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Chapter 9 Community Facilities, Services & Utilities


9.1 The provision of education, community and health facilities conveniently located throughout the District is essential to serve the needs of the population. Facilities are provided by a variety of organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors. The North East Derbyshire Local Plan has a facilitating role to play in the provision of community facilities by:

a) safeguarding sites identified by the County Council to meet their statutory requirements;

b) negotiating with developers for the provision of, or contribution towards, community facilities needed as a result of large developments; and

c) seeking to prevent the loss of existing community facilities which serve an important local need.

9.2 The Plan also has a co-ordinating role of ensuring that the infrastructure requirements of proposed future development in the District can be met by the utilities companies, and considers the future demand for development by sectors such as the telecommunications industry, renewable energy and Her Majesty’s Prison Service.

National Guidance

9.3 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.

9.4 Planning Policy Guidance Note 8: Telecommunications (PPG8) (August 2001) gives guidance on planning for telecommunications development, including radio masts, towers, antennas, radio equipment, public call boxes, cabinets, poles and overhead wires. The aim of the guidance is to facilitate the growth of new and existing telecommunications systems whilst keeping the environmental impact of their development to a minimum.

9.5 Planning Policy Statement 22: Renewable Energy (PPS22) (August 2004) emphasises the Government’s commitment to cutting Carbon Dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050 and to maintaining reliable and competitive energy supplies. It states that the development of renewable energy schemes, alongside improvements in energy efficiency and the development of combined heat and power schemes will make a vital contribution to this aim. In this respect, it stresses the Government’s target to generate 10% of UK electricity from renewable energy sources by 2010. The need for renewable energy schemes should be balanced against the possible adverse effects on the landscape.

9.6 Planning Policy Statement 23: Planning and Pollution Control (PPS23) (October 2004) states the importance that the Government attaches to the need to control and minimise pollution. It advocates the precautionary principle to ensure protection of the environment. It states that the planning system plays a key role in protecting and improving the natural environment and in determining the location of development which may give rise to pollution and to mitigating the adverse effects of potentially polluting developments.

Regional Spatial Strategy

9.7 The Regional Spatial Strategy for the East Midlands (RSS8) (March 2005) states that it is essential to seek ways of reversing the decline of services available to the rural population.

The Derby and Derbyshire Joint Structure Plan (January 2001)

9.8 The Joint Structure Plan contains policies about the use and application of renewable energy and in particular solar energy, the re-use and recovery of value from waste, and the treatment and disposal of hazardous waste. The Joint Structure Plan does not contain a specific policy about telecommunications development.

9.9 Derbyshire County Council is responsible for producing a Waste Local Plan that contains specific policies about the management and disposal of waste throughout Derbyshire.

Community Facilities

9.10 As settlements evolve and develop, there is a need for the community facilities and other operational facilities, such as schools, fire stations and health care facilities within the settlements to reflect these changes. Throughout the Plan area, Derbyshire County Council has identified a number of sites which it requires to be safeguarded for educational purposes. This includes the provision of new schools, school extensions and school playing fields. All of the sites are identified on the Proposals Map as ‘Sites for Educational Use’ and the land will be safeguarded for their designated use.

CSU1 Sites for Educational Use

The District Council will safeguard the following sites, as indicated on the Proposals Map, from development that could prejudice their use for identified educational purposes:

1. Flaxpiece Road, Clay Cross Replacement Junior School

2. Broadleys, Clay Cross School Playing Fields

3. Milton Avenue, Mickley School Playing Fields

4. Blacks Lane, North Wingfield Replacement Infant School

5. Hague Lane, Renishaw Primary School Site Extension

6. Sheffield Road, Unstone Replacement Primary School

7. Spinkhill Lane, Spinkhill Replacement Primary School

9.11 North Eastern Derbyshire Primary Care Trust has identified several areas of need for healthcare facilities within the Plan area, although no specific sites have been identified for the location of the facilities mentioned below. Throughout the District, there is a need for appropriate premises from which to provide drug and substance abuse services and advice and, where thought necessary, the extension of GP premises in order to accommodate an increase in the services being provided.

9.12 Within the north of the District, the Primary Care Trust has identified a need for the extension of outpatient, day services and rehabilitation beds in Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh.

9.13 In the south of the District the Primary Care Trust has identified a need for a new general practice medical care centre in Clay Cross. This forms part of the approved Town Centre Redevelopment Scheme.

9.14 The provision of other community facilities, such as village and community halls, youth centres and places of worship, for use by residents of the District is also important. It is acknowledged that newly built community facilities are often provided as part of wider development proposals and secured by a Section 106 Obligation.

9.15 The prison population in England and Wales has risen considerably over recent years and has resulted in overcrowding across the entire prison estate. The Prison Service has identified the Derbyshire area as a priority area of search for a new prison to meet the need for additional places. Circular 03/98 identifies the sort of site search criteria used by the Prison Service.

CSU2 Purpose Built Community Facilities

Proposals for purpose built community facilities including healthcare and medical centres, village and community halls, and places of worship and prisons, will be permitted provided that:

(a) it is well related to the community that it serves; and

(b) the amenities of neighbouring residents are not adversely affected by the siting, scale and nature of the proposal and the amount of traffic likely to be generated.

9.16 As well as providing for new community facilities, it is important to safeguard existing facilities such as village halls and meeting rooms that can serve a variety of functions, especially in the rural parts of the District where settlements are more dispersed.

CSU3 Protection of Existing Community Facilities

Planning permission will only be granted for the change of use or redevelopment of buildings, which have functions serving the community if either:

(a) appropriate alternative provision is made or already available; or

(b) it can be demonstrated that the facility is no longer required or financially viable.

Public Utilities

9.17 In order to sustain existing and facilitate future development there must be an adequate provision of utilities. Utilities can include the generation and supply of electricity, supply and reclamation of water, supply of gas, surface water drainage, the collection, disposal and treatment of waste and the provision of telecommunication services. The demands of new development should be co-ordinated with the existing and future capabilities of the utilities companies and agencies in renewing and extending their service networks. Development will not be permitted unless infrastructure required to service development is available or the provisions of infrastructure can be co-ordinated to meet the demand generated by new development.

9.18 The Council will seek to ensure that all new development can be suitably drained of surface and foul water. Whilst this is generally easy to achieve within built up areas, it can become more problematic in rural areas which are generally remote from the mains sewerage system. Alternative foul drainage arrangements should not give rise to contamination of water bodies, or any other significant water problems.

9.19 Traditional surface drainage systems are designed to carry water away quickly and hence do not allow rainwater to filter steadily through the watercourse. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SDS) mimic natural drainage processes to control surface water run-off as close to its origin as possible, before it enters the watercourse. Surface water run-off can contribute to the risk of flooding and SDS can help to control this process.

9.20 SDS can help reduce the environmental impact of development. Their use provides a significant contribution towards achieving sustainable development. The District Council will encourage proposals for new development to include methods to minimise water use and surface water run-off. Such methods include:

a) rain water recycling as a preventative measure;

b) vegetated landscape features with smooth surfaces and a gentle downhill gradient to drain water evenly off impermeable surfaces; and

c) the use of permeable and porous surfaces (i.e. pavements) to allow rainwater and run-off to infiltrate into permeable material below ground to store prior to discharge.

CSU4 Surface and Foul Water Drainage

Planning permission for development will only be granted where it can be:

(a) adequately drained of surface water and where possible incorporates sustainable drainage principles, unless it can be demonstrated that their use would be inappropriate; and

(b) adequately drained of foul water or contaminated surface water without giving rise to pollution.

In cases where drainage cannot be achieved via connection to the mains sewerage system, applicants must demonstrate that an acceptable alternative is available, which will not adversely affect the local environment, amenity or public health.

9.21 The operations undertaken at sewage treatment works may, by their very nature be incompatible with other land uses. The Council will, when considering planning applications for development in the vicinity of sewage treatment works, seek the advice of the statutory sewerage undertaker and Environmental Health as to the potential impact of the sewage treatment works upon the occupiers and users of the proposed development.

CSU5 Development in the Vicinity of Sewage Treatment Works

Development in the vicinity of a sewage treatment works will not be permitted if it would result in occupiers and users of the development experiencing an unacceptable loss of amenity caused by odours and other problems associated with sewage treatment.

Pollution and Contaminated Land

9.22 Pollution can occur in terms of air, water, noise and land. The history of North East Derbyshire as a location for minerals extraction and heavy engineering has provided circumstances where these types of pollution have occurred and have subsequently left an inheritance of contaminated land. It is important that the quality of both groundwater and surface water supplies are protected from contamination.

9.23 PPS23 states that the principle of sustainable development means that, where practicable, previously developed sites including those affected by contamination, should be recycled for new uses. Such recycling can provide the opportunity to address the threats posed by contamination to health and the environment. The guidance also advises on the need to identify, at the earliest possible stage of the planning process, whether or not a site is contaminated and that the primary responsibility for providing such information should be with the developer.

9.24 The Council has a statutory duty under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to identify sources of contamination and determine whether any particular site is contaminated. The Council has produced a Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy which sets out how the Council will go about identifying contaminated land and measures to be taken for its reclamation, to fulfil the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The strategy lists the Council’s aims in dealing with contaminated land as:

a) to protect human health
b) to protect controlled waters
c) to protect designated ecosystems
d) to prevent damage to property
e) to prevent any further contamination to land
f) to encourage voluntary remediation, and
g) to encourage re-use of previously developed land.

CSU6 Contaminated Land

Proposals for the redevelopment of sites likely to be contaminated should be accompanied by a detailed assessment that will:

(a) identify the nature and extent of the contamination;

(b) set out the necessary remedial or mitigation measures required; and

(c) demonstrate that effective measures will be undertaken to protect the quality of surface and ground water supplies during all stages of the development.

Renewable Energy

9.25 Renewable energy is the term used to describe energy flows that occur naturally and repeatedly in the environment, utilising energy from such sources as the wind, the sun, the oceans, the fall of water or the use of waste fuel. Organic matter derived from plants and trees known as bio-mass, can also be considered as a renewable energy source. Renewable energy sources offer the potential to reduce harmful emissions to the atmosphere, especially greenhouse gases, and to achieve greater diversity and security of future energy supplies. The Government aims to generate 10% of electricity from renewable sources by 2010 and 20% by 2020.

9.26 The East Midlands Renewable Energy Planning Strategy identified solar energy as the most significant renewable energy resource in Derbyshire. As well as solar energy, there may be the opportunity to generate energy from wind turbines, landfill gas, waste incineration and hydro-electric plants in the District. The Council will support the use of renewable energy sources, but will have regard to their environmental implications, especially within sensitive areas.

CSU7 Renewable Energy

Planning permission for renewable energy installations will be granted provided that:

(a) the impact of the proposal on the character and amenity of the environment is acceptable, especially with regard to sensitive areas such as the Green Belt, Special Landscape Areas, Conservation Areas, Listed Buildings, Scheduled Ancient Monuments, Historic Parks and Gardens and other significant areas of historic landscape, sites of natural history importance and built up residential areas;

(b) sufficient measures can be undertaken to reduce any visual or noise disturbance or possible electrical and radio interference; and

(c) any ancillary buildings are kept to a minimum and are designed and sited to limit the visual impact on the landscape.

Telecommunications Development

9.27 The District is an area of high demand for the development of telecommunications equipment due to its topography with uninterrupted lines of sight and proximity to major concentrations of population. The Plan Area is also well related to major transport routes, particularly the M1 and A61 and the Midland Mainline. As a consequence of these characteristics, there has been pressure for the development of masts and other related telecommunications equipment in the District. Although the telecommunications industry has a statutory duty to provide a service to the public under the Telecommunications Act 1984, the need for telecommunications equipment should be balanced against the need to protect the best and most sensitive landscapes in the District from inappropriate development. Each telecommunication system has different characteristics and may require particular locations in order to work effectively, regard should therefore be given to any technological constraints on the location and proposed development.

9.28 The Council will encourage the location of equipment on or within existing buildings, the sharing of existing masts and mast sites and the re-use of redundant telecommunication sites. A register of existing masts is maintained by the Council in order to encourage and facilitate mast or site sharing. This is expected to take precedence over the use of new sites. Development in visually, environmentally or strategically sensitive areas such as Special Landscape Areas, the Green Belt, Conservation Areas, Historic Parks and Gardens and Sites of Special Scientific Interest will be resisted, unless it can be demonstrated that there is no suitable alternative location in a less sensitive area. The operator will also be expected to provide justification of the need for the proposed equipment and its significance as part of the national network in such circumstances.

9.29 It is expected that telecommunications operators should use sympathetic design to minimise the impact of their proposals on the environment. Applications for telecommunications equipment will be expected to include, where appropriate, adequate screening and landscaping, ensure appropriate siting and select a design, material and colour of equipment that will minimise its impact on the surrounding landscape.

CSU8 Telecommunications

Telecommunications development will be permitted provided that:

(a) there is an operational need for the development in the proposed location that cannot be met by mast or site sharing or co-location that represents the optimum environmental solution, the re-use of a redundant telecommunications or broadcasting site, or the possibility of locating the equipment on or within an existing building or structure;

(b) where the development is located within a visually or environmentally sensitive area, the developer should demonstrate that there are no suitable alternative sites available and that due to technical requirements, the equipment cannot be located in a less sensitive area and serious harm to the environment can be avoided; and

(c) the siting, external appearance, material, colour of the equipment, and its screening with appropriate landscaping, (consistent with operators legal obligations and technical requirements) minimises the impact of the development on the surrounding landscape.

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