character of the river or canal banks, or riverside landscape, or which would significantly harm the biodiversity value of a river or canal corridor;
(c) in areas at risk from flooding, unless there are no unreasonable options in lower flood risk categories and unless appropriate flood protection and flood compensation schemes can be provided, to reduce or compensate for those risks;
(d) if it would result in an unacceptable increase in flood risk in areas downstream due to additional surface water run-off, or upstream due to obstruction of the river's floodplain, which could reduce its capacity at times of flood;
(e) if it requires the abstraction of water from a river or other groundwater source to an extent that would significantly harm the flow of water to the detriment of water quality, biodiversity, amenity, or licensed abstractions; or
(f) if it is likely to cause any significant harm to local freshwater fisheries
2. Where development is permissible under clause 1, adequate access shall, where necessary, be provided alongside watercourses to allow for essential maintenance work.
3. New development involving large underground structures will not be permitted in areas where groundwater levels are near the surface unless the development incorporates a drainage system capable of allowing groundwater flows to bypass the structure without any unacceptable change to groundwater levels or flows in groundwater-fed streams, ditches or springs.
4. An undeveloped buffer zone at least 10 metres wide shall be required between any development permitted and the top of any river banks in the vicinity except where an alternative solution, accepted by the Environment Agency, can be incorporated into the scheme.
5. Where possible, the culverting of watercourses should be avoided. Appropriate opportunities should be taken in association with development to de-culvert water courses that have been piped and/or channelled in order to return them, as near as possible, to their natural state.
6. Surface water run-off should, as far as is practicable, be treated at source on all new developments or redevelopments. New development should not increase run-off from a site’s undeveloped state; redevelopment should bring about a reduction in surface water run-off.
7. In areas with groundwater within 3 metres of the surface, developments should incorporate foul drainage systems that will not discharge effluent direct to groundwater. In order to maximise the unsaturated zone, shallow sub-surface irrigation systems may be considered where standard soakaways are inappropriate.
8. The character and appearance of river valleys shall be protected and enhanced and, where possible, provision made for improvements to public access, and the provision of appropriate recreational facilities.
NOTES FOR GUIDANCE:
1. The Water Environment: The water environment includes watercourses, rivers and streams, groundwater, lakes, ponds and other wetland areas. In consultation with the Environment Agency, the Council will seek to ensure that all works in, under, over or adjacent to watercourses are appropriately designed and implemented, and in accordance with the land drainage bylaws of the Environment Agency or any other authority or body. The impact of drainage proposals will be considered in relation to the ‘Land Drainage Improvement Works (Assessment of Environmental Effects)’ Regulations 1988. The impact upon water resources in underground strata will be considered by reference to the Environment Agency publication, ‘Policy and Practice for the Protection of Groundwater’. Information on the extent of Groundwater Source Protection Zones is available on the Environment Agency’s website: www.environment-agency.gov.uk
2. Areas at Risk From Flooding: These are defined on the Environment
Agency’s indicative flood zone maps held by the Council. In areas suspected
of being at risk from flooding, but for which precise recent flood risk
information is unavailable, developers will expected to undertake flood risk
assessments in accordance with the guidance in PPG25 to demonstrate
compliance with the policy. Such assessments will also be required where
risk of flooding is ‘low to medium’ (defined in table 1 in PPG 25 as having
an annual probability of river flooding of 0.1-1.0%) or higher. The impact
of development in floodplains will also be considered by reference to the
Environment Agency publication, ‘Policy and Practice for the Protection of
Floodplains’. It should be noted that minimum design standards are required
for protecting development from flooding, i.e. designing the surface water
drainage system to cope with a 1 in 100 years event (having regard to the
impact of climate change as indicated in appendix A to PPG25). This should
not increase the rate of run-off over that of the previously undeveloped (greenfield)
site or the previously used (brownfield) site.
3. Increased Flood Risk: The advice of the Environment Agency and, where appropriate, British Waterways will be sought where such risks may occur.
4. Surface Water Run-off: There are alternatives to conventional storage for the control of surface water run-off. These are known as Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS). These techniques not only cater for flood peak attenuation, but may also improve water quality and enhance the environment. Such systems include permeable pavements, grassed swales, infiltration trenches, ponds and wetlands. Surface water run-off must not drain to the foul sewer.
5. Harmful Effect on Water Quality: Consent must be obtained from the Environment Agency before any discharge of sewage or trade effluent is passed to a watercourse or to underground water. Surface water should be discharged through appropriately designed trapped gullies or interceptors, advice on which should be obtained from the Environment Agency.
6. Groundwater Flood Risk: The geology of Cotswold District is complex and, in certain areas and circumstances, groundwater levels may be close to the surface. These areas do not necessarily correspond with the river floodplain. Construction of underground structures in areas of high groundwater may cause a build-up of water levels on the up-gradient side of the obstruction, potentially resulting in structural and environmental problems. Developers should include appropriate mitigation measures into developments to allow groundwater flow to bypass the underground structure and continue unimpeded.
7. Buffer Zones: The Environment Agency advises applicants to discuss buffer zones prior to the submission of any application for development, and is able to offer advice upon request. Buffer zones allow the watercourses and their associated riparian vegetation to fulfil their function as biodiversity corridors. The width of the buffer zone would vary on a site by site basis, depending on the biodiversity value of the area in question, but should in all cases be at least 10 metres from the top of any river bank.
8. River Valleys: A river valley is taken to include not only the course of the river and the adjacent valley bottom, but also the valley sides. River valley systems include tributary valleys, whether or not they contain a flowing watercourse. Dry valleys are common in the Cotswolds.
9. Licensed Abstraction: The Environment Agency is responsible, through a system of abstraction licensing, for ensuring that water resources are managed effectively and for the benefit of everyone. Anybody wishing to take water from a river, stream, canal or underground source would normally require a licence. The granting of a licence will be dependent on the availability of water resources locally and on the acceptability of any resulting impact on the environment and existing protected rights. Anybody considering abstracting water is requested to contact the Water Resources and Licensing Section of the Environment Agency to discuss the proposal before any abstraction takes place.
10. Floodplain maps: The District Council has maps showing the extent of floodplains throughout the District.
11. Efficient Use of Water Resources: Water is one of our most precious natural resources. As demand for water increases there is a need to protect the sources of water (both surface water and groundwater) and the quality of water. In order to manage water resources on a sustainable basis, all further developments should incorporate building techniques that conserve water and reduce the demand for water by incorporating water efficiency devices. The Environment Agency can provide further guidance on the measures that can be adopted in particular circumstances. Refer also to Policy 1 ‘Natural Resources’.
The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
2.3.15 The importance of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty has long been recognised in national planning policy. They are some of the most sensitive landscapes in the country and are particularly vulnerable to pressures for development and change. Circulars, guidance notes and legislative provisions stress the need to protect their special character and appearance.
2.3.16 The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 introduced a statutory duty for local and other relevant authorities. When exercising any functions in relation to land in or affecting an AONB, authorities are required to have regard to the conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty of the designated area.
2.3.17 Planning Policy Statement 7 (Sustainable Development in Rural Areas) acknowledges that, along with National Parks, AONBs have the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty. Paragraph 22 of PPS7 states that major development should not take place in nationally designated areas except in exceptional circumstances and where it is in the public interest. PPS7 includes a list of issues that would need to be assessed when considering applications for major development.
2.3.18 A landscape character assessment, using the Countryside Agency’s latest methodology, was completed by the Cotswolds AONB Partnership in 2003.
2.3.19 Protection of the designated area, its enhancement and management will enable the AONB to fulfil its dual role of combining landscape conservation with carefully controlled public access and enjoyment.
POLICY 7: COTSWOLDS AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY
1. In the consideration of proposals for development of land within or affecting the Cotswolds AONB, shown on the Proposals Map (Link to Proposals Maps) and Insets (Link to Inset Maps) , the conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty of the landscape and countryside will be given priority over other considerations.
2. In the consideration of proposals within the AONB, regard will be had to the economic and social well-being of the area and its communities.
3. Major development will not be permitted within the AONB unless:
(a) it is in the public interest including in terms of any national considerations and the impact of permitting it, or refusing it, on the local economy; and
(b) the lack of alternative sites outside the AONB and of means of meeting the need in some other way justifies an exception being made
NOTES FOR GUIDANCE:
1. Natural Beauty: In the Cotswold context, natural beauty includes various
man-made features that, together with the landscape, comprise a rich built
and natural heritage.
2. Landscape Character: The AONB contains varying Cotswold landscape types, with their own distinctive topography, vegetation cover and visual characteristics. Development that is acceptable in one location will not necessarily be acceptable elsewhere if the character of the area is different. Development near the AONB could also harm its character or setting.
3. Conserve and Enhance: Landscape features, which are important elements in establishing the character of the AONB, should be conserved. These include topographical features, tree groups, shelter belts, woodlands, dry-stone walls and hedgerows. Opportunities to restore such landscape features, or introduce new ones, may be required in relation to some developments, especially in historic landscapes (see Policy 11). Such enhancement, however, cannot be used to justify a development that would otherwise be unacceptable due to its harmful impact. The existence of previously developed land is not, in itself, a justification for redevelopment.
4. Economic and social well-being: This may include the provision of adequate, suitably designed and located housing to meet identified local needs, in particular for affordable housing.
Special Landscape Areas (SLAs)
2.3.20 Gloucestershire Structure Plan Policy NHE5 lists nine SLAs, which are indicated broadly on the Plan’s key diagram. The purpose of SLA designation is to provide protection to locally significant landscapes that, although not nationally designated, are of comparable quality to AONBs and require special attention in the implementation of planning policy.
2.3.21 Although of lesser importance by national standards, SLAs are attractive landscapes in their own right and particularly so in the local and County-wide context. Designation identifies those landscapes that are of particularly high intrinsic value and which require protection for their own sake as part of the District’s landscape resource. They all abut the AONB and parts of them provide important foreground settings for the national designation.
2.3.22 In accordance with the requirements of PPG7, a study of the nine SLAs in the District was commissioned during 2000. Each was rigorously assessed against appropriate criteria for valued landscapes laid down in ‘Interim Landscape Character Assessment Guidance’ (The Countryside Agency/ Scottish Natural Heritage 1999). The designations have, therefore, been based on a formal assessment of the landscape qualities of the area.
2.3.23 The study’s recommendations have been incorporated into this Plan. The Proposals Map (Link to Proposals Maps) and insets define the reviewed SLAs boundaries, which, in several instances, coincide with the District boundary.
2.3.24 Another study, undertaken during 2000, assessed the character types of those landscapes within the District that lie beyond the AONB, namely:
- Cirencester/ Upper Thames Valley
- Moreton-in-Marsh Surrounds; and
- Vale of Evesham.
2.3.25 The resulting Assessment of Landscapes Outside the Cotswolds AONB supplements the Countryside Agency’s Countryside Character Initiative and also provides a context for the SLAs.
POLICY 8: SPECIAL LANDSCAPE AREAS
Within Special Landscape Areas, shown on the Proposals Map (Link to Proposals Maps) and Insets (Link to Inset Maps) , development that meets the economic and social needs of communities will be permitted provided it does not unacceptably harm the area's landscape character or appearance.
NOTES FOR GUIDANCE:
1. Special Landscape Areas: Six Areas have been defined at (1) Kemble/ Ewen;
(2) North Cirencester; (3) Coln Valley north of Fairford; (4) Barrington
Downs; (5) Moreton-in-Marsh Surrounds; and (6) Norton Hall.
2. Landscape Character of Special Landscape Areas: Two publications, commissioned by Cotswold District Council, assess the qualities of the countryside within the Special Landscape Areas. These should be used when considering applications within SLAs. The two publications are: Assessment of Landscapes outside the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (June 2000); and Local Countryside Designation Review: Special Landscape Areas (Feb 2001).
2.3.26 The countryside of the Cotswolds is a rich and diverse environment,
from the unimproved limestone grasslands of the high wolds to the
flower-rich meadows of the river valleys, and the wildfowl, botanical and
geological interest of the Cotswold Water Park. Some of the most important
sites are covered by nature conservation designations. Some of these may be
particularly sensitive and vulnerable to change.
2.3.27 Due to the severe loss and fragmentation of our wildlife habitats over recent decades, it has become necessary to ensure that the remaining natural heritage is protected and remains as extensive and diverse as possible. There is a need to conserve biodiversity through the protection of existing habitats and species, the restoration of damaged ecosystems and the recovery of threatened habitats and endangered species. There is also a need to protect sites of geological and geomorphological interest. Nature conservation and geo-conservation is an increasingly important issue, reflected in the wide range of accompanying legislation at an international, national and local level.
2.3.28 The local planning authority has a responsibility to protect the District’s nature conservation interest. Development needs to be sustainable, in nature conservation terms, by ensuring that there is no net loss of biodiversity. Guidance on nature conservation policy and legislation can be found in PPG9, the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994, the Wildlife and Countryside Act (and amendments) and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
2.3.29 However, the natural heritage needs to be conserved, not only in specifically designated areas, but elsewhere, so that an environment rich in wildlife interest is part of peoples’ everyday experience. Wildlife has aesthetic and inspirational value as well as providing for scientific study, recreation and education. Such an approach is advocated in the UK and County Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs), which set out targets for the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity to be delivered by a wide partnership of organisations, agencies and individuals.
2.3.30 International designations are applied to the most important sites of nature conservation interest and offer the highest level of protection. At present, only a small area of the District has such a designation and that is the Cotswold Beechwoods candidate Special Area of Conservation. Development proposals that are likely to affect an international site will be subject to rigorous procedures as outlined in The Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994.
2.3.31 Special Protection Areas are designated under Article 4 of the European Communities Council Directive (April 1979), for the conservation of wild birds. The Cotswold Water Park is being kept under review, and will be considered against the scientific criteria for selection as a Special Protection Area. The Council will have regard to the United Kingdom's international obligations in respect of such an area of nature conservation importance. Several of the lakes within the Water Park are now designated as SSSI’s. Policy UT.1 ‘The Cotswold Water Park’ in Section 11 of the Plan refers to the lakes and associated habitats that are of particular importance for nature conservation and are listed in the Cotswold Water Park Biodiversity Action Plan.
National Designation - Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)
2.3.32 SSSIs are designated by English Nature under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and are statutory sites of national importance. They are designated for their biological, geological or geomorphological interest, and a list of SSSIs within the District is included in Appendix 1. These sites comprise areas or features where conservation is considered essential to maintain and enhance the nature conservation interest of the site. Any development that would directly or indirectly have a significant adverse impact on, or otherwise damage, a SSSI will not be permitted.
2.3.33 LNRs are designated by local authorities under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 for the purpose of providing opportunities for both people and wildlife. They are places with wildlife or geological features that are of special interest locally, which give people opportunities to learn and study in natural surroundings. A site may qualify for LNR designation, providing that the local authority has a legal interest in the land concerned, such as through ownership, lease or having a nature reserve agreement with the owner. English Nature must be consulted over the declaration of a new LNR and can offer discretionary grants and expert advice.
2.3.34 Also referred to as Sites of Nature Conservation Importance, or County Key Sites, these are identified by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust as wildlife habitats of at least County importance. Like SSSIs, they are mostly semi-natural habitats, which, if destroyed, could not be re-created. Important wildlife habitats in the District include unimproved grasslands, ancient woodlands, and wetlands. Collectively, they comprise the bulk of the County's significant wildlife resource. A list of them is included in Appendix 2.
Local Designations: (3) Regionally Important Geological / Geomorphological
2.3.35 RIGS are the geological equivalent of key wildlife sites. A list of those sites qualifying for RIGS designation has been prepared by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, and is included in Appendix 3. They are considered worthy of protection for their educational, research, historical or aesthetic importance. Like any sites of nature conservation importance, RIGS may benefit from sensitive land management practices, which might include improving access and protecting rock faces, where these are a feature of the site. Where public access can be arranged for educational and research purposes, the production of fact sheets and interpretation can help in widening understanding and care for this aspect of earth science.
2.3.36 The protection of wildlife sites, such as SSSIs and Key Wildlife
Sites, is one of the main ways of protecting rare plants and animals.
However, such species also occur beyond designated sites and require special
protection wherever they exist. These species are protected under the
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (listed under schedules 1, 5 and 8) and
the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc.) Regulations 1994. Other species are
protected under their own legislation, for example the Protection of Badgers
2.3.37 The presence of a protected species is a material consideration in determining a planning application for development and a special licence may be required from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Where protected species are known or suspected to exist, the Council will request appropriate survey/mitigation information from the applicant by which to determine the likely effect. English Nature will then be consulted to ensure that the requirements of the species and its habitat have been taken into account. Where it is found that a proposed development could not avoid or minimise disturbance to a protected species, planning permission will be refused. Where a development proposal is permitted, the Council will consider the use of conditions or planning obligations to ensure the protection and enhancement of the species or habitat as appropriate.
2.3.38 In addition to legally protected species, the Gloucestershire BAP has identified a list of priority species and habitats that are under threat, or which contribute to the character and local identity of the County’s natural environment. A number of targets have been included in the Gloucestershire BAP in an attempt to conserve and enhance these priority habitats and species. When considering proposals for development, the Council will also take into account the extent to which the development will influence the achievement of the relevant BAP targets.
POLICY 9: BIODIVERSITY, GEOLOGY AND GEOMORPHOLOGY
1. Development that would affect a European Site, a proposed European Site or a Ramsar site will be subject to the most rigorous examination. Development that is not directly connected with, or necessary to the management, of the site for nature conservation, which is likely to have significant effects on the site (either individually or in combination with other plans or projects) and where it cannot be ascertained that the proposal would not harm the integrity of the site, will not be permitted unless:
(a) there is no alternative solution; and
(b) there are imperative reasons of over-riding public interest for the development.
2. Where the site concerned hosts a priority natural habitat type and/or a priority species, development or land use change will not be permitted unless it is necessary for reasons of human health or public safety or for beneficial consequences of primary importance for nature conservation.
3. Development in, or that would affect Sites of Special Scientific Interest will be subject to special scrutiny. Where such development would harm the special interest of the site, directly or indirectly, it will not be permitted unless:
(a) there is no alternative solution; and
(b) there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest for the development.
4. Where development is permitted, the authority will consider the use of conditions or planning obligations to ensure the protection and enhancement of the site's nature conservation interest.
5. Development that would have an adverse effect on a Local Nature Reserve, a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation or a Regionally Important Geological / Geomorphological Site, will not be permitted unless it can be clearly demonstrated that there are reasons for the proposal which outweigh the need to safeguard the substantive nature conservation value of the site.
6. Where development is permitted, the authority will consider the use of conditions and/or planning obligations to provide appropriate mitigation and compensatory measures.
7. The Council will not permit development that harms, either directly or indirectly, a site supporting any legally protected species or its habitat unless safeguarding measures can be provided through conditions or planning obligations to secure its protection.
8. Where development is permitted, the Council will require the retention and management of any significant species, habitats and features, or geological sites, whether or not specifically designated as of nature conservation interest. Opportunities should be taken, where possible, to enhance, or create, habitats and populations of species identified as priorities in National, Regional and Local Biodiversity Action Plans, especially where wildlife corridors can be created.
NOTES FOR GUIDANCE:
1. Wildlife Habitats: These habitats may include wetlands, hedgerows, trees, meadows, unimproved pasture and grassland, commons, streams, ponds, lakes and their margins, parks, walls and buildings. Roofspaces and barns are often important habitats for bats and owls. Wildlife corridors such as streams, rivers, canals or continuous hedgerows, can be particularly important for some species.
2. Management: Advice on management should be sought from an expert consultant.
3. Significant Adverse Impact: If it is considered necessary, the Local Planning Authority may require the submission of a survey and assessment of wildlife importance, prepared by an independent expert, before determining an application affecting a site of known or suspected nature conservation interest. The issue of consent may depend on the outcome of such surveys and assessments. The application or consent may be refused. Depending on the results of such an assessment, conditions may be applied to any consent, or planning obligations sought. In implementing the Policy, the weight given to nature conservation interests will depend upon the nature of the development and the degree of impact, and on the relative importance of the site and species in national or local terms.
4. Biodiversity Action Plans: Guidance on the protection and enhancement of biodiversity in the District is set out in the Biodiversity Action Plans for the UK (1994), Gloucestershire (2000) and the Cotswold Water Park (1997).
2.3.39 Trees and woodlands play a major part in establishing the Cotswold
landscape character. From the deep valleys to the high, open wolds,
woodlands, shelterbelts, copses and hedgerows provide variety, visual
enhancement, wildlife habitats, timber for commercial use and recreational
opportunities. Moreover, they make a contribution to the ecological balance
of the area. The District Council recognises that woodlands need to be
actively managed to provide these benefits.
2.3.40 The local authority has a duty, where necessary, to protect trees by making tree preservation orders (TPOs). These can be applied to individual trees, groups of trees, or woodlands, usually for their amenity value. Trees within Conservation Areas are similarly protected through a notification procedure. Such protection does not imply that no work can be carried out to the trees, but prior approval must be sought. Consent may not be forthcoming if the trees are healthy and their amenity value may be adversely affected. Although visual importance is the most common reason for protection, trees that are rare or have a specific historic interest may also be protected. Young trees may be just as important as mature specimens where they provide continuity of cover.
2.3.41 In Britain today, ancient semi-natural woodlands bear the closest resemblance to natural broad-leaved forests composed almost entirely of native species. Such woodlands that are over 2 hectares in area are listed on a draft register maintained by English Nature, although smaller fragments and unlisted woodlands may exist that are equally important ecologically. Woodlands of this type are becoming an increasingly rare resource that cannot be replicated. Besides their landscape value, ancient woodlands are an important habitat for native flora and fauna.
2.3.42 Hedgerows are also an important feature of the Cotswold landscape. They can provide a sense of visual enclosure, act as a haven for wildlife, and may be of historic interest. The Environment Act 1995 provided for the introduction of the Hedgerow Regulations 1997. These require local authorities to issue hedgerow retention notices where they have received notice of intention to remove hedgerows that are of importance for historical, cultural, or nature conservation criteria specified in the regulations.
2.3.43 The provision of tree planting in connection with most significant new development is considered to be essential, as is the retention of existing landscape features. Ecologically valuable unimproved grasslands are becoming an increasingly rare habitat, and tree planting should avoid such sites. The importance of retaining the open views of the Cotswold hills also needs to be considered when tree planting is proposed. The landscaping of new development is dealt with in Policy 45 ‘Landscaping in New Development’.
POLICY 10: TREES, WOODLANDS AND HEDGEROWS
1. Development that would destroy or adversely affect a tree or woodland protected by a Tree Preservation Order, or is within a conservation area, will not be permitted unless the removal of the tree(s):
(a) would be of benefit to the character or appearance of the area; or
(b) is in the interests of good forestry or arboricultural practice.
2. Permission will not be granted for development that would adversely affect Ancient semi-Natural or Ancient Replanted Woodland or Veteran Trees.
3. Hedgerows which are visually, ecologically, or biologically important, or historically or culturally significant, shall be retained unless there are overriding reasons for their removal.
NOTES FOR GUIDANCE:
1. Arboricultural implications: Where it is intended to develop a site that
contains important trees, the District Council will require the submission
of an Arboricultural Implications Study to assess the suitability of the
development in relation to the long-term health of those trees. The study
shall contain information on the impact of the development, protection and
site organisation in relation to the trees as well as aftercare and
amelioration. The early input of an arboriculturalist is vital to ensure
adequate provision is made for tree survival. The District Council can
provide advice on an Arboricultural Implications Study. Applicants may be
required to provide information on existing landscape/habitat features to be
retained and protected.
2. Protection: Adequate measures should be taken, for example by the provision of temporary fencing, to protect any retained trees or hedges from accidental damage.
3. Good Forestry / Arboricultural Practice: This is based on the latest research and guidance available from organisations such as the British Standards Institute and Arboricultural Association. Such guidance will be reviewed as new research becomes available.
4. Biologically or ecologically important or historically or culturally significant: A hedgerow meeting at least one of the criteria of importance for nature conservation, as set out in the Hedgerow Regulations 1997.
5. Important Trees: Circular 36/78 Trees and Forestry Guidance describe what constitutes an Important Tree. Further advice can also be sought from the District Council.
6. Veteran Tree: The definition of a Veteran Tree is set out in English Nature’s, ‘Guide to the care of Ancient Trees’ (ISBN 1 85716 252 8) as “Trees that are of interest biologically, aesthetically, or culturally because of their age”.
The Historic Landscape
2.4.1 The landscape of the Cotswolds has evolved over many centuries. Reminders of the activities of previous generations remain throughout the District. They are a valuable part of our heritage and make an important contribution to the area's social history.
2.4.2 Farming systems, including forestry, and the grand parks and gardens created during the last few hundred years, are a strong feature of the Cotswold landscape. Some historic landscape features date back to the time of the Domesday Book.
2.4.3 English Heritage has published a Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. There are currently 28 of these wholly within Cotswold District and a further three overlap into adjacent districts. English Heritage also maintains a Register of Historic Battlefields, of which one lies within the District - the Battle of Stow 1646 in Donnington Parish (SP190258).
2.2.4 PPG15 (para 2.26) encourages local authorities to undertake an assessment of the wider historic landscape at an early stage in plan preparation and to devise policies that take account of the historical dimension of the landscape. It also encourages plans to protect the most important features of the historic landscape. Specialists from the County Council and other relevant organisations have been used to carry out assessments and surveys of the historic landscape and associated features.
2.4.5 Government guidance advises that historic landscapes should be safeguarded from development that would destroy them, or would significantly adversely affect their character. Protection will, however, often require more than simply preventing unsympathetic development. Management of historic landscapes is needed, including more sensitive farming methods and the restoration of damaged landscapes.
2.4.6 The Council wishes to work with the owners of historic landscapes to establish management plans, including the replanting or restoration of lost features such as ponds and old orchards, the on-going care of existing trees, hedges and wooded areas, repair of dry-stone walls and the creation, where appropriate, of new areas of landscaping. Where they have biodiversity value, old and over-mature trees and dead wood should be retained wherever reasonable.
POLICY 11: THE HISTORIC LANDSCAPE
1. Within the historic landscape, development will be permitted provided it avoids harming the character, appearance or setting of historic landscape features, including Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest.
2. Schemes to enhance, restore and improve the management of historic landscape features will be sought in connection with, and commensurate with the scale of, any development affecting them.
NOTES FOR GUIDANCE:
1. Historic Landscape Features: These are landscape features within the District that are locally distinctive, depending on geology, soils, topography and the way in which land has been used through time. They may be identified by relevant organisations such as the Garden History Society, the Gloucestershire Gardens and Landscape Trust and the County Council Such features include parks and gardens, ancient farming systems, ancient roads and tracks, canals, unimproved grasslands, water meadows, old orchards, ancient woodlands and ancient trees, battlefields and former settlement sites. Any planning application that relates to an historic landscape feature, or which affects its setting, will be sent to both the Garden History Society and the Gloucestershire Gardens and Landscape Trust for consultation. Maps of identified historic landscape features can be inspected at the District Council. The Council can provide advice on historic landscapes, including their character.
2. Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest: These are identified by English Heritage and included on its Register. Any planning application that relates to an Historic Park or Garden, or which affects its setting, will be sent for consultation to English Heritage, the Garden History Society and the Gloucestershire Gardens and Landscape Trust. A list of registered sites within Cotswold District is included in Appendix 4. That list is not exhaustive, as other historic landscape features may exist that English Heritage could identify after publication of this Plan. Maps of the registered sites can be inspected at the District Council.
3. Improvement, Restoration and Management: Schemes will be the subject of a condition on any planning permission, or secured by a planning obligation, as appropriate.
Sites of Archaeological Interest
2.4.7 Man has settled the Cotswold hills and valleys since prehistoric times, with each age leaving evidence of their way of life. There are numerous examples of settlement and communication from Bronze and Iron Ages, the Roman occupation, Saxon, Norman and Medieval periods.
2.4.8 The number of sites and features emphasise the wealth of archaeological interest throughout the Cotswolds. Many lie concealed beneath more recent developments, or are buried with little visible evidence. Others are readily recognisable. They are a finite resource and irreplaceable. Priority should be given to their in-situ preservation to retain them as part of the heritage for future generations.
2.4.9 Many of these sites are scheduled as ancient monuments, and are afforded specific protection by the need to obtain scheduled monument consent for any work affecting them. This is quite separate from, and additional to, the need to obtain planning permission. The scheduled ancient monuments within this District are listed in Appendix 5. There is a presumption in favour of preserving such sites.
2.4.10 Over 6410 sites of archaeological interest within the District are recorded in the County Sites and Monuments Record. This should be consulted at an early stage, to assess whether a site is included, and its archaeological sensitivity and vulnerability. The protection of such sites is a material consideration in determining planning applications.
2.4.11 Any development proposal affecting a site of archaeological interest, whether or not a Scheduled Ancient Monument, will be examined critically to determine whether potential remains are damaged, and to determine the appropriate mitigation or other measures which should be taken as a result.
POLICY 12: SITES OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL INTEREST
1. Development will not be permitted where it would involve significant alteration, or cause damage to, nationally important archaeological remains (whether scheduled or not), or which would have a significant impact on the setting of visible remains.
2. Development that affects other remains of archaeological interest will only be permitted where the importance of the development is sufficient to outweigh the local value of the remains.
3. In archaeologically sensitive areas, applicants may be required to commission an archaeological assessment (and/or a field evaluation as appropriate) to establish the archaeological implications of the proposed development before the Council determines the application. The result of that assessment/ evaluation shall be submitted with the application, together with an indication of how the impact of the proposal on the archaeological remains will be mitigated.
4. Where proposed development would harm significant archaeological remains, applicants should seek to minimise this impact by design solutions allowing the preservation in situ of the archaeological remains. The recording of archaeological remains harmed by development will be secured by planning conditions or legal agreements, and will comprise archaeological excavation or other programmes of investigation as appropriate, followed by the preparation and publication of a report.
5. Opportunities will be sought for the management and presentation of archaeological sites for educational recreational and tourism purposes.
NOTES FOR GUIDANCE:
1. Sites of Archaeological Interest: These include all Scheduled Ancient
Monuments, sites included in the County Sites and Monuments Record, and
those identified in the Cirencester Archaeological Assessment. Where a
number of sites or monuments are known to exist in close proximity in a
particular area, the whole of that area will be considered sensitive from an
2. Archaeological Assessment: The Sites and Monuments Record will give a preliminary indication of the archaeological importance of a development site, and advice can be given as to whether further assessment will be required. Such an assessment should be carried out using suitably qualified and experienced experts, and may involve desk-based studies, a field evaluation, ground survey and, in certain cases, trial trenching or pits. Scheduled Monument Consent will be required before any assessment involving ground disturbance can be undertaken, and a licence from English Heritage for a geophysical survey will also be required. The Council is unlikely to deal with an application affecting an area of archaeological sensitivity in the absence of information from such evaluations.
3. Planning Conditions and Legal Agreements: Where development is likely to affect a site of archaeological interest, the onus will be on the developer to finance an agreed programme of archaeological work, which may include excavation, a watching brief, the recording of finds, the publication of any findings, and arrangements for the preservation and display of any features or artefacts discovered during the course of excavation.
4. Reasonable Access: At the developer’s expense, an expert should be appointed by the Council or by agreement with the applicant, to carry out watching brief observations, required by condition or as part of a planning obligation. A developer will be expected to work closely with whoever is appointed, to ensure that, in particular, excavations are available for proper inspection and recording before being filled or foundations laid.
5. Recording of remains: examples of recording and preservation include on or off-site storage or display of any remains.
2.4.12 Listed buildings can vary greatly in age and type, and include
milestones, crosses and bridges, as well as churches, cottages and barns.
All listed buildings have special architectural or historic interest. Within
Cotswold District, well over 6000 individual buildings and structures are
2.4.13 The built heritage of the District is of national renown. It is a major tourist attraction, contributing to local distinctiveness, and therefore important to the local economy.
2.4.14 The Council recognises that there is a need to protect and secure the maintenance of all listed buildings. Buildings at risk are those where a very serious state of decay, combined with a lack of regular use, could lead to early structural collapse, and where the provisions of Sections 47 to 51 and 54 to 56 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, are appropriate. The Council will act to halt the further decay of listed buildings at risk.
2.4.15 The Policy refers to listed buildings,
whatever their grade and whether they are listed in their own right or
listed by virtue of being within the curtilage of a listed building. Listed
building consent is required for most works of alteration, extension and
demolition of listed buildings. Detailed advice should be sought from the
Planning service on the need for planning permission and/or listed building
consent for particular works.
2.4.16 When considering planning applications, local authorities are required to pay special regard to the desirability of preserving any listed building, its setting, or any features of special architectural or historic interest. There is a presumption in favour of their preservation. Listed buildings should, at least, be recorded if this cannot be achieved. Detailed advice on the preservation of listed buildings, and the need for listed building consent, is contained in Planning Policy Guidance Note 15: ‘Planning and the Historic Environment’ (PPG15).
2.4.17 Alterations and extensions which might affect listed buildings need to be justified. There are also many smaller modern additions that may be inappropriate on listed buildings, such as satellite television dishes, solar panels, and replacement windows and doors using modern materials.
2.4.18 Roughcast or smooth render was sometimes originally applied to buildings for purely cosmetic reasons, or where fenestration had been altered, to create a more formal facade. In the south of the District, roughcast render was a traditional finish to the rough, often rather soft, rubble used in most buildings. Coloured limewash was often applied to stonework and, where it remains, adds a further dimension of texture and colour to the street scene. The presence of render or coloured limewash can often be fundamental to the historical integrity of a particular building, or make a valuable contribution to the character of an area. Its removal can rarely be justified.
2.4.19 The removal of original features or materials, such as natural roofing slates, from a listed building, will usually be detrimental to its character and will be strongly resisted. Modern products, such as concrete or imitation stone slates, would rarely be appropriate on the roof slopes of a listed building. Wherever possible, natural materials should be reused, but in order to help prevent the loss of natural materials from other historic buildings, the use of new natural materials will normally be acceptable.
2.4.20 The Council will rarely allow the introduction, into a listed building, of materials or features that have been removed from another historic building. The removal of such features may have been unauthorised, and architectural theft has led to serious damage to the character of many historic buildings. This includes internal features, such as fireplaces, staircases, panelling, and mill machinery.
2.4.21 Where the special setting of a listed building is considered to be vulnerable, the Council may consider the imposition of an article 4 direction to control any potentially damaging development.
N.B. Any internal or external works that would affect the character of a building of architectural or historic interest requires Listed Building Consent, irrespective of whether an application needs to be submitted for planning permission.
POLICY 13: DEVELOPMENT AFFECTING A LISTED BUILDING OR ITS SETTING
Demolition affecting a Listed Building
1. Development proposals involving demolition will only be permitted if it does not harm the character or appearance of a listed building or its setting.
Additions, Extension, Alteration or Change of Use of a Listed Building
2. Development proposals for the alteration, extension or change of use of a listed building, including additions, will be permitted provided it does not harm the building’s architectural or historic interest, character, appearance or setting. Development proposals may be permitted where harm is minimal and outweighed by other material factors, in particular the need to renovate the building to ensure its optimum viable use.
3. In areas where limewash or roughcast render are traditional features, their re-introduction on listed buildings will be encouraged provided there is historical evidence that such finishes had previously existed.
Development Affecting the Setting of a Listed Building
4. Development proposals, including the erection of a new building or other structure, or the use of land, will not be permitted where this would harm the character or setting of a listed building.
NOTES FOR GUIDANCE:
1. Sufficient Information: Proposals for alterations or extensions to, or
the change of use of, listed buildings must be accompanied by sufficient
information to enable the full and proper consideration of their effect.
This will often include full survey drawings of affected areas and, in most
cases, photographs. In exceptional cases, further information on the
economics of the proposals may be required to show whether sufficient
revenue would be available to secure a building’s preservation and future
maintenance. In order to ensure that all necessary information is provided,
a justification statement should be submitted with all listed building
2. Natural Materials: Traditional natural materials should be used for proposals involving a listed building. Natural materials should be re-used where possible, but in order to prevent the loss of natural materials from other historic buildings, the use of new natural materials produced by existing local quarries is encouraged. With regard to natural roofing materials, products have traditionally been made from ‘as-found’ materials, such as stone slate, Welsh slate, cedar shingles, thatch or clay tile.
3. Optimum Viable Use: In order to assess what the best use may be for a listed building, it is necessary to balance the economic viability of possible uses against the effect of any changes they entail in the special architectural and historic interest of the building. The aim is to secure the optimum viable use that is compatible with the fabric, interior and setting of the listed building. In this context, optimum refers to the conservation of the building, not the maximisation of financial gain. The optimum use may not be the most profitable use if that would entail more destructive alterations than other viable uses. Advice on what is considered to be a compatible use for a given listed building can be obtained by contacting the District Council.
4. Additions and Alterations: Examples include:
- the installation of satellite television dishes or other antennae, burglar alarms, solar panels, roof lights and uPVC or aluminium doors or windows, signs and other fitments;
- the removal of natural roofing materials from the roof slopes of a listed building, and their replacement with alternative modern materials;
- the removal of traditional render or coloured limewash, where this is fundamental to the character of the building or the area.
5. Harm: Where permission is given for development that would harm the historic fabric of the building, provision may need to be made by the applicant for a programme of building recording before or during development to mitigate the loss of that fabric.
2.4.22 The Cotswolds has a wealth of traditional agricultural buildings.
From the grand, isolated field barn to the modest cart-shed or traditional
farmstead courtyard, the agricultural buildings of the Cotswolds feature
strongly both in the countryside and within villages.
2.4.23 As agricultural practices continue to change, so will the use of and need for many of these buildings. Whole farms have become redundant or been amalgamated, leading to the redundancy of many of their buildings. The introduction of new machinery or practices has meant that some buildings are no longer needed for their original purpose, and may be difficult to adapt to new agricultural uses. Elsewhere, farms have moved out from settlements into the surrounding countryside, leaving behind a group of farm buildings in a village setting.
2.4.24 In many cases, these farm groups, or isolated buildings, are of high architectural or historic interest, most of them being listed. They are worthy of protection. Internally, barns often have fine roof structures and their volume is an essential element of their character.
2.4.25 When agricultural buildings become obsolete, there is the danger that they will decay. The cost of repair and maintenance is often prohibitive when there is no economic return. The question of their continued usefulness and preservation then needs to be addressed. There is a place for historic farm buildings that no longer have a use. They are a reminder of our past and attractive. Wildlife, such as owls, bats and certain mammals, make use of dilapidated structures for shelter or roosts, so historic farm buildings can also have nature conservation value as habitats.
2.4.26 Planning Policy Statement 7 ‘Sustainable Development in Rural Areas’ (PPS 7) urges the renovation of such buildings and their re-use by adaptation and conversion. A strong emphasis is given to uses that are related to the rural economy. Employment-related uses are, therefore, preferred to residential conversions, which generally are less appropriate in the countryside, and which frequently lead to the destruction of the character of the building and the loss of valued features.
POLICY 14: CONVERSION OF HISTORIC AGRICULTURAL BUILDINGS OF TRADITIONAL
1. The conversion of agricultural or similar buildings of historic interest and traditional design to an alternative use, particularly a use which would make a positive contribution to the local economy or meet a local need for affordable housing, will be permitted unless the proposal:
(a) would be significantly detrimental to the form, details, character or setting of the building;
(b) involves the extension or significant alteration of a building, which is of insufficient size or of an unsuitable form to allow its conversion without this extension or alteration;
(c) involves a building which is so derelict, or in such poor structural condition, that it requires complete or substantial reconstruction as part of its conversion;
(d) would have a detrimental impact on the appearance or character of the landscape; or
(e) would be detrimental to the continued or future agricultural operation of a farm, or would create new dwellings in which residents would be adversely affected by farming activities.
2. Provision should be made for wildlife, in particular protected species, which use rural buildings as their habitat, for example bats and owls.
3. Where practicable, materials from the building being converted shall be reused for repair and maintenance as part of the conversion.
NOTES FOR GUIDANCE:
1. Diversification: If the conversion is proposed as part of an agricultural
diversification scheme, the new use should create a source of employment,
and a future flow of income to the holding. Conversions for business or
tourism uses are more likely to achieve this than conversion to residential
2. Alternative Use: The use proposed must be in accordance with Policy 18 if within a development boundary, or Policies 19 and 28 if located elsewhere.
3. Conversion: The best way to retain the character and form of a traditional farm building is to continue its agricultural use. Failing this, the traditional character of many agricultural buildings and farm yards is less likely to be lost if they are converted to such uses as new workshops, meeting halls, indoor sports, storage, or camping barns, which retain the original features and agricultural character of the buildings and the spaces around them. Conversion for residential use may in some cases be acceptable but is often too destructive to the simple character of the building; as:
- much original fabric may be lost by the introduction of new openings;
- unbroken walls are disrupted with new doors and windows;
- rooflines can be broken up by roof lights, dormer windows or chimney stacks;
- interior spaces are subdivided by the introduction of floors and partition walls;
- enclosed gardens, garages, sheds, fuel tanks and washing lines, all spoil the agricultural setting and the cohesiveness of the farmstead, or the splendid isolation of the field barn.
Open-fronted cart and shelter sheds are often suitable for storage or car
parking use, but often not for conversion to living accommodation, which
results in the filling-in of the open side. Even if this is done using glass
or dark-stained timber, the character of these simple, open buildings is
likely to be spoilt.
4. Historic and Traditional Buildings: Historic buildings are those built before 1st July 1948. Traditional refers to the method of construction and the materials used which should be those traditionally used in the Cotswolds, such as barns built of Cotswold stone, as opposed to a concrete pre-constructed structure. Particular care should be taken to ensure that the character of such buildings, including their interiors, is not adversely affected. The highest standards of design and detailing will be required and some listed buildings may be incapable of conversion to particular uses owing to the need to protect their character.
5. Impact on the Landscape: The Local Planning Authority will take account of the visual effect of any new access or gateways, overhead wires and other features. If the building is a fine, isolated feature, important to the landscape, any adverse effect that conversion might have on this quality could mean that permission is refused. Any proposal within the AONB will be considered against the aims of that designation, which is primarily to conserve and enhance natural beauty and landscape character.
6. Structural Condition: A statement on the stability and soundness of the building will normally be required with the application. This should include details of the extent of any rebuilding required, which should also be shown on the drawings. If any additional demolition and rebuilding is found to be necessary when converting a listed building, a new application for listed building consent for that work will be necessary and will be judged afresh against the Policy. If the extra work would harm the character of the remaining parts of the listed building, then consent may be refused, even if the conversion work has started.
7. Wildlife: Where there is evidence of wildlife, in particular protected species, using a rural building, provision should be considered to accommodate them where appropriate. For example, parts of the roof space could be made available for use by bats, including suitable entry and exit routes within the gable apex and, for owls, by providing an ‘owl window’. An owl window is an opening built high up in the end wall of the barn to give entry to a specially constructed owl loft, insulated against noise. Further guidance can be sought from the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust or English Nature. Where legally protected species are known or suspected to be present, the Council will request appropriate survey/ mitigation information to determine the likely effect of the proposal on these species.
8. Archaeological Interests: Some farmsteads have been settled for many years and contain a remarkable record of our past. Where a building or its surrounding site is of archaeological interest, regard will be given to Policy 12 ‘Sites of Archaeological Interest’.
9. Historical information: In many cases, a full historical report may be required as part of an application. This should show the original form and function of the various elements within the farmstead or building, and provide information on its historic importance. Such information will often help to guide proposed developers on the alterations, and even extensions, that may be acceptable, while retaining the historic integrity of the building.
10. Conditions and Planning Obligations: When permission is granted for an acceptable proposal, the Local Planning Authority will normally impose conditions, and may seek a planning obligation, to secure the future protection of the building and its setting. Where there is a need to retain control over subsequent alterations and extensions to enable the character of the building to be protected, permitted development rights will be removed by condition, and restrictions may be imposed on how and when the building can be used.
11. Subsequent Alterations, Extensions or New Buildings within the Curtilage: Proposals for alterations and/or extensions to a converted traditional agricultural building, or the erection of a building in its curtilage, will be considered against Policy 42 ‘Cotswold Design Code’.
12. Traditional Design: Where applicable, reference should be made to the Council’s adopted design guidance, ‘A Guide to the Conversion of Historic Farm Buildings: to employment use’ and to the ‘Cotswold Design Code’.
13.Re-use of Materials: The re-use of existing traditional materials are important, as they will help retain the character of a particular barn, convey the buildings origin, maintain its relationship to any surrounding buildings and the landscape, and, in the interests of sustainable development, reduce the need to quarry new materials
14. Supporting Information: Sufficient detailed information should be provided with the planning application to enable full consideration of the proposal and a proper decision to be made. Measured drawings of the existing building, the proposals for conversion, means of access and provision of services may be required.
2.4.27 In 2006, the District had 144 conservation areas, the greatest number within any district authority in Britain. The areas designated are those considered to be of special architectural or historic interest, which have a character or appearance worthy of preservation or enhancement.
2.4.28 In many cases, the whole of a town or village is designated. In some places, the conservation area extends into the surrounding landscape where this is of historic importance in relation to the town or village, or makes a particularly important contribution to its setting. Elsewhere, only part may be designated, the area defined being that where the special architectural or historic interest is most valuable.
2.4.29 In 1998, the Council commenced the preparation of comprehensive statements for conservation areas throughout the District. These describe the special character and appearance that the designation is aiming to protect. An integral part of that process is the review of existing conservation area boundaries. The broad location of conservation areas is indicated on the Proposals Map (Link to Proposals Maps).
2.4.30 The primary effect of a conservation area designation is to retain buildings that make a positive contribution to the character of the area. However it is important to consider the effect of any proposed development within or affecting a conservation area to ensure that the character and appearance of the area is preserved or enhanced. A single new building, or a change of use of a building can have a significant adverse impact.
2.4.31 Conservation, however, is more than just preservation. The Council takes a positive attitude towards the need for enhancement within conservation areas. It will encourage measures to bring about environmental improvements provided they are not related to development that would be contrary to general planning principles or other policies of the Local Plan. New development should make a positive contribution to the aims of conservation and enhancement. A development that is contrary to other principles or policies will not be permitted just because enhancement is offered in mitigation.
2.4.32 Even within conservation areas, many forms of ‘permitted development’ can be carried out without the need for planning permission. This can often lead to the gradual erosion of the character of an area through minor alterations and additions. The Council will consider the removal of such rights by the use of Article 4 Directions where known problems threaten the character or appearance of an area.
POLICY 15: CONSERVATION AREAS
1. Construction of, alterations to and changes of use of buildings or land, and the display of advertisements within or affecting a conservation area, must preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the area as a whole, or any part of the designated area. Uses that create additional traffic, noise or other nuisance, which would adversely affect the character of a Conservation Area will not be permitted. However, development may be permitted if it can be demonstrated that a proposal can help an Area to remain alive and prosperous without compromising its character or appearance.
2. Proposals for development requiring planning permission and/or Conservation Area Consent will be permitted unless:
(a) they result in the demolition or partial demolition of a wall, structure or building, or the replacement of doors, windows or roofing materials, which make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of the Area;
(b) the siting, scale, form, proportions, design, colour and materials of any new or altered buildings or advertisements, are out of keeping with the special character or appearance of the Conservation Area in general, or the particular location; or
(c) they would result in the loss of open spaces, including garden areas and village greens, which by their openness make a valuable contribution to the character or appearance, or allow important views into or out of the Conservation Area;
3. Existing trees, hedgerows and other features, which are important to the character or appearance of a Conservation Area, will be protected. Within a Conservation Area, any new tree planting or other landscaping work, including surfacing and means of enclosure, shall be in character with the appearance of the Area.
4. Minor householder development that does not adversely affect or obscure historic property boundaries, such as burgage plots, is likely to be acceptable in principle, although cumulative development that adversely affects the area as a whole may not be permitted. Where appropriate, the local authority will seek the reinstatement or enhancement of historic features, such as boundary walls, in association with acceptable development. New dwellings or other substantial structures, particularly those that cover more than one plot, are unlikely to be acceptable.
NOTES FOR GUIDANCE:
1. Conservation Areas: Development proposals in conservation areas will be
required to contain sufficient information to indicate clearly how the
character or appearance of the area will be preserved or enhanced. Where
applicable, particular attention shall be paid to conservation area
statements, each of which defines the character or appearance of the
designated Area, and how it can be preserved or enhanced. The boundaries of
all conservation areas are being reviewed separately from the Local Plan
process. The Policy will apply equally to any further conservation areas or
extensions designated during the Plan period. A list of conservation areas
designated at the date of publication is included at Appendix 6, and a broad
indication of their locations is given on the Proposals Map (Link
to Proposals Maps). Maps showing
the latest boundaries are available from the District Council’s Planning
2. Sufficient information: In order that the full effect of a development proposal can be understood, it is essential that any planning application contains sufficient information for a proper assessment to be made. Full details of plans, elevations, materials, existing trees, hedges and walls, landscaping, and surrounding existing buildings, will normally be required. Drawings should usually include the accurate location and elevations of adjacent, existing buildings, even if outside the application site. A perspective sketch, or axonometric drawing, will normally be helpful and, for larger or more complex schemes, the Council may request the presentation of a model before determining the application.
3. Development in Conservation Areas: Conservation Area Consent and/or Planning Permission may be required for certain works e.g. the demolition of buildings and walls and certain alterations to doors and windows. Advice should be sought from the District Council’s Heritage Service.
4. Burgage plots: Burgage tenure was a specific type of tenure in medieval urban areas and gave rise to the characteristic long and narrow properties in many medieval towns.
2.4.33 The Cotswold Community Plan 2001/2005 highlights considerable local
concern about heavy lorries, traffic speed and road safety in the District.
The impact of heavy lorries on communities has implications for highway
safety, environmental pollution and local amenity. Many towns and villages
in the District need to be protected from the environmental effects of heavy
lorries. The Gloucestershire Local Transport Plan identifies problems with
distribution routes in the Vale of Evesham, which pass through towns and
villages, and cause problems of environmental intrusion.
2.4.34 Development that relies on road transport is not sustainable as road traffic damages towns and villages, harms the countryside and contributes to climate change. Reliance on road transport can be tackled by reducing the need to travel, encouraging the use of more sustainable modes of freight transport and reducing the length and number of journeys by locating development in more accessible locations.
2.4.35 Planning Policy Guidance Note 13 ‘Transport’ (PPG13) and Regional Planning Guidance for the South West (RPG 10) provide advice on the transport of freight. More sustainable patterns of distribution should be encouraged, particularly by rail and water. The Council supports the re-opening of the Stratford - Cheltenham railway line, the dualling of the Worcester - Oxford railway line, and the dualling of the Swindon - Kemble line, but other opportunities for new, more sustainable freight distribution infrastructure in the District are limited.
2.4.36 Upgrading of the Eastern Spine Road was included as a ‘major scheme’ in the first Local Transport Plan, to accommodate HGVs removing gravel from the Water Park. The bid was, however, rejected and follow-up lobbying unsuccessful. Similarly in Tetbury, problems with HGV through traffic led to the promotion of a by-pass to the north and west of the Town. However, the scheme was deemed to be financially unfeasible. Subsequently, the County Council has been working with Tetbury Town Council Traffic Group to introduce weight restriction orders and an 18T weight limit on Long Street is being supported by the Town Council and Trading Standards who will undertake any prosecutions (Lorry Watch).
2.4.37 The inadequacy of routes for lorries in the north of the District is being addressed through joint working with other authorities. Supplementary planning guidance (SPG) has been adopted to provide a consistent approach to Use Classes B1, B2 and B8 development proposals in the Vale of Evesham, where the volume and impact of lorries is a cause for particular concern. For the rest of the District, development that is likely to generate lorry traffic, which may have an unacceptably adverse impact on local communities, needs to be strictly controlled in order to protect the local environment and quality of life. Reference should also be made to the County Council ‘Lorry Strategy for Gloucestershire’ published in 1992 which established a hierarchy of lorry routes.
POLICY 16: MINIMISING THE IMPACT OF LORRIES
Minimising the Impact
1. Applications for development that would have significant transport implications must be accompanied by a Transport Assessment. Development that is likely to generate increased or new lorry movements that would cause an unacceptable adverse impact on the highway, residential amenity, safety or the local environment, will not be permitted unless the impact can be adequately mitigated.
2. Proposals for developments with significant freight requirements should be located along, or adjacent to, appropriate transport routes, particularly near alternative modes of transport, such as rail terminals.
Sustainable Freight Transport
3. Development proposals that would facilitate the movement of freight by rail, pipeline and/or water will be permitted in appropriate locations.
Lorries in the Vale of Evesham
4. Within the zone indicated on the Proposals Map (Link to Proposals Maps), applications for development falling within Use Classes B1, B2 and B8 will be permitted only if it can be demonstrated that the use will not generate an increase in HGV movements through any of the towns or villages located within the zone. Other uses likely to generate HGV movements will be subject to the same considerations. Applications for a Class B8 use will be required to include a Lorry Control Plan indicating how the impact of distribution lorries on local settlements will be minimised. The intention of this policy is that such development within the zone should not generate any increase in HGV movements.
5. Permission may be granted within the zone where it can be clearly demonstrated that the benefit to the local communities resulting from the development is likely to outweigh the harm that would be caused by any increase in HGV traffic.
NOTES FOR GUIDANCE
1. Traffic Impact: When assessing the impact of the development, it must
include the cumulative impact of traffic on local communities. The impact
may include congestion and pollution (including noise, vibration and air
quality). An assessment of the impact of traffic from the development should
be included in a Transport Assessment where one is required. When an
Environmental Impact Assessment is required, information on traffic
generation must also be included (see
Policy 4). In order to reduce the
impact of freight distribution on existing communities and the environment,
clause 1 restricts development that would generate lorry movements to
certain locations. Locations may be those that have access to alternative
transport modes or the primary trunk route network. Assessments must be
carried out to the satisfaction of the relevant highways authorities and, if
likely to impact on the trunk road network, the Highways Agency.
2. Mitigation Measures: Such measures may include: traffic management and calming measures which improve safety and enhance the environment; lorry control plans; vehicle routing strategies; freight quality partnerships; speed controls; and weight restrictions. Measures should be drawn up in consultation with the local community, be sympathetic to the character of the area and maintain accessibility and viability of local businesses.
3. Lorries in the Vale of Evesham: For more detailed guidance, refer to the Lorries in the Vale of Evesham Supplementary Planning Guidance.
Protection of Established Uses
2.4.38 It is not uncommon for owners/ occupiers of new developments to seek removal of, or constraints on, an existing nearby use that, as well as pre-dating the new development, is also of social or economic value. For the latter reason, it is important that such established uses are afforded protection.
POLICY 17: PROTECTION OF ESTABLISHED USES
Development that is demonstrated to be sensitive to disturbance from noise, light, smell or any other nuisance will not be permitted where it might threaten the continuation of an established employment, or community use or agricultural holding where the potential loss would be harmful to the social and economic well-being of the community.