National Policy Guidance
2.1 The Government’s Green Paper “Planning: Delivering a Fundamental Change”, which was published for consultation in December 2001, set out proposals for the reform of the development plans system. Following consideration of the responses to that consultation, revised proposals were published in a Policy Statement “Sustainable Communities: Delivering through Planning” in July 2002. Subsequently the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 enacted the Government’s proposals for the abolition of Structure Plans, and the replacement of Unitary Development Plans (UDPs) and Local Plans by Local Development Documents (LDDs).
2.2 It is the intention, amongst other things, that LDDs provide a clear strategic vision, are written in a more succinct manner and cut out unnecessary or repetitive policies. To facilitate the achievement of these aims it is intended that LDDs include a core statement of general policies. Whilst the Council will not be moving to the preparation of a LDD for Brentwood until after the adoption of the Replacement Local Plan, the Government has strongly encouraged local authorities to adopt elements of the LDD format within local plan reviews.
2.3 In the light of the Government’s proposals for reform of the development plan system, the opportunity has been taken to incorporate a new section into the Replacement Local Plan setting out a number of “core policies”, which would be applicable to the consideration of any proposed development. The policies cover general planning considerations regarding environmental impacts, amenity and design, transportation issues and the provision of infrastructure and community facilities.
2.4 Any development proposals will be assessed against the following core policies but, in addition, there may be other specific policies set out in the subject chapters elsewhere in this plan, which are relevant to a development proposal and that set out additional requirements or criteria to be satisfied.
General Development Criteria
2.5 New development should make a positive contribution to the quality of the environment. Good design and layout can help to achieve the Government’s objectives of making best use of previously developed land and improving the quality and attractiveness of both urban and rural areas. New development of whatever scale should not be viewed in isolation but should have regard to both the immediately neighbouring buildings and the townscape/landscape of the wider area. Proposals should also not result in an unacceptable detrimental impact on the amenities of adjacent occupiers or indeed of the occupiers of the proposed development. The Borough Council will expect a development brief to be prepared for proposals for development on major or sensitive sites.
2.6 When considering applications for residential development the Council will have regard to the guidance contained in the Essex Design Guide for Residential and Mixed Use Developments. The key principles are set out in Appendix 1. Proposals will also need to have regard to the principles set out in Appendices 2, 4 and 5. Brentwood benefits from large areas of residential development containing significant natural landscape features, much of which is contained within the private residential curtilages. Such private open spaces are important as they contribute to the landscape and ecological resources of the Borough and enhance the character and quality of the urban area. There is, however, pressure for intensification through infill development, redevelopment, etc. Government housing objectives emphasise making best use of previously developed land and buildings within existing urban areas by, for example, increasing densities and reviewing car-parking standards. Whilst the Council supports these objectives, not least in reducing the pressure on the Green Belt, and has policies elsewhere in this plan to achieve that end, it also recognises, as does government guidance, the need to protect the quality and character of existing urban areas. The Council will, therefore, seek to protect existing residential areas, such as Hutton Mount and Tor Bryan, from development that would impact detrimentally on the special character of an area. Control of development will take particular account of, for example, the pattern of development, depth of gardens, disposition of trees, ecological value and other important aspects that need to be conserved.
2.7 PPS23 and PPG24 set out the Government’s approach to pollution control and noise respectively. Industrial or similar commercial uses may give rise to significant levels of pollutants in the form of noise, fumes, vibration, smells, etc., which would be detrimental to the amenities of nearby residents if such uses were allowed in residential areas, and uncontrolled in terms of emissions. The Borough Council will expect development to adopt environmental best practice and pollution prevention measures in relation to groundwater, impacts on health, the environment and amenity to ensure the prevention of adverse impacts. All development proposals should take into account the environmental impact the proposed activities will have, and could have in the future, and take account of this at the design stage and incorporate the necessary control measures. Applications that include methods of sewage disposal other than connections to the public foul sewer will require justification in accordance with Circular 3/99.
2.8 Proposals within or near to residential areas for uses which may give rise to unacceptable levels of pollutants will need to be accompanied by an environmental statement, together with details of suitable abatement measures, so that their likely effects on residents can be assessed. If such effects are judged to be unacceptable and cannot be reduced through more sensitive siting or the introduction of pollution abatement technology then permission will not be granted.
2.9 The quality and character of the natural and historic environment, and its conservation and enhancement are important factors to be considered in the long-term land use planning of the Borough as they contribute to the amenity, attractiveness and safety of the places in which people live, work and enjoy their leisure time. Despite its close proximity to London, Brentwood retains a relatively rural character with small, charming villages, attractive countryside, parks and woodlands. The Council will endeavour to ensure the protection of the natural and man-made features of the Borough’s rural areas and green spaces and the improvement of those areas where past activities have caused environmental damage. Any development proposals must, therefore, take account of the particular character, appearance, biodiversity, history and archaeology of the area.
2.10 All development should make satisfactory arrangements for vehicular and pedestrian access into the site and for parking and servicing within the site. In addition the level of traffic generated by the development should be capable of being satisfactorily accommodated by the transport network and should not give rise to unacceptable highway conditions or safety and amenity concerns as a result of the numbers or size of vehicles.
2.11 Finally, whilst, as set out in the Housing Chapter, the Council is satisfied that housing supply adequately meets the Borough's required housing provision figure set in the Replacement Structure Plan, in order to continue to resist pressure for the release of additional land from the Green Belt, it is important that optimum use is made of the existing housing stock. In addition, changes of use from residential in many instances, especially within or adjoining commercial centres, involve the loss of small unit accommodation, for example flats above shops and small terraced units, which make a valuable contribution to the housing stock in terms of housing choice and affordability. Such locations are also sustainable in relation to public transport accessibility and proximity to local services. Furthermore, a residential presence in commercial areas maintains some activity after shops and offices are closed, enhances community safety by engendering a feeling of a more secure environment, and retains the mixed-use character of the Borough's shopping centres. In this context and elsewhere, existing residential units should be retained and the loss of such accommodation to other uses resisted as far as possible.
ANY DEVELOPMENT WILL NEED TO SATISFY ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
i) THE PROPOSAL WOULD NOT HAVE AN UNACCEPTABLE DETRIMENTAL IMPACT ON VISUAL AMENITY, OR THE CHARACTER AND APPEARANCE OF THE SURROUNDING AREA.
ii) THE PROPOSAL WOULD NOT HAVE AN UNACCEPTABLE DETRIMENTAL IMPACT ON THE GENERAL AMENITIES OF NEARBY OCCUPIERS OR THE OCCUPIERS OF THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT BY WAY OF OVERLOOKING, LACK OF PRIVACY, OVERBEARING EFFECT OR GENERAL DISTURBANCE.
iii) THE PROPOSAL SHOULD BE OF A HIGH STANDARD OF DESIGN AND LAYOUT AND SHOULD BE COMPATIBLE WITH ITS LOCATION AND ANY SURROUNDING DEVELOPMENT (AND, IN THE CASE OF ALTERATIONS AND EXTENSIONS, WITH THE EXISTING BUILDING), IN TERMS OF SIZE, SITING, SCALE, STYLE, DESIGN AND MATERIALS.
iv) MEANS OF ACCESS TO THE SITE FOR VEHICLES AND PEDESTRIANS AND PARKING AND SERVICING ARRANGEMENTS ARE SATISFACTORY.
v) THE TRANSPORT NETWORK CAN SATISFACTORILY ACCOMMODATE THE TRAVEL DEMAND GENERATED AND TRAFFIC GENERATION WOULD NOT GIVE RISE TO ADVERSE HIGHWAY CONDITIONS OR HIGHWAY SAFETY CONCERNS OR UNACCEPTABLE LOSS OF AMENITY BY REASON OF NUMBER OR SIZE OF VEHICLES.
vi) THE PROPOSAL SHOULD NOT GIVE RISE TO THE NET LOSS OF A RESIDENTIAL UNIT (EXCEPT AS PROVIDED FOR IN POLICY TC19).
vii) THE PROPOSAL WOULD NOT HAVE AN UNACCEPTABLE DETRIMENTAL IMPACT ON HEALTH, THE ENVIRONMENT OR AMENITY DUE TO THE RELEASE OF POLLUTANTS TO LAND, WATER OR AIR (INCLUDING NOISE, FUMES, VIBRATION, SMELLS, SMOKE, ASH, DUST AND GRIT).
viii) THE PROPOSAL WILL BE EXPECTED TO TAKE FULL ACCOUNT OF THE NEED TO CONSERVE OR ENHANCE THE CHARACTER, APPEARANCE, BIODIVERSITY AND HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL HERITAGE OF THE SITE AND THE SURROUNDING AREA. WHERE IT IS CONSIDERED THAT THE HARM TO OR LOSS OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSET IS OUTWEIGHED BY THE NEED FOR THE DEVELOPMENT, THE COUNCIL WILL REQUIRE APPROPRIATE COMPENSATORY MEASURES, EITHER ON-SITE OR OFF-SITE.
A Target and Indicator for monitoring criterion (vi) of this policy is set out in Chapter 13
New Development and Sustainable Transport Choices
2.12 A key objective of planning for sustainable development is to both reduce the need to travel and maximise accessibility by public transport, cycling and walking. This will not only have environmental benefits but will promote social inclusion. Local authorities can help to achieve this by locating jobs, shopping, leisure facilities and services in locations which are well served by accessible, reliable and convenient public transport and/or are in reasonable walking and cycling distance from residential areas. Major travel generators, therefore, should be located in central locations or where public transport accessibility is greatest.
ALL PROPOSALS FOR DEVELOPMENT INCLUDING THE USE OF LAND WILL BE CONSIDERED IN THE CONTEXT OF:
i) ITS IMPACT ON REDUCING THE NEED TO TRAVEL, PARTICULARLY BY CAR
ii) ITS ACCESSIBILITY TO A CHOICE OF TRANSPORT MODES, AND
iii) THE CAPACITY OF THE EXISTING TRANSPORT NETWORK TO ACCOMMODATE THE ADDITIONAL TRAVEL DEMAND GENERATED.
TO THIS END, MAJOR GENERATORS OF TRAVEL DEMAND SHOULD BE LOCATED IN BRENTWOOD TOWN CENTRE AND DISTRICT CENTRES AND NEAR TO PUBLIC TRANSPORT INTERCHANGES OR IN AREAS WELL SERVED BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT ROUTES.
2.13 In order to consider the transport implications of development proposals, applications for planning permission will need to be accompanied by a Transport Assessment. The extent and content of such an assessment will be dependent on the size of development proposals, but for major proposals it should illustrate accessibility to the site by all modes, demonstrate the likely modal split of journeys to or from the site, detail the measures to improve accessibility by all modes and measures to mitigate transport impacts. Applicants will be expected to enter into a legal agreement setting out how such measures are to be achieved.
2.14 Where appropriate, development proposals should also include a Travel Plan (see Policy T1 in the Transport Chapter).
ALL DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS MUST INCLUDE SUFFICIENT INFORMATION TO IDENTIFY THEIR IMPACT ON THE TRANSPORT SYSTEM IN ORDER FOR AN ASSESSMENT TO BE MADE OF THE NEED FOR MEASURES TO MITIGATE ANY DETRIMENTAL TRANSPORT IMPACTS, SUCH AS IMPROVEMENTS TO ACCESS BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT, WALKING AND CYCLING, AND TO REDUCE THE NEED FOR PARKING. PLANNING APPLICATIONS WHICH ARE LIKELY TO GIVE RISE (EITHER IN THEMSELVES OR CUMULATIVELY) TO SIGNIFICANT TRANSPORT IMPLICATIONS WILL NEED TO BE ACCOMPANIED BY A COMPREHENSIVE TRANSPORT ASSESSMENT WHICH, INTER ALIA, WILL:
i) PROVIDE DETAILS OF THE LIKELY MODAL SPLIT OF JOURNEYS TO AND FROM THE SITE
ii) PROVIDE A COMPARISON OF TRANSPORT GENERATION TO AND FROM THE SITE BOTH BEFORE AND AFTER IMPLEMENTATION
iii) SET OUT HOW THE SURROUNDING TRANSPORT NETWORK WILL ACCOMMODATE ALL MOVEMENTS LIKELY TO BE GENERATED BY THE DEVELOPMENT WHILST MAINTAINING OR IMPROVING SAFETY AND NOT GIVING RISE TO ANY SIGNIFICANT DETRIMENTAL IMPACT ON THE AMENITIES OF THE SURROUNDING AREA.
iv) SET OUT DETAILS OF PROPOSED MEASURES TO IMPROVE ACCESS BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT, WALKING AND CYCLING AND REDUCE THE NUMBERS AND IMPACTS OF JOURNEYS BY PRIVATE CAR AND LORRY.
APPLICANTS WILL BE EXPECTED TO ENTER INTO A LEGAL AGREEMENT SETTING OUT HOW ANY MEASURES REFERRED TO IN THIS POLICY ARE TO BE ACHIEVED.
The Provision of Infrastructure and Community Facilities
2.15 It is increasingly recognised that development should contribute to the cost and provision of infrastructure and other facilities arising from it. Planning obligations are negotiated in the context of a planning application and are the means by which to ensure that a developer contributes towards the infrastructure and services that the local authority considers necessary to facilitate the development. The legislation enabling such agreements to be drawn up between the developer and the Local Authority is various - Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990; (as amended by the Planning and Compensation Act 1991); Sections 111 and 139 of the Local Government Act 1972; Section 33 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 and Section 278 of the Highways Act 1980.
2.16 Such agreements can cover many issues including, inter alia, transportation improvements, public open space, community facilities, education facilities, health facilities, affordable housing, off-site landscaping, car parking and many other matters.
2.17 Government Policy (Circular 1/97) sets out a tightly drawn up regime on the use of planning obligations, incorporating a series of policy tests that have collectively become known as “the necessity test”, to determine the acceptability of a planning obligation. The essential principles are that such agreements should be necessary, relevant to planning, directly related to the proposed development, fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the proposed development and reasonable in all other respects. The Borough Council also recognises that brownfield sites may have specific costs associated with their redevelopment that need to be considered in assessing a site’s economic viability and the ability to provide for community benefits.
2.18 The Essex Planning Officers Association is currently undertaking work on the means by which the transportation requirements of development will be dealt with by planning obligations.
2.19 Essex County Council Learning Services has produced a document entitled ‘Developer Contribution Guidelines’, which sets out the County Council’s approach towards developer contributions to fund additional school places. This document has been reproduced as proposed Supplementary Planning Guidance but will need to be adopted in due course as a Supplementary Planning Document under the new Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. It is intended that a Supplementary Planning Document, specifically dealing with matters of detail in respect of the delivery of other infrastructure and community facilities, will be developed with the appropriate agencies/bodies involved in their provision.
DEVELOPMENT WILL NOT BE PERMITTED UNLESS IT MAKES PROVISION FOR COMMUNITY FACILITIES, PUBLIC SERVICES, TRANSPORT PROVISION, INFRASTRUCTURE, ENVIRONMENTAL WORKS AND ANY OTHER REQUIREMENTS WHICH ARE RELEVANT TO PLANNING AND WHICH ARE MADE NECESSARY BY, AND ARE DIRECTLY RELATED TO, THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT.
WHERE APPROPRIATE, DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS WILL BE EXPECTED TO BE ACCOMPANIED BY A STATEMENT INDICATING HOW SUCH PROVISION IS TO BE MET.
DEVELOPERS WILL BE REQUIRED TO FINANCE THE FULL COST OR, IF APPROPRIATE, A CONTRIBUTION TOWARDS THE FULL COST, OF ALL SUCH PROVISION THAT IS FAIRLY AND REASONABLY RELATED IN SCALE AND KIND TO THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT AND ITS IMPACTS ON THE WIDER ENVIRONMENT. THIS PROVISION WILL BE SUBJECT TO PLANNING OBLIGATIONS, WHICH WILL BE SECURED PRIOR TO THE ISSUE OF PLANNING PERMISSION. THESE OBLIGATIONS WILL SPECIFY THE NATURE AND TIMING OF ALL PROVISION, BOTH ON AND OFF A DEVELOPMENT SITE, MADE NECESSARY BY THE DEVELOPMENT CONCERNED.