East Hampshire District Local Plan: Joint Core Strategy
7. Natural and Built Environment
7.1 In trying to create sustainable communities it is imperative that the Council and the National Park Authority continue to protect and enhance the District’s high quality natural and built environment. The protection and enhancement of the District’s countryside, landscape and biodiversity, along with high quality design and the protection of its cultural heritage are all key essential issues which need to be met.
Protecting important countryside resources
7.2 The main challenges for the District in terms of the natural environment are:
- to conserve, protect and enhance the natural beauty and wildlife of the South Downs National Park and the internationally protected wildlife sites
- and to protect:
- the character and beauty of the countryside
- the diversity of its landscape, heritage and wildlife
- the wealth of its natural resources
7.3 The need to protect, conserve and enhance the natural environment is supported by the Government White Paper ‘The Natural Choice: securing the value of nature’. The White Paper states “…that people cannot flourish without the benefits and services our natural environment provides”.
CP17 DEVELOPMENT IN THE COUNTRYSIDE
The approach to sustainable development in the countryside, defined as the area outside settlement policy boundaries, is to operate a policy of general restraint in order to protect the countryside for its own sake. The only development allowed in the countryside will be that with a genuine and proven need for a countryside location, such as that necessary for farming, forestry, countryside recreation and small-scale tourism. Within the South Downs National Park the pursuit of National Park purposes will be paramount.
7.4 The countryside (the area outside of settlement policy boundaries as defined on the Proposals Map) needs to be protected for the sake of its intrinsic character and beauty, the diversity of its landscapes, heritage and wildlife, the wealth of its natural resources and to ensure it may be enjoyed by all.
7.5 At the same time, the countryside is under great pressure to meet a range of demands. Farming has a key influence on the landscape. Farm diversification needs to be supported to help sustain agricultural enterprise and to maximise opportunities to strengthen the rural economy (see also Policy CP4).
7.6 It is therefore recognised that some development can take place which is beneficial to the countryside and the people that live and work there. The emphasis in the Joint Core Strategy is therefore to allow development in the countryside where it can be demonstrated that a countryside location is both necessary and justified. Such an approach will preclude development for which a rural location is not essential. Inappropriate types and scales of development will not be permitted in order to maintain the landscape character and quality of the countryside. The countryside will continue to be protected for its intrinsic value. Even so, it is possible to maximise opportunities to strengthen the rural economy by encouraging uses related to the land, including appropriate forms of agriculture, forestry and green tourism.
7.7 Large swathes of the District’s countryside form part of the MoD’s training estate, and as such, it is recognised that the continued use of this land for a wide range of uses to meet operational requirements is in the national interest.
The special characteristics of the district’s natural environment will be conserved and enhanced. New development will be required to:
conserve and enhance the natural beauty, tranquillity, wildlife and cultural heritage of the South Downs National Park and its setting, and promote the opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities, and be in accordance with the ambitions within the emerging South Downs Management Plan;
protect and enhance local distinctiveness and sense of place by applying the principles set out in the district’s Landscape Character Assessments, including the Community/Parish Landscape Character Assessments;
protect and enhance settlements in the wider landscape, land at the urban edge and green corridors extending into settlements;
protect and enhance natural and historic features which contribute to the distinctive character of the district’s landscape, such as trees, woodlands, hedgerows, soils, rivers, river corridors, ditches, ponds, ancient sunken lanes, ancient tracks, rural buildings and open areas;
incorporate appropriate new planting to enhance the landscape setting of the new development which uses local materials, native species and enhances biodiversity;
maintain, manage and enhance the green infrastructure networks (see Policy CP26 Green Infrastructure).
Priority will be given to working with landowners and others in order to ensure that land management practices improve public access to the countryside, conserve and enhance valued landscapes of major importance for wild flora and fauna, and restore landscapes where valued features have been lost or degraded.
7.8 The District is rightly proud of the character and attractive appearance of the countryside and its protection is essential. The distinct and varied landscape provides a very attractive rural setting that defines the whole area, providing opportunities for agriculture, forestry, recreation and tourism and supporting rural communities and economies.
7.9 Most of the District lies within the National Park. The National Parks are designated under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 by Natural England. National Park status gives national recognition to the special importance of the area and offers the highest level of protection. National Parks are also designated for the opportunities they provide to understand and enjoy the special qualities of the area.
7.10 The natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of National Parks should be conserved and enhanced and opportunities to understand and enjoy their special qualities should be promoted. Major developments should not take place within the South Downs National Park except in exceptional circumstances. All such developments will be subject to the most rigorous examination and must be demonstrated to be in accordance with the National Parks purposes.
7.11 Development will not be permitted if it is unsustainable and fails to protect the special character of the landscape; accordingly the emphasis will be on small-scale proposals which are sustainable in terms of location and construction. Affordable housing schemes, and other proposals aimed at benefiting the economic and social well-being of the National Park communities, will be encouraged as long as they do not compromise the natural beauty or special qualities of the National Park.
7.12 The policies of this Joint Core Strategy seek to support the advice and ambitions of the South Downs Management Plan 2008-2013, which was published in 2008. These policies will continue to be implemented until replaced by the South Downs National Park Management Plan. The Council will work together with the South Downs National Park Authority, adjoining local authorities and landowners towards forming future strategies for this very special and sensitive area.
7.13 Much of the remaining countryside beyond the boundaries of the National Park is unspoilt and any new development should not harm this. A Landscape Character Assessment (2006), covering the District, and supporting Community/Parish Landscape Assessments identify the distinctive features and character of the East Hampshire countryside and aim to ensure their retention and, where possible, enhancement.
|Where else to look?|
East Hampshire Landscape Character Assessment (2006) is a comprehensiveassessment of all aspects of the landscape character of the District.
South Downs Management Plan 2008-2013, published in 2008, sets out 10 Ambitions that support the Vision and Aims of the Plan. Each Ambition has measurable targets and specific policies. www.southdowns.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/123294/SD_Mgt_Plan_Intro_part_A.pdf
The Government White Paper ‘The Natural Choice: securing the value of nature’ sets out proposals for valuing nature to enhance our environment, economic growth and personal wellbeing. www.archive.defra.gov.uk/environment/natural/documents/newp-white-paper-110607.pdf
Development proposals must maintain, enhance and protect the District’s biodiversity and its surrounding environment.
New development will be required to:
address the particular requirements that apply to the following hierarchy of nature conservation designations (see Map 2).
- Special Protection Areas (SPA), Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Ramsar (International);
- Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and National Nature Reserves (National);
- Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) (Hampshire) and Local Nature Reserves (LNR).
extend specific protection to, and encourage enhancement of, other sites and features which are of local value for wildlife, for example important trees, rivers, river corridors and hedgerows, but which are not included in designated sites.
contribute towards maintaining a district-wide network of local wildlife sites, wildlife corridors and stepping stones between designated sites and other areas of biodiversity value or natural green space. This will help to prevent the fragmentation of existing habitats and allow species to respond to the impacts of climate change by making provision for habitat adaptation and species migration. This is supported by Policy CP26 (Green Infrastructure) and the District’s Green Infrastructure Study.
ensure wildlife enhancements are incorporated into the design to achieve a net gain in biodiversity by designing in wildlife and by ensuring that any adverse impacts are avoided where possible or, if unavoidable, they are appropriately mitigated for, with compensatory measures only used as a last resort.
protect and, where appropriate, strengthen populations of protected species;
protect and enhance open spaces in accordance with the District’s ‘Open Space, Sports and Built Facilities Study’, Policy CP15 (Protection of open space, sport & recreation) and Policy CP26 (Green Infrastructure). The provision of open space should be in advance of the relevant new developments being occupied.
7.14 Sites of biodiversity value in East Hampshire range from those covered by international legislation to sites of more local importance. The international designations are collectively called ‘Natura 2000’ sites (see Policy CP20).
7.15 There are currently 15 SSSIs in the District; they are recognised nationally for their flora and fauna, geological or landform features. East Hampshire’s SSSIs amount to 2705 hectares, 97.3% of which is in a ‘favourable’ or ‘unfavourable recovering’ condition. The LNRs are habitats (276 hectares) of local or regional significance that make a useful contribution both to nature conservation and the opportunity for the community to see and learn about wildlife. There are also 561 SINCs which are locally identified as having county-wide status (6,116 hectares).
7.16 All public bodies must have regard to the conservation of biodiversity. The Council and the National Park Authority carry out their planning function with due regard to the National Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Meeting new development needs while protecting and, where possible, enhancing biodiversity is a major challenge for the Joint Core Strategy. It is important to ensure that development does not cause harm to the designated sites, whilst seeking to safeguard the many other sites which are of local value for wildlife. For example, hedgerows, road verges, river valleys and farmland act as wildlife corridors and these habitats, as well as gardens and open spaces in built-up areas, all form an essential part of the overall wildlife diversity of the District.
7.17 A healthy diversity of species across the District should also be ensured. Although the District has a large number of protected habitats, they are mostly small and fragmented. Isolated nature reserves and other protected sites are unlikely to sustain wildlife in the longer term, especially as the climate changes. Wildlife needs large, functional areas or networks which give it room to adapt to events like climate change so sites will need to be extended and linked if wildlife is to flourish.
7.18 New development can present risks in further fragmenting habitats but it can also offer opportunities from sensitively located, landscaped and designed development to enhance links between existing habitats. This can be by appropriate landscaping and habitat creation such as enhancing wildlife corridors and restoring key lost habitats including heathland and water meadows.
7.19 By working with other partners’ measures to secure enhancement, restoration and creation of biodiversity, including measures to adapt to the consequence of climate change can be taken. This will assist in achieving national, county and local biodiversity targets as set out in the Hampshire County, the East Hampshire and Local Biodiversity Action Plans. These measures will include developing public understanding of biodiversity including enabling public access to designated sites, where feasible, for the purpose of interpretation and understanding but without harm to nature conservation interests. Any measures taken will also support an ongoing programme of survey of habitats and species, and designation of Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs).
7.20 The Council has produced a Green Infrastructure Study which is the initial step towards setting out the agenda for green infrastructure for the District and surrounding area. This study concentrates on opportunities for green infrastructure within the settlements of East Hampshire. The Council and the National Park Authority will also be encouraging sustainable design of new developments which include enhancement of biodiversity.
CP20 INTERNATIONALLY DESIGNATED SITES
Any new housing that is proposed to be located within 400m of the boundary of the Wealden Heaths (Phase 2) SPA will be required to undertake a project-specific Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA). This must form a part of the planning application process to demonstrate that either no adverse effect on the ecological integrity of the SPA will occur or that adequate measures will be put in place to avoid or (as a secondary solution) adequately mitigate any adverse effects. Such measures must be agreed with Natural England and the planning authority. In order to undertake such an assessment, it is likely that information on the distribution of birds for which the SPA is designated would be required.
To help protect the Solent SPA, SAC and Ramsar sites along the coast, the Council will work with local authorities to monitor the progress of ongoing assessments and recreational management studies being undertaken by the Solent Forum on these sites. Planning permission will only be granted for development that responds to the emerging evidence from the Solent Disturbance and Mitigation Project, the published recommendations, and future related research.
7.21 Internationally important sites include SACs and SPAs within the District. They include the Wealden Heaths Phase II SPA and the Thursley, Hankley and Frensham Commons SPA which are protected for their birdlife, the latter lies just beyond the north eastern boundary of the District. There are four Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) which are protected for their habitats - Woolmer Forest, Shortheath Common, East Hampshire Hangers and Butser Hill. These international designations are collectively called ‘Natura 2000’ sites.
7.22 Specific and stringent tests within the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 are in place in respect of ‘Natura 2000’ sites. Any development proposed within the District that might cause harm to these sites must be avoided. The tests ensure that it is most unlikely that harmful development would be acceptable. It will only be approved if there are no alternative solutions, if there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest for the development and if the overall coherence of the network of international sites is maintained.
7.23 The Joint Core Strategy includes sufficient safeguards for the ‘Natura 2000’ sites. A full Appropriate Assessment in accordance with the Habitats Regulations has been prepared37. An Appropriate Assessment has also been carried out for Whitehill Bordon38. The Council has also produced a Green Infrastructure Study which includes opportunities for potential new areas for natural green space.
7.24 Evidence collated for the Core Strategy’s Habitats Regulations Assessment has shown that the Council is able to define a policy that recommends that any new housing located within 400 metres of the Wealden Heaths Phase II SPA will be required to carry out a project-specific HRA as part of the planning application process.
7.25 In general, the Council and the National Park Authority will endeavour to locate development more than 500m from the other internationally-protected sites as recommended in the Core Strategy’s Habitats Regulations Assessment. However, this is not an exclusion or ‘no build’ zone and development proposals for sites within 500m may be considered if it can be demonstrated that effects on the sites are unlikely to be significant.
7.26 The Council and National Park Authority will continue to engage with other South Hampshire authorities, Natural England and the Environment Agency to reduce the impact of recreational pressures from new housing on the coastal ‘Natura 2000’ sites.
CP21 GAPS BETWEEN SETTLEMENTS
The generally open and undeveloped nature of the following gaps between settlements will be protected to help prevent coalescence and retain their separate identity:
|Arford/Headley Down||Headley Down/Grayshott|
|Liss/Liss Forest||Liss/Hill Brow|
Development will only be permitted within gaps if:
it would not undermine the physical and/or visual separation of settlements;
it would not compromise the integrity of the gap, either individually or cumulatively with other existing or proposed development; and
it cannot be located elsewhere.
7.27 The principle of a gap policy is well established in development plans in East Hampshire, dating back to the South and Mid Hampshire Structure Plans (1988 and 1989), the Hampshire County Structure Plan (1994) and the Hampshire County Structure Plan 1996 - 2011 (Review). These structure plans and District local plans have sought to safeguard those gaps between settlements which contribute to giving these towns and villages their identity.
7.28 In many parts of East Hampshire the towns and villages are located relatively close together. Retaining the separate identity of each settlement has been a long-term goal of planning strategy and this approach is highly valued by local people. The gaps have helped guide where new urban development should be built and ensured the maintenance of open land between settlements. They have prevented settlements merging into one and losing their identity. Whilst the level of protection afforded by gaps has not been as strong as in areas designated as Green Belt, they have been important in decisions on individual planning applications.
7.29 The gaps have not been defined for the express purpose of protecting the countryside (Policy CP17) or landscape (Policy CP18), but rather as a planning tool designed to shape the patterns of towns and villages. A clear break between settlements helps to maintain a “sense of place” for residents of, and visitors to, the communities on either side of the gaps. When passing from place to place (by all forms of transport) these gaps give a recognisable structure to a group of settlements, establishing in travellers’ minds that they have left one settlement before they arrive somewhere else.
7.30 Small scale developments, such as agricultural buildings and stables, that are in keeping with the rural nature of the gaps, are not ruled out, providing they are appropriately sited and designed to minimise impact on the openness of the gap and subject to other planning policies. Gaps have another positive aspect - the open land adjacent to urban areas can be used for recreation and other green infrastructure purposes.
7.31 It is recognised that the merging of villages comes about through a gradual process, so while one development of a particular site may not in itself result in merger, it may be a contributory factor. Precedents could easily be set for this, and therefore the gaps have always been seen as having a long-term importance. Their continuing value as open and predominately undeveloped countryside depends on retaining them and enhancing their character.
7.32 The Council has attached considerable importance to the continued existence of gaps, and the National Park Authority intends to continue to do so: they command considerable public support, and the case for them remains valid. There has been no significant change in circumstances since they were first included in the development plan.
7.33 The precise boundaries for the gaps will be identified in the Development Allocations document. An assessment of existing local plan gaps and other gaps proposed through consultations, resulting in one proposed new gap, has been prepared for the Joint Core Strategy. East Hampshire District Council’s Green Infrastructure Study also supports the concept of gaps which help provide necessary green spaces between towns and villages.
|Where else to look?|
Background paper on Gaps between Settlements, September 2011
Green Infrastructure Study for East Hampshire District Council, UE Associates, August 2011
Protecting the wider environment - climate change
7.34 It is generally accepted that climate change is a real issue. Research shows that the South East will have hotter, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters. Changes in rainfall patterns and increased storminess are expected. Climate change may have impacts such as on the building infrastructure and on groundwater flooding. The gradual increase in temperature and extremes of weather is likely to influence the way people live, as well as impact on the local economy. It will also affect eco-systems, the plants and animals which depend on them and the overall appearance of the landscape. It is less clear at present how the farmed landscape, local economy and recreational use of the District will be affected. The Council and the National Park Authority are taking a ‘precautionary approach’ and will seek to address issues relating to the adaption to, and mitigation of, climate change.
7.35 It is therefore essential to address these needs, where possible, through the spatial planning process. Developments should be planned to minimise future vulnerability in a changing climate and with both mitigation and adaption in mind. There is also a given need for the sustainable management of natural resources. In providing for new homes, jobs and infrastructure, local planning can help shape and design places with lower carbon emissions, less reliance on water, planning for waste provision and planning for greater resilience to climate change and in turn allowing for the sustainable management of natural resources.
7.36 The key areas identified at the local level where the planning process can influence are:
- Sustainable construction, including renewable energy
- Flood risk management
- Water resources and water quality
- Air quality/pollution
- Green infrastructure
- Sustainable transport
These key areas are elaborated upon below except for sustainable transport which is discussed in the transport chapter.
CP22 SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION
Planning permission will be granted for development1 which on completion:
meets the following minimum Code for Sustainable Home threshold level, and equivalents for non-residential development (unless proven to be financially or technically unviable), as set out below:
|All residential development achieves at least the following level of the Code for Sustainable Homes and meets the minimum carbon compliance standards set out under the Zero Carbon Hub report recommendations2||All multi-residential and non-residential developments with a floor space of over 500m2 must achieve at least the following BREEAM3 standards|
|Until the end of 2012||3||BREEAM ‘very good’|
|from 2013||4||BREEAM ‘excellent’|
|from 2016||5*||BREEAM ‘excellent’|
(* Level 5 can include for ‘allowable solutions’4.)
provides at least 10% of energy demand from decentralised and renewable or low carbon energy sources (if possible, including connections to a district heating system), unless it is proven that this is not feasible or viable;
provides adequate funding for waste management infrastructure.
Major areas of development5 must ensure that their on-site renewable or low carbon energy production and resource efficiency is maximised. Where on-site proposals to achieve higher levels of carbon reduction are not feasible or viable ‘allowable solutions’ should be used.
1For these purposes, ‘development’ means 1 dwelling or more and 500m2 or more of non-residential floorspace.
4'allowable solutions' will be operated in accordance with the Zero Carbon Hub report recommendations, as developed by Government policy, to permit residual emissions to be mitigated between the minimum carbon compliance standards and zero carbon homes (equivalent of Code Level 5) by off-site means in agreement with the Local Authority.
5'major areas of development' is defined as 10 dwellings or more, or 0.5 hectares or more.
7.37 Ensuring development is sustainable and adapts to climate change are fundamental goals which are outlined in Government guidance.
7.38 There is now more concern with the environmental performance of new development and the impact of individual buildings and their resilience to climate change. The Coalition Government has recently affirmed its commitment to all new homes being zero carbon from 2016. The Zero Carbon Hub, a public/private partnership, has been set up to take day-to-day operational responsibility for co-ordinating delivery of low and zero carbon new homes.
7.39 Government policy also encourages planning authorities to seek a percentage of energy from renewable or low carbon sources, such as wind turbines, the use of passive solar energy, woodfuel, solar water heating, photovoltaics (conversion of sunlight directly into electricity), ground source heat pumps39 and biomass (plant matter grown to generate electricity). These technologies together with greater insulation are seen as the way to make new housing ‘carbon neutral’ by 2016.
7.40 The Code for Sustainable Homes sets out national standards for sustainable design and construction of new homes. Its introduction has enabled planning policy to align with its different levels and enabled a wider understanding and acceptance of sustainable construction. There are six levels of the Code; at each level there are minimum standards. It includes standards for energy and water efficiency (see Policy CP24) and also other sustainability factors, such as materials, recycling, cycle spaces, home offices, waste and ecology.
7.41 Higher standards of sustainable construction aligned to the Code for Sustainable Homes have been devised in the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) ‘Sustainable Development Policy Framework’40. It has been developed jointly by all of the PUSH authorities, forming a common approach. The targets in the policy framework set out a timetable for reaching the government target of zero carbon homes by 2016. These have been set in the context of the impact that climate change will have on the area and the progress being made by the development industry in creating lower carbon products.
7.42 In some instances sustainable construction may not be viable or suitable, for example, in a conservation area. In these circumstances, a more flexible approach will be taken and the developer will need to justify why sustainable measures cannot be met.
7.43 Proposals for renewable energy developments will be considered on their merits and consideration will be given to whether their scale, form, design and materials are sympathetic with the surrounding landscape or built environment, and whether they would impact on the local community, economy, nature conservation and historical interests.
|Where else to look?|
Code for Sustainable Homes provides guidance on national
together with the Technical Guide www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/codeguide
Non-residential buildings are currently assessed using BREEAM www.bre.co.uk/page.jsp?id=829
Zero Carbon Hubs definition of ‘Allowable Solutions for Tomorrow’s New Homes’ www.zerocarbonhub.org/definition.aspx?page=9
CP23 FLOOD RISK
Development in areas at risk of flooding, now and in the future, as identified on the latest Environment Agency flood risk maps and the Council’s Strategic Flood Risk Assessment will be permitted provided that:
it meets the sequential and exception test (where required) as outlined in Government guidance;
a site-specific flood risk assessment demonstrates that the development, including the access, will be safe without increasing flooding elsewhere, and where possible, will reduce flood risk overall;
the scheme incorporates flood protection, flood resilience and resistance measures appropriate to the character and biodiversity of the area and the specific requirements of the site;
appropriate flood warning and evacuation plans are in place; and
new site drainage systems are designed taking account of events which exceed the normal design standard.
All development will be required to ensure that there is no net increase in surface water run off. Priority will be given to incorporating SUDs (Sustainable Drainage Systems) to manage surface water drainage, unless it can be demonstrated that SUDs are not appropriate. Where SUDs are provided, arrangements must be put in place for their whole life management and maintenance.
Specific areas in the District, which overlay the Chalk geology, can be prone to groundwater flooding as shown on the Council’s Strategic Flood Risk Assessment maps. Rivers in East Hampshire which are sourced in the chalk area are the River Meon, River Wey and Lavant Stream, and thus groundwater fed. Development should be avoided in areas at risk from, susceptible to, or have a history of groundwater flooding. If this is not possible then the development should be designed to incorporate flood resistance and resilience measures.
7.44 Government guidance outlines the increasing risk of flooding due to the potential effects of climate change.
7.45 Flood risk is an important issue for the District. The main areas subject to flood risk are identified in East Hampshire District Council’s Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) and the Environment Agency’s flood risk maps. The SFRA is further supported by the South Hampshire SFRA 2007.
7.46 The flood risk maps within the SFRA identify the areas of flood risk including groundwater flooding. The maps enable the sequential test to be applied and so steer the broad locations for development away from areas at risk of flooding and so minimise the risk to people and property.
7.47 Flood risk assessments prepared for individual sites will consider flood risk, surface water run-off issues and the potential for sustainable drainage systems to minimise flood risk. Any development within areas of flood risk will require flood management, mitigation measures and demonstrate that the development is safe from flooding.
|Where else to look?|
The East Hampshire Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) (2008) provides an overview of the methodology, assumptions, uncertainties, tasks undertaken and the links to the wider sustainability appraisal process. It provides policy recommendations and guidance for the application of the Sequential Test, the preparation of flood risk assessments and the use of sustainable drainage systems, within the District council's administrative boundary.
South Hampshire Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (2007) www.portsmouth.gov.uk/living/13539.html
CP24 WATER RESOURCES/WATER QUALITY
Development will be required to protect the quality and quantity of water, and make efficient use of water. Development will be permitted provided that:
it protects and enhances the quality and quantity of groundwater, surface water features and controls aquatic pollution to help to achieve the requirements of the European Water Framework Directive;
it has an adequate means of water supply (even in a drought), sufficient foul and surface water drainage and adequate sewage treatment capacity. Development must be phased to take into account the timing of any water and/or sewerage infrastructure required which must be in place prior to the occupation of development. A study carried out by the developer which shows that additional provision or improvement of infrastructure is required must provide adequate funding for that infrastructure in advance of development taking place;
demand management technologies are incorporated to meet the appropriate levels of the Code for Sustainable Homes as set out in Policy CP22.
Development within Groundwater Source Protection Zones will only be permitted provided that it has no adverse impact on the quality of the groundwater source or a risk to its ability to maintain a public water supply.
The Council and National Park Authority have a duty to take account of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) objectives. Any development which will impact on a known water body will be required to seek out opportunities to introduce mitigation and enhancement measures to help ensure the objectives of the WFD are met.
The site identified for the Havant Thicket reservoir will be safeguarded from development (see Map 3).
7.48 The water supply in East Hampshire is a precious resource and it is imperative that it is safeguarded during development. National and regional policy fully supports this stance and there is now the European Water Framework Directive41 which looks at delivering a better water environment. The Council and the National Park, along with others, plays a role in meeting the Water Framework Directive objectives and future development needs to be planned carefully so that it does not result in further pressure on the water environment.
7.49 To help assess the status of the water environment in Hampshire, the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire carried out an Integrated Water Management Strategy42 in 2008 which covered South Hampshire. For the rest of the County, Hampshire County Council carried out a draft Water Study in 200943. However, this document is awaiting review and currently remains in draft format. An Outline and a Detailed Water Cycle Study has been carried out for Whitehill Bordon (see Policy CSWB8).
7.50 The chalk aquifer dominates the freshwater environment of the District. Water resources are therefore already fully committed. A twin-track approach of demand management and water resource development is required. East Hampshire recognises the importance of implementing this approach by promoting efficient use of existing water resources, while recognising the development of new water resources, such as the Havant Thicket Winter Storage Reservoir. This reservoir will not only provide further water resources but will provide a real opportunity to create a natural and sustainable recreational attraction. The timescale for the provision of the Havant Thicket Winter Storage Reservoir has been deferred to 2025 - 2035. The timing of the need for a reservoir is unlikely to be confirmed until 2015.
7.51 In light of further supporting the twin-track approach, the Environment Agency has demonstrated that it is possible to achieve Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes (105 litres per head/day) in a new building at low cost44.
7.52 The Code for Sustainable Homes has minimum requirements for water efficiency for all of its six levels. The higher levels of the Code to be a requirement of Policy CP22 would automatically set higher standards for water efficiency reflecting the fact that the south east is a region of serious water stress. In addition, the status of water resources within the District is classified within the Environment Agency’s Catchment Abstraction Management Strategies (CAMS). The relevant CAMS for East Hampshire District are the East Hampshire CAMS and the Wey CAMS. They identify that the catchments are either “over-abstracted” or “over-licensed”. This means that abstraction licences will not be increased and all future development will need to be within the current resources. Demand management technologies should therefore be incorporated into new development to ensure the security of supply. This approach is also supported in the findings of the Habitats Regulations Assessment of the Joint Core Strategy.
7.53 New infrastructure has to meet strict standards set by the Environment Agency and reflects the view taken by Ofwat ‘that water and sewerage companies should seek finance through developer contributions’. Infrastructure required for new development should be phased, timed and funded in advance of that development taking place and in some circumstances that may make it necessary for developers to carry out studies on the existing infrastructure and examine options. In order to avoid placing excessive demands upon any overburdened systems, housing development will be directed initially towards those catchments that still have capacity.
7.54 Protection should be given to groundwater which is vital for drinking water and maintaining the flow of the watercourses within the District. The Council ad National Park Authority will consult with the Environment Agency on proposals for residential, industrial or commercial development which may pose a threat to groundwater resources. The Environment Agency’s “Groundwater Protection: Policy and Practice (GP3)”45 provides further guidance and is therefore not duplicated in the Joint Core Strategy. The Environment Agency’s website also holds information on the location and designation of Groundwater Source Protection Zones46.
|Where else to look?|
An introduction to the Water Framework Directive -
The European Water Framework Directive came into force in December 2000 and became part of UK law in December 2003. It gives us an opportunity to plan and deliver a better water environment, focussing on ecology. www.environment-agency.gov.uk/research/planning/33362.aspx
South Hampshire: Integrated Water Management Strategy, Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH), December 2008 www.push.gov.uk/081223_-_iwms_final.pdf
Development must not result in pollution which prejudices the health and safety of communities and their environments.
Developments that may cause pollution, and developments sensitive to pollution, will only be permitted if they are appropriately separated and designed to reduce the risk of unacceptable impacts. Engineering or administrative controls may be required to provide sufficient protection to focus on reducing pollution at source.
Development which includes a lighting scheme will not be permitted unless the minimum amount of lighting necessary to achieve its purpose is proposed. Glare and light spillage from the site must be minimised. In determining an application, consideration will be given to the aesthetic effect of the light produced and to its effect on local residents, vehicle users, pedestrians and the visibility and appreciation of the night sky.
Development will not be permitted if it would have an unacceptable effect on the amenity of the occupiers of neighbouring properties through loss of privacy or through excessive overshadowing.
Any development which is likely to lead to a significant effect on an internationally designated site is required to undertake an appropriate assessment under the Habitats Regulations. As part of any mitigation/avoidance package any impacts on air quality will require a regime for continued air quality monitoring to be set up before the introduction of any mitigation measures, and thereafter maintained.
7.55 Pollution has an impact upon human health. Specific areas for concern are unpleasant emissions such as smoke, gases, heat, radon and vibration; noise; land contamination; air quality on European sites; light pollution; and privacy and daylight. Research has shown that levels of land contamination, air quality and excessive noise for example, can impact upon human health but may also impact upon the natural environment. In addition, evidence shows that significant community dissatisfaction can result where developments fail to consider localised impacts that can seriously affect the amenity of an area and the general wellbeing of residents.
7.56 Meeting air quality targets for nitrogen dioxide emissions will pose a huge challenge in East Hampshire, particularly for developments that threaten changes in road traffic generation, road speeds or the numbers of heavy goods vehicles. Also of concern are odours from commercial food outlets, industrial and agricultural processes, and these applications require an assessment of the potential impacts.
7.57 To avoid potential impacts of new development and increased traffic levels on internationally designated nature conservation sites Policy CP20 seeks to ensure that adequate measures are in place to avoid or mitigate any potential adverse effects. One form of avoidance is that the Council will need to explore with other local authorities (e.g. Waverley Borough Council) a framework for undertaking air quality monitoring along the main roads that traverse the Wealden Heaths. The monitoring is required before and after the introduction of sustainable transport measures, such that further measures can be devised if air quality does not improve. The monitoring also forms part of the avoidance/mitigation package set out for the development at Whitehill Bordon (see Policy CSWB9).
7.58 The Joint Core Strategy transport policies seek to reduce the use of the private car and encourage other initiatives to minimise the impact of air pollution. They identify the need to demonstrate that low carbon vehicles and alternatives to the car are encouraged in new developments.
7.59 Within East Hampshire, developments resulting in the generation of significant outdoor noise or evening and late-night entertainment noise pose the most significant challenge to protecting neighbour amenity, wildlife and the character of the countryside. The Council’s environmental health strategies are focused on the control of noise at source. An assessment of the impact of noisy developments and locating sensitive developments close to existing sources of noise will be required.
7.60 East Hampshire has significant areas of highly-valued open land with exceptionally low levels of ambient noise and the Council seeks to protect the tranquillity of such areas, especially those within the South Downs National Park.
7.61 DEFRA, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has commissioned noise mapping around Rowlands Castle and the Clanfield/Horndean area. It is expected that action plans to reduce environmental noise will be developed. Development will need to support and be compatible with these plans. CPRE have tranquillity maps covering the South East of England and set out the value of, and threats to, tranquillity47.
7.62 The District contains numerous sites which may be subject to historic contamination and which may present a potential risk to human health. For proposed development on or adjacent to land suspected of being affected by contamination, risks posed to end users will be required to be appropriately investigated and if necessary remediated so as to comply with current UK industry good practice. The standard of remediation shall take full account of the development’s intended use(s) and be to a level which ensures the future safe use of the land with respect to human health, groundwater and the wider environment. Where there is no evidence to the contrary, the possibility of contamination will be assumed when concerning applications in relation to land on or adjacent to previous industrial use or where proposed uses are considered that are particularly sensitive to contamination e.g. housing, schools, allotments, hospitals, children’s playing areas.
7.63 It shall remain the responsibility of the developer to identify land affected by contamination and to ensure that such land is remediated to secure a safe development.
7.64 The District also has a number of major aquifers that are particularly sensitive to contamination. Protection of these aquifers is a priority (see Policy CP24).
7.65 Artificial lighting, in particular from sports pitch floodlights but also other buildings, has been recognised as disturbing to some residents, wildlife and the character of the countryside. Where there are low levels of existing artificial lighting, controls on new lighting schemes is likely to be particularly important.
7.66 The green infrastructure is the managed natural environment within rural and urban settings. The benefits of these spaces for the economy, local people and wildlife must be recognised as more than just a precious local resource. East Hampshire and other partners define green infrastructure as a ‘holistic approach to viewing the natural environment which acknowledges the multiple benefits and vital functions it provides for the economy, wildlife, local people and communities alike’48. It will be important, both now and in the future, to understand this wider view of our open spaces and the links between them both to the wider landscape and East Hampshire’s towns and villages.
CP26 GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE
Development will be permitted provided that it maintains, manages and enhances the network of new and existing green infrastructure. Development will need to take forward the objectives presented in the District’s Green Infrastructure Study, the South Hampshire Green Infrastructure Strategy and the avoidance and mitigation measures set out in the Joint Core Strategy’s Habitats Regulations Assessment. Account will also need to be taken of other relevant joint core strategy policies such as landscape, biodiversity, flood risk and design. New green infrastructure must be provided either through on-site provision or financial contributions. The size of contribution will be linked to the scale of the development and the resulting new green infrastructure must be located as close as possible to the development it is intended to serve.
7.67 The Government White Paper ‘The Natural Choice: securing the value of nature’ and the National Planning Policy Framework both identify the need for core strategies to address the issue of green infrastructure. Increasingly green infrastructure is being recognised for its value to natural resources and biodiversity, as well as the opportunities that it can offer for a higher quality of life through design and recreation.
7.68 The Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) has developed a Strategy for Green Infrastructure (June 2010). Given the importance of green infrastructure now and in the future the Council and National Park Authority not only feels it is appropriate to include a policy in the Core Strategy. As an initial step the Council has produced a Green Infrastructure Study as a step towards setting out the agenda for green infrastructure for the District and the surrounding area.
|Where else to look?|
The Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) has developed a Strategy for Green Infrastructure (June 2010). www.push.gov.uk/push_gi_strategy_adopted_june_10-2.pdf
Green Infrastructure Study for East Hampshire District Council (UE Associates, August 2011)
Natural England’s Framework for Green Infrastructure for the South East (2009) www.naturalengland.org.uk/regions/south_east/ourwork/greeninfrastructureframework.aspx
The District’s built environment must be of an exemplary standard and highly appealing in terms of visual appearance. All new development will be required to respect the character, identity and context of the district’s towns, villages and countryside and must help to create places where people want to live, work and visit.
New development will be required to:
seek exemplary standards of design and architecture with a high quality external appearance that respect the area’s particular characteristics;
take particular account of the setting and context of the South Downs National Park where relevant, be in accordance with the National Park purposes and duty if in the National Park and take account of these purposes and duty where the National Park’s setting is affected;
reflect national policies in respect of design, landscape, townscape and historic heritage;
ensure that the layout and design of development contributes to local distinctiveness and sense of place, and is appropriate and sympathetic to its setting in terms of its scale, height, massing and density, and its relationship to adjoining buildings, spaces around buildings and landscape features;
ensure that development makes a positive contribution to the overall appearance of the area by the use of good quality materials of appropriate scale, profile, finish, colour and proven weathering ability;
ensure that all residential developments of 10 units or more, evaluated against the Building for Life criteria, will achieve at least silver standard;
be designed to the Lifetime Homes Standard as appropriate;
take account of local town and village design statements, emerging neighbourhood plans that identify local character and distinctiveness and the design elements of parish and town plans and conservation area appraisals;
be accessible to all and designed to minimise opportunities for anti-social and criminal behaviour without diminishing the high quality of the overall appearance;
embrace new technologies as a considered part of the design and in a way which takes account of the broader impact on the locality;
provide car parking in a way that secures a high quality environment and is conveniently located, within curtilage wherever possible, taking account of relatively high levels of car ownership where necessary.
7.69 East Hampshire is a desirable place in which to live with outstanding historic market towns and attractive villages in delightful countryside including 57 % of the District that lies in the South Downs National Park. The buildings, open spaces and landscape all contribute to the character of the area. Throughout the District there are more than 1,600 listed buildings (buildings of special architectural or historic interest), 43 conservation areas (areas of architectural or historic interest), 98 scheduled ancient monuments, and 5 nationally recognised parks and gardens which are registered for special protection. It all adds up to a rich heritage for people who live and work here, and also attracts many tourists and visitors.
7.70 New development will make a positive contribution to the appearance of our towns and villages and to quality of life. Design and layout should take account of neighbouring buildings as well as the surrounding area. New development can be striking but must respect or enhance local character and be appropriate to its context. It is vital that design goes beyond the focus of the individual development and also takes account of sense of place, safety and security. It may therefore be helpful to use national and local guidance to help with this process.
7.71 Government guidance calls for good design that ensures attractive, usable and durable places. It is important to plan positively to achieve high quality and inclusive design for all development, including individual buildings, public and private spaces as well as wider area development schemes. Design which fails to take the opportunity for improving the character and quality of an area and the way it functions should not be accepted.
7.72 Local authorities should aim to create a good quality built environment that facilitates social interaction and inclusive communities. Plans which create or enhance a distinctive character and support a sense of local pride and civic identity should, therefore, be looked at positively.
7.73 In addition, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), now incorporated into the Design Council, has produced a Building for Life standard that sets out 20 criteria for achieving good design. This provides a useful guide for developers on the standards that are now expected and what factors are considered when assessing design. The criteria are not exhaustive nor meant to be regarded as providing a ceiling to innovation. Rather they are seen as helping to provide a framework for assessment that may be of assistance in meeting the requirements of the policy.
7.74 Policies are required to achieve high quality in new development and at the same time to protect and enhance existing historic character. Only the best exemplary design that respects and enhances the special qualities of our towns, villages and countryside will be acceptable. Future developments must be fit for purpose for many years and meet the changing circumstances and needs of everyone. This will be a key challenge for all development in the District. Due to the importance of the historic environment within the District this is considered separately in this section.
7.75 The main settlements of Alton, Petersfield, Horndean, Liphook and Whitehill Bordon provide opportunities for encouraging new high-quality and imaginative designs. In addition, high quality design which retains and complements their overall character will be required in the smaller rural villages. The close relationship between new development, existing features and open spaces will be given priority in all future proposals for the District.
7.76 Local input in any development is, of course, crucial and that is why town and village design statements are so important. Putting up new buildings alongside something much older can sometimes be contentious, so it is important to be aware of any local special features of particular merit and to relate any proposals to the context of the site. The design of new buildings should be woven into the fabric of the living and working community.
7.77 There is a growing recognition that design affects people’s lives. Health can be a good example of this. Well-designed buildings with good use of open space, for example, can encourage healthy lifestyles with scope for walking, cycling, and other leisure pursuits that may help to prevent problems such as obesity. This approach has to be applauded but should not overshadow the need to secure good architectural and landscape design for buildings and spaces. In addition, with an ageing population it is particularly important to accommodate the needs of the elderly. Providing homes built to Lifetime Homes Standards49 will help to achieve this. Further details of how this will be implemented will be provided in a subsequent SPD.
7.78 In recent years, parking provision in new housing developments in East Hampshire has not always been adequate. It has not always been located so that it is convenient for residents. Poor on-street parking has resulted, causing major problems and detracting from the overall character of the development.
7.79 Car parking spaces should be an integral part of the layout and design of the new dwelling. Care is required to ensure that parking is convenient, easy to use and well located to overcome the problems arising from haphazard on-street parking. Spaces should be situated within the curtilage of individual plots, within garages or car ports either integral or set back from the road. Parking for flats should be located adjacent to the building where it can enjoy natural surveillance from the occupiers of nearby dwellings. Arrangements need to be made for the parking of cycles within individual residential curtilages where these exist or in communal facilities for apartments.
CP28 HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT
Development proposals must conserve and, where possible, enhance the District’s historic environment.
All new development will be required to:
conserve and enhance the cultural heritage of the South Downs National Park if in the National Park and take account of this cultural heritage where the National Park’s setting is affected;
reflect national policies in respect of design, landscape, townscape and historic heritage;
conserve, enhance, maintain and manage the district’s heritage assets and their setting including listed buildings, conservation areas, Scheduled Ancient Monuments, archaeological sites and Historic Parks and Gardens;
ensure that the development makes a positive contribution to the overall appearance of the local area including the use of good quality materials of appropriate scale, profile, finish, colour and proven weathering ability;
take account of local conservation area appraisals and town and village design statements where they exist.
7.80 The historic environment is made up of individual buildings, groups of buildings, conservation areas, historic parks and gardens, archaeological sites and other features that are important to the overall character of towns and villages. East Hampshire has a rich and diverse historic environment which is an important asset. It is also part of the wider environment which draws people to the area either to live, visit or for investment. It is important to recognise that this environment is sensitive to change and requires protection. The challenge for the District is managing changes so that it continues to meet the needs of the future population, while protecting the historic environment.
7.81 Government guidance states that the historic environment and its heritage assets should be conserved and enjoyed for the quality of life they bring to this and future generations. Imaginative policies can help to reduce threats to the historic environment and contribute to the fabric of the community and its local distinctiveness. The historic environment provides an irreplaceable record of our cultural heritage, adds to the quality of life by enhancing the local scene and sustains the sense of local distinctiveness that is such an important aspect of the character and appearance of towns, villages and countryside. In addition, it can also be of immense importance for leisure and recreation. The Council and National Park Authority recognise the need to continue to embrace change through sensitive adaptation and new development. This must be based on a full understanding of the impact on the area and significance of the place.
|Where else to look?|
The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 provides legislative background for listed buildings. www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1990/9/contents
Building in Context: New Development in Historic Areas (CABE/EH): this is a training programme that gives decision makers the tools to recognise how projects can respond well to their surroundings. www.building-in-context.org/publications.html
Streets for All: South East: this manual provides practical guidance and is aimed at all those involved in managing, designing or maintaining the public realm. www.helm.org.uk/server/show/category.19643
Moving towards Excellence in Urban Design & Conservation (2003) CABE/EH: planning guidance ensuring that new building and refurbishment enhances the public realm. www.cabe.org.uk/publications/moving-towards-excellence-in-urban-design-and-conservation
The heritage pages of the East Hampshire District Council website also provide helpful information on listed buildings and conservation areas.
37 Habitats Regulations Assessment, Scott Wilson 2011 38 Habitats Regulations Assessment for Whitehill Bordon, UE Associates 2011 39 Suitability dependent on advice obtained in the Environment Agency’s ‘Groundwater Protection: Policy and Practice (Part 4, Section 10)’ 40 See Partnership for Urban South Hampshire: Report to Joint Committee 18th March 2008 41 www.environment-agency.gov.uk/research/planning/33362.aspx 42 www.push.gov.uk/081223_-_iwms_final.pdf 43 HCC Water Resources and Wastewater Management in Hampshire to 2026, Atkins (September 2009) 44 WRc Report UC7231 September 2006 45 www.environment-agency.gov.uk/research/library/publications/40741.aspx 46 www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/37833.aspx 47 www.cpre.org.uk/resources/countryside/tranquil-places 48 Towards a Green Infrastructure Strategy for South Hampshire: Advice to PUSH (July 2008) 49 Lifetime Home Revised Criteria July 2010. www.lifetimehomes.org.uk