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Chapter 3 Built Environment


3.1 North East Derbyshire has a rich variety of sites and features that contribute to the quality of the built environment. The conservation and enhancement of this environmental quality are important objectives of the Local Plan. There are 29 designated Conservation Areas and 489 Listed Buildings throughout the District. Whilst change is inevitable, planning policy should attempt to conserve the major features contributing to the character of the area and ensure that new pressures leading to change are assimilated in a way that is least harmful to the environment.

3.2 The design and quality of new buildings also has a role to play in contributing to and improving the environmental quality of the District.

National Guidance

3.3 Planning Policy Statement 1: Delivering Sustainable Development (PPS1) (2005) states that good design can help promote sustainable development, improve the quality of the existing environment, attract inward investment and reinforce civic pride and a sense of place. The guidance also advises that the presence of features of historic importance add to the quality of our lives by enhancing the familiar and cherished local scene and sustaining the sense of local distinctiveness.

3.4 Planning Policy Statement 7: Sustainable Development in Rural Areas (PPS7) (July 2004) advises that new buildings in rural areas should be well designed and inclusive, contribute to a sense of local identity and regional diversity, and be of an appropriate design and scale for the location.

3.5 Planning Policy Guidance Note 15: Planning and the Historic Environment (PPG15) (September 1994) advises that physical survivals of our past are to be valued and protected for their own sake, as a central part of our cultural heritage and our sense of national identity. The best way to secure the upkeep of historic buildings is to keep them in active use. The guidance states that the objective of the planning process is to reconcile the need for economic growth with the need to protect the natural and historic environment.

3.6 Planning Policy Guidance Note 16: Archaeology and Planning (PPG16) (November 1990) advises that archaeological remains should be seen as a finite and non-renewable resource that are valuable for their own sake and for their role in education, leisure and tourism. The guidance also advises that when nationally important archaeological remains, whether scheduled or not, and their settings are affected by proposed development, there is a presumption in favour of physical preservation.

Regional Spatial Strategy

3.7 The Regional Spatial Strategy for the East Midlands (RSS8) (March 2005) contains a policy relating to regional priorities for the historic environment. The policy states development plans should seek to understand, conserve and enhance the historic environment. Where growth or regeneration is needed attention should be given to ensuring sensitive change of the historic environment and retention of local distinctiveness.

Derby and Derbyshire Joint Structure Plan (January 2001)

3.8 The Joint Structure Plan contains specific policies about Conservation Areas, Listed Buildings and other buildings of historic or architectural interest, Historic Parks and Gardens and archaeological and heritage features.

The Design of New Development

3.9 It is important that new development proposals contribute to creating and maintaining an attractive built environment. PPS1 advises that the appearance of proposed developments and their relationship with their surroundings is a material consideration in determining planning applications. It is expected that the design, scale, density and materials proposed as part of a new development will have taken into account the character of, and relationship with, buildings, street patterns and open spaces comprising the surrounding area. Distinctive local character helps define and distinguish one place from another. The North East Derbyshire area includes differences in local building vernaculars, from the gritstone buildings of the Peak fringe to the sandstone and brick buildings and terraces of the coalfield areas. New development should positively respect local distinctiveness and sense of place through design.

BE1 General Design Principles

Proposals for new development and extensions to existing buildings will only be granted planning permission where they are of a density, scale, massing, height and layout, and use materials that:

(a) respect the character and appearance of the surrounding area; and

(b) contribute towards providing a safe and secure local environment.

Proposals will also need, where necessary, to provide landscaping appropriate to the setting, particularly where the development is visually prominent or located on the edge of a settlement.

External Lighting

3.10 The use of floodlighting can contribute to an increase in the opportunities for sport and leisure activities by extending the hours of use of facilities. It can also help to provide a safe and secure environment when used, for example, to light car parks and public spaces after dark, both within settlements and in the open countryside.

3.11 However, light spillage can be a problem to residential amenity, the character of rural areas and highway safety. Therefore lighting systems should be sensitively designed and installed to minimise the impact of excessive light spillage on nearby properties and land. This can also be achieved by angling lights downwards to illuminate the target area, using shields and baffles to reduce light spillage and through the design of the equipment. When the lighting is not required, the amount of illumination can be reduced or turned off to minimise adverse effects and make significant energy savings. Conditions may therefore be used to establish appropriate hours of use. The Institution of Lighting Engineers (1994) has produced guidance notes that provide best practice advice for the reduction of light pollution.

BE2 External Lighting and Floodlighting

Planning permission for external lighting sources will only be granted where they are sensitively designed, sited and installed to ensure that they do not have an adverse effect on the surrounding area.

The Security of Business Premises

3.12 Security of retail and other commercial and business premises has become an increasingly important issue, as has the desire to protect and enhance the environment. The Council aims to ensure that businesses can protect their livelihoods without harming the visual quality of the local environment. When and where security is a major concern, external shutters of any form should only be considered when internal shutters or other measures do not provide adequate protection. Unless sensitively designed, they can have a detrimental impact on both the individual property and the street scene. All types of external shutter and their housing units require planning permission.

3.13 Solid shutters can create a fortress like effect after business hours and are generally unacceptable. As a result, shutters should either be open meshed or perforated, painted in a colour to match or complement the building’s frontage and allow views into the premises when the lights are left on.

3.14 On Listed Buildings, approval will only be given for security fixtures that would not detract from the architectural style of the building’s frontage or result in the loss of the historic fabric. The Council will also consider the impact that security fixtures may have on the character of a Conservation Area.

BE3 Security Shutters

Planning permission will only be granted for the fitting of external shutters or grills where:

(a) the character and appearance of the local area is preserved;

(b) punched or perforated lath shutters are proposed, with an acceptable coloured finish that complements the existing frontage; and

(c) in commercial frontages the window display is illuminated during the hours of darkness.

Advertisements and Signs

3.15 Many businesses, especially retail premises rely on external advertisements and signage to sell goods and services. It is important to strike the right balance between the need to promote commerce and the need to protect the character and appearance of the surrounding environment. This can be achieved through ingenious design and the use of quality materials.

3.16 The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992 allow many types of sign to be erected without the need to obtain ‘express consent’. Where express consent is required, all advertisements will be considered in terms of their impact on public safety, the building to which they are fixed and the amenity of the surrounding area.

3.17 Advertisements displaying an excessive amount of illumination will not be granted consent, especially where they could cause detriment to highway safety by dazzling drivers. The brightness and level of illumination of the advert or sign will therefore be controlled by condition.

3.18 It is important that advertisements within Conservation Areas or displayed on or close to a Listed Building respect the character, integrity, appearance and setting of these historic designations and take account of the prevailing traditional features. Standard corporate designs and logos therefore, may not be acceptable. A proliferation of signs can also erode the character of a Conservation Area so the amount of signage should be kept to a minimum. External or halo illumination is preferable to internally illuminated box signs.

3.19 Most advertisements on a Listed Building will constitute an alteration to the building and will require Listed Building Consent.

BE4 Advertisements

Advertisements on shopfronts and other commercial and business premises will be granted express consent providing:

(a) they relate well to the building or structure on which they are fixed and the surrounding area, in terms of their design, size, proportion, position, colour and materials; and

(b) the level of illumination does not detract from the amenity of the surrounding area or from public safety.

Additionally, on a Listed Building and/or within a Conservation Area:

(c) particular care is taken to ensure that the special architectural or historic interest of a Listed Building and/or the prevailing traditional character of a Conservation Area are maintained or enhanced.

Art in Public Places

3.20 The Percent for Art scheme is an initiative promoted by the Arts Council. Not only is it important that significant buildings and artefacts from previous generations are protected and retained, but every opportunity should also be taken to ensure that future generations inherit new features created using further development opportunities. One way of achieving this is by setting aside one percent of the capital budget of a major development to which the public has access, for the commissioning of new works of art. Major development is taken to be:

a) 30 or more residential dwellings; or

b) a floorspace of 1,000m2 and above, or site area 1ha and above for all other development.

3.21 The works of art do not have to be confined to just statues and sculptures, but could also include detailed features on buildings and specially designed walls and railings. Smaller developments should also include works of art and features to enhance the architectural quality of the proposal.

BE5 Percent for Art

The Council will seek the provision of new works of art as part of major development proposals which are accessible to the general public.

Archaeological Sites and Scheduled Ancient Monuments

3.22 The District is rich in archaeological remains, some of which are afforded statutory protection as Scheduled Ancient Monuments. There are 16 scheduled sites in the Plan area ranging from the industrial remains of Stone Edge Smelt Mill at Ashover and coke ovens at Dronfield, to the ecclesiastical heritage apparent in the ruins of Trinity Chapel at Brackenfield. All of the Scheduled Ancient Monuments in the District are identified on the Proposals Map and are listed at Appendix 3.

3.23 Not all nationally important remains meriting preservation are Scheduled. The Sites and Monuments Record for the area also lists over 200 sites of known archaeological interest and the County Treasures Record lists over 50 further items. All of them contribute to the historical wealth of the area and the Council will seek to protect such sites and features from the effects of development. There will however, always remain locally and nationally important sites that have yet to be discovered.

3.24 Planning applications for development likely to affect an archaeological site or its setting should be accompanied by an archaeological appraisal, undertaken by an independent body. Where considered necessary, a field evaluation and assessment of the archaeological potential of the site, which details the potential effects the proposed development could have, will be requested.

3.25 The Council may impose conditions or seek a planning obligation to secure the retention and physical preservation of archaeological remains in situ and minimise disturbance by or during the actual development of the site.

3.26 Where physical preservation in situ is not feasible or merited, (taking into account the importance of the remains and need for development) the developer will be expected to appoint an independent body in agreement with the Council to undertake either:

a) the excavation, recording and post excavation analysis of such remains prior to commencement of development; or

b) an archaeological watching brief during construction works with provision for emergency excavation and recording.

BE6 Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites

In considering proposals for development the Council will take into account the impact on Scheduled Ancient Monuments and other nationally important sites, their settings and amenity value. There should be a presumption in favour of their physical preservation in situ. Development that would have an adverse effect on a site will be refused.

Where possible, other significant sites of archaeological importance should be preserved in situ. In circumstances where this is not feasible or justified, planning permission will be granted provided the developer ensures the appropriate and satisfactory provision for the excavation and recording of the remains prior to development.

Where proposals would be likely to affect sites of known or possible archaeology, the Council will require:

(a) an archaeological assessment or field evaluation to be submitted with the planning application; and

(b) that the nature, extent and significance of the remains and the impact of the proposed development is known prior to granting planning permission.

Buildings of Architectural and Historic Interest

3.27 Listed Buildings are buildings or structures that are considered to be of special architectural or historic interest. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport decides which buildings or structures are worthy of listing, but the Council and members of the public can also nominate buildings or structures for consideration. The listing of a building takes account of both the building and its setting.

3.28 Throughout the District there are 489 Listed Buildings and a significant number of other buildings of architectural or historic interest. These all form an essential part of the rich heritage of the Plan area.

3.29 Listed Building Consent is required for works affecting the character of a Listed Building, which include internal and external alterations, extensions or demolition. It is recommended that anyone seeking to carry out works to a Listed Building check with the Council to see if Listed Building Consent and/or Planning Permission are required. Consideration will be given to the need to preserve any feature fixed to the building or contained within its curtilage, and the setting of the Listed Building.

3.30 Applications for works to a Listed Building should carry all the necessary information to properly assess the impact of the proposal on the special architectural or historic character of the building. Therefore, the Council will not accept outline applications in respect of Listed Buildings.

BE7 Alterations and Works to Listed Buildings

Development proposals for the extension, alteration or partial demolition of a Listed Building will only be granted where the proposal respects, preserves or enhances the special architectural or historic interest of the building. Proposals should demonstrate that:

(a) the historic form, detailing, character, structural integrity, floor plan and setting of the building is retained;

(b) any enlargement does not dominate the original building;

(c) elements that contribute to the special character and interest of the building both internally and externally are retained or restored; and

(d) the scale, design, detailing and materials proposed respect the character of the original building.

3.31 It is important that Listed Buildings are regularly maintained and kept in a good state of repair. The best way to preserve the character and appearance of Listed Buildings is to keep them in active use. Where the original use is no longer viable or appropriate, there is a need to consider suitable alternatives. However, for a change of use to be acceptable it should maintain the integrity and character of the Listed Building.

BE8 Change of Use of a Listed Building

Permission will only be granted for the change of use or conversion of a Listed Building where:

(a) the new use will not be detrimental to the special architectural or historic interest and setting of the Listed Building; and
(b) the new use would secure the long term future and retention of a Listed Building that would otherwise be lost.

3.32 The setting of a Listed Building often contributes to its character. The setting could include its garden, grounds, open space or the general street scene. Control over the quality of the design of new development in the vicinity of a Listed Building will be necessary to protect the special architectural or historic character and appearance of its setting. The setting of a Listed Building can fall across District boundaries. In these circumstances it is important to ensure that the impact of development on the setting of a Listed Building in another District is taken into account and it may be necessary to identify the area of protection in more than one development plan. This is the case at Hardwick Hall, which is located in the District of Bolsover. The District Council is involved, on a joint working basis, in the identification of the area of the setting of Hardwick Hall and will continue to be involved in the future with a view to providing an appropriate level of protection when the setting has been confirmed. The approved setting will be made available through the preparation of the Local Development Framework. The Council will also work with the National Trust to prepare a Supplementary Planning Document on this matter.

BE9 Development in the Vicinity of a Listed Building

Development affecting the setting of a Listed Building will only be permitted if it preserves or enhances that setting, and includes where appropriate the retention of trees and other landscape features.

3.33 Listed Buildings are of recognised architectural or historic interest and their loss through demolition would be detrimental to the character and appearance of the surrounding area. If no appropriate re-use can be found then it is expected that every effort will be made to allow the preservation of the building in some form of charitable or community ownership before demolition is considered.

3.34 Demolition will therefore only be permitted in the most exceptional of circumstances and only if this is the last feasible option. Where consent for demolition is given, it will be conditional upon English Heritage being given the opportunity to record the building prior to demolition. Alternatively the applicant may be required to arrange for a suitably qualified person to undertake the work to a brief agreed by the Local Planning Authority.

BE10 Demolition of Listed Buildings

Proposals to demolish listed buildings will be strongly resisted. Only in exceptional circumstances will demolition be approved and in the case of total or substantial demolition, consent will not be given without clear and convincing evidence that:

(a) an assessment of the condition of the building and the cost of repair and maintenance in relation to its importance and the value derived from its continued use has been undertaken;

(b) all reasonable efforts have been made to sustain the existing uses or find viable new uses, and these efforts have failed;

(c) preservation in some form of charitable or community ownership is not possible or suitable; and

(d) redevelopment would produce substantial benefits for the community which would outweigh the loss resulting from demolition.

Consent for demolition of listed buildings will always be conditional upon an opportunity for English Heritage, or some other suitably qualified person to record the building before demolition takes place.

Conservation Areas

3.35 There are 29 designated Conservation Areas in this District and they are all shown on the Proposals Map. It is a statutory duty of the Council to consider how to both preserve and enhance its Conservation Areas as areas of architectural and historic interest. To fulfil this duty, the Council is preparing Conservation Area Character Appraisals, which include principles for guiding the design of development proposals; focusing upon the need for enhancement and promoting improvements; providing guidance to residents and owners in the repair and up keep of their properties; and defining the traditional building patterns and elements of the natural environment that contribute to the character and local distinctiveness of the Conservation Area.

3.36 Applications for development within Conservation Areas should carry all the necessary information to properly assess the impact of the proposal on the special architectural or historic character of the Conservation Area.

BE11 Development Within and Adjoining Conservation Areas

Proposals for development within or adjacent to a Conservation Area should preserve or enhance the character of the Conservation Area. Permission will be granted where it can be demonstrated that:

(a) the scale, form, siting, design, choice of materials and detailing respect the prevailing traditional built features of the Conservation Area;

(b) the relationship of the proposed development with the existing buildings, historic street patterns, important open spaces and views into and out of the Conservation Area have been considered; and

(c) boundary and landscaping features, such as walls, pavements, traditional signs, hedges, trees and shrubs which contribute to the character of the Conservation Area are retained.

3.37 In determining applications for the demolition of a building within a Conservation Area, the Council will take account of the particular contribution the building makes to the locality. Within Conservation Areas, demolition will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances where the Council is satisfied that the character of the Conservation Area will benefit from the replacement building proposed, or the open space created. Proposals for demolition in a Conservation Area will require planning permission and Conservation Area Consent.

3.38 Within Conservation Areas there are certain buildings that are not listed but which are considered to be locally important in terms of the contribution they make to the street scene or landscape. These buildings are a significant part of the District’s heritage and are therefore worthy of preservation. Locally important buildings within Conservation Areas are specifically identified in the Conservation Area Character Appraisals. Wherever possible the Council will try to ensure that proposals for the alteration or extension of identified Locally Important Buildings respect and/or enhance the character and appearance of the building. Proposals for the demolition of such buildings should demonstrate that every effort has been made to keep the building in active use, to find an appropriate new use or allow its preservation through charitable or community ownership.

BE12 Demolition of Unlisted Buildings and Structures Within a Conservation Area

Proposals for the demolition of an unlisted building in a Conservation Area will only be permitted if the character or appearance of the Conservation Area will be preserved or enhanced, taking into consideration the architectural and historic interest of the building and the contribution that it makes to the Conservation Area and the quality of any replacement building proposed. The Council will require applications for the demolition of buildings in Conservation Areas to be accompanied by appropriate detailed plans showing the replacement in its setting. Where appropriate, the Council will impose conditions to ensure demolition does not take place until a contract for the redevelopment is in place.

Historic Parks and Gardens

3.39 Associated with some of the historic buildings within the Local Plan area are historic landscapes, parks and gardens which also contribute to the heritage of North East Derbyshire and can be vulnerable to development pressure.

3.40 English Heritage has compiled a Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest to which entries may be added in the future. The Register includes Renishaw Hall which is listed Grade II* and is shown on the Proposals Map. The setting of Historic Parks and Gardens may fall across District boundaries and adequate protection needed in more than one development plan. This is the case with Hardwick Hall where the District Council is involved, on a joint working basis, in the identification of the area of the setting of Hardwick Hall (see paragraph 3.32).

3.41 The Council will seek to protect registered sites and other gardens of local importance from development likely to affect their character and setting. The wider design and the relationship of the landscape to the buildings within it will be considered, as well as features such as walls, gateways, hedges, trees and ha-has, and other features considered to contribute to the importance of the site.

3.42 The Council would seek to minimise the impact of any development affecting an historic park or garden and preserve the essential qualities of the site. Where an historic park or garden forms the setting to, or curtilage of a Listed Building, the Council will seek to preserve the relationship between the two features.

BE13 Historic Parks and Gardens

Proposals for development likely to affect historic parks and gardens will only be permitted if:

(a) the proposals do not adversely affect any nationally registered historic park or garden; and

(b) the proposals do not detract from the character and setting, including views and vistas, or otherwise affect the integrity of other Historic Parks or Gardens.

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