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Chapter 1 General Strategy

Introduction

1.1 The Local Plan is a key Council document. It is important that the Plan is consistent with other strategies and plans produced by the Council and its partners. The Council has published a Community Strategy that reflects the needs and aspirations of local people. This has led to the development of the Council's Vision, a clear statement about the main purpose of the Council.

The Council's Vision:

'To maintain and improve the quality of life and well-being of all our communities so that North East Derbyshire is a place that people choose to live, work and visit'.

1.2 It is also important that the Local Plan is consistent with national, regional and strategic guidance and policies relating to Land Use Planning. Since the first District Wide Local Plan was adopted in January 1999 there have been updates and revisions to national guidance, in the form of circulars, Planning Policy Guidance Notes Planning Policy Statements, the Regional Spatial Strategy and the County Structure Plan.

National Guidance

1.3 The overall legislative framework for Local Plans has been established by Central Government through a series of Circulars and issue based Planning Policy Guidance Notes and Planning Policy Statements. They prescribe the need to review the Adopted Local Plan, the procedures involved and its form and content.

1.4 Planning Policy Statement 1: Delivering Sustainable Development (2005) (PPS1) sets out the Government’s vision for planning and the key policies and principles that should underpin the planning system. It identifies three key themes; sustainable development, the spatial planning approach and community involvement in planning, these reflect the Government’s intention to create a more integrated and inclusive approach to planning that promotes and achieves sustainable development. PPS1 does not give advice on specific planning issues such as housing and industry.

1.5 Planning Policy Guidance Note 2: Green Belts (PPG2) (January 1995) states the general intentions of Green Belt policy, including its contribution to sustainable development objectives and re-affirms the specific purpose of including land in Green Belts. It also maintains the presumption against inappropriate development within Green Belts.

1.6 Planning Policy Statement 7: ‘Sustainable Development in Rural Areas’ (July 2004) (PPS7) is firmly based upon the principles of sustainable development and clearly distinguishes between the policy approach to be applied to rural settlements and to the largely undeveloped countryside that separates towns and villages. The guiding principle in the countryside is that development should both benefit economic activity and maintain and enhance the environment.

1.7 Planning Policy Guidance Note 12: Development Plans (PPG12) (December 1999) outlines the key issues on Development Plan content and procedures. It also stresses the importance of integrating sustainable development and transport and land use policies in Development Plans. In September 2004 the Government issued Planning Policy Statement 12: Local Development Frameworks (PPS12). This PPS is specifically related to the preparation of Local Development Frameworks under the Planning & Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. It does not relate to the preparation of this Local Plan.

1.8 There are 25 Planning Policy Guidance Notes and Planning Policy Statements in total, the majority of which relate to more specific issues and these are mentioned in the appropriate chapter of the Local Plan.

Regional Spatial Strategy

1.9 The Local Plan Review was prepared within the context of Regional Planning Guidance for the East Midlands (RPG 8) to 2021 which was adopted in January 2002. The primary purpose of the guidance is to provide the framework for the preparation of Structure Plans, which in turn set the context for the preparation of Local Plans. However, in March 2005 the Regional Spatial Strategy for the East Midlands (RSS8) was published to replace RPG8. In addition, under the provisions of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, the RSS now forms part of the statutory development plan. Although this document has been substantially re-structured compared to RPG8 the general policy guidance particularly in respect of the sequential approach to development remains unchanged.

1.10 The Northern sub-area priorities have been updated in RSS8 to take account of the Northern Coalfields Environmental Study, which gives a comprehensive picture of key environmental constraints and opportunities in the sub-area. The economic, social and environmental regeneration of the Northern sub-area will be a priority, involving strengthening existing sub-regional centres, providing jobs and services in and around sustainable settlements, promoting environmental enhancement and protecting and enhancing the natural and cultural assets of the sub-area. It is acknowledged that regeneration initiatives should address the needs of both urban and rural areas. Policy 9 of RSS8 states that a new sub-regional strategy for the sub-area should be prepared as part of the next RSS review. This will form a long-term strategy that can set a clear vision for the future of the sub-area and help to manage necessary change.

1.11 The spatial strategy for RSS8 sets out proposals for the sustainable development of the region's economy, infrastructure, housing and other land uses. The guiding principle is a sequential approach to finding land for most kinds of development which means that major urban areas and previously developed land should be looked at first. There is also guidance about co-operating with neighbouring authorities and regions to ensure that the release of sites for development is managed to meet sustainable development objectives. This means that the release of sites for development in the parts of the District well related to Chesterfield and Bolsover must be co-ordinated with the release of sites by Chesterfield Borough Council and Bolsover District Council in order to ensure that previously developed land in the most sustainable locations is considered for release first. Additionally, the Northern Parishes Sub-Area of the District has some relation to the South Yorkshire region.

The Derby and Derbyshire Joint Structure Plan (January 2001)

1.12 Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council have prepared a Joint Structure Plan for the whole county (outside the Peak District National Park). It was adopted in January 2001 and covers the period 1991 to 2011. The Structure Plan provides the strategic background and guidance within which the Local Plan policies have to be prepared. The Structure Plan outlines how the county should be developed to provide people with homes and jobs, shopping and leisure facilities, roads and public transport and a decent living environment.

1.13 The Structure Plan also provides for the safeguarding of attractive countryside, the conservation of historic towns, buildings and areas of archaeological and nature conservation importance and for the control of mineral working and waste disposal. Sub-Areas based on travel to work patterns are used to calculate figures for residential and employment growth in the Structure Plan. In this District there are 3 Sub-Areas, the Northern Parishes Sub-Area, the Chesterfield Sub-Area and the Alfreton Sub-Area, the boundaries of which are shown on the Sub-Area Plan at Appendix 1. The Alfreton and Chesterfield Sub-Areas cross administrative boundaries within Derbyshire. The Joint Structure Plan has divided up the Sub-Area figures on an individual district basis. However, the RSS recommends that neighbouring authorities and regions should work together to ensure a sustainable release of land in each Sub-Area as a whole. This Council will therefore work closely with neighbouring authorities to ensure a sustainable and managed release of sites for development.

1.14 The principles behind the polices and proposals of the Structure Plan are:-

a) protecting the environment and ensuring that development is 'sustainable';

b) making provision for development at a scale which takes account of the likely level of need and the need to safeguard the quality of the environment;

c) concentrate new development within urban areas and on the edge of towns thereby enabling full and effective use of previously developed land and vacant land and existing infrastructure whilst avoiding major intrusion into the countryside;

d) limit development beyond settlements to appropriate uses, designed to have a minimum impact on the natural and historic environment;

e) promote regeneration in areas suffering severe economic, social and environmental problems;

f) protect the best quality agricultural land from irreversible development; and

g) define the general areas of the Green Belt and the limited types of development allowed in them.

Derby and Derbyshire Minerals Local Plan (November 2002)

1.15 The County Council as Minerals Authority has the responsibility for the production of the Derbyshire Minerals Local Plan. Within the broad policy context provided by the Structure Plan, the Minerals Local Plan seeks to provide an up to date framework for the control of mineral development. The Plan aims to reconcile mineral workings with other competing interests as far as possible, and to strike the best balance between the need for minerals and the need to protect the environment and safeguard resources. The Minerals Local Plan was adopted in April 2000 and the first alteration to the Plan (to include a new chapter of Coal Policies) was adopted in November 2002.

1.16 More specifically, the Plan aims to:

a) identify sufficient land to enable Derbyshire to make an appropriate contribution to the likely local, regional and national demand for minerals to 2006, and beyond where appropriate;

b) conserve and safeguard minerals as far as possible: to encourage the efficient use of materials; including the appropriate use of high quality materials, and whenever possible the use of secondary and recycled materials and to minimise the production of waste;

c) protect local communities, natural resources and features of landscape, wildlife and heritage importance from unacceptable damage or disturbance as a result of the working and transportation of minerals;

d) provide a detailed policy framework for assessing and controlling mineral working and ancillary operations, which ensures their impact on the environment is acceptable; and

e) ensure that land used for mineral working is reclaimed at the earliest opportunity, and is restored to acceptable after-uses.

Derby and Derbyshire Waste Local Plan (March 2005)

1.17 The County Council as Waste Planning Authority has the responsibility for the production of the Derby and Derbyshire Waste Local Plan. Within the broad policy context provided by the Structure Plan, the Waste Local Plan seeks to provide an up to date framework for the control and disposal of waste in the County.

1.18 The Derby and Derbyshire Waste Local Plan was adopted in March 2005 and covers the period up to 2015. The principle aim of the waste planning strategy is to establish a planning framework which enables the provision of adequate facilities and an integrated system for the management of waste whilst:

a) respecting the principles of sustainable development; and

protecting people and communities, the countryside, natural resources and the built heritage from the adverse effects of waste management.

Neighbouring Local Authorities in Derbyshire

Amber Valley Borough

1.19 Amber Valley Borough is located to the south of North East Derbyshire District and is a rural district with a number of dispersed, small and medium sized towns. Alfreton is a medium sized town located close to the boundary with North East Derbyshire. The Alfreton Sub-Area, as defined in the Joint Structure Plan includes the villages of Shirland, Higham and Wessington in this District. Alfreton therefore has an influence on the employment, shopping and housing opportunities of these settlements.

The District of Bolsover

1.20 Bolsover District is located to the east of North East Derbyshire District and shares similar characteristics. It is a predominantly rural district, comprising small towns and villages and has suffered from the effects of the decline in the coal industry and related industrial uses. The M1 motorway acts as a physical barrier between the Districts of Bolsover and North East Derbyshire. However Chesterfield, the largest town in this part of Derbyshire has a similar influence on the employment opportunities, shopping provision and housing market in both Bolsover District and North East Derbyshire District. The western parishes of Bolsover District fall within the Chesterfield Sub-Area so we must work alongside the District of Bolsover and Chesterfield Borough to ensure a sustainable managed release of sites across the Chesterfield Sub-Area.

Chesterfield Borough

1.21 North East Derbyshire District wraps around Chesterfield Borough to the north, south and west and provides the rural context to Chesterfield which is the second largest town in Derbyshire. The north, west and southern sides of Chesterfield Borough are constrained by the North East Derbyshire Green Belt.

1.22 Chesterfield is an important employment centre for the surrounding settlements, and the Chesterfield Sub-Area includes parts of North East Derbyshire District and Bolsover District. Chesterfield is the second largest shopping centre in Derbyshire and has an influence on the smaller centres located within North East Derbyshire District and on residents’ shopping patterns.

Derbyshire Dales District

1.23 Derbyshire Dales District adjoins the western side of North East Derbyshire District, but the two authorities do not have a Joint Structure Plan Sub-Area in common. Over half of the district lies in the Peak District National Park. Matlock, Darley Dale, Wirksworth and Ashbourne are the main settlements in the District outside the Peak Park. The majority of the District is rural in character with large numbers of villages and hamlets.

Peak District National Park Authority

1.24 The designated Peak District National Park lies to the west of North East Derbyshire District, and part of the District actually falls within the Peak Park. The Peak District National Park Authority is the planning authority for the Peak Park and they have prepared a separate Development Plan. This seeks to control development so that the valued characteristics of the National Park can be conserved and enhanced, essentially restricting new development to local needs. Major development will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances and must be shown to be in the public interest.

Sustainable Development

1.25 Sustainable Development is best described by the Bruntland Commission (1987) as 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.' All recent National and Regional legislation has highlighted the importance of sustainability as a fundamental principle of the land use planning system.

1.26 In 1999 the Government published 'A Better Quality of Life - A Strategy for Sustainable Development for the UK' which set out four key objectives.

1. Maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth.
2. Social progress which meets the needs of everyone.
3. Effective protection of the environment.
4. Prudent use of natural resources.

1.27 Planning Policy Guidance Note 12 states that the Planning System, and Development Plans in particular, can make a major contribution to the achievement of the Government's objectives for sustainable development. It is also necessary to consider the implications of policies in Development Plans in respect of sustainable development. The policies contained in this document have been assessed through Sustainability Appraisal that can be found at Appendix 2.

1.28 General Development Strategy Policy 1: Sustainable Development of the Adopted Derby and Derbyshire Joint Structure Plan sets out how new development can respect the principles of sustainable development. This can be achieved by:

a) creating energy-efficient development patterns and designs;

b) minimising the overall need to travel by ensuring convenient access between homes, jobs and services;

c) encouraging the increased use of public transport by developing in locations well served by, or with the potential to be well served by the public transport network;

d) re-using land and buildings in preference to developing greenfield sites;

e) protecting and improving the natural and built environment; and

f) minimising pollution and wastes.

1.29 Through the application of policies in the Local Plan, the Council aims to meet the objectives of the National Strategy for sustainable development and the above Structure Plan Policy. Policies within this plan seek to deliver the objectives of achieving economic growth, securing social progress and higher standards of living, making prudent use of natural resources and protecting and enhancing the environment. Policy GS1 establishes the criteria against which all development proposals will be assessed.

1.30 Sustainable development principles can be used to formulate a sequential approach to the development of land. Such an approach usually advocates the use of previously developed land before greenfield and the use of sites within urban areas and then adjoining urban areas, before land in the open countryside. The proximity of services, facilities and access to public transport are also key factors, although it is recognised that appropriate development in rural areas cannot always be well related to existing facilities.

1.31 This Plan has applied the principles of the sequential approach to its selection of new housing and employment sites to meet the requirements set by the Structure Plan up to 2011, by allocating sites within or adjoining the larger settlements of the District, close to a range of services and facilities. The Settlement Development Limits have been drawn to include potential development sites and are a key element of the Council’s Sustainable Development Strategy. The Urban Capacity Study has identified previously developed sites and underused or vacant greenfield sites within the Settlement Development Limits of the District's larger towns and villages for residential use.

1.32 Engaging local communities in the planning of the future of their own settlements provides an opportunity to further social and economic objectives of sustainable development. This Council supports the Countryside Agency's Vital Villages programme, which is one way of engaging local communities, in respect of the preparation of Parish Plans and Village Design Statements. Parish Plans, prepared by the community for the community, contain a vision and options as to how the community will develop in social, environmental and economic terms. Village Design Statements are more focused towards the physical development of rural settlements, such as guiding the location of development and how new development should be designed to enhance a village’s character.

GS1 Sustainable Development

All development proposals will be required to have regard to the need to maintain or improve the quality of life of our communities, maintain economic growth and preserve or enhance the environment of North East Derbyshire and contribute towards achieving a sustainable pattern of development.

Unless otherwise indicated in the Local Plan, all development proposals will:

(a) be located within the defined Settlement Development Limits, unless the development is acceptable in the countryside, or overriding exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated;

(b) make full use of previously developed land before greenfield sites;

(c) be well related to existing, or capable of providing, public transport networks, other services and facilities, and be accessible on foot and by cycle; and

(d) protect and conserve the quality of the areas natural and cultural assets (and their settings), improve the quality of the built environment and minimise pollution.


North East Derbyshire Green Belt

1.33 The North East Derbyshire Green Belt covers a substantial part of the District, located between Sheffield and Chesterfield in the north, Chesterfield and Wingerworth in the south and also the land west of Chesterfield to the Peak Park boundary. It surrounds the towns of Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh. First drawn up in 1955, it was adopted in 1986 and carried forward in the North East Derbyshire Local Plan adopted in 1999.

1.34 National Guidance regarding Green Belts was issued in January 1995 in the form of Planning Policy Guidance Note 2, which states that the fundamental aim of Green Belt Policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open. As such, the most important attribute of Green Belts is their openness. The five purposes of Green Belts set out in PPG2 are to:

a) Check the unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas;

b) Prevent neighbouring towns from merging;

c) Safeguard the countryside from encroachment;

d) Preserve the setting and special landscape character of historic towns; and

e) Assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of previously developed and other urban land.

1.35 PPG2 also advises that once Green Belts have been defined, the use of land within them has a positive role to play in fulfilling the following objectives:

a) Provide opportunities for access to the open countryside for the urban population;

b) Provide opportunities for outdoor sport and outdoor recreation near urban areas;

c) Retain attractive landscapes, and enhance landscapes, near where people live;

d) Improve damaged and derelict land around towns;

e) Secure nature conservation interests; and

f) Retain land in agricultural, forestry and related uses.

1.36 There is a general presumption against inappropriate development in the Green Belt, which is in addition to the general policies of restraint that apply in the countryside. PPG2 sets out the forms of development that would normally be appropriate within a Green Belt, including the re-use of buildings and development associated with agriculture, forestry, essential facilities for outdoor sports and recreation, cemeteries and other uses of land that preserve the openness of the Green Belt and do not conflict with the purpose of including land within it.

GS2 Development in the Green Belt

Except in very special circumstances, planning permission will not be granted within the North East Derbyshire Green Belt; as defined on the Proposals Map, for new buildings other than for the following uses:

(a) agriculture and forestry;

(b) essential facilities for outdoor sport and recreation, cemeteries, and other uses of land which preserve the openness of the Green Belt and which do not conflict with the purposes of including land in it;

(c) extension or alteration of existing dwellings that does not result in disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original dwelling; and

(d) replacement of an existing dwelling provided it is of a design, size, character and materials in keeping with the local environment and is not materially larger than the dwelling it replaces.

Re-use of buildings will be permitted providing it does not have a materially greater impact than the present use on the openness of the Green Belt and the purposes of including land in it and satisfies the relevant criteria of Policy GS7.

Engineering and other operations, and material change in the use of land, will be permitted provided they maintain the openness of the Green Belt and do not conflict with the purposes of including land in the Green Belt.

The visual amenities of the Green Belt should not be injured by proposals for development within or conspicuous from the Green Belt by virtue of their siting, design or materials of construction.


1.37 Green Belts can contain some major developed sites such as factories, collieries, power stations, water and sewage treatment works, military establishments, civil airfields, hospitals and research and education establishments. These sites may be in continuing use or be redundant and they often pre-date the town and country planning system and Green Belt designation. National guidance about such sites is given in Annex C of PPG2. There are four major developed sites in the North East Derbyshire Green Belt which are identified on the Proposals Map, and all are currently in active use.

1. Standall Tools, Dronfield
2. Mount St Mary's College, Spinkhill
3. Steel Stockholders, Renishaw
4. Waste Water Treatment Works, Dronfield

GS3 Major Developed Sites in The Green Belt

Limited infilling on a major developed site in the Green Belt will be permitted provided that:

(a) it has no greater impact than the existing development on the openness of the Green Belt;

(b) it does not exceed the height of the existing buildings;

(c) it does not lead to a major increase in the developed proportion of the site; and

(d) the proposed development does not have an adverse effect upon the visual amenity of the Green Belt by virtue of its siting, design or materials of construction.

Complete or partial redevelopment of a major developed site in the Green Belt will be permitted provided that:

(e) it has no greater impact than the existing development on the openness of the Green Belt;

(f) the proposed use is appropriate in the Green Belt and compatible with the purposes and objectives of the Green Belt;

(g) the proposed development does not have an adverse effect upon the visual amenity of the Green Belt by virtue of its siting, design or materials of construction; and

(h) the proposed development does not exceed the height of the existing buildings and it does not occupy a larger area of the site than the existing buildings (unless a reduction in height is achieved which would benefit visual amenity).


Peak District National Park

1.38 The Eastern Moors of the Peak District National Park border the District. The Peak District National Park contains some of the country's wildest and most beautiful landscapes. To protect it, careful control needs to be exercised over harmful development visually adjacent to and contiguous with the National Park. Planning permission should not be granted for development considered to be harmful to the valued characteristics of the National Park.

1.39 When considering proposals for such development, the Council consults the Peak District National Park Authority and has regard to the need to ensure that the appearance and valued characteristics of the National Park are not adversely affected.

1.40 The type of proposals that may be unacceptable are those that could adversely affect the purposes of the National Park, or its valued characteristics as set out in the Development Plan of the National Park Authority. This could include development conspicuous from within the National Park, nearby development that generates harmful pollution from industrial activities, power generation and agricultural development that would interfere with the enjoyment of the National Park by the public.

GS4 Peak District National Park

Planning permission will not be granted for development that may adversely affect the purposes of the National Park or be harmful to its valued characteristics.


The Location of Development

1.41 The Local Plan will seek to realise the potential for new development envisaged by the Joint Structure Plan while conserving and enhancing the quality of the environment in both rural and urban areas of the District. The area will remain attractive to residential development and the Local Plan will seek to ensure that as wide a range of sites as possible are made available within the physical and policy constraints operating in the area.

1.42 Settlement Development Limits enclose the built up framework of settlements and determine the extent of the countryside beyond, by taking into account existing development and land uses, planning permissions for development and sites allocated for housing, employment, retail and community use. Within Settlement Development Limits identified on the Proposals Map the principle of development is acceptable provided it is not contrary to other policies in the Local Plan. Outside Settlement Development Limits, countryside and/or Green Belt policies apply and all proposals for development will be considered against these requirements. This approach provides certainty to all those involved in the development control process and makes it clear which policies will apply. To aid identification of the precise Settlement Development Limit boundaries of those settlements shown on the Proposals Map, which are not covered by a larger scale Inset Map, Appendix 5 provides larger scale map extracts.

1.43 Some of the smaller villages and hamlets in the District do not have a Settlement Development Limit and are 'washed over' by the countryside. This is because they are seen as an integral part of the countryside where development is generally not acceptable. Green Belt and Special Landscape Area policies may also apply.

GS5 Settlement Development Limits

Within Settlement Development Limits as defined on the Proposals Map,
development will be permitted provided:

(a) it would not be detrimental to the character and appearance of the site and its surrounding environment; and

(b) it would not have a detrimental effect on the amenities of neighbouring occupiers and uses.

Outside Settlement Development Limits new development will be considered against countryside and other relevant policies.


Derelict and Unstable Land

1.44 The cumulative effects of over 100 years of intensive coal mining and associated heavy industry have left a legacy of environmental problems over parts of the Coalfield Area. The National Land Use Database (April 2003) identifies that there are 143 hectares of previously developed land available in North East Derbyshire and 110 hectares of this is derelict. In recognition of these special conditions, the Joint Structure Plan has identified former mineral workings as a Priority Area where improvements should be made.

1.45 To tackle this problem and improve the environmental quality of the District, the Council has given priority to selecting previously developed land in sustainable locations when allocating sites for housing and employment and mixed use development. It is also supportive of initiatives to assimilate these sites back into the landscape and for recreation and country park use.

1.46 The Coal Authority is a statutory consultee and is able to notify local planning authorities of areas where mining has taken place and is likely to occur in the future. It is the standard practice of this Council to consult the Coal Authority on relevant planning applications for new development in the District.

Development in the Countryside

1.47 PPS7: ‘Sustainable Development in Rural Areas’ states that planning policies should provide a positive framework for facilitating sustainable development that supports traditional land-based activities and makes the most of new leisure and recreational opportunities that require a countryside location. At the same time the quality and character of the wider countryside should be protected and where possible, enhanced. Appropriate development can be accommodated without detriment to the countryside if the location and design is handled with sensitivity. Development considered appropriate in the countryside includes that associated with agriculture, forestry, farm diversification, tourism, outdoor sport and recreation.

1.48 Development will be considered inappropriate and will be resisted if it would:

(a) detract from the existing character of the landscape;

(b) detract from the beauty, historic character, natural resources or the ecological, agricultural, recreational and archaeological value of the countryside; and/or

(c) result in an unsustainable form of development by creating a proliferation of sporadic development throughout the countryside with increased demands on essential service provision.

1.49 The objective of the Local Plan is to direct new development away from the countryside to within the built framework of existing settlements. The term countryside, for the purposes of the Local Plan's policies is the area outside the Settlement Development Limits. Some uses and developments are acceptable in the countryside, for example community uses, outdoor recreation and some forms of farm diversification. The relevant Policies in the Employment and Tourism, Housing and Recreation and Leisure Chapters of the Plan deal with these specific circumstances. However, the requirements of Policy GS6 will also need to be satisfied when considering development in the countryside.

1.50 if the proposed development is within the Green Belt or Special Landscape Area, then these additional Policy requirements will also need to be taken into consideration.

GS6 New Development in the Countryside

In the countryside, new development will only be permitted where:

(a) the development is for the operation of a use appropriate to such a location;

(b) it is in keeping with the character of the countryside;

(c) it causes minimal disturbance to farming and minimises the loss of agricultural land, particularly that of the best and most versatile quality;

(d) it does not require major new or improved infrastructure provision;

(e) it causes minimal problems of noise, disturbance and pollution and other environmental impact; and

(f) it does not represent a prominent intrusion into the countryside.


Conversions and Change of Use

1.51 The re-use and adaptation of existing buildings can reduce the need for greenfield sites for new development, diversify the range and type of development and stem the gradual deterioration of the fabric of the buildings. Vacant buildings are prone to vandalism and dereliction, which can detract from the visual amenity of the general surroundings. Conversion and change of use can benefit buildings within settlements and the countryside.

1.52 The re-use or adaptation of agricultural and other rural buildings for new uses is generally acceptable provided their form, bulk and general design are in keeping with their surroundings. It is, however, important to ensure that in allowing the re-use and adaptation of buildings, the changes that are made do not have a detrimental impact upon the character of the building or the surrounding area in which they are situated. Additionally such buildings provide ideal habitats for protected species such as bats and barn owls.

1.53 Proposals for conversion which respect local building styles and materials are more likely to be acceptable. The building should be large enough for the proposed use and not require significant enlargement or alteration. It should also be structurally sound and capable of conversion without the need for major rebuilding. Buildings that have become so derelict that they could be brought back into use only by complete or substantial reconstruction are not considered to come within the terms of these guidelines for conversion or change of use. Attention will be given to proposals for the curtilage of the building to ensure that they do not have a detrimental impact upon the surrounding area.

1.54 In rural areas, the re-use of existing buildings can assist in employment diversification and usually requires only limited adaptation. This type of re-use of buildings provides genuine farm diversification, helping to ensure continued income for the farm enterprise and is preferable to residential conversion which has only a minimal impact on the rural economy.

1.55 Any new residential use in the countryside will need to be sympathetic to the rural character of the immediate area. The residential curtilage around newly converted buildings can itself have a harmful effect on the character of the countryside. This is particularly true in Green Belt and Special Landscape Areas where such urbanisation and changes to the character of the countryside are contrary to the policy objectives for these areas. Similar considerations apply for all changes of use within these areas.

1.56 Change of use can also apply to land as well as buildings, for example the change of use of agricultural land to a recreation ground or domestic garden. Although this does not involve any physical structures or buildings it can still affect the appearance and character of an area, especially in the open countryside.

GS7 Change of Use and Conversions

Planning permission for change of use will be permitted provided that the use, scale or type of operation will not have an adverse effect upon the character of the area or neighbouring land uses.

Planning permission for the conversion or change of use of an existing building will be granted provided that:

(a) the building is of a permanent and substantial construction;

(b) where a building is situated outside a Settlement Development Limit it is capable of conversion without the need for major rebuilding or extension;

(c) the form, scale, massing, materials, general design and appearance of the development respects the character and appearance of the original building, the site and its surroundings with particular regard to local distinctiveness in design; and

(d) the proposed use of the curtilage of the building does not have an adverse effect upon the character of the area or neighbouring land uses.


Temporary Land Uses and Buildings

1.57 Whilst most proposals for development are accepted as entailing a permanent change, certain proposals are only accepted on a short term or trial basis. The policies of the Local Plan are equally applicable to all development proposals whether temporary or permanent. However, in the case of granting and extending temporary permissions the Council has adopted the following guidelines:

(a) Short Term Buildings
1.58 The same planning, amenity and highway considerations will be applied to applications for temporary buildings as they would for permanent buildings. Short-term buildings that have a poor appearance will not be considered suitable for prominent locations, and will rarely be appropriate in Conservation Areas, in view of the desirability of preserving or enhancing the area's character and appearance. However, buildings which are suitable for their surroundings and are satisfactory in all other respects will normally be given permission for a temporary period. A period will be set which is dependent upon the suitability and expected life of the building. Appropriate landscaping and boundary treatment will be sought, bearing in mind the life of the permission. A second temporary permission will not be justified unless exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated. These include highway or redevelopment proposals that have been postponed, or in cases of hardship where a temporary instead of personal permission has been granted for a change of use.

(b) Short Term Uses
1.59 The same planning, amenity and highway considerations will be applied to applications for short-term uses as they would for permanent uses. Where a proposal relates to a use which is expected to continue only for a limited period, because it is either expected that circumstances will change, or because the applicant has volunteered that intention, then a temporary permission may be justified. A second temporary permission will not normally be justified unless exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated. These include highway or redevelopment proposals that have been postponed, or in cases of hardship where a temporary instead of personal permission has been granted for a change of use.

(c) Trial Uses
1.60 Temporary planning permission may be granted in the first instance for applications for a change of use, when a trial run is appropriate to establish in practice whether the use is acceptable. A period of permission will be set that is sufficiently long for it to be clear whether the use is thought acceptable. If no problems arise during the trial period planning permission will normally be granted, subject to any conditions considered necessary to regulate the use. A second temporary permission will not normally be granted.

GS8 Temporary Land Uses and Buildings

Temporary Planning Permission will only be granted for proposals on a short term or trial basis. The proposals will be subject to the same planning, amenity and highway considerations applied to permanent uses. A second temporary planning permission will not be granted unless exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated.


Planning Obligations

1.61 Some proposals for development by virtue of their size or location will make specific demands for related infrastructure to ensure that it can proceed. In such circumstances the Council will normally seek to impose conditions on a planning permission or under the powers conferred by the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Section 106, will negotiate legal or other agreements to meet those demands.

1.62 Planning Obligations will be sought where they are; necessary to the granting of planning permission; relevant to planning; directly related to the proposed development; and related in scale and kind to the development to be permitted and are reasonable in all other respects.

1.63 Those Planning Obligations may; restrict development or use of land; require operations or activities to be carried out; require land to be used in a specific way or require payments to be made to this or another authority for the provision of off site facilities, such as affordable housing, education provision, community facilities and public open space.

GS9 Planning Obligations

The Council will impose conditions on planning permissions or seek to negotiate an agreement with the applicant under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, where appropriate, to secure the infrastructure and facilities that are necessary and required for the development to proceed.


Crime Prevention

1.64 Crime prevention through design is a prominent issue. The causes of crime and vandalism are complex, but it is widely accepted that environmental factors can play a part. The planning system can be instrumental in producing attractive and well-managed environments that can help to discourage anti social behaviour. It can do this by encouraging developers to adopt designs for new developments that take the security of people and property fully into account and by influencing the siting of new residential, commercial and leisure developments. Local Plan policy can establish the principles of design, layout, lighting and landscaping of new residential and commercial development. It is possible, through negotiation with developers, to ensure that measures are incorporated to ensure that new schemes will add to the security and safety of occupiers. For example:

a) large scale housing developments should be divided into distinct neighbourhoods with a recognisable character and focus;

b) landscaping schemes should avoid creating hidden areas near footpaths;

c) footpaths, open spaces and public areas should be kept open to view and their layout, design, landscaping and lighting should take into account the needs of security; and

d) car parking provision should be within private areas or within the owner's view.

GS10 Crime Prevention

The Council will require proposals for residential, commercial and recreational development to include crime prevention measures.


Hazardous Installations

1.65 Certain sites and pipelines are designated as dangerous substance establishments by virtue of the quantities of hazardous substances present. Such sites are subject to stringent controls under existing health and safety legislation, however it is prudent to control the types of development permitted in the vicinity of these installations. For this reason the Health and Safety Executive identifies consultation distances for each of these installations. There are four Consultation Zones around Hazardous Installations which affect the District, one of which relates to an operation located just outside of the District:

1. Onyx UK Ltd, Norwood Industrial Estate, Killamarsh.
2. Former Avenue Coking Works, Wingerworth.
3. Coalite Products Ltd, Buttermilk Lane, Bolsover.
4. Explosives and Chemical Products Ltd, Rough Close Works, South Normanton.

1.66 The consultation distances for Onyx UK Ltd and the Former Avenue Coking Works have yet to be set by the HSE. The consultation zones for the sites at Bolsover and South Normanton are identified on the Proposals Map.

1.67 Under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, the Local Planning Authority is required to consult the Health and Safety Executive on development proposals within these zones, about the risks to the proposed development from the dangerous substance establishment in accordance with Circular 04/2000.

GS11 Hazardous Installations

Planning permission will be granted for development within the zones on the Proposals Map provided that the risks arising from the presence of the hazardous substance are acceptable in relation to the nature of the proposed development.


Access For All

1.68 One of the objectives of the Local Plan is to ensure that all buildings and spaces are designed to be accessible for all people.

1.69 The Council is determined to ensure that people with access difficulties are not prevented from playing a full role in the life of the community due to the design of the environment and are able to participate in, and contribute to, all community activities, whether as residents, employees or visitors to the area. The Council is therefore committed to ensuring improved accessibility of land (including recreational routes and trails) and buildings, including those within its own control.

1.70 Developers should have regard to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 when drawing up their proposals.

Access Statements

1.71 The Government has published a good practice guide ‘Planning and Access for Disabled People’ (March 2003). This document is the Government’s response to the Disability Rights Task Force recommendation that guidance should be provided by central Government to help all those involved in the development control process and bring about more accessible environments in a consistent way. This can include the submission of an access statement.

1.72 Developers are encouraged to submit an access statement with their planning application to identify:

a) the philosophy and approach to inclusive design;
b) the key issues of the particular scheme; and
c) the sources of advice and guidance used.

1.73 The submission of an access statement helps to demonstrate the designers commitment to the issue of inclusive design and enables the identification of constraints at an early stage, particularly in respect of conversion schemes and historic buildings. This Council is committed to achieving an inclusive environment and will prepare a Supplementary Planning Document to provide design guidance for providing access for Disabled People and guidance for the submission of access statements.

GS12 Access for All

Planning permission will be granted for new housing development including conversion schemes or for new development or changes of use or alterations to existing buildings or land that will be open to the public and/or used for employment, provided that regard is had to the needs of people with disabilities, as customers, visitors and employees. In particular, regard should be paid to:

(a) giving careful consideration to land levels and to the design, provision and siting of access ramps, dropped kerbs, street furniture, footpaths, lighting and open space;

(b) improving access to and ease of use of public transport;

(c) the design, quantity and location of disabled parking provision; and

(d) providing and signposting a suitable means of approach to and into buildings from their associated car parking or from adjoining streets.

Where appropriate, the Council will seek the developer's agreement over the siting and design of internal features of a building to improve its accessibility and use by disabled people.

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