3. Core Polices

3.1.

Any planning application will be judged against all of the policies of this Local Plan. Clearly, for any given proposal, the majority of the Plan’s policies will not be of relevance, e.g. policies concerned with development in a Conservation Area will be of no importance in determining applications that are neither within nor adjacent to a Conservation Area.

3.2.
However, the policies of this chapter are concerned with matters that will be of fundamental importance to most applications, e.g. what the development will look like, whether it will be safe, whether the existing infrastructure can accommodate it, what impact it will have upon other people, and how people will be able to use it. The chapter’s policies are also centrally concerned with achieving the main elements of the objectives and locational strategy set out in the previous chapter. For example: they seek to focus new development into existing settlements; they seek to prevent allocated sites being developed for other purposes; and they seek to ensure that new development will not inhibit or prevent the future development of the District. Lastly, they are also concerned with protecting the community and the environment against the possible harmful effects of development – effects that may be only felt locally, or which may have wider importance (e.g. the influence that energy use may have on global climate change). Where appropriate, the Council will require applicants to undertake Environmental Impact Assessment of their proposals in accordance with national guidance, and to submit an Environmental Statement in support of the application.
3.3.

This chapter’s policies will contribute to all three of the Council’s objectives:

  • A good quality of life for all residents - The chapter’s policies seek to protect people against flooding and pollution, and to ensure that new development will not harm (and where possible will improve) the quality of life enjoyed by the District’s residents.
  • A thriving and prosperous economy -The chapter’s policies seek to ensure that new development will not harm (and where possible will improve) the District’s character and appearance, and the quality of life enjoyed by residents, benefiting the image that the District projects to visitors, tourists and potential inward investors. Furthermore, they seek to ensure that longer-term flexibility in development and land-use is not compromised by new development, which will allow the District’s economy to respond effectively to change.
  • A clean, green and safe environment - The chapter’s policies seek to protect the District’s key environmental assets and to ensure that new development will not harm (and where possible will improve) the character or appearance of the District’s countryside and settlements. They also seek to ensure that energy, materials and water resources are harnessed and used in a sustainable manner.

POLICY C1 - Development within settlement curtilages View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for development proposals within settlement curtilages (as shown on the Proposals Map), provided that they:

  1. Will not adversely affect the character or appearance of the area;
  2. Will not increase the pressure for similar development that would collectively cause adverse effects; and
  3. Are in keeping with the provisions of the locational strategy.

Justification

3.4.

Each of the District’s larger settlements has a settlement curtilage drawn around it. These settlement curtilages identify those parts of the District where most forms of development will, in principle, normally be acceptable. The Council considers that the use of curtilages gives certainty to developers, landowners and the public by indicating where development will usually be considered acceptable, subject to meeting detailed criteria. It also ensures that, whilst provision is made for growth, the form of the settlement is taken into account.

3.5.

Curtilage lines are intended to reflect the boundary between a settlement and the countryside that surrounds it. Thus, land with a 'village' or 'town' character should be shown within the curtilage, whilst that outside the developed area should be shown as countryside. Wherever possible and appropriate, curtilage lines follow clear natural or man-made boundaries on the ground.

3.6.

Although, in principle, development within curtilages is acceptable, all uses will not be appropriate in all settlements. Some settlements have small populations, have little or no public transport services, and are relatively inaccessible (in a North Kesteven context) by any means other than the private car. In accordance with the locational strategy set out in the previous chapter, such settlements would be inappropriate locations for development that will attract significant numbers of journeys by employees, customers or visitors. Developments of this sort should either be located close to centres of population, or be linked to them by adequate pedestrian, cycle or public transport routes. Alternatively, accessibility can be improved to an acceptable standard as part of the development (see policy T1). Similarly, residential development (other than that required to meet local needs – such as affordable housing) would be inappropriate in a settlement that lacks a meaningful service base (employment, schools, shops, recreational facilities, etc.), or pedestrian, cycle or public transport links to such facilities, since it would tend to encourage longer (and predominantly car-borne) journeys. In considering accessibility issues, the Council will be mindful of the fact that the District is predominantly rural, that its population is dispersed, and that opportunities for people to travel by means other than the private car can be limited. Consequently, all judgements of whether a location is relatively accessible or not will be made in the context of the overall levels of accessibility throughout the District. Nonetheless, the Council will wish to ensure that its decisions contribute to reducing overall dependence upon the private car.

3.7.

The locational strategy (set out in the previous chapter) also dictates that the Council will wish to ensure that the nature and scale of any proposed development is appropriate to the settlement’s scale, role and service base. For example:

  • Some developments may place major demands upon infrastructure (either due to their nature or simply their scale). Such uses would not be appropriate in a small settlement, but would be better located in larger settlements where existing infrastructure is more likely to be able to accommodate it, or where the costs of upgrading infrastructure to the required level is likely to be less.
  • Some developments may be so large in scale that they would dominate the character or visual appearance of a smaller settlement. A larger settlement would generally be better able to accommodate such a development without harm.
3.8.

Lastly, not all land within a settlement curtilage will be suitable for development, since its development may harm the settlement’s character or appearance. For example:

  • Some settlements have an extensive, open character that would be eroded by the development of undeveloped land within the curtilage.
  •  Some sites are simply too small to successfully accommodate certain types of development.
  • The development potential of some sites will be constrained by the fact that they have wildlife, recreational, historic, or landscape value (covered in detail in policies in later chapters).

POLICY C2 - Development in the countryside View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for development in the countryside (as shown on the Proposals Map), provided that it:

  1. Will maintain or enhance the environmental, economic and social value of the countryside;
  2. Will protect and, where possible, enhance the character of the countryside;
  3. Cannot be located within or adjacent to a settlement; and
  4. Will not attract or generate a large number of journeys, and is located to provide opportunities for access by public transport, walking or cycling.

Justification

3.9.

The Council considers that the countryside is one of the District’s most important assets, which must be safeguarded for its own sake. As a consequence, the Council considers that development in the countryside must be strictly controlled, in order to avoid:

  • Changing the countryside’s open and uncluttered nature;
  • Creating a pattern of development that is not accessible to all sections of the community;
  • Creating a pattern of development where journeys will be of greater length, and where people will have little choice about how they travel; and
  • Creating a pattern of development that cannot be serviced efficiently.
3.10.

However, it is recognised that there are some types of development that need a countryside location – such as agricultural, horticultural or forestry buildings, or uses that have extensive land requirements. In other cases it may be desirable to allow development that will diversify the rural economy, provide for the recreational or housing needs of local communities, or provide for the needs of people travelling through the countryside. Policies elsewhere in this Local Plan set out the circumstances in which planning permission will be granted for some types of development within the countryside.

3.11.

In addition to the specific types of development covered by the above policies, other proposals will be assessed against the criteria set down in this policy. In considering accessibility issues, the Council will be mindful of the fact that the District is predominantly rural, that its population is dispersed, and that opportunities for travel by means other than the private car can be limited. However, the Council will seek to reduce dependence on the private car by ensuring that new development in the countryside will be located to provide opportunities for access by public transport, walking and cycling, or accessibility will be improved as part of the development. Similarly, the Council will seek to ensure that development is located, designed and landscaped to respect the established character of the area, reinforces local distinctiveness, and makes a positive contribution to its surroundings.

POLICY C3 - Agricultural land quality View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for the development of the best and most versatile agricultural land, only if:

  1. Previously-developed land, or land of a lower agricultural grade is not available to accommodate the proposed development;
  2. Land of a lower agricultural grade, which is available to accommodate the proposed development, is subject to other sustainability considerations, including biodiversity, landscape, amenity or heritage interest, etc, which outweigh agricultural considerations; and
  3. The development is proposed on land of the lowest possible grade.

Justification

3.12.

Agricultural land is classified into six grades depending upon its quality (1, 2, 3a, 3b, 4 and 5), with grade 1 land being the very best in quality. In North Kesteven, the majority of agricultural land falls within grade 3, although grade 2 land is common in the eastern fenland parts of the District. The poorest land within the District is on the slope of the Lincoln Cliff, and is of grade 4.

3.13.

Land in grades 1 to 3a is the best and most versatile agricultural land in the country, and should be protected from development, because it is a national resource for future generations. However, agricultural quality is only one factor to be taken into consideration, and decisions will take account of the overall value of the land, including landscape quality, wildlife and habitats, recreational amenity, and cultural and historic heritage. This approach accords with the principles of sustainable development.

3.14.

Although a central plank of this Local Plan’s strategy is to minimise new development away from settlements, it nonetheless allows for certain types of development in the countryside, provided they need a countryside location. Even so, it is important that development is directed towards lower grade agricultural land wherever possible, in order to preserve the maximum flexibility for the agricultural industry.

POLICY C4 - Infrastructure provision by developers View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for proposals that generate a need for additional facilities, services or infrastructure which are related directly to the development, provided that

  1. the proposals are on allocated sites or are acceptable under other policies in the Plan;
  2. the necessary additional facilities, services or infrastructure are fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the proposed development, and will be provided as part of the development proposals or through financial contributions from the developers for the fair and reasonable costs of that provision, negotiated by way of a planning obligation.
In appropriate circumstances, the Council will accept financial contributions in the form of lump-sum payments, endowments, or phased payments over a period of time.

Justification

3.15.

Most developments will increase the demand for facilities, services and infrastructure, to some extent. In cases where the existing services, facilities or infrastructure can accommodate the new demand caused by the proposed development, it will be unnecessary for the developer to make any provision to improve them. This would also be the case where existing infrastructure, facilities or services could not accommodate the new demand, but the necessary additional capacity is already planned to be in place by the time the development will be implemented. In cases such as this, the Council may place a condition upon any planning permission to prevent the implementation of the development until the necessary improvements have been made.

3.16.

However, the Council will seek the provision of, or contributions to the provision of, any facilities, services, or infrastructure that would not have been necessary but for the development, or are necessary in order for the development to be acceptable. Such provision must be necessary to make the proposed development acceptable in planning terms, relevant to planning, directly-related to the proposed development, fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the proposed development, and reasonable in all other respects. Infrastructure investment may confer wider benefits, but contributions from developers will be directly-related in scale to the benefit which the proposed development will derive.

Developers will not be expected to pay for facilities which are needed solely to resolve existing deficiencies, but an obligation will be sought where it would overcome an existing constraint which would be materially exacerbated by their proposal.

Such expenditure is effectively an integral part of the overall development costs. Policies elsewhere in the Local Plan deal with developers’ responsibilities with respect to e.g. flood defences (policy C10), water supply (policy C14), and open space and/or recreational facilities (policy H4). Where appropriate to the proposed development this policy’s provisions could relate to, for example community facilities and amenities, highway/public transport/cycle/footway improvements, healthcare facilities, educational facilities, etc.

3.17.

Where a particular need for new infrastructure is known to exist, this is set out in Appendix 2 concerned with employment sites. However, it must be noted that the capacity of infrastructure to accommodate new development is not static. Consequently, developers must not assume that no contributions will be sought, simply because the Appendices do not specifically mention a weakness in infrastructure in a locality where they are considering developing. The Council will consult with the local town or parish council to seek advice on the type of community facilities needed and may, where appropriate, also seek advice from, for example the primary care trusts, highway authority, education authority, etc. Evidence of the need for additional infrastructure will be provided in every case where a contribution is sought.

POLICY C5 - Effects upon amenities View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for proposals, provided that they will not adversely affect the amenities enjoyed by other land users to an unacceptable degree.

Justification

3.18.

All development will have some form of impact upon nearby people, premises and land. For example, development may: reduce the privacy enjoyed by the occupiers of an existing home; reduce the amount of natural light reaching the rooms of an existing home or workplace; create dust, heat, smoke, fumes, noise, smell or vibration that may be incompatible with nearby homes, or other uses that are sensitive to such effects; or generate a level of traffic that causes disturbance to others.

3.19.

It is not the role of the planning system to protect the private interests of one person against the activities of another, and thus minor impacts will not normally provide a justification for planning permission to be refused. However, good neighbourliness and fairness are among the yardsticks against which development proposals can be measured, and some potential impacts may be considered unreasonable or unacceptable. In these circumstances it would not be in the public interest for development to be permitted.

3.20.

Applicants should consider what impact their proposal will have upon neighbouring land uses (and potentially uses some distance away in the case of some types of development) and should seek to reduce harmful effects as much as possible. Where the Council considers that a proposal will have undesirably harmful effects, it will seek to negotiate with the applicant to reduce impacts to an acceptable level, or will apply conditions to mitigate harm. In circumstances where impacts upon amenities cannot be reduced to an acceptable level, planning permission will be refused.

POLICY C6 - Community safety View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for proposals, provided that the proposed land use and/or design will not result in an unacceptable risk of criminal or anti-social behaviour.

Justification

3.21.

Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 requires development proposals to adequately address community safety issues. People’s well-being and quality of life can be greatly affected by crime or the fear of crime. In the case of most planning applications, community safety issues will need to be addressed only in terms of the layout and design of the development – in that well-conceived and designed development can help to prevent crime, and can reduce the fear of crime. Conversely, poorly designed development can create an environment which increases opportunities for criminal activity, and which can be perceived as ‘threatening’ by the people who use it. However, there may be rare occasions where evidence is clear that a proposed development is intrinsically likely to increase crime or disorder’s effects upon the community (as can sometimes be the case with licensed premises). In such circumstances, where unacceptable community safety impacts cannot be ‘designed out’, planning permission will be refused. Generally, however, the Council will seek to negotiate with applicants to ensure that their proposals maximise security for their users and for the community in general.

3.22.

All new developments must take account of the safety of people and the security of property, but people’s safety must always be the first priority. The design must clearly define which parts of a development are public, semi-private or private (by the use of fencing, walls, railings, planting, or changes in surfacing materials), and should maximise the amount of space that is perceived as private or semi-private. Opportunities should be taken to make it difficult to gain unauthorised access to private areas, and public access routes should always be short and direct.

3.23.

Public areas such as footpaths, car parks or open space (especially children’s play areas) should be overlooked from nearby buildings and roads in order to give natural surveillance. This will help to cut down on casual crime and will increase the sense of security enjoyed by people using these spaces. Hidden or deeply shaded areas should be avoided, since the benefits of natural surveillance will not be available or will be diminished - the use of lighting can help to extend the benefits of natural surveillance after dark.

3.24.

The Council will seek the advice of the Police and the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership in considering these issues.

POLICY C7 - Comprehensive development View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for proposals, provided that they will not prejudice the future development of other land identified for development in the Local Plan, in a planning application, or in a proposal which is under active consideration by the Council, by:

  1. Preventing or hindering access to other land; or
  2. Introducing a new use to an area that would be incompatible with the use intended for the wider area.

Justification

3.25.

When considering a planning application for development in an area where further development is either proposed in the Local Plan, or is otherwise likely and desirable (where, for example, it is part of the known proposals of other stakeholders which the Council supports), the Council will need to establish whether the proposal will prejudice the intended development of the wider area.

3.26.

Thus, even if a development proposal is acceptable in itself, the Council will not grant planning permission if it will lessen the likelihood of a Local Plan proposal being implemented, or any other desirable development taking place. The Council will take such matters into account only in circumstances where there is a reasonable likelihood that the development of the wider area will occur in the foreseeable future – not simply because a development might conflict with a scheme that the Council or other stakeholder might adopt in the future.

POLICY C8 - Safeguarding allocated sites View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for a proposal to develop an allocated site for any use other than that for which it is allocated, provided that the benefits of the proposal to the community outweigh the importance of the allocated use.

Justification

3.27.

The Local Plan identifies areas of land to be developed for various uses (for example to provide new homes or jobs). The amount of land allocated for each specific purpose is derived from an assessment of the District’s development needs (often at least partly determined at regional or countywide level), and the allocated sites are selected to fit in with the Local Plan’s overall locational strategy. This ensures that the development strategies of neighbouring planning authorities are co-ordinated, and that landowners, developers and the public have some certainty about what type of development will take place in what locations.

3.28.

If the Local Plan’s development strategy (and co-ordination with neighbouring authorities’ strategies) is not to be compromised, it is generally vital that sites should not be developed for uses other than the one for which they were allocated. However, there may be rare circumstances in which the Local Plan’s objectives are best served by allowing an alternative, more appropriate use on an allocated site (most likely in an area like a town centre, where the mix of land uses may change over time). The fact that there is no current demand for a particular allocated use is not, in itself, a reason for permitting another use – inevitably market forces will vary over the Plan period.

POLICY C9 - Washlands View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will only be granted for proposals within washlands (as shown on the Proposals Map) if the development is for:

  1. Essential transport or utilities infrastructure that is designed and constructed to remain operational at times of flood; or
  2. Appropriate recreation, sport, amenity or conservation uses (provided adequate warning and evacuation procedures are in place), And will not:
  3. Reduce the storage capacity of the washlands;
  4. Impede water flows; or
  5. Increase flood risk elsewhere.

Justification

3.29.

The land shown on the proposals map as washlands is agricultural land that may be used to hold back storm waters at times when there is a risk that the River Witham might flood the City of Lincoln. As a consequence, this land is not generally suitable for built development – only essential transport and utilities infrastructure will be permitted. Such infrastructure must be designed and constructed to ensure that it remains operational at times of flooding. Thus, the Council envisages that this land will remain undeveloped, but accepts that some recreational, sport, amenity or conservation uses that do not involve any built development may be appropriate, provided that adequate warning and evacuation procedures are in place.

3.30.

To ensure that the washland remains effective, it is important that any development or land-use does not reduce the capacity of the land to hold floodwaters, does not impede floodwaters, and does not increase the risk of flooding elsewhere.

3.31.

All applications must be accompanied by a flood risk assessment. The assessment must examine the scale and nature of flood risk that the development would face, and must also examine whether the proposed development will either reduce the effectiveness of the washland or generally increase the risk of flooding elsewhere. The level of detail appropriate for the assessment will depend upon the scale and nature of the development and the risk. The cost of an evaluation will be borne by the applicant, and should be regarded as a part of normal development costs.

POLICY C10 - Flood risk View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for proposals, only if they will not:

  1. Be at an unacceptable risk of flooding
  2. Unacceptably increase flood risk elsewhere
  3. Affect the integrity of existing flood defences to the level where they would not provide an acceptable standard of safety over the lifetime of the development.

Priority will be given in permitting sites for development in descending order of the following flood zones:-

  • Flood Zone 1 – little or no risk – annual probability of flooding less than 0.1%;
  • Flood Zone 2 – low to medium risk – annual probability of river flooding 0.1% to 1.0%;
  • Flood Zone 3 – high risk – annual probability of river flooding 1.0% or greater.
Where possible, new developments should result in the overall reduction of flood risk. All relevant planning applications must be accompanied by a flood risk assessment.

Justification

3.32.

In North Kesteven, although groundwater or local flooding could theoretically take place anywhere, the main source of flood risk comes from rivers. Predicting where and when flooding will take place even in the relatively near future is an uncertain process, and the reliability of predictions becomes even more questionable as one looks further into the future (given that climate change is likely to have an impact upon flood events, but the exact nature of that impact is not known). Given this uncertainty and the potentially serious consequences of flooding for people and property, the District Council will take a precautionary approach towards development and flood risk.

3.33.

Thus, the Council has generally avoided allocating land for development in parts of the District that have been identified by the Environment Agency as being at particular risk of flooding. However, given that flooding can take place anywhere, all applicants must consider the flood risk to which their proposal may be exposed, and whether their development will increase flood risk elsewhere.

Consequently, all relevant planning applications must be accompanied by a flood risk assessment. For the vast majority of applications, this assessment will be very brief – simply showing that flood risk issues have been investigated (through contact with the Environment Agency and Internal Drainage Boards as appropriate) and have been shown to be acceptably low. For applications in areas that are identified as being at significant flood risk or where the development will create risk elsewhere, the assessment will need to go into greater detail. It must examine the scale and nature of the risk and its implications for the development over its whole lifetime – the level of detail appropriate for the assessment will depend upon the scale and nature of the development and the risk. The cost of an assessment will be borne by the applicant, and should be regarded as a part of normal development costs.

3.34.

The assessment must assess the degree to which the development would be exposed to flood risk. Thus it should include as a minimum:

  • The source of the potential flooding;
  • The condition of any existing flood alleviation measures;
  • The likelihood of flooding taking place;
  • The likely rate of inundation or speed of flooding taking place, and the likely depth and duration of flooding; and
  • The impact upon the proposed development and impact to others that flooding would have.
  • The effects of climate change over the life-time of the development.
3.35.

It must also consider whether the proposal would be likely to have an impact upon flood risk elsewhere.

3.36.

The assessment’s findings may indicate that risks are acceptable, and that flooding issues are not therefore important in the determination of an application. On the other hand they may indicate that risks are unacceptable and cannot be reasonably mitigated. In such circumstances, planning permission will be refused. Alternatively, flood resistant design measures may need to be adopted, or flood defence and mitigation works may be needed to ensure that the development will be safe. Appropriate mitigation measures should be in place before a development is completed in order to control surface water run-off. Works may also be needed to ensure that risks elsewhere will not be worsened. The construction and maintenance of any flood defence or mitigation works required because of the proposed development should be funded by the developer. Where such works would provide a wider public benefit, the funding provided by the developer may be proportional to the benefits to him. The Council will consider the use of conditions or will seek to enter into agreements with the applicant to ensure that any necessary works are carried out.

3.37.

Planning permission will not be granted for development that would adversely affect the integrity of existing or future flood defences, or which would be at an unacceptable risk of flooding in the event of an overtopping or breaching of such defences. The Council is concerned that people and property in close proximity to embanked watercourses would be extremely vulnerable in the (unlikely) event of the failure of such defences. It believes a precautionary approach should be adopted and development in such areas restricted. When considering planning applications, the Council will apply the guidance set out in PPG25 (and any subsequent advice which replaces it) and, in particular, will apply the sequential test in Table 1.

POLICY C11 - Pollution View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for developments that may be liable to pollute groundwater, a water body, a watercourse, air or soil, only if:

  1. The occupiers or users of the development and the occupiers or users of other land are not exposed to unacceptable risk.
  2. The area’s flora or fauna will not be adversely affected; and
  3. The quality of water, air or soil resources will not be adversely affected.
  4. The general amenity of the area would not be unacceptably harmed.

Justification

3.38.

Some developments have the potential to cause pollution by the release of substances into the air, ground or water. In some cases such pollution may cause only short-term harm to the environment, but in others may lead to longer-term contamination that constrains the future uses to which the site and its surroundings can be put. [It should be noted that issues of neighbours’ amenities are covered in Policy C5, and issues concerning ‘light pollution’ are dealt with in Policy C22].

3.39.

When considering a potentially polluting development proposal, the Council will not grant planning permission unless measures are proposed that will reduce harmful emissions of all types to acceptable levels. The Council’s concerns will be threefold: firstly, to ensure that people’s health and safety is not compromised; secondly, to ensure that harm is not caused to the area’s plant and animal populations; and lastly, to ensure that the area’s key environmental assets (its water, soil and air resources) are not harmed. In dealing with applications for potentially polluting developments, the Council will take into account the matters identified in Appendix A to PPS23, including the environmental, economic and wider social benefits that the development might bring.

POLICY C12 - Contaminated land View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for proposals affecting a contaminated site, provided that effective measures are to be taken to treat, control or contain any contamination in order that:

  1. The occupiers or users of the development and the occupiers or users of other land are not exposed to unacceptable risk;
  2. The District’s flora or fauna will not be adversely affected; and
  3. The contamination of other land or any watercourse, water body or aquifer does not occur.

Justification

3.40.

The re-use of previously developed land is generally to be encouraged, as it can contribute to making more efficient use of existing built-up areas, and reducing the need for greenfield land to be developed. However, some previously developed land may have been contaminated by earlier uses and, more rarely, some sites that have never been developed may also have suffered contamination. Such sites will seldom be restored unless as part of a scheme for their redevelopment or re-use. Consequently, provided the proposed development will not adversely affect the environment or threaten safety, proposals affecting contaminated sites are to be welcomed in principle.

3.41.

The Council has a responsibility to regulate contaminated land, and can provide advice on whether any given area of land is either known, or is suspected to be contaminated. Any planning application concerning such land will need to be accompanied by a site assessment that establishes the nature and extent of the contamination. The assessment’s findings must allow the Council to evaluate whether the proposed use or development could give rise to unacceptable risks to health, safety or the environment and, if so, what measures should be taken to reduce those risks to acceptable levels. Care must be taken when development is proposed in close proximity to existing or former landfill sites and the Council will not normally grant permission for such development where there is considered to be a substantial risk to the development.

3.42.

The assessment’s findings may indicate that risks are acceptable, and that contamination issues are not therefore important in the determination of the application. On the other hand, they may indicate that risks are unacceptable and cannot be reasonably mitigated, and in these circumstances, planning permission will be refused. [Although very few sites are so badly contaminated that they cannot be re-used at all, some new uses may be inappropriate depending upon the contamination and the cost of dealing with it.]

3.43.

Alternatively, the assessment’s findings may show that, although the site is contaminated, development can be permitted as long as remedial measures are implemented to: ensure that people’s health and safety is not compromised; and secondly, to ensure that the District’s land and water assets, and plants and animals are not harmed. The Council will consider the use of conditions or will seek to enter into agreements with the applicant to ensure that any necessary works are carried out as the first step in the implementation of the development.

POLICY C13 - Unstable land View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for development involving the erection of buildings or other structures on unstable, or potentially unstable, land, provided that practicable measures are to be taken to introduce sufficient load-bearing capacity to make the land capable of supporting the development without risk of damage to buildings on the site or nearby land, or injury to their occupiers. The measures proposed must be completed before building development begins.

Justification

3.44.

Any planning application submitted for development involving building operations on land that is known to be, or suspected to be, unstable must be accompanied by a report which explains the works necessary to carry out the development in a manner which will ensure the safety of the future occupiers and neighbours. The report's findings will stem from appropriate site investigation and geotechnical appraisal. The development will be required to be undertaken in accordance with the works identified in the report, and planning permission will not be granted in the absence of satisfactory details and assurances.

POLICY C14 - Surface water disposal View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for development, provided that it includes measures designed to safely manage surface water run-off and, where feasible, minimise the increase in surface water run-off.

Justification

3.45.

Development, particularly of greenfield sites, usually results in a significant increase in the area of impermeable surfaces such as roofs, roads and car parking. Rainwater that would otherwise have percolated into the ground is instead normally carried directly to watercourses via drains. This has three possible adverse effects:

  • It can increase the likelihood of flooding elsewhere, by carrying water very swiftly into watercourses
  • It can increase the risk of compromising water quality by carrying pollutants untreated into watercourses (see also policy C11). For developments where there is particular potential for oil or chemical spills, traps are usually built into surface drainage systems. However, most roads, drives and industrial yards are contaminated with oil, rubber and other materials from vehicles, as well as spillages of goods and chemicals, mud, refuse and organic matter, and these substances are often carried directly to watercourses by traditional drainage systems.
  • It wastes valuable water resources that could otherwise be used to irrigate gardens, landscaping, etc.
3.46.

New development must be designed to ensure that, wherever feasible, surface water is managed locally to reduce wastage and to prevent problems being caused away from the site. A variety of measures can be used as alternatives to traditional piped drainage systems (known as sustainable drainage systems), for example:

  • The area of impermeable hard surfaces can be minimised, and permeable and porous hard surfaces can be used.
  • Basins and ponds can be used to hold water.
  • Infiltration devices such as soakaways can be used to drain water directly into the ground, rather than piping it away.
  • Landscape areas can include filter strips and swales (shallow and relatively wide ditches which lead surface water overland from the drained surface to a storage or discharge system) that mimic natural drainage patterns.
  • Facilities can be provided for collecting and storing rainwater.
3.47.

Some sustainable drainage solutions (e.g. basins, ponds and swales) will require on-going maintenance. Applicants may wish to carry out this maintenance themselves, or they may prefer to contract it to another party. Either way, the Council will need to be certain that proper maintenance will be carried out, and will assure this either by means of an agreement between the developer and the Council or by means of an agreement between the developer and the competent Water Authority/Internal Drainage Board.

POLICY C15 - Water supply View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for development, provided that:

  1. The applicant can show that every reasonable effort has been made to maximise the efficient use of water; and
  2. The development does not result in a demand for water that will unacceptably deplete water resources.

Justification

3.48.

We use water in our homes and gardens, in schools, hospitals, commerce, industry, and in agriculture. Most new development also needs water, whether from a mains supply or direct from rivers, streams or water-bearing rocks below the ground (aquifers). Although water is a renewable resource, it cannot be taken for granted, because the abstraction of water has a direct impact upon the natural environment - water in streams, rivers and wetlands allows plants to grow, and keeps fish, insects and mammals healthy. It also gives people pleasure in many ways – we enjoy the appearance of rivers and streams in the landscape, and many of us enjoy fishing, boating, canoeing or just walking by rivers. Thus, planning permission will not be granted for any development that would demand a water supply that would be detrimental to existing abstractions, river flows, water quality, fisheries, amenity or nature conservation.

3.49.

The efficient use of water is a crucial part of sustainability, and has benefits for the occupiers of the building (in that bills will be reduced), as well as helping to protect the water environment generally. Efficiency can be pursued in two main ways:

  • By collecting rainwater, to supplement mains water supply
  • By recycling waste water for lower grade uses
3.50.

The Council accepts that water-efficient design solutions will not be appropriate for all developments. Furthermore, it acknowledges that other planning, design and financial issues may militate against water-efficient design in some cases. However, it is considered that there is the potential for the majority of new developments to incorporate some design features that will contribute to reducing the water used during their operation. Consequently, the Council will refuse proposals where it is satisfied that greater water efficiency could reasonably be designed into a proposal, but has been ignored in the design submitted for consideration.

POLICY C16 - Sewage disposal View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for proposals that will give rise to foul sewage discharge, provided they include adequate provision for its collection, treatment and disposal. Wherever the opportunity exists, new development shall be served by mains foul sewers and sewage treatment works. Where it is impractical to provide mains foul sewerage, development shall be served by a package sewage treatment plant. Where it is impractical to provide mains foul sewerage or a package treatment plant, planning permission will be granted for proposals served by a septic tank or cesspool, provided that:

  1. Ground conditions are shown to be suitable; and
  2. The development site is of sufficient size to provide adequate land for the subsoil drainage system.

Justification

3.51.

Foul and trade effluents are generated by many types of developments, and these wastes can pollute groundwater and lead to unpleasant smells if they are not properly dealt with. In areas where sewerage and sewage treatment facilities are available, it is preferable for waste waters to be discharged into these systems, as this is the most reliable method of treatment and disposal.

3.52.

If it can be shown (taking account of cost and/or practicality) that connection to a public sewer is not feasible, a package sewage treatment plant (effectively a mini-sewage treatment works serving an individual property or group of properties) should be considered. Any application that includes a package treatment plant must be accompanied by information concerning the standards of the discharge that will be produced, and demonstrating that the plant’s operation and maintenance will be satisfactory for its life.

3.53.

Only if it can be clearly demonstrated that neither mains sewer connection nor the use of a package treatment plant would be feasible, should a system incorporating a septic tank or cesspool be considered. Any application that includes a septic tank or cesspool must be accompanied by an assessment that provides information concerning soil characteristics, ground water and rates of permeability, and focuses on the likely effects on the environment, amenity and public health. In addition the size of the development plot must be adequate to enable the necessary sub-soil drainage system to be installed and to operate effectively. It should be noted that particular difficulties have been experienced with septic tank use in Skellingthorpe Old Wood, Swaton, Threekingham and Doddington Road, Whisby. The Council has produced a guidance note concerning the ‘Use of Septic Tanks’, which provides additional advice.

3.54.

[N.B. A properly constructed and maintained cesspool should not lead to environmental, amenity or public health problems, since it produces no discharges. However, in practice, problems often occur due to poor maintenance, irregular emptying or inadequate capacity. Consequently, the Council will require an assessment to be submitted to enable it to consider the possibility of significant problems arising.]

POLICY C17 - Renewable energy View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for development providing for, or associated with, the generation and distribution of energy from renewable sources provided that:

  1. the environmental, economic and social impacts can be addressed satisfactorily;
  2. the proposal minimises the landscape and visual effects of the development through appropriate siting, design and landscaping schemes;
  3. where the proposal would have an adverse effect on a site of international importance for nature and heritage conservation, there is no alternative solution and there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest;
  4. where the proposal is in a nationally designated area, the objectives of the designation of the area will not be compromised, and any adverse effects on the qualities of the area are outweighed by the environmental, social and economic benefits.

Justification

3.55.

Supplies of oil, gas, and coal are limited, and there is increasing evidence that our use of fossil fuels is contributing to climate change, and is responsible for emitting acid gases. Harnessing renewable energy sources has little, if any, of these harmful effects, and helps to reduce reliance upon declining fossil fuel stocks. It also accords well with the Plan’s travel-based aims to generally reduce energy consumption.

3.56.

Renewable energy comes in many forms, but the main types likely to be exploited in North Kesteven are:

  • Wind power, where turbines (either singly, in small clusters, or in large ‘wind farms’) are used to generate electricity.
  • Solar energy, which can be ‘actively’ collected to heat air, water or another fluid, or converted to electricity using photovoltaic cells.
  • Biomass, where material from agricultural or forestry operations is used to produce solid, liquid or gaseous fuel.
  • Industrial, commercial, agricultural or domestic waste, which can be treated thermally or biologically to produce energy.
3.57.

The potential impacts of the different forms of renewable energy use vary greatly. For example, the development of wind turbines has a significant visual impact (and consequently applicants should undertake an assessment of landscape impacts), and may generate noise disturbance and electro-magnetic interference, may be incompatible with the District’s RAF bases, and may have an impact upon wildlife. The active harnessing of solar energy is generally achieved by the mounting of photovoltaic cells or absorber plates upon the roofs or walls of buildings and, as a consequence, significant impacts are likely to be limited to effects upon the visual character of listed buildings or conservation areas. Plants to exploit biomass energy will usually generate traffic, may be noisy, and may have a visual impact. The production of energy from waste may involve the generation of odour and dust, and may involve the erection of buildings that have a harmful impact upon the character or appearance of their surroundings.

3.58.

Despite these potentially harmful effects upon the District’s environment, development that will lead to increased exploitation of renewable energy sources is to be welcomed in principle. Such developments offer the hope of increasing the diversity and security of energy supply, and of reducing harmful emissions into the environment. The Council will encourage applicants for major developments to consider generating energy from renewable resources, and to seek to maximise energy efficiency generally. In determining any application to develop renewable energy resources, the Council will weigh the immediate impact upon the local environment against the wider contribution that would be made to reducing wider environmental damage. The Council will also bear in mind that many renewable resources can only be harnessed where they occur and that, as a consequence, developments to exploit them will frequently be constrained in their locational choices. The Council will require an assessment of the environmental, social and economic impact of proposals to accompany applications in appropriate cases.

Design

3.59.

The importance of good design in new development and alterations cannot be over-emphasised. All applications, from the smallest house extension to major development schemes will be expected to achieve high standards of design. The Council considers that good design is not purely a matter of external appearance, but must be concerned with:

Function     How a development works, and how people can use it.

Form     Its appearance and relationship with the surrounding environment.

3.60.

The remaining policies of this chapter are concerned with design – the first two dealing with issues of form. They are followed by a series of policies that deal with functional issues. Policies in other chapters of the Plan deal with design issues that are relevant to specific types of development.

POLICY C18 - Design View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for development, only if it will:

  1. Reinforce local identity and
  2. Not adversely affect the character or appearance of its surroundings;
And
  1. Existing site features that contribute positively to the character or appearance of the area are retained, and satisfactorily incorporated into the design;
  2. The proposal responds satisfactorily to its context in terms of its layout, scale, massing, height, density, detailing, external appearance, and the use of materials, and
  3. The proposal has a cohesive character, and adds interest and vitality to its surroundings.

Justification

3.61.

The Council will expect proposals to provide positively for the achievement of high quality and inclusive design. Proposals will therefore be expected to be appropriate for their context and to take the opportunities available for improving the character and quality of an area and the way it functions. All new developments should:

  • be sustainable, durable and adaptable;
  • optimise the potential of the site;
  • respond to their local context;
  • create safe and accessible environments;
  •  address the needs of all in society;
  • be visually attractive
The Council expects all new developments to be integrated succesfully with the townscape or landscape of their surroundings. If applicants are to achieve this, they must ensure that they understand the context within which their proposal will sit, and that their proposal is designed with that context in mind. In certain parts of the District, such considerations will be even more important (see the Historic Environment and Landscape and Wildlife chapters).
3.62.

Firstly, applicants must ensure that they have assessed and understood the character of their site - what positive qualities it possesses (such as existing buildings, trees, hedgerows, water features, topography, or views into, out of, or across the site). They must ensure that their design takes full account of existing site features and incorporates them into the development, where this is possible and desirable.

3.63.

Secondly, applicants must assess and understand the immediate surroundings of their site, and the wider area in which their development will be located. All parts of the District have their own particular visual character, which is established by factors as diverse as the height and scale of existing buildings, the materials used, the ratio of buildings to undeveloped space, the orientation of buildings and the degree to which they are set back from the highway, the layout of roads and paths, boundary treatments, the level and type of tree cover, the design of particular landmark buildings, etc. These factors give each area its own distinctive appearance, i.e. they make it somewhere identifiable. It is essential that this distinctive context is understood, and that any new development respects and adds to the ‘sense of place’ of its surroundings. New development does not need to mimic what already exists, but must not undermine or reduce the existing ‘sense of place’ and must, where possible and desirable, make its own contribution to the character of its surroundings.

3.64.

Lastly, new development must be of interest in itself and buildings or structures must appear properly resolved (i.e. they must appear as a coherent whole). Developments should be of interest from a range of viewing distances, and buildings and the space that surrounds them should be considered as a single entity. It is important that buildings avoid presenting blank walls to the public realm, as windows and doors and articulated facades (bays, porches, etc.) are a principle source of interest, life and vitality. The proportions and positions of window and door openings must also be carefully considered, as must the locations of external pipes, meter boxes and balanced flues, to ensure that facades have a pleasing and uncluttered ‘rhythm’. Detailed design elements, such as embellishment of eaves and verges can also play a great part in increasing the interest of a building.

3.65.

All planning applications need to be supported by a Design and Access statement. The level of assessment will depend to some extent on the character of the local area. More detailed assessments will need to be provided for developments which affect Conservation Areas, Landscape Character Areas, Green Wedges and the setting of a Listed Building.

POLICY C19 - Landscaping View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for development provided that appropriate provision is made for high-quality landscaping which will:-

  1. protect and enhance the existing landscape and townscape character;
  2. satisfactorily integrate the development with its surroundings;
  3. protect the amenities of occupiers of the development and nearby occupiers;
  4. retain and incorporate key landscape features on the site;
  5. provide appropriate levels of open space within the development.

Justification

3.66.

The provision of high quality landscaping as part of a new development can play three broad, important roles. Firstly, it can enrich the District’s environment both in terms of visual quality and the diversity of habitat. Secondly, it can improve a development as experienced by its occupiers, by for example providing privacy or reducing exposure to the weather. Finally, it can help to assimilate a development into the surrounding townscape or landscape, and can make the difference between an unacceptable development proposal, and one that receives planning permission.

3.67.

Despite the potential benefits listed above, the provision of a landscaping scheme will not be necessary as part of all developments. Smaller developments, or developments involving sites that are already well treed may not need to make any landscaping provision. However, in some locations and for some types of development, the provision of a good landscaping scheme may be highly important, e.g.

  • Sensitive locations (such as within a conservation area, a Green Wedge or on sites adjacent to the countryside).
  • Sites that are visually prominent (either due to their location, or size).
3.68.

Where a landscaping scheme is appropriate, the District Council would prefer that it should be designed as an integral part of the development as a whole, and that landscaping details should be submitted as part of the planning application. However, where applicants would prefer to submit their landscaping schemes later, the Council may be willing to place a condition upon a planning permission to require the submission of an acceptable landscaping scheme before the approved development can begin. Even in these circumstances however, the Council will examine proposals carefully to ensure that sufficient land is available as part of the development proposals to accommodate a satisfactory landscaping scheme.

3.69.

Landscaping schemes should be accompanied by a brief that looks at the site as a whole and takes account of adjacent development and landform, and which sets out the principles and aims of the scheme. What is appropriate for inclusion within any given landscaping scheme will depend upon the nature of the site and the intentions of the scheme, but may include ground modelling, shrub and tree planting, the creation of grassed and hard-surfaced areas, or the inclusion of formal landscape features such as seating, fences, railings, walls, arches or other ornamental structures. In all cases, however, the scheme should complement the design of the development as a whole, and adequate room should always be given for the growth of proposed trees and shrubs (particularly to ensure that there will be no potential for later conflict between trees or shrubs and buildings).

3.70.

Where new tree and shrub planting is proposed, the Council will prefer the species selected to be native to the area and to be of local provenance – native plants will tend to establish more successfully, will fit better into the District’s landscape, and will make a better contribution to providing habitat for the area’s wildlife. Any scheme should enhance the landscape character of the District, as set out in The Countryside Agency’s Character Areas and any Landscape Character Assessment prepared for the District. Proposed landscape schemes should also seek to improve biodiversity in accordance with the Lincolnshire Biodiversity Action Plan. Even the potential of grassed areas to provide valuable habitat can be enhanced if a native grass and wildflower mix (from a local source) is used in place of the standard rye grass. Plants should also be selected to minimise the need for the landscaping to be irrigated. Hard landscaping materials must also be chosen with care, to ensure that they are appropriate for the locality, that they enhance the surrounding buildings, and that they are durable. The use of sustainable sources, where possible, is encouraged.

3.71.

Once a landscaping scheme is established, it will require on-going maintenance (e.g. the control of weeds, mowing of grass, or carrying out of necessary works to trees). Applicants may wish to carry out this maintenance themselves, or they may prefer to contract it to another party. Either way, the Council will need to be certain that proper maintenance will be carried out, and will assure this either by means of an agreement between the developer and the Council or by means of a condition on the permission.

POLICY C20 - Accessibility View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for developments that will create publicly accessible open areas, provided that satisfactory provision is made within those areas for circulation and access to any relevant buildings by disabled people and other people whose mobility is impaired or in any other way restricted.

Justification

3.72.

The District Council aims to create an environment where all members of society can comfortably gain access to buildings that are open to the public. This policy seeks to ensure that such new developments take proper account of the needs of wheelchair users, other people with disabilities, elderly or frail people, and those with young children. Thus, the Council will expect that attention should be paid to the following issues, to ensure that unnecessary obstacles are not placed in the way of maximum mobility for all sections of the community: the design and location of street furniture; the surfacing of footways and pedestrian areas; the possible need for tactile signs; the provision of safe crossing places over highways; gradients of paths; and the provision of toilets suitable for use by disabled people. All such proposals will accord with the requirement of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. N.B. The provision of parking spaces for the use of disabled people is dealt with in Appendix 4.

3.73.

It should be noted that this policy is concerned only with access issues relating to the wider area around buildings since, generally, matters of internal access to buildings fall within the provisions of the Building Regulations.

POLICY C21 - Energy efficiency View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for the development of new residential, office, retail, community, commercial, industrial, leisure, recreational or entertainment buildings, provided that the applicant can show that every reasonable effort has been made to maximise energy efficiency.

Justification

3.74.

The efficient use of energy is a crucial part of sustainability, and has benefits for the occupiers of the building (in that fuel bills will be reduced), as well as helping to reduce the greenhouse effect and global climate change. Efficiency can be pursued in three main ways.

  1. Site layout
  • Orienting the main glazed elevations of buildings within 30 degrees of due south will maximise the potential for passive solar gain (directly harnessing the energy of the sun to heat, light or ventilate a building).
  • Over-shadowing by trees, slopes or other buildings (especially from the south) will greatly reduce the potential for passive solar gain - high density development will often involve more over-shadowing.
  • If buildings can be protected from prevailing winds, draughts and cooling can be reduced. Walls, slopes, other buildings, or trees/shrubs can provide shelter.
  • If buildings are linked together they will tend to be more thermally efficient, because they will have less external wall area per unit of volume. Thus, although high densities can lead to lower passive solar gain, in compensation, they tend to offer lower heat loss.
  1. Building design
  • The amount of energy used in the manufacture, transportation and use of different building materials can be very significant, and varies greatly. Attention should be paid to reducing this energy consumption by using locally sourced and ‘lower energy’ materials. The use of recycled and natural materials is generally preferable, as is the use of materials that are themselves recyclable at the end of the building’s life.
  • The inclusion of a larger glazed area in south-facing elevations can help to maximise passive solar gain. Similarly, minimising the glazed area in northern elevations will help to reduce unwanted heat loss.
  • In domestic buildings, solar gain can be maximised by orienting living rooms to the south, and kitchens, bathrooms, stairs, etc. to the north. In commercial buildings, storage, toilets, etc. should be oriented to the north of the building.
  1. Energy supply
  • Combined Heat and Power and District Heating are suitable for larger and denser developments, and can meet energy requirements far more efficiently than conventional energy supply.
  • The production of renewable energy on or near the site, e.g. by active solar gain (for water heating or electricity generation), or biofuels can allow the use of conventionally generated energy to be reduced or eliminated (see Policy C17).
3.75.

This policy does not apply to applications to build e.g. storage buildings where energy expenditure on heating and lighting will be minimal, nor to minor extensions to existing buildings or proposals for conversions (since the scope for incorporating energy-efficient design will be very limited). However, the Council expects all applicants intending to develop new buildings (including major extensions) of the types listed in the policy to give proper consideration to minimising energy consumption. Consequently, applications should include a survey of the site, and an assessment of the opportunities and constraints that it presents in terms of designing for energy efficiency. Applications must also explain how the design of the proposed building seeks to maximise energy efficiency, and minimise energy use. Without the submission of such information, the Council cannot make an informed and reasonable planning decision, and applications that are supported by inadequate evidence will be refused.

3.76.

The Council accepts that energy-efficient design solutions will not be appropriate for all developments. Furthermore, it acknowledges that other planning, design and financial issues may militate against energy-efficient design in some cases. However, it is considered that there is the potential for the majority of new buildings to incorporate some design features that will contribute to reducing the energy used in their construction and during their operation. Consequently, the Council will refuse proposals where it is satisfied that greater energy efficiency could reasonably be designed into a proposal, but has been ignored in the design submitted for consideration.

POLICY C22 - External lighting schemes View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for proposals which include a scheme of external lighting, only if the proposed lighting scheme:

  1. Will not compromise highway safety;
  2. Will not adversely affect the amenities of nearby land-users; and
  3. Will not adversely affect the character of the area.
Where it is necessary to safeguard amenity or to prevent the wasteful use of energy resources, conditions will be attached to planning permissions requiring lights not required for safety or security to be extinguished at an appropriate curfew time.

Justification

3.77.

Whilst external lighting is an essential part of many developments (for safety or security reasons, or to enhance the night-time character of the development) it can also have negative impacts. Badly designed schemes can erode the character of their surroundings, affect the amenities of those living in the area, or can dazzle or distract road-users on nearby highways.

3.78.

There are a number of guidelines which, if followed, can help to ensure that a proposed lighting scheme will be acceptable.

  1. A scheme should be designed to prevent the spread of light outside the site.
  2. The lighting equipment proposed should minimise the spread of light near to or above the horizontal, and should ensure that the main beams of light directed towards any potential observer are kept below 70 degrees from the vertical.
  3. Proposed lighting schemes must take account of the fact that different areas have different characters. A scheme that may be acceptable in a town centre location (which are generally brightly-lit) might not be appropriate in a residential area, where it would be likely to harm both residential amenity, and the character of the area. Similarly, a scheme which would be acceptable in an urban location may not be acceptable on a countryside or edge-of-curtilage site. The District Council will be particularly concerned to ensure that proposals for lighting schemes will not erode the night-time character of the countryside.
3.79.

It may be appropriate, to safeguard amenity or to prevent the wasteful use of energy resources, to ensure that some lighting schemes (or some elements of a lighting scheme) are turned off at a particular time. Where this is an issue, the Council will place an appropriate condition on the planning permission.

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