6 Applications to be determined by the Planning and Licensing

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6 Applications to be determined by the Planning and Licensing
REPORT of
HEAD OF PLANNING SERVICES
to
PLANNING AND LICENSING COMMITTEE
20 JUNE 2013
PLANNING APPLICATIONS FOR DETERMINATION BY THE COMMITTEE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PL1
FUL/MAL/12/00613
TOLLESHUNT D'ARCY PAGE No. 4
Proposed upgrade of poultry unit including demolition of four existing poultry sheds,
erection of five replacement poultry sheds, office and 3 service buildings with associated
equipment.
Hawthorns Farm Grove Farm Road Tolleshunt D'Arcy Essex
Applicant:- Mr Rob Rafferty, Amber Real Estate Investments Ltd
Agent:- Brian Barrow, Acorus Rural Property Services
PL2
FUL/MAL/13/00036
LITTLE BRAXTED
PAGE No. 28
Installation and operation of a solar farm and associated infrastructure, including PV panels,
mounting frames, inverters, transformers, switchgear, fence and pole mounted security
cameras.
Land South Of Little Braxted Hall Witham Road Little Braxted Essex
Applicant:- Mr Nick Boyle - Lightsource Renewable Energy
Agent:- Mr Cairan Dillon - Lightsource Renewable Energy Ltd
PL3
FUL/MAL/13/00222
HEYBRIDGE EAST
PAGE No. 73
Erection of 5 detached dwellings with garages and associated private amenity space and
private access drive.
Land At Broad Street Green Road Heybridge Essex
Applicant:- Granville Developments
Agent:- John Finch Partnership
PL4
FUL/MAL/13/00308
MALDON EAST
PAGE No. 91
Variation of Condition 9 of approved application FUL/MAL/11/00334 - variation operating
times
Parks Trading Unit Office The Promenade Park Park Drive Maldon
Applicant:- Mr Ian Haines - Maldon District Council
PL5
FUL/MAL/13/00448
MALDON NORTH
Change of use for Market stalls 2 days a week
Car Park Butt Lane Maldon Essex
Mr Richard Holmes - Maldon District Council
Applicant:- Mr Richard Holmes - Maldon District Council
PAGE NO. 99
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Agenda Item no.
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SE4
FUL/MAL/13/00136
BURNHAM EAST
PAGE No. 105
Change of use from B2 to class D2 (Children's play centre), and minor alterations to
elevations
Unit 2 Springfield Industrial Estate Springfield Road Burnham-On-Crouch
Applicant:- Mr I Cubberley
Agent:- Mr Colin Stone - Stone Me Ltd
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Agenda Item no.
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BACKGROUND PAPERS
The Background Papers listed below have been relied upon in the preparation of this report:
1.
The current planning applications under consideration and related correspondence.
2.
All third party representations and consultation replies received.
3.
The following Statutory Plans and Supplementary Planning Guidance and Advice,
together with relevant Government Circulars, Orders, Directions and Planning Policy
Guidance:
Development Plans
Essex and Southend-on-Sea Replacement Structure Plan – Saved Policies
Maldon District Replacement Local Plan – Saved Policies
The Regional Spatial Strategy - The East of England Plan
Legislation
The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended)
Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990
Planning (Hazardous Substances) Act 1990
The Planning and Compensation Act 1991 and The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act
2004
The Planning Act 2008
The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended)
The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order
2010
The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended)
The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007
The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011
National Planning Policy Framework and Technical Guidance
Government Circulars
Supplementary Planning Guidance and Other Advice (including draft Local Development
Framework Development Plan Documents)
i)
Essex County Council
Essex Design Guide 1997
ii)
Maldon District Council
Accessibility to Buildings
Children’s Play Spaces
Developer Contributions
Local Development Plan Preferred Options Consultation
Vehicle Parking Standards
Copies of all Background Papers are available for inspection at the Maldon District Council
Offices, Princes Road, Maldon, Essex CM9 5DL during normal office hours.
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PL1
FUL/MAL/12/00613
TOLLESHUNT D'ARCY
Proposed upgrade of poultry unit including demolition of four existing poultry sheds,
erection of five replacement poultry sheds, office and 3 service buildings with associated
equipment.
Hawthorns Farm Grove Farm Road Tolleshunt D'Arcy Essex
Applicant:- Mr Rob Rafferty, Amber Real Estate Investments Ltd
Agent:- Brian Barrow, Acorus Rural Property Services
1.
Introduction
1.1
This application has been brought to the Planning and Licensing Committee for
determination as it is a Significant Major Development which is a Schedule 2
Environmental Impact Assessment.
1.2
The application has been considered by the North Western Area Planning Committee
for recommendation to the Planning and Licensing Committee. The recommendation
was to approve the Officer’s recommendation as set out in this report.
1.3
Should Members’ be mindful to approve this application, Officers are proposing that
condition 7 is removed from the approval in light of additional information received
regarding site levels, as detailed paragraphs 3.14 and 7.14 below.
2.
Site Description
2.1
The application site lies on the north eastern side of Grove Farm Road, Tolleshnut
D’Arcy and currently comprises an intensive chicken farm (118,000 broilers) on a site
measuring 2.9 hectares in size. The site contains 4 poultry sheds measuring 60m in
depth, 14m wide. These have a total internal floor area of approximately 5952 sqm.
These are constructed of timber with fibre cement roofing. There are four feed silos
located adjacent at the western end of each existing poultry sheds. The site also
contains a manager’s dwelling, located to the south of the poultry sheds.
2.2
The holding has a current capacity for 118,000 broilers on a cycle from chicks to 3540 day old birds.
2.3
The site is bounded by mature planting and landscaping on all sides which buffers
views from the surrounding area. The context of this site is one of open countryside,
with loosely dispersed dwellings scattered across a landform which rises gently some
15m to the north east towards the Tiptree Heath Site of Special Scientific Interest
(SSSI) which is to the northwest. The nearest dwelling on the northern side of Grove
Farm Road, not associated with the unit is Grove Farm House. This is approximately
180m to the south east of the nearest existing poultry shed. The closest dwelling to
the existing managers dwelling is Little Daymens. This is located on the southern
side of Grove Farm Road with its access off Brick House Road. The access is
approximately 130m from the site.
2.4
The site is located outside of the defined settlement and in flood zone 1 although it is
not within a flood plain. The development site is over one hectare in scale and is
therefore accompanied by a Flood Risk Assessment.
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3.
The Proposal
3.1
Planning permission is sought for the replacement of the existing four poultry sheds
with five new sheds. These would vary in size as a result of the site area and shape.
The following indicates the size of the buildings from the west to east of the site;
Building
Width
Depth
1 (Western
most)
2
3
4
5 (eastern
most)
New site office
23.5 m
67.5 m
Gross area
(external)
1587.5sqm
23.5m
23.5m
23.5m
23.5m
116.3 m
116.3 m
116.3 m
91.9 m
2734.3sqm
2734.3sqm
2734.3sqm
2160.9sqm
2594sqm
2594sqm
2594sqm
2047.7sqm
8m
5m
40sqm
n/a
Internal Area
1501.3sqm
3.2
It is noted that the buildings, with the exception of the site office, are all 5.8m to the
top of the ridge and 2.6m to the eaves. The site office would be 3.725m to the ridge
and 2.25m to the eaves.
3.3
At the rear of the buildings would be small servicing areas. The three larger central
poultry sheds would have a shared and linked service yard, whereas the two smaller
poultry sheds would have individual service yards. New feed silos would be provided
between the buildings, two sets of 3 bins serving one large and one small building
(those closest to the boundaries of the site) and two bins serving the central building.
Each of the bins would have the capacity for 20 tonnes of feed and would be 6.87m in
height with a 3.352m diameter.
3.4
These silos would be between the buildings and be screened partially by the proposed
control rooms linking the buildings in two parts. In this respect, the two western most
poultry sheds would be linked and the three eastern most poultry sheds would be
linked.
3.5
Each of the poultry sheds would have low level glazed windows which are to be fitted
with black out blinds controlled by an automatic “dusk till dawn” mechanism. The
sheds would also be fitted with new roof vents, equally placed along the ridge of each
shed.
3.6
There would be a pedestrian door at the rear of each poultry shed and additional
pedestrian doors on the inward facing elevations (rear of the silos). A pedestrian door
is also provided from each of the control rooms to the individual sheds. On the front
elevations, large central loading doors are provided to enable access for deliveries.
The rear of the sheds would also contain extractor fan systems with a total of 6
extractors per shed.
3.7
The buildings are proposed to be constructed of Goosewing grey cladding for the roof
and Merlin grey cladding to the elevations.
3.8
Each building would be constructed to incorporate the latest design and controls to
ensure animal welfare and highest possible environmental control.
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3.9
The maximum number of birds on site would be 237,500 as confirmed in the Odour
Model and confirmed by the agent in an email dated 8 May 2013. The stocking levels
will be controlled by the Environmental Agency “permitting regime”. This is based
on a maximum stocking level managed on an all in all out 6 week cycle per flock with
one week at the end of each cycle for cleaning of the entire site. The cycle
management would result in 6.5 cycles per annum.
3.10
The site office is proposed to match the poultry sheds being constructed of Merlin
Grey Cladding with Goosewing Grey Cladding to the roof. It would contain a wc,
lockers, security and admin office and shredding/store room. A new security gate
would be installed and would be operated from the site office as indicated on the
submitted plan.
3.11
A balancing / attenuation pond is also proposed for the site. This is triangular in form
and is to be sited adjacent to the eastern most poultry shed. It would have a maximum
width of 30m and a depth of 67.5m. A 100mm overflow pipe is to be connected from
the attenuation pond to the adjacent ditch on the site boundary. The pond is designed
to ensure outfall rates from the site would be slowed in order to avoid potential for
localised flooding to the low points south of the site.
3.12
The application indicates that a landscaping scheme and “grey water” handling system
have been incorporated into the proposal.
3.13
An environmental impact assessment has also been carried out at the site along with
various reports including a phase 1 Habitat survey, heat exchange information, a flood
risk assessment, water disposal information, an odour model, ammonia model and a
landscape assessment.
3.14
Additional Information received
3.14.1 Additional plans have since been received to clarify site levels of the development.
This shows a re-levelling of the site with a fall by 1m from 21.250 to 20.250 from
west to east. This is to accord with the low point required for drainage at the site to
the attenuation pond to the eastern flank of the site. This gradual fall of 1m is not
significant given the width of the plot is approximately 135m, giving a gradient of
1:135. Finished floor levels are also shown on the submitted plans.
4.
Relevant Planning History

SOR/MAL/12/00324 (scoping opinion request) Proposed upgrade and
extension of poultry unit – Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) required
10.05.2012
5.
Consultation Replies
Parish Council
Tolleshunt D’Arcy Parish Council – Oppose the application:

The public highway is of insufficient size to allow safe passage of lorries
servicing the site which will be exacerbated by the increase of vehicle
movements.
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


The proposed size of the buildings restricts the ability of large vehicles to
manoeuvre on the site. It is not clear from the plans whether an in/out system
is to be employed.
The visual amenity of the neighbours will be adversely affected by the
buildings’ grey colour.
The occupiers of neighbouring properties are concerned over excessive scale
of the proposed development.
Neighbouring Councils
Colchester Borough Council – Note that the proposal constitutes an increase in built
form; this is in the interest of an agricultural concern and does not affect Colchester
Borough Council to any great degree. No observations to make.
Great Braxted Parish Council - Support this application although it is outside of our
village.
Tolleshunt Major Parish Council - Objects on the following grounds:

Concern about the disposal of waste water into local ditches. These ditches
run towards Bowstead Brook and Tudwick Road, where there is already a
problem with winter flooding. There needs to be a detailed examination of the
capacity of these ditches and the effect of increased water on winter flooding.

Grove Farm Road is very narrow but there should be a condition that HGVs
coming to and going from this site should only use Grove Farm Road and the
B1022, and not adjacent roads. Furthermore the Parish Council suggests that a
weight limit should be imposed on Grove Farm Road at a point beyond
Hawthorns Farm to prevent HGVs accessing the site on the neighbouring very
narrow roads.

There appears to be a discrepancy in the plans about whether there is to be
increased employment as a result of this proposal.
External
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) – No response
received at time of writing.
Environment Agency – Planning permission could be granted subject to conditions.
Surface Water Drainage - The development will only meet the requirements of the
NPPF if the following measure(s) as detailed in the Flood Risk Assessment contained
within Appendix 6 of the submitted Environmental Statement, prepared by Acorus
rural property services, dated July 2012 submitted with this application are
implemented and secured by way of a planning condition:
Environment Agency continued:
Condition:
The development permitted by this planning permission shall only be carried out in
accordance with the approved Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) B and the following
mitigation measures detailed within the FRA:
1.
Surface water shall be discharged from the site at a restricted rate of 2.94l/s for
all events up to and including the 1 in 100 year storm critical storm, inclusive
of climate change.
2.
Surface water shall be routed via French drains to an attenuation pond with a
minimum capacity of 1226m3.
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3.
Prior to the commencement of development, details of who shall be
responsible for the maintenance of the drainage system shall be agreed in
writing with the Local Planning Authority.
The mitigation measures shall be fully implemented prior to occupation and
subsequently in accordance with the timing / phasing arrangements embodied within
the scheme, or within any other period as may subsequently be agreed, in writing, by
the Local Planning Authority.
Reasons:

To ensure that runoff rates from the site shall not be increased as a result of the
development.

To prevent flooding by ensuring the satisfactory storage of/disposal of surface
water from the site.

To ensure the system is maintained to its design standard for the lifetime of
development.
Information provided on the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010 (examined
below)
Essex County Council Highways Authority – No objection.
Essex County Council Sustainable Urban Drainage Team – No response received
at time of writing.
Essex Wildlife Trust – No response received at time of writing.
Natural England - No objection in relation to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
(as amended) – no conditions requested.
Internal
Building Control – No response received at time of writing.
Coast and Countryside Officer –No objection as long as we can agree appropriate
mitigation measures and method statements along the lines of the proposals on pages
34 to 37 of the submitted Phase 1 habitat and Protected Species Survey.
Main concerns:

Protection of the trees along Grove Farm Road which form a green tunnel
ideal for commuting bats.

Protection of the boundary trees (including the dead oaks on the eastern
boundary), scrub and as much of the rough grassland areas as possible.

Ensuring any reptiles that may be present are unharmed and moved to a safe
area.

Ensuring any nesting birds that may be present are not disturbed or harmed.

Limiting the future impact of the development on any local bat populations.
These issues could be covered by a Construction Environmental Management Plan or
similar document developed in consultation between MDC, the developer and their
ecologists.
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Environmental Health – No comments to make on issued of nuisance from noise,
odour, dust, litter and pests which are covered by an Environmental Permit which is
regulated by the Environment Agency. No comments to make on management of
waste and emissions to land, water and air or land contamination as covered by the
Environment Agency.
Transport Impact
Reasonable to expect doubling of activity to produce noticeable noise impact entering
and leaving the site. More information should be provided as to how this is going to
be managed (not covered by environmental permit).
Conditions recommended:

External illumination.

Surface water drainage.
Informatives recommended:

Asbestos survey.

Notification for building control on demolition.

Hours of operation.

Lead Local Flood Authority (Essex County Council) notice for any control or
alteration to watercourses (e.g. ditches drains and any other networks of
water).
Further comments following submission of noise report:
This reports on a survey which undertook background noise measurements at nearest
sensitive receptors and predicts the impact from the Hydor 750 roof vents which are
"likely to be" used in the operation. The results were assessed using BS8233,
BS4142. The results indicate that there will be no impact on the background noise
and also the internal environment so much so that it is expected that noise from the
site will be inaudible.
Survey makes an assumption on the type of extraction unit being used and is possible
that a different unit could produce a variation of results. The report says an Agri-Jet
Silent system can be installed that will reduce the noise levels by 13dB. It is unclear
as to whether the predictions have included this or whether this is an additional level
of attenuation that could be incorporated should the noise levels prove to be
troublesome.
In addition Table 5.4 presents an assessment of a survey using BS4142 rating. This
provides predictive impacts on a worst-case scenario when gable end fans are used
due to high ambient temperatures. The report states that "it is not anticipated" that
this scenario will occur and therefore a night-time assessment has not been included.
It should be noted that at two of the measurement locations R3 and R4 this scenario at
night would impact on the background noise by +6.7 and +11.8 which could
potentially result in noise complaints.
Therefore it is recommended that the gable end fans are not used between the hours of
2300 and 0700 which should not present a problem for the operation as it is not
anticipated that this scenario will occur.
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Environmental Health Continued:
It is recommended that when the extraction vents are confirmed the noise survey is
checked to verify that the predictions are still relevant.
It is recommended that a maintenance schedule for building services plant, roof
extraction vents, silo motors, heat exchangers and gable end fans is submitted and
made available for inspection by Officers.
The report does not include an assessment for vehicle movement. The report only
states that despite acknowledging an increase in movements it is not considered that
this will be significant. Also it is an extension of the existing operation and can be
controlled through "suitable site management systems". Not sure if vehicle movement
are covered under the permit. The increase in vehicle movements and impact on
existing noise should be quantified using a sufficient assessment.
As noise management will be covered by an Environmental Permit regulated by the
Environment Agency and cannot be duplicated by a planning condition it appears that
these recommendations can only be proposed as an informative. The Environment
Agency should have a copy of these comments and the report in order that they can
make suitable arrangements for the Environmental Permit that will cover the site
operation.
Tree Officer –There is some potential that roots of the scrub/trees may be
compromised in 2 “pinch points” one on the western and the other on the northern site
boundary. In this situation, the amount of root damage that is likely will not
compromise the boundary trees. Any impacts upon the health of the semi mature
trees can be minimised by pollarding or crown lifting. Further that the applicant
offers to refresh planting with new specimens which will replace moribund and dead
trees from the original 1960’s planting. These options will also enhance biodiversity
and local wildlife habit.
The boundary existing screen provides an outlier of a variety of species/age/condition
rich trees and scrub planting against an open field to the north of the application site.
The planting also offers an important connection with the existing hedgerow network
along Grove farm Road. It is important to ensure that this continues as a bridging
point for local wildlife migration.
Any trees that suffer root damage should be managed accordingly and if protected,
could well provide veteran qualities in the boundary screen. This is again important
for wildlife habitat. Veteran trees are becoming increasingly rare, and this is an ideal
opportunity to induce veteranisation in a relatively isolated group of trees. The future
management of root damaged trees resulting from this proposal should be addressed
by planning condition.
Condition recommended:

A BS5837 tree report, including constraints, tree protection, method statement
etc. (The report should plot the mature trees as individuals, however the
successive scrub can be grouped, but the species in the groups should be
detailed.)
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Tree Officer continued:

A landscaping scheme which should include enhancement of the existing
boundary with age and species diversity a feature. This will ensure as far as is
possible the continued presence of this boundary in the landscape and in the
wildlife corridor network.
6.
Letters of Representation
Letters of Objection:
Mrs M Cassidy Little Daymens Grove Farm Road Tolleshunt Major
Mr & Mrs R Hayer Daymens Hill Farm Brick House Road Tolleshunt Major
Mr & Mrs R Hayter Daymens Hill Farm Brick House Road Tolleshunt Major
Sam Hayter Daymens Hill Bungalow Brick House Road Tolleshunt Major
Mr & Mrs Ferguson Grove Farm Grove Farm Road Tolleshunt D'Arcy
Main reasons for Objection:

Scale of proposal doubling current capacity.

Access issues – number of HGVs need to service the factory would be
unacceptable.

Road unsuitable for HGVs.

Adverse impact from smells, dust and noise on local residents.

Visual impact – greater height and length of development.

Degrade local rural scenery.

Drainage – ditches have insufficient drainage capacity to accommodate
proposal.

Narrow country lane.

Cars can only pass in special laybys provided in the road.

Access for lorries is difficult and impossible to pass in the road.

Will require several more lorries for the intensified use.

Dangerous to consider moving the access.

Smell from current use is really bad depending on wind direction.

Close to the surrounding hedges on site.

Distance between buildings is less than existing – may be a fire hazard.

Bad dust when sheds are cleared.

Flooding problem in the road.

Overcrowding / overdevelopment of site.

Detrimental to rural area and environment.

Will result in double the amount of dust, muck and smell – further nuisance.

Plans show storm water pipe going into neighbour ditch.
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7.
Assessment of Proposal
Policy Issues
(i)
Relevant Development Plan Policies
Adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan

S2 - Development Outside Development Boundaries - Outside the defined
development boundaries the coast and countryside will be protected for their
own sake.

CON2 - Sustainable Drainage Systems - Appropriate attenuation/mitigation
measures are required to avoid adverse impacts of excess surface water
discharge.

CON5 - Pollution Prevention - Development having an adverse impact on
the environment by means of pollution will be refused.

CC2 – Development Affecting a Nationally Designated Nature
Conservation Site – Development having a direct or indirect impact on a
designated nature conservation site will not be permitted unless the need
outweighs the importance of the site or effects can be mitigated.

CC5 – Protection of wildlife at risk on development sites – To ensure
suitable consideration of the presence protection and mitigation of any impacts
on wildlife when considering development proposals.

CC6 - Landscape Protection - The natural beauty and quality of the
landscape shall be protected, conserved and enhanced.

CC17 – Intensive Livestock Units – New development should have no
detrimental effect on the character of the area, residential amenity or nature
conservation.

E6 - Protection of Existing Employment Sites - Loss of an employment site
will not normally be permitted unless certain criteria apply.

BE1 - Design of New Development and Landscaping - Development will
only be permitted if it is compatible with its surroundings and meets defined
criteria.

BE8 – Lighting – Applications for development requiring external lighting
shall include details of lighting schemes.

T1 - Sustainable Transport and Location of New Development – Priority
will be given for new development within defined development boundaries.

T2 - Transport Infrastructure in New Developments – New development
will be expected to achieve sustainability and highway safety throughout.

T8 - Vehicle Parking Standards - New development will be expected to
meet the adopted parking standards.
(ii)
Maldon District Local Development Plan
The Council agreed the approach for progression and production of a Local
Development Plan for the Maldon District on 21 July 2011. This follows the reforms
being introduced to the planning system by the Government, including the Localism
agenda, and subsequent discussions with elected Members. The Local Development
Plan will be based largely upon the existing draft Core Strategy document, but there
will be amendments and additions to certain aspects of the Plan.
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Once adopted, the Local Development Plan will supersede the Maldon District
Replacement Local Plan ‘saved policies’ as the statutory Development Plan for the
District. In the meantime, the National Planning Policy Framework states that the
Replacement Local Plan ‘saved policies’ can continue to be given due weight
according to their degree of consistency with the Framework (the closer the saved
policies in the plan to the policies in the Framework, the greater the weight that may
be given). The East of England Plan formerly was part of the statutory Development
Plan for the District, was revoked on 3 January 2013. The Local Development Plan
will have to be in conformity with National Planning Policy.
The “Local Development Plan Preferred Options” consultation document was
published on 10 July 2012. This document carries limited weight but can be referred
to as a material consideration.
(iii)
Government Guidance

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published by the
Government on 27 March 2012 and came into immediate effect. The NPPF
provides the national planning guidance and forms a material consideration
with all planning applications. This document supersedes all Planning Policy
Guidance notes and Planning Policy Statements as well as other certain
government publications listed within Annex 3 of the NPPF. Notwithstanding
this Local Plan ‘saved policies’ can continue to be given due weight according
to their degree of consistency with the Framework (the closer the saved
policies in the plan to the policies in the Framework, the greater the weight
that may be given).
7.1
Assessment Introduction:
7.1.1 A number of issues arise in the assessment of this application that are covered by the
Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010 and subsequently managed by the
Environment Agency. The permitting regulations are summarised here for reference
prior to examining the details of this application and the planning issues which arise.
7.1.2
Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010
7.1.2.1 The application site, Hawthorn Farm Poultry Unit, is regulated by an Environmental
Permit issued by the Environment Agency. The current permit for the site was issued
on 19 October 2007. The permit allows a maximum of 110,000 birds on site at any
one time. If planning permission were to be granted for the proposal, the applicant
will need to apply to vary the existing permit to encompass the changes to the site and
operations. The applicant would also be required to submit the odour and ammonia
screening data (submitted with the planning application) to the Environment Agency
for review as part of this process, due to the increase in bird places proposed.
7.1.2.2 In terms of pollution both an odour and ammonia report have been conducted and
submitted as part of this application. This is based on the current capacity of the site
at 120,000 birds. It is recognised however, and as pointed out by the Environment
Agency, the existing permit only allows for 110,000 birds. The Environment Agency
has requested that this is clarified before the application is made to vary the permit for
the site. Any issues arising from pollution would be investigated and enforced by the
Environment Agency through the permitting process.
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7.1.3
Ambit of the permit
7.1.3.1 The permit seeks to regulate the pollution emitted by the site; there are permit controls
covering amongst other parts, odour, noise, dust and emissions from the site both in
terms of emissions to air and water. If an environmental pollution issue arsies at the
site it should be reported to the Environment Agency, all incidents are logged and an
Environment Agency Officer would be tasked with investigating any breaches or
complaints.
7.1.3.2 A requirement of the permit is that sites, such as the application site, incorporate the
“best available techniques” (BAT) for pollution prevention. All sites are under a duty
to comply with this requirement by 2020. As part of this requirement, farms have to
complete a housing review, summarising existing emissions and produce an
implementation plan where necessary. The Applicant indicates that a review was
undertaken at the site and that the existing facility “falls well short of minimum
standards”. The proposals offer an opportunity for these more exacting BAT
pollution prevention measures to be implemented in the upgraded designs proposed.
7.1.4
General information on permitting
7.1.4.1 The Environment Agency has confirmed that since the permit was issued for this site
there have been no complaints received about the site. As such the Environment
Agency does not consider the site or proposal to be contentious.
7.1.4.2 The permitting regime offers a mechanism to control development whereby there
could be an impact upon the locality, environment and nearby occupiers as a result of
factors outlined above. Therefore, any concerns that may arise in respect of odour,
noise, dust and emissions for example would be monitored, managed and enforced by
The Environment Agency. In fact consideration control and enforcement under The
Planning Act would be “Ultra Viries” and would be comprehensively dealt with
through other legislation which stands outside planning control.
7.2
Principle of Development
7.2.1 The general land use principle of development in this rural location is acceptable, as it
relates to removal of buildings which have stood on site for over fifty years and their
replacement and subsequent intensification of an existing use with updated buildings
which would be compliant with “BAT”. The longstanding nature of this site has
given rise to a mature landscape planting around the site, with many mature trees and
a well-defined and tall hedgerow. The existing poultry units are also “dug into” the
site; finished floor levels of the buildings are set approximately 750mm lower than
road and surrounding landscape.
7.2.2 As the proposal would result in an intensification of use, the requirements of policy
CC17 become relevant. The policy states that in considering applications for
intensive livestock units the Council should require that the location ensures that the
proposal is not detrimental to the character of the area, new buildings are sited to
ensure that neighbouring occupiers are not unduly affected by noise, smell or
disturbance and the disposal of effluent is not detrimental to nature conservation.
These points are considered below. Subject to these considerations, the principle of
development would be acceptable.
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7.2.3 It is recognised that the nature of the use of the site for agricultural activity is such
that it requires a rural location to take place and therefore the requirements of policy
S2 of the local plan would not be immediately applicable in this instance.
7.3
Sustainability
7.3.1 Sustainability is a key aspect of the NPPF particularly in terms of creating sustainable
communities. It is therefore a material consideration in assessing this proposal.
7.3.2 The development is proposed on a site which would constitute previously developed
land as defined by the NPPF. There is a general presumption in favour of use of
previously developed land for new development. In this instance, the proposal would
seek to re-use the existing poultry farm for the same purposes, but on an intensified
regime incorporating BAT as required by the Environmental Permitting. In this
respect the proposed replacement buildings would be of an up to date quality
construction, utilising best available technologies in order to update the site and
provide a more efficient use of resources than the existing sheds which have been
retro fitted for this use since the 1960’s. In this respect, the site as proposed would be
more environmentally efficient compared to the existing buildings on site, both in
terms of construction and land use. In addition, grey water recycling and rainwater
harvesting would be incorporated at the site to ensure efficiency within the waste
water usage on site.
7.3.3 In terms of accessibility, it is accepted that the site is in a rural area and so would not
benefit from the most accessible position for employees. However, this represents nil
detriment from the current situation. In addition, the manager would reside on/
adjacent to the site in the managers dwelling therefore reducing needs for travel to the
site by private car use. Furthermore, this is an enterprise whereby a rural location is
required; such a use cannot take place in a district centre due to potential nuisance
issues from noise, odour, and dust.
7.3.4 The NPPF itself provides some guidance on the rural economy development and
sustainability. Section 3 of the NPPF specifically relates to the rural economy stating
at paragraph 38 that policies should support economic growth in rural areas in order to
create jobs and prosperity by taking a positive approach to sustainable new
development. This includes supporting the sustainable growth and expansion of all
types of business and enterprise in rural areas, both through conversion of existing
buildings and well-designed new buildings. The paragraph goes on to refer to the
need to promote the development and diversification of agricultural and other landbased rural businesses.
7.3.5 In this instance, the re use and intensification of production on this previously
developed site, would comply with the requirements of the NPPF to support growth
and expansion of rural businesses, including those relating to agriculture.
7.4
Scale and Design
7.4.1 The site is currently occupied by 4 large detached buildings, all of which are single
storey and have a total approximate internal area of 5952 sqm. The proposal would
result in the demolition of these buildings and their replacement with 5 new larger
buildings with a total internal useable floor space of approximately 12,383 sqm. This
is an increase in floor space of 6131 sqm. The following table shows the scale of
existing buildings in relation to those now proposed.
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Total buildings
Height
Width
Depth
Existing
4
4m (approx.)
12m
4 x 125m
Proposed
5
5.8m
23.5m
1 x 67.3m
1 x 91.9m
3 x 116.3m
7.4.2 It is recognised that the built form at the site would be effectively doubled. However,
this is in the interests of increasing the activities as a commercial enterprise and
equally to ensure the more stringent permitting requirements can be met. In effect the
proposal would enable “BAT” measures and Animal Health and Veterinary
Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) Welfare standards to be met and maintained as soon
as possible.
7.4.3 The buildings would be of uniform cladding colours, widths and heights, albeit with
the two outermost structures being slightly smaller in depth than the central 3. The
structures would be of typical construction for modern agricultural requirements with
pre-cast concrete walls with profile steel sheeting for the roof and walls. The roof and
walls would also be insulated. These materials would reflect the character and
appearance of other modern agricultural buildings in the local landscape and wider
district. Given the existing presence on site of large scale agricultural buildings it is
considered that the proposed buildings will not be unreasonably conspicuous or
visually intrusive in this rural locality.
7.4.4 Having considered the overall appearance of the proposal in relation to the existing
and equally in relation to the surroundings, it is considered that the design of
development is acceptable and would comply with the requirements of policy BE1 (a)
of the local plan. It is also recognised that the NPPF requires good design for new
development. In this instance, it is considered that the proposal would not conflict
with the requirements of the NPPF in this respect.
7.5
Impact on the character and appearance of the local landscape
7.5.1 Paragraph 3.115 of the preamble to policy CC17 requires that applications for
intensive livestock units do not impair the visual amenity of the countryside. In
addition to this requirement, Policy CC6 aims to protect the district’s landscape,
including its natural beauty, tranquillity, amenity and traditional qualities. Policy BE1
(c) further requires that new development outside of settlements make a positive
contribution to their setting.
7.5.2 In this instance it is primarily recognised that the site already contains an intensive
livestock unit of a considerable scale. Therefore, the consideration should focus on
whether the proposal would result in a greater impact upon the surrounding
countryside. The existing buildings on the site are not considered to offer any
significant benefit to the character and appearance of the rural locality. The buildings
are an accepted feature in the landscape due to their longstanding presence in this
setting. Notwithstanding this, the buildings are now dated and in need of upgrading.
7.5.3 It is recognised that views of the site from the surrounding area are somewhat limited,
albeit with glimpsed passing views from various locations, including nearby
residential properties and the Tiptree Heath SSSI. Such views are limited due to the
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significant and mature landscape planting which surrounds the site both on its
boundaries and in the general local landscape. In this regard Grove Farm Road is
defined by a tall planted hedge row which gives a verdant feel to the site frontage and
immediate surrounds. The wider intervening views are also filtered by a gently
rolling topography and the numerous hedgerows and interspersed tree planting which
help to limit and soften any views that can be obtained. The more significant visual
impact is had from the nearest neighbouring dwelling Grove Farm House some 160m
to the South East of the proposed poultry units.
7.5.4 The proposal would result in a number of larger buildings on the application site
replacing the existing 4 structures. Evidently this is likely to result in the visual
impact of the site being greater from the surrounding area. However, the new
buildings are of a modern agricultural vernacular and reflective of similar structures in
the wider countryside. They are considered to be of an appearance expected in a rural
locality.
7.5.5 The development is also well contained in the site and would not require any
extension of the site to accommodate the addition buildings or increased activity
proposed. The existing mature boundary landscaping, including that along the
roadside, offers an ameliorating effect and continuous screening from the
surroundings which is considered vital in protecting the character and appearance of
this locality and relationship of the site to the landscape setting. This existing
landscaping is considered to provide effective mitigation of any increase in visual
impact caused by the increased built form now proposed. This planting is to be
refreshed and enhanced as part of the applicants landscaping proposals. This planting
will be delivered by compliance with a suitably worded detailed landscaping
condition.
7.5.6 On this basis it is considered that the proposal would not impair the visual amenity of
the countryside or have a detrimental impact upon its traditional qualities and beauty
as required by saved policies CC6, and BE1 (c) of the Local Plan.
7.6
Landscaping
7.6.1 In addition to the points raised above it is noted that the Council’s Tree Officer has
raised a number of points for consideration which have been identified above in the
consultation response. The proposed development is effectively screened by the
mature planting which surrounds the site. However, some planting from the initial
site development in the 1960’s has died or has become moribund. The proposal could
therefore add new life and vigour to the existing planting at the site to ensure
appropriate screening and softening of these proposals in the local landscape. This
can be dealt with by way of a detailed landscaping scheme as recommended by the
Tree Officer.
7.6.2 The importance of the existing trees and hedgerow plantings is recognised both as a
landscape and ecological asset. It is therefore recommended that the developer
submits a detailed tree protection scheme prior to commencement. This has been
recommended by the Tree Officer and would allow the protection of existing trees in
addition to the management of them. The proposals would therefore be considered to
comply with saved policy CC6.
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7.7
Nature conservation
7.7.1 The site is to the South West of Tiptree Heath SSSI. Policy CC2 of the local plan
aims to ensure that development does not have a negative impact upon such sites. It is
recognised that this SSSI is located within the Colchester Borough and not within the
Maldon District. However, the close proximity of the site to this area remains a
relevant consideration. Colchester Borough Council has been consulted on the
application and considers that the proposal would not cause harm to the SSSI.
7.7.2 Natural England is equally satisfied that the proposed development, if carried out in
accordance with the details submitted, would not damage or destroy the interest
features of the Tiptree Heath SSSI, concluding that the SSSI would not represent a
constraint in determining this application.
7.7.3 The Council’s own Coast and Countryside Officer has also raised no objection to the
proposal on the basis of protection of or impact on the SSSI.
7.7.4 For these reasons it is considered that the proposal would not affect the SSSI and
would meet the requirements of policy CC2.
7.8
Ecology
7.8.1 The application has been submitted with a habitat survey and the Council’s Coast and
Countryside Officer has been consulted. The Officer has raised no objection to the
application on the basis that conditions are imposed to require specific aspects of the
Habitat Survey as referred to on pages 34 to 37 are carried out.
7.8.2 The Coast and Countryside Officer has noted that existing planting on the site should
be protected, including a dead oak tree, as these offer important green tunnels for
commuting bats. In addition, it is important for scrub and rough grassland at the site
to be retained in the interest of any wildlife that may be present. The Coast and
Countryside Officer would also wish to ensure that any reptiles that may be present
are unharmed and moved to a safe area, any nesting birds that may be present are not
disturbed or harmed and the development has a limiting impact on any local bat
populations.
7.8.3 Conditions and an informative could be utilised to ensure that these considerations are
appropriately dealt with. The Coast and Countryside Officer can confirm that these
details could be covered by a Construction Environmental Management Plan or
similar document developed in consultation between with the Council, developer and
their ecologists. Such a condition would also be considered suitable.
7.8.4 On this basis, it is considered that the proposal would be capable of complying with
policy CC5 of the Local Plan with suitable conditions being imposed.
7.9
Neighbouring amenity
7.9.1 Policies BE1 and CC17 of the local plan aim to protect the amenity of neighbouring
occupiers from development, including intensive livestock units. In this instance, the
nuisance issues which could affect neighbouring amenity, such as noise, odour, dust,
litter and pests are all managed, monitored and enforced by The Environment Agency
through the Environmental Permitting Regulations. Therefore, these are fully
managed through The Environment Agency independently of the planning process
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and would continue to be monitored throughout the lifetime of the activities at the
site. Objections and complaints can be issued by neighbours to The Environment
Agency if there is a concern about the impact of any of these factors from the
development and appropriate investigation and action would be taken.
7.9.2 Notwithstanding this, a noise report, odour model and ammonia model have been
submitted as part of this application and considered by the environment agency and
environmental health as part of the consultation process. No issues have been raised
in relation to the data contained in these reports. The nearest neighbours (not
associated with the holding) are approximately 160m from the site and 180m from the
closest existing poultry shed. A distance of between 150m and 160m would remain
between the existing dwelling and the closest new poultry unit at the site. Little
Daymens Farm is approximately 130m from the site from its access onto Brick House
Road. There is no history of complaint to The Environment Agency, under the
current permitting regime for this site. Similarly, there is no record of complaint to
either Maldon District Council or Colchester Borough Council in regard to the
existing operation at Hawthorns Farm.
7.9.3 The principle issues affecting neighbouring amenity would be those covered by the
permitting regime (noise, odour, dust, litter and pests) particularly as this is a large
scale poultry unit. However, other considerations which would constitute planning
considerations would include the impact on neighbouring amenity as a result of
increased traffic generation and activity at the site.
7.9.4 In this instance, the application suggests that there would be no significant increase in
traffic generation at the site. No specific details of vehicle movements are provided
but the application does show that there would be 6.5 cycles taking place at the site
per annum. Each would involve deliveries to and from the units at specific points,
and limited activities from HGVs, other than food deliveries, between these times.
This situation would already occur and no complaints have been received to suggest
that the activity associated with transportation of the birds to and from the site causes
any problems. It is noted that concerns are raised in the letters of representation
received.
7.9.5 Notwithstanding this, details of a routing agreement could be put forward by the
applicant in order to ensure that the route of delivery vehicles would not negatively
impact upon neighbouring amenity, over and above that already experienced. This
option has been put to the applicant for consideration and any progress can be
reported on the Members update or verbally at the committee meeting. The details of
this are examined below.
7.9.6 On the basis of the coverage of the permitting covered by the Environment Agency, it
is considered that there would be no significant increase in impact to neighbouring
amenity at the site as a result of the development. Any impact that may however be
caused would be adequately controlled by the Environment Agency and
Environmental Permitting Regulations rather than through planning.
7.10
Lighting
7.10.1 The proposal states that the lighting proposed is limited to being solely personal
lighting above the doors. This would not be considered to cause any undue harm to
neighbouring amenity or by way of light pollution. A condition could be included
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requiring no lighting to be provided at the site other than that shown on the submitted
plans. This would also be considered essential to the mitigation of local landscape
impacts and to prevent any adverse impacts on wildlife habitats in the immediate
locality. It is also recognised that there is no record of complaint regarding light
pollution from the existing use.
7.11
Waste management
7.11.1 A Site Waste Management Plan is required for this site, in connection with the
proposed intensification of use. This is consideration lays within the environmental
permit and so is beyond the scope of planning control.
7.11.2 Officers from Maldon District Council will receive notification of any permit
application from The Environment Agency will comment to raise any specific
recommendations on the drafting of the permit or waste management plans.
7.12
Parking and access
7.12.1 Parking provision at the site would be adequately met in that there is more than
sufficient space for parking and turning of vehicles on site. Parking is also available
outside of the manager’s dwelling for private vehicles.
7.12.2 In terms of access along Grove Farm Road, it is recognised that this is a narrow road,
single track road with passing bays. However any impact is mitigated by the amount
of traffic associated with the existing use of the site. The Highway Authority has not
objected to the proposal on highway safety grounds and this is a material
consideration.
7.12.3 Notwithstanding this, a number of letters of objections have been received, including
concerns raised by both the parish and neighbouring parish council regarding access.
In this regard, the agent has been contacted in respect of a routing agreement for
HGVs over a 3.5 tonne axel weight.
7.12.4 A route has been put forward for consideration, subject to a unilateral undertaking.
This aims to address, as far as possible, concerns relating to disturbance and safety
issues potentially arising from access to the site. The heads of terms for a unilateral
undertaking are therefore proposed to include the following specific route:

Right out of the holding along Grove Farm Road.

Turn right onto Maldon Road (B1022).

Continue to Tiptree.

Turn left onto Kelvedon Road (B1023).

Continue to Kelvedon.

From the B1023 turn right onto London Road to the B1024.

Then take access onto the A12 trunk road.

And vice versa.
7.12.5 If this undertaking is provided, it would be enforceable by injunction. An update can
be provided at the committee meeting either verbally or on the members update as to
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the status of this routing agreement and unilateral undertaking. Planning consent
would not be released until the unilateral undertaking has been completed
7.12.6 It is noted that construction traffic would be required to follow working hours which
can be secured through the inclusion of a construction management condition if
planning permission is granted.
7.12.7 It is considered that a routing agreement could potentially address concerns raised by
objectors and parish councils in respect of suitability of the local road network. In
addition, it is important to recognise that noise and disturbance from traffic is not
addressed by way of the Environmental Permitting Regulations.
7.12.8 It must however be recognised that the existing commercial activities at the site are
not subject to a routing agreement and therefore HGVs and such vehicles are able to
utilise any road in the area to access the site.
7.13
Flood risk
7.13.1 The site is within flood zone 1 which has the lowest risk of flooding on the
Environment Agency maps. The site is outside of the floodplain however the
proposal would represent operational development on a site with an area exceeding 1
hectare in size. Such sites can generate significant volumes of surface water. The
impact and risk posed by this will vary according to both the type of development and
the characteristics of the catchment and needs to be addressed by a Flood Risk
Assessment (FRA). An FRA has been submitted as part of this application and
considered in this context. No issues are considered to arise that cannot be dealt with
by way of planning conditions, including those suggested by Environmental Health.
7.13.2 The condition proposed by the Environment Agency in respect of flooding
encompasses three elements all of which are stated in the submitted FRA. The first of
these (discharge rate of surface water at a restricted rate of 2.94l/s for all events up to
and including the 1 in 100 year storm critical storm, inclusive of climate change) is an
improvement on discharge rate of brownfield land. Therefore agreement to this
would result in betterment at the site from its current state and indeed from general
brownfield land run off rates. The agent has agreed to the imposition of a condition
which specifically requires this discharge rate to be met.
7.13.3 The second requires that surface water shall be routed via French drains to an
attenuation pond with a minimum capacity of 1226m3. In this regard, the attenuation
pond is shown on the submitted plans and does form a part of this application. The
agent has again agreed to the imposition of the condition requiring this form of
drainage and use of the attenuation pond.
7.13.4 The final aspect of the condition suggested by the Environment Agency would require
that prior to the commencement of development; details of who shall be responsible
for the maintenance of the drainage system shall be agreed in writing with the Local
Planning Authority. Again the agent has agreed to this.
7.13.5 It is considered that the agreement to these factors would all assist in ensuring the
development does not result in any harm or greater risk of flooding from surface
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water in the locality. As proposed and conditioned the development will in fact result
in betterment at the site and surrounding area compared to the existing.
7.13.6 In terms of groundwater, the environment agency does not consider this to be
sensitive at the site and so no objections are raised.
7.14
Comments on additional information received
7.14.1 Additional plans were received showing a re-levelling of the site with a fall by 1m
from 21.250 to 20.250 from west to east. This would enable drainage at the site to the
attenuation pond to the eastern flank of the site. This gradual fall of 1m is not
considered to be significant given the width of the plot is approximately 135m and
when having regard to the location of the site in an area where there is general
undulation of the landscape. Existing mature planting on the site would continue to
provide screening of the development. On this basis, condition 7 requiring
submission and approval of site levels, as included on the Officer’s report to the North
Western Area planning Committee would no longer be applicable as the details have
been submitted in terms of site levels. It has therefore been removed from this report.
The site level plans would instead be included on the list of approved plans.
7.15
Other Considerations
7.15.1 Whilst animal welfare is a consideration for licensing via the Animal Health and
Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), the matter is not a material planning
consideration should not influence the determination of this application. Animal
welfare is adequately covered by the relevant bodies outside the ambit of planning.
7.15.2 A number of letters of representation have been received in relation to this
application, including comments from neighbouring parish councils. Many of the
points raised in these letters have been addressed above or are managed by The
Environment Agency under the Environmental Permit Regulations.
7.16
Conclusion
7.16.1 Having considered the application in detail, in addition to the coverage of the
environmental permit, it is considered that the proposal would be acceptable subject to
conditions. The proposal is therefore recommended for approval.
Recommendation
APPROVE subject to completion of an appropriately worded unilateral undertaking relating
to the routing of construction and operational vehicles and the following conditions:
1
The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of three years
from the date of this permission.
REASON: To comply with Section 91(1) of The Town & Country Planning Act 1990
(as amended).
2
The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in complete accordance with
the approved drawings specifically referenced on this decision notice as well as the
submitted detailed specifications unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local
Planning Authority.
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3
4
5
6
REASON: To ensure that the development is carried out in accordance with the
details as approved.
No development shall take place until written details or samples of all materials to be
used in the construction of the external surfaces of the development hereby permitted
have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The
development shall be carried out using the materials and details as approved.
REASON: In order to protect and enhance the character and appearance of the rural
area in accordance with policies BE1 and CC6 of the Adopted Maldon District
Replacement Local Plan.
No works or development shall take place until full details of both hard and soft
landscape works to be carried out have been submitted to and approved in writing by
the Local Planning Authority. These details shall include the layout of the hard
landscaped areas with the materials and finishes to be used and details of the soft
landscape works including schedules of shrubs and trees to be planted, noting the
species, stock size, proposed numbers/densities and details of the planting scheme's
implementation, aftercare and maintenance programme. The hard landscape works
shall be carried out as approved prior to the beneficial occupation of the development
hereby approved unless otherwise first agreed in writing by the Local Planning
Authority. The soft landscape works shall be carried out as approved within the first
available planting season (October to March inclusive) following the commencement
of the development, unless otherwise first agreed in writing by the Local Planning
Authority. If within a period of five years from the date of the planting of any tree or
plant, or any tree or plant planted in its replacement, is removed, uprooted, destroyed,
dies, or becomes, in the opinion of the Local Planning Authority, seriously damaged
or defective, another tree or plant of the same species and size as that originally
planted shall be planted in the same place, unless the Local Planning Authority gives
its written consent to any variation.
REASON: In order to ensure that the proposal is acceptable for the locality and
protects the character and appearance of the rural locality in accordance with policies
BE1 and CC6 of the Adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan.
No equipment, machinery or materials are brought to the site for the purposes of the
development, until a written statement detailing the retention and protection of trees
on the site has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning
Authority. The submitted statement shall include a survey and assessment of all trees
on the site and shall identify on a scaled drawing those trees to be retained and where
arboricultural work is proposed. It shall also detail the measures and means of
protecting the trees on the site in accordance with British Standards 5837:2012 (Trees
in Relation to Construction). The development shall be carried out fully in
accordance with the agreed details unless otherwise first agreed in writing with the
Local Planning Authority. If within five years from the completion of the
development a tree which is agreed to be retained is removed, destroyed, dies, or
becomes, in the opinion of the Local Planning Authority, seriously damaged or
defective, a replacement tree shall be planted within the site of such species and size,
and shall be planted at such time, as specified in writing by the Local Planning
Authority.
REASON: In order to protect the existing boundary trees and planting at the site
which contributes positively to the character and appearance of the locality and
incorporates the site into the surroundings, in accordance with policies BE1 and CC6
of the Adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan.
No trees within the site shall be felled, cut back, damaged or removed, unless
otherwise first agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority. No development
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7
8
9
shall commence until information has been submitted and approved in writing by the
Local Planning Authority in accordance with the requirements of BS5837:2012 in
relation to tree retention and protection as follows:

Tree survey detailing works required;

Trees to be retained;

Tree retention protection plan;

Tree constraints plan;

Arboricultural implication assessment;

Arboricultural method statement (including drainage service runs and
construction of hard surfaces).
No development shall commence until fencing and ground protection to protect the
trees shall be erected, details to be submitted and approved as per BS5837:2012, and
ground protection has been erected details of which shall have been submitted to the
Local Planning Authority for written approval. The ground protection shall be laid as
per Arboricultural method statement in accordance with British Standard
BS5837:2012 (Trees in relation to construction) unless otherwise agreed in writing.
The protective fencing and ground protection shall be erected before the
commencement of any clearing, demolition and building operations and shall be
retained until all equipment, machinery and surplus materials have been removed
from the site. If within five years from the completion of the development an existing
tree is removed, destroyed, dies, or becomes, in the opinion of the Local Planning
Authority, seriously damaged or defective, a replacement tree shall be planted within
the site of such species and size and shall be planted at such time, as specified in
writing by the Local Planning Authority.
REASON: In order to protect the existing boundary trees and planting at the site
which contributes positively to the character and appearance of the locality and
incorporates the site into the surroundings, in accordance with policies BE1 and CC6
of the Adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan.
Prior to the commencement of the development, detailed plans of any alterations to
the levels of the site and proposed finished floor levels shall be submitted to and
approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The development shall be
undertaken in accordance with the scheme as approved.
REASON: To ensure that appropriate site levels and finished floor levels are
incorporated into the scheme in order to protect the character and appearance of the
locality and prevent visual intrusion of development in accordance with policies CC6
and BE1 of the adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan.
Prior to commencement of development, details of the parking and turning areas
within the site shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning
Authority. The parking and turning areas shall remain as such thereafter and available
for use unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
REASON: To ensure appropriate parking and suitable turning space on site for all
vehicles is provided in accordance with policies T8 and T2 of the adopted Maldon
District Replacement Local Plan.
Prior to the commencement of the development details of the surface water drainage
scheme to serve the development shall be submitted to and agreed in writing by the
Local Planning Authority. The agreed scheme shall be implemented prior to the first
occupation of the development.
REASON: To ensure the incorporation of appropriate surface water drainage scheme
in accordance with policy CON2 of the adopted Maldon District Replacement Local
Plan.
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10
11
12
13
The development permitted by this planning permission shall only be carried out in
accordance with the approved Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) B and the following
mitigation measures detailed within the FRA:
(a)
Surface water shall be discharged from the site at a restricted rate of 2.94l/s for
all events up to and including the 1 in 100 year storm critical storm, inclusive
of climate change.
(b)
Surface water shall be routed via French drains to an attenuation pond with a
minimum capacity of no less than 1226m3.
(c)
Prior to the commencement of development, details of who shall be
responsible for the maintenance of the drainage system shall be agreed in
writing with the Local Planning Authority.
The mitigation measures shall be fully implemented prior to occupation and
subsequently in accordance with the timing / phasing arrangements embodied within
the scheme, or within any other period as may subsequently be agreed, in writing, by
the Local Planning Authority.
REASON: To ensure that runoff rates from the site shall not be increased as a result
of the development, to prevent flooding by ensuring the satisfactory storage
of/disposal of surface water from the site and to ensure the system is maintained to its
design standard for the lifetime of development in accordance with policies CON5
and CC17 of the adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan and the principles
contained in the National Planning Policy Framework.
The development shall be undertaken in accordance with the terms and specifications
contained within the Phase 1 habitat and Protected Species Survey, specifically pages
34 to 37 (inclusive) which is attached to and forms part of this permission unless
otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
REASON: In order to ensure protection of wildlife at the site in accordance with
policy CC5 of the adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan and the National
Planning Policy Framework.
Prior to commencement a Construction Environmental Management Plan shall be
prepared, in consultation with Maldon District Council and submitted to and approved
in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The details provided within the
Management Plan shall be implemented and carried out in accordance with the
approved details unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
REASON: In order to ensure protection of wildlife in the locality in accordance with
policies CC5 and CC6 of the Adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan and
the National Planning Policy Framework.
No additional means of external illumination shall be installed at the site other than
that above doors as indicated on the submitting application form and only on the
doors shown on plan references 200/04, 200/05 and 200/05 (floor plans 2) unless
otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The external
illumination shall be retained as such thereafter.
REASON: In order to protect the character and appearance of the area and local
wildlife in accordance with CC6 and CC5 of the Adopted Maldon District
Replacement Local Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework.
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Agenda Item no.
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REASON FOR APPROVAL
This permission has been granted having regard to policies S2, CON2, CON5, CC2, CC6,
CC17, E6, BE1, BE8, T1, T2, and T8 of the adopted Maldon District Replacement Local
Plan and to all other material considerations, including those policies emerging through the
Maldon District Local Development Plan Preferred Options Consultation and the National
Planning Policy Framework. The carrying out of the development permitted, subject to the
conditions imposed, would accord with those policies and in the opinion of the Local
Planning Authority there are no circumstances which otherwise would justify the refusal of
permission.
INFORMATIVES
1.
In connection with the condition of this planning permission, where a specialist
survey of the trees is required it is advisable to consult a qualified arboriculturalist.
The Arboricultural Association provides a list of qualified arboriculturalists and they
can be contacted by telephone on 01794 368717 or at Ampfield House, Ampfield,
Romsey, Hampshire, SO51 9PA (www.trees.org.uk).
2.
In connection with the condition of this planning permission, Arboricultural Practice
Note No.12 [Through Trees to Development published by The Arboricultural
Advisory and Information Service] also provides information and guidance on
development within the root protection area of a tree.
3.
It is recommended that the gable end fans are not used between the hours of 2300 and
0700 which should not present a problem for the operation as it is not anticipated that
this scenario will occur.
4.
It is recommended that when the extraction vents are confirmed the noise survey is
checked to verify that the predictions are still relevant.
5.
It is recommended that a maintenance schedule for building services plant, roof
extraction vents, silo motors, heat exchangers and gable end fans is submitted and
made available for inspection by Officers
6.
Any culverting or works to any ordinary watercourses onsite which could affect the
flow of the watercourse may require formal written consent from Essex County
Council (ECC) prior to works commencing. If the works are likely to result in any
alterations to existing watercourses then we recommend you contact ECC as early as
possible to avoid delay to works and ensure that any proposals would be considered
acceptable by them. If their consent is required for any works then this requirement
will be in addition to any planning permission which may be granted in the future.
POSITIVE AND PROACTIVE STATEMENT
Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) (Amendment
No.2) Order 2012 - Positive and Proactive Statement:
The Local Planning Authority has acted positively and proactively in determining this
application by assessing the proposal against all material considerations, including planning
policies and any representations that may have been received and subsequently determining
to grant planning permission in accordance with the presumption in favour of sustainable
development, as set out within the National Planning Policy Framework.
Enquiries to: Samantha Gibbs, Development Control Officer, (TEL: 01621 875861).
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Agenda Item no.
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PL2
FUL/MAL/13/00036
LITTLE BRAXTED
Installation and operation of a solar farm and associated infrastructure, including PV panels,
mounting frames, inverters, transformers, switchgear, fence and pole mounted security
cameras.
Land South Of Little Braxted Hall Witham Road Little Braxted Essex
Applicant:- Mr Nick Boyle - Lightsource Renewable Energy
Agent:- Mr Cairan Dillon - Lightsource Renewable Energy Ltd
1.
Introduction
1.1
This is a major planning application for a solar farm which has been submitted with
an Environmental Statement that demonstrates that an Environmental Impact
Assessment has been undertaken by the applicant as required under Schedule 2 of The
Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and
Wales) Regulations 2011
1.2
This application was considered by the North Western Area Planning Committee at its
meeting on 3 June 2013 for comments and recommendation to the Planning and
Licensing Committee. The North Western Area Planning Committee recommended
the application for refusal as per the Officer’s recommendation.
2.
Site Description
2.1
The site is an irregular shape comprising four agricultural fields to the south of Little
Braxted within an area of open countryside. The two westernmost fields are grassed
and the two easternmost fields are currently planted with arable crops. The fields are
demarcated by hedgerows with interspersed tree planting along the eastern, northern
and western boundaries. The land slopes gently from west to east from a height of
approximately 31mAOD down to 15mAOD.
2.2
The application site is located within the existing farm holding of Little Braxted Hall.
The site area is 34.47 hectares with the majority of the land used to accommodate
solar panels. There is an existing farm access track to the north that connects the site
with Little Braxted, which the Planning and Design and Access Statement indicates is
the primary access for the development. There are three existing field accesses on to
Witham Road along the eastern site boundary, although two of these will be
effectively blocked off by a proposed earth bund as part of the application
development.
2.3
There are a number of dwellings in proximity to the application site. To the east and
north of the site there are dwellings on to Witham Road and Little Braxted Lane:
Homefield House (60m), Flag Cottage (160m), the Little Braxted Hall Cottages
(160m), Sewells Farm (120m), Little Braxted Hall (200m), Little Braxted Mill and
Mill House (230m). To the south the nearest dwelling on Ishams Chase is 260m
south of the application site with the remaining dwellings 370m south.
There is a public footpath to the south of the application site, which runs in part along
the southern site boundary.
2.4
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Agenda Item no.
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3.
The Proposal
3.1
Planning permission is sought for the construction of a Solar Farm development
consisting of 59,796 PV panels attached to mounting frames up to a height of up to
2m with associated infrastructure including 16 inverter cabins, nine transformer
buildings, up to two switchgear substations, internal roadways, an earth bund,
landscaping, boundary security fencing and pole mounted security cameras.
3.2
The application is accompanied by a number of documents including an Environment
Statement. The proposal seeks planning permission for a development life time of 25
years and the Planning and Design and Access Statement states the solar farm has a
generation capacity of approximately 15 Mega Watts of electricity, which is enough
to supply up to 4,082 homes per year.
3.3
It is proposed that the solar panels will occupy some 10.6 hectares of land in multiple
rows set 8 metres apart running east to west. The solar panels will be fixed to “H”
section tables which are fixed to the ground by piled foundations. The field
hedgerows are maintained resulting in a solar farm split into four sections with
additional linear breaks created by the presence of an existing overhead power line
and an existing underground water pipe that run through the north eastern field.
Internal access roads are proposed to enable future maintenance of the solar panels.
3.4
The solar panels each measure 1,652mm by 941mm and are 35mm deep. Each panel
is fixed to the mounting frames to create continuous rows of panels to face the sun at
an angle of 25. The rows are set 8m apart. The panels generate Direct Current (DC)
electricity which must be converted into Alternating Current (AC) before being feed
into the local electricity grid network. This is achieved using 16 central inverters that
are housed in cabinets 1.5m deep by 2.5m wide and 2.6m high, each standing on a
concrete foundation 600mm above the ground level. Nine transformers are then
required to transform electrical energy from one circuit to another and to allow the
energy generated to feed into the local grid network. These are electrical apparatus
that sit on a similar footprint to the central inverters and are located within fenced
enclosures at various locations throughout the site. Up to two substations are
proposed to provide the onsite point of connection from where electricity flows into
the grid network via the connection cable. The substation(s) house the site
switchgear, which is used as a safety mechanism to protect both the solar farm from
any fault in the grid network, and the grid from any fault in the solar farm. The
current proposals show the two substations at the eastern edge of the application site,
including one outside the application site area at the point of an existing field access
onto Witham Road. Indicative plans show the solar farm connecting into the national
grid at a site some 1,500m to the west in Braintree District Council’s control at
Witham. The entire site is to be enclosed by a 2m high security fence and security
cameras on 2.4m poles are proposed, but these poles are omitted from the latest
application site plans. Previously 15 camera poles were shown spaced along the site
boundary inside the fence line.
3.5
Landscaping proposals are proposed to strengthen existing hedgerows and planting
areas. A new hedge is proposed along the southern boundary where the public
footpath runs along the site boundary. Amended plans now show a 1m high earth
bund is to be constructed along the eastern boundary.
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Agenda Item no.
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3.6
The application access proposals focus on the construction period, whereby the solar
panels will be transported to the application site via the A12 and the Rivenhall End
junction on to Braxted Road. A route is then proposed north of Little Braxted through
third party land, but in the same ownership as the application site, along the private
mettled road “Nero Road” emerging onto the public highway Witham Road at the
Little Braxted Hall commercial complex immediately to the east of Little Braxted
Church. Vehicles will then return to the public highway and travel the 75m
westwards on Witham Road to the private farm access track to the north of the
application site.
3.7
Access to the site for onsite maintenance following completion of the solar farm is not
clear from the submitted documents, but the site plans show the proposed internal
access roads connect to the existing field access onto Witham Road to the east of the
application site where there is a break in the security fence.
3.8
Construction Works
3.8.1
The construction programme of the development will take approximately 2 - 3 months
to complete.
3.8.2
The principal traffic movements associated with construction will be the delivery of
components to the site that will be carried out with some 140 Heavy Goods Vehicle
(HGV) deliveries over a five week period with peak periods of 10 - 12 HGV traffic
movements to and from the site per day.
3.8.3
Site construction works that are noise generating would only take place on Monday to
Friday between 8am and 6pm and on Saturdays between 8am and 1pm.
4.
Relevant Planning History

SPR/MAL/12/00903 Request For A Screening Opinion To Determine The
Requirement For An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) To Accompany
A Planning Application For A Proposed Solar Farm - Environmental Impact
Assessment required 29.1.2012.
5.
Consultation Replies
PARISH COUNCIL
Little Braxted Parish Council – This Council has considered this application against
the relevant guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework, and the relevant
policies in the current and emerging Maldon District Council Local Plans, and can
find no material consideration on which to oppose this application. However, given
the strength of feeling expressed by residents opposed to the application, should
Maldon District Council be minded to approve the application, we would expect the
following conditions to be imposed upon the approval:a)
That an earth bund, minimum height 1 metre, be provided along the frontage
with Witham Lane, as shown in drawing No. L.0238_03-D dated 18th March
2013 supplied by Pegasus Environmental with the amendment that this bund
be set further away from the road frontage (say 20 metres).
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Agenda Item no.
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Little Braxted Parish Council continued:
b)
That this earth bund be planted in accordance with the drawing number
L.0238_03-D with the amendment that native evergreen shrubs be included in
the planting mix.
c)
That all other screening measures as indicated in the drawing No. L.0238_03D be provided with the amendment that native evergreen shrubs be included in
the planting mix.
d)
That any planting that dies within the first five years be replanted at the next
planting season.
e)
That a management plan for the maintenance of the screening hedging be
agreed to ensure that the height is maintained at the minimum heights as
indicated on drawing No. L.0238_03-D throughout the lifetime of the
installation.
f)
That the maximum panel height of the solar panels does not exceed 1.6 metres
at any point.
g)
That the inverter cabinets are suitably screened by hedging so they are not
readily visible from the public highway or public footpath adjoining the site.
h)
That the total height of the inverter cabinets does not exceed 3 metres
(including bases).
i)
That no pylons be erected within the site other than for security cameras.
j)
That any fencing be “deer fencing” as shown on drawing No. L.0238_03-D.
k)
That no artificial illumination whatsoever be provided on the site (other than
infra-red for security purposes).
l)
That in the event of the apparatus not being required for solar generation
before the end of the approval, the applicant/owner at that time be required to
remove the apparatus and restore the site within six months, and that a fund be
held by the District Council to ensure that in the event of financial failure the
restoration can occur.
m)
That the method of panel installation be by screwed piles as indicated.
n)
That any damage to Witham Road during construction be made good by the
applicant immediately upon completion of the site.
o)
That the delivery route for the panels be by internal access road from Braxted
Commodity Centre, thence transhipment to smaller vehicles at Little Braxted
Hall before accessing Witham Road.
p)
That hours of construction be restricted to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m Monday to Friday, 8
a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
q)
That a community contribution of at least £30,000 be made to Little Braxted
Parish Council
r)
That such other reasonable screening measures as may be required are
implemented at the Ishams Chase, Wickham Bishops, end of the development.
Update on 16.5.13: Confirmed that can the Parish Council can find no planning
policies to oppose the application but need to make MDC aware of significant
majority of residents speaking opposed the proposals.
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Agenda Item no.
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Little Braxted Parish Council continued:
On 28.5.13 under further amended plan consultation, commented:The PC now states that that the proposals will create significant visual harm and that
they change their initial position:
Cable route - Unclear as to impact on nature reserve, any cable must run underground,
proximity to gas and water mains, confirmation that any cable would only ever be
used for the development proposals.
Swales - Unclear and unhelpful no detail as to necessity or management, fail to show
entire site area.
Noise - Agree with comments of the Council’s EHO – need an independent noise
report. There is potential traffic noise to Little Braxted Mill complex. Noise report
should include impact of rainfall on the solar panels.
Glint / Glare - PC agrees with EHO comments, require further information on how the
report was undertaken. Report contains inconsistencies relating to a vacant fruit farm
Homewood House; this suggests a desk top exercise without specific research on the
local area. No indication as to impacts on residents in Ishams Chase.
Concerns that the PC’s previously recommended attenuation measures will not be
implemented. PC requires the applicant to highlight these mitigating measures and
commit to installation 6 months before installation of PV’s. If the report was
provided prior to the changes in panel heights then how can the Council be assured
that there is no change to the report from the amended panel heights?
The PC consider that the description should be amended reporting as being “adjacent
to the A12” is incorrect the site is separated from the A12 by fields, a nature reserve,
river and residential properties.
Wickham Bishops Parish Council - The Parish Council recommends refusal
because of:

The detrimental visual impact on the landscape and views.

Risks to drivers posed by glint and glare.

Devaluation of local property.
Great Braxted Parish Council - The proposed development is only relevant to
residents on the edge of Gt Braxted Parish which the Council represents. The Council
is aware of concerns of some in the community that this proposal may detract visually
on this part of English countryside but with the sympathetic screening and conditions
proposed this should be overcome.
The Council appreciates the need for farmland to produce consumable food but is also
aware of the urgent need for sustainable renewable energy production.
Gt Braxted Parish Council has no objections to this application.
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Agenda Item no.
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Witham Town Council - Witham Town Councillors considered the revised plans for
the above application at their Planning Committee Meeting on 29 April 2013, and reiterated their strong objections to the above application on the grounds of:
Insufficient information as to how the energy will be taken from the site.
Overhead cables would create an even greater detrimental visual impact.

Inadequate screening proposed to mitigate the visual impact on the adjacent
Whetmead Nature Reserve. This proposal does not seek to preserve or
enhance the area and will visually disrupt its continual landscape area.

Potential glare issues for Colchester-bound drivers on the Witham section of
the A12, approaching the site.

Inaccessibility of the site. Little Braxted Lane is narrow and single track in
many placed. Traffic on Little Braxted Lane is also likely to increase if a
minerals site is identified at Coleman’s Farm.
Councillors do not find that the revised plans satisfactorily address the issues they
raised previously. The Plans provided are virtually illegible, and the supporting
information provided inadequate, particularly on the issue of connection to the
National Grid. In councillors’ view the application cannot be determined without
clarity on this issue.
The Town Council requests to know when this application will be discussed by the
Maldon District Council Planning Committee as Town Councillors would like to
attend and make representation on behalf of Witham Town Council.
Further response from the Town Council - Reiterate insistence that any cable route
under Town Council land must be underground; the application contains now details
relating to the undergrounding of cables.
EXTERNAL
Braintree District Council - Access to the proposed site is a concern. Little Braxted
Lane is narrow and single track in many places. Braintree District Council has
recently recommended that Little Braxted Lane be identified as a protected lane in the
‘Protected Lane Study’ which is being carried out by Essex County Council,
commissioned by Braintree District Council.
Traffic on Little Braxted Lane is also likely to increase if a minerals site is identified
at Colemans Farm.
Braintree District Councils adopted Core Strategy Policy CS8 refers to the natural
environment and biodiversity and states that ‘development should have regard to the
character of the landscape and its sensitivity to change and where development is
permitted it will need to enhance the locally distinctive character of the landscape in
accordance with the Landscape Character Assessment’.
In the Landscape Character Assessment (2006) the site is indentified as being located
within the Blackwater River Valley. The key characteristics of this landscape area are
predominantly arable farmland on the valley slopes. Extensive linear poplar and
willow plantations are distinctive features especially along the river banks.
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Agenda Item no.
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Braintree District Council continued:
The Landscape Character Assessment suggest in the landscape planning guidelines,
‘manage the traffic flows along the minor roads especially those not suitable for
HGVs and lorries due to narrow bridges. Ensure that new built development is in
keeping with the landscape character. Conserve and enhance the landscape settings
of settlements.’
The proposal does not seek to preserve or enhance the character area and will visually
disrupt the continual landscape character of the area. Even though the planting of
trees on boundaries will protect some views it is likely that the topography of the area
will mean the solar panels will be seen. As stated in the Landscape Character
Assessment, ‘the skyline of the valley slopes is visually sensitive, with potential new
development being visible within several views to and from adjacent Landscape
Character Areas and also within views across and along the valley.’
Braintree District Council objects to this proposal.
Colchester Borough Council - Colchester Borough’s boundary is several kilometres
to the east and well outside the zone of visual influence of the proposed site, there is
therefore no landscape or visual impact on the Borough. It is also noted that the
proposed construction route into the site is also outside of the Borough’s boundary.
Environment Agency
Flood Risk - Our Flood Map shows the vast majority of the proposed development to
be located within Flood Zone 1, classed as low probability risk, as defined in Table 1
of the Technical Guidance to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
However a small section in the South-West of the red line boundary is within Flood
Zone 2 and 3, classed as medium and high probability risk respectively.
From the ‘Indicative Site Layout and Planting Proposals’ it appears the PV panels
along with the associated infrastructure are located outside of Flood Zones 2 and 3.
The site area for the site is given as 34.47 hectares.
Environment Agency position:
After review we do not consider flood risk to increase as a result of the proposal. As
such we have no objection to the application but do take the opportunity to offer the
following advice in respect of surface water drainage.
Surface Water Drainage:
We recommend that any existing watercourses or ditches on site are appropriately
maintained as this will ensure that the existing drainage system for the site remains. If
your land boundary is next to a watercourse it is assumed you own the land up to the
centre of the watercourse, unless it is owned by someone else. The applicant should
keep the banks clear of anything that could cause an obstruction and increase flood
risk, either on their land or downstream if it is washed away. Landowners are
responsible for maintaining the bed and banks of the watercourse and the trees and
shrubs growing on the banks. The landowner should also clear any litter or debris
from the channel and banks, even if they did not come from their land.
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Agenda Item no.
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Environment Agency continued:
The erection of flow control structures or any culverting of an ordinary watercourse
requires consent from the Lead Local Flood Authority which in this instance is Essex
County Council. If there are any such works proposed as part of the application then
it would be best for the applicant to discuss these with the County Council at an early
stage.
Further information received - Note outfall to Blackwater may require a Flood
Defence Consent.
Essex and Suffolk Water - Confirm a 9 inch water main running across the site.
Essex County Council Highways - The Highway Authority has no objections to this
proposal as it is not contrary to the relevant transportation policies contained within
the Highway Authority’s Development Management Policies, adopted as County
Council Supplementary Guidance in February 2011 and policy T2 of the Local Plan.
Essex County Council Sustainable Urgan Drainage Systems (SuDS) Approval Until we become the SuDS Approval Body (SAB), likely in 2014, we are providing
informal comments on SuDS schemes, which are given without prejudice to any
future application under the Flood and Water Management Act. We would ideally
look for SuDS to comply with Defra’s draft National Standards and our emerging
SuDS Design and Adoption Guide to keep open the possibility of Essex County
Council (ECC) as the future SAB being able to adopt it. The Environment Agency
remain the key statutory consultee on surface water.
Specific comments on this application would be as follows:
The proposal looks quite straightforward- water running off solar panels and small
buildings will infiltrate into the ground below/adjacent and access roads will be gravel
so just proposing infiltrating rainwater which appears to be potentially feasible.
Although not falling from too great a height, rainwater running off the panels could
potentially cause soil scour and the applicant may consider laying gravel beneath the
panels to minimise this potential effect.
The applicant is proposing a swale on the western boundary to intercept extreme
flows though this doesn’t seem to be shown on the plans. The Flood Risk Assessment
(FRA) says existing runoff patterns would not be changed (4.5 & 4.6) but there is the
possibility depending on the levels in the swale for it to convey flows to the south
(looking at the current falls) where water would be likely to pond unless some sort of
overflow connection into the river is provided.
Highways Agency - The Highways Agency raises no objection to the proposals, but
would like to discuss the timing and method of delivery to ensure the minimum
impact upon the A12 trunk road.
Natural England Protected sites
The application site is not on or near statutory designated sites. Natural England
considers that there are no likely impacts from this application on protected sites.
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Agenda Item no.
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Natural England continued:
Protected species
It is noted that a phase 1 ecological appraisal has been undertaken. The applicant has
outlined measures to prevent impacts on protected species during construction. If the
Local Planning Authority (LPA) is aware of, or representations from other parties
highlight the possible presence of a protected or Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP)
species on the site, the authority should request additional survey information from
the applicant before determining the application. The Government has provided
advice on BAP and protected species and their consideration in the planning system.
Natural England Standing Advice is available on our website to help local planning
authorities better understand the impact of this particular development on protected or
BAP species should they be identified as an issue at particular developments. This
also sets out when, following receipt of survey information, the authority should
undertake further consultation with Natural England.
Soils and Land Quality
From the documents accompanying your consultation we consider this application
falls outside the scope of the Development Management Procedure Order (as
amended) consultation arrangements as the proposed development would not appear
to lead to the loss of over 20 ha ‘best and most versatile’ agricultural land (paragraph
112 of the National Planning Policy Framework). The panel arrays would be fitted
with limited soil disturbance, and could be removed when planning permission
expired with no likely permanent loss of agricultural land quality in the long term.
Whilst soil would be disturbed in some parts of the site through the construction of
transformers and access tracks and installing of buried cables this combines to a
relatively small area and much of the soil disturbance may be reversible during
decommissioning. We note that the planning application is for a limited period of 25
years and our comments assume that any planning approval would require the site to
be decommissioned and returned to agricultural use when planning permission
expired.
We do not propose to make any detailed comments in relation to agricultural land
quality and soils, although more general guidance is available in Defra Construction
Code of Practice for the Sustainable Use of Soils on Construction Sites, and we
recommend that relevant parts of this guidance are followed, e.g. in relation to
handling or trafficking on soils in wet weather.
If however you consider the proposal has significant implications for further loss of
‘best and most versatile’ agricultural land, or if you advise us of any specific points on
which you need advice, we would be pleased to discuss the matter further.
Local wildlife sites
If the proposal site could result in an impact on a Local Site, Local Nature Reserve
(LNR) or priority habitat the authority should ensure it has sufficient information to
fully understand the impact of the proposal on the local site before it determines the
application, ensuring that it does so in conformity with the wording of paragraph 168
of the National Planning Policy Framework. For further information on Local Sites,
your authority should seek views from your ecologist, or the Local Sites designation
body in your area.
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Agenda Item no.
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Natural England continued:
Biodiversity enhancements
This solar farm provides particular opportunities to incorporate features into the
design which are beneficial to wildlife. The construction zone for this application is
currently of low ecological value, and thus the construction and operation of a solar
farm at this location could potentially deliver important ecological benefits when
combined with biodiversity enhancement measures. Natural England advises to
consider the following measures:

Providing species rich grassland under and around the solar panels and
providing additional nectar resources for invertebrates. This can be done by
sowing appropriate seed mixtures and applying a management regime that
retains flowering species.

Create nectar and pollen rich margins around the outside of the field and
enhancing the hedge base for insects, small mammals and nesting birds.

Managing hedges for wildlife.

Create of log piles and hibernacula for reptiles and amphibians.

Installation of bat and bird boxes.
The opportunities and constraints are best considered using local knowledge, in
conjunction with local biodiversity action plans. Natural England can provide more
specific technical advice if needed. We advise the establishment of a long term
vegetation management plan that identifies the potential for the creation and
management of habitats with high ecological value and that delivers opportunities for
wildlife throughout the operation phase. I also refer to our technical information note
on solar parks and environmental benefits which can be downloaded here.
We recommend that should the Council be minded to grant planning permission,
measures to enhance the biodiversity of the site are secured from the applicant
through appropriate planning conditions. This is in accordance with Section 40 of the
Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (2006) which states that ‘Every
public authority must, in exercising its functions, have regard, so far as is consistent
with the proper exercise of those functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity’.
Section 40(3) also states that ‘conserving biodiversity includes, in relation to a living
organism or type of habitat, restoring or enhancing a population or habitat’.
Biodiversity 2020: A strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystem services and
Making Space for Nature (2010) also provide strong drivers for the inclusion of
biodiversity enhancements through the planning process.
Local Landscape
This proposal does not appear to be either located within, or within the setting of, any
nationally designated landscape. All proposals however should complement and
where possible enhance local distinctiveness and be guided by your Authority’s
landscape character assessment where available, and the policies protecting landscape
character in your local plan or development framework.
Ministry of Defence Safeguarding - The site is outside of Ministry of Defence
safeguarding areas and there are no objections to the proposal.
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Agenda Item no.
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INTERNAL
Archaeology - The archaeological desk-based assessment for this site provides a
reasonable assessment of the known archaeology on this site, with little
archaeological fieldwork undertaken to date in Little Braxted, due to its largely rural
nature. The church-and-hall complex of Little Braxted to the north of the proposed
development is typical of Essex medieval settlement which was highly dispersed.
The settlement would have comprised the manorial centre with its church-and-hall
and a scattering of individual farms and cottages spread over what was by medieval
terms a densely settled agricultural landscape. These were linked to each other by a
complex network of lanes, footpaths and linear greens. Little Braxted would be a
classic example of the type. Most of the current farms in Essex have their origin in
the medieval period and excavation has shown that interspersed amongst them are the
remains of the ones that didn’t survive the intervening centuries (particularly the 14th
century). The place-name Waterhouse (in the eastern half of the development area) is
of interest in this context, suggesting some form of habitation in or near the former
wood of that name. There are crop marks of linear features on the site (EHER 8868),
these relate to earlier field boundaries on the site and are shown on the post-medieval
maps of the area. Archaeological deposits are both fragile and irreplaceable and any
permitted development on site should therefore be preceded by a programme of
archaeological investigation which should be secured by an appropriate condition
attached to any forthcoming planning consent.
It is recommended that if this proposal is approved that a full archaeological condition
is attached to the planning consent. This is in line with advice given in the National
Planning Policy Framework at Paragraphs 139 and 141.
Amended Plan comments - Recommend conditions
L1 Archaeological Assessment
No development including any site clearance or groundworks of any kind shall take
place within the site until the applicant or their agents; the owner of the site or
successors in title has submitted an archaeological assessment by an accredited
archaeological consultant to establish the archaeological significance of the site. Such
archaeological assessment shall be approved by the local planning authority and will
inform the implementation of a programme of archaeological work. The development
shall be carried out in a manner that accommodates such approved programme of
archaeological work.
L2 Implementation of Archaeological Fieldwork Programme
No development including any site clearance or groundworks of any kind shall take
place within the site until the applicant or their agents; the owner of the site or
successors in title has secured the implementation of a programme of archaeological
work from an accredited archaeological contractor in accordance with a written
scheme of investigation which has been submitted to and approved in writing by the
local planning authority. The development shall be carried out in a manner that
accommodates the approved programme of archaeological work.
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Agenda Item no.
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Conservation Officer
Built Heritage
Two evidence base documents have informed the significance of the landscape and its
characteristics and the historic built environment.
The parish of Little Braxted is situated within the zone referred to in the Maldon
Historic Environment Characterisation Study (2007) as the Northern Blackwater
Valley (pp. 56-58). The application site represents a large part of the agricultural land
between Witham Road to the north and east, Sewells Farm to the south and the River
Blackwater to the west. The land is gently rolling but with steep slopes westwards
down to the flat river plain. At present the fields to the west of the development site
are grazing meadows and the fields to the east are arable. The soil is London Clay
and where it has been ploughed can be seen to contain a considerable scattering of
pebbly gravel.
The historic settlement pattern of Little Braxted is typical for Essex. St Nicholas
Church and Little Braxted Hall are positioned next to each other at the north west
corner of the parish; a classic example of the medieval manor hall / church complex.
From early medieval times the overall settlement pattern was dispersed farmsteads.
The northern two thirds of the parish remains characterised by this medieval
settlement pattern, with isolated farmsteads strung out along Witham Road; Little
Braxted Hall, Sewell’s Farm, Hale’s Farm.
The landscape in which Little Braxted is situated is analysed in Braintree, Brentwood,
Chelmsford, Maldon and Uttlesford Landscape Character Assessments, Chris
Blandford Associates, 2006 pages197-200. The characteristics of the natural
landscape are “predominantly arable farmland on the valley slopes” and “areas of
woodland located on valley slopes of the upper valley”. Mills and isolated farmsteads
are familiar features and “linear settlements centred on the narrow rural lanes”.
Little Braxted has a number of listed buildings. The outstanding importance of St
Nicholas’ Church is highlighted by its Grade I listed status. Dating from the twelfth
century, externally it retains its character as a tiny Norman church with a semicircular apse. The late nineteenth century rector of the church – Ernest Geldart – was
also an accomplished gothic revival architect and during his incumbency he added a
north aisle and created one of the most lavishly decorated church interiors in Essex.
The setting of the church is enhanced by the small churchyard in which it sits,
bounded on the road side by an old red brick wall. One of the monuments in the
churchyard, an early nineteenth century tomb chest, is Grade II listed in its own right.
To the north west of the church are the partial remains of a square moated enclosure.
This no doubt related to an earlier version of Little Braxted Hall than the current
house of that name. All that remains of the earlier medieval hall complex is a timber
framed structure tree-ring dated to between c1398-1410 which is believed to have
been a detached kitchen. This is an outstanding survival of its type and its importance
is reflected in its Grade II* listed status.
The current Little Braxted Hall, located immediately to the west of the church, dates
from around the sixteenth century. The front (east) elevation has been clad in a
Georgian brick façade with sash windows. Its earlier origins are revealed to the rear
were some exposed timber framing can be seen. A Tudor brick wall runs from the
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Agenda Item no.
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Conservation Officer continued
south east corner of Little Braxted Hall to a contemporary summerhouse. The hall,
wall and summer house present a highly attractive composition and each is
individually listed Grade II.
To the north of the church, on somewhat lower ground, is a complex of good yellow
stock brick farm buildings, designed in 1870 by the eminent Victorian Essex architect
Frederick Chancellor. While these buildings are unlisted, they are of considerable
local significance and may be regarded as undesignated heritage assets in the terms of
paragraph 134 of the NPPF.
Further west along Witham Road is Little Braxted Mill and Mill House, a Georgian
building of white weatherboard and red brick which is grade II listed. This is a classic
Essex mill, picturesque in its riverside setting and certainly deserving of its Grade II
listed status.
To the east of the church, on the sharpest bend of Witham Road, is Flag Cottage.
Despite the installation of uPVC windows this house retains a good deal of its
character as a modest Georgian cottage, particularly as a result of its unaltered
gambrel and catslide tiled roof and walls of soft red brick. While this house is
unlisted it is an attractive feature along Witham Road.
Most of the above historic buildings have wider settings. Setting is defined in Annex
2 of the NPPF as:
“The surroundings in which a heritage asset is experienced. Its extent is not fixed and
may change as the asset and its surroundings evolve. Elements of a setting may make
a positive or negative contribution to the significance of an asset, may affect the
ability to appreciate that significance or may be neutral.”
Close to the south east boundary of the development site is Sewell’s Farm. Probably
a farmstead of medieval origin, there are four Grade II listed structures on the site
including the farmhouse and a converted barn. However, a dense screen of woodland
sits between the Sewell’s Farm and the development site which is a characteristic
feature of the landscape as referenced from the Landscape Character Assessment
above.
Impact of the proposal upon significance:
The Senior Conservation and Urban Design Officer will produce a separate
consultation response in relation to archaeology.
The relevant Planning Act requires the Council to have special regard to the
desirability of preserving the setting of listed buildings. The NPPF provides a formal
definition of setting as the surroundings in which a heritage asset is experienced. The
NPPF also says that such surroundings might affect the ability to appreciate the
significance of a heritage asset or might be neutral. The main issues are the impact of
the proposed solar farm upon the setting of the heritage assets and the identified
landscape character in which they are situated.
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Agenda Item no.
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Conservation Officer continued
I must therefore begin by considering to what degree the land on which the solar farm
is proposed contributes to the setting of the listed buildings.
The Setting of Heritage Assets, English Heritage, October 2011 states on page 6,
paragraph 2.3:
“The contribution of setting to the significance of a heritage asset is often expressed
by reference to views – a view being a purely visual expression of an asset or place,
obtained from, or by moving through, a particular viewing point or viewing place...A
long distance view may intersect with, and incorporate the settings of numerous
heritage assets. Views from within extensive heritage assets can also be important
contributors to significance, for example, views from the centre of a historic town
through the townscape to its surrounding countryside or from an historic house,
through its surrounding designed landscape to the countryside beyond.”
Approaching the heritage assets from Wickham Bishops along the stretch of Witham
Road between Sewell’s Farm and Flag Cottage, the site is visually quite prominent
due to the patchy nature of the hedgerow. The sense currently experienced is that of
travelling along a narrow country lane with open countryside on either side.
The introduction of a post and wire fence along the boundary, against which hedges
will be allowed to grow more thickly, will inevitably detract from the experience of
travelling through attractive open countryside because much of that countryside will
become concealed.
Between Flag Cottage and Little Braxted Mill, Witham Road becomes sunken below
the level of the land to the south and the hedgerows become denser. Combined with
the fact that the proposal excludes the two fields immediately south of this stretch of
road, the proposal site would be largely invisible from those on the road.
It seems likely that it will be possible to see some of the solar farm in the distance
from the upper windows of Little Braxted Mill and Mill House. The wider setting of
the listed buildings is intrinsically linked to the landscape character of open arable
fields on valley sides. This proposal will clearly have a dramatic impact upon the
fields in which it is proposed and views of those fields from the river Blackwater,
footpaths and the wider area. Page 199 of Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Maldon
and Uttlesford Landscape Character Assessments, Chris Blandford Associates, 2006,
states under “Sensitivities to Change”:
“…The skyline of the valley slopes is visually sensitive with potential new
development being visible within several views to and from adjacent Landscape
Character Areas and also within views across and along the valley”.
The same document proposes:
“to seek to protect and enhance positive features that are essential in contributing to
local distinctiveness and sense of place through effective planning and positive land
management measures” and “seek to improve the integrity of the landscape and
reinforce its character by introducing new and/or enhanced elements where distinctive
features or characteristics are absent.”
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Agenda Item no.
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Conservation Officer continued
Recommendation:
Little Braxted is a historic, isolated dispersed settlement as referred to in Maldon
Historic Environment Characterisation Study and Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford,
Maldon and Uttlesford Landscape Character Assessments above. The nucleus of
Little Braxted is its church, hall complex and mill with farmsteads close by. These
buildings are designated heritage assets and their settings combine. As a collection of
listed buildings the surroundings in which they are situated and experienced include
the arable fields, hedgerows, woodland and topography. If the proposed development
impacts on the landscape then in turn it has to impact on the surroundings in which
the listed buildings are experienced.
The large area of development of 36 hectares for installation and operation of a solar
farm and associated infrastructure, including PV panels, mounting frames, inverters,
transformers, switchgear, fence and pole mounted security cameras will have a
significant and detrimental appearance in the existing landscape and its special and
distinctive characteristics and will impact on the wider setting of a collection of listed
buildings that make up the settlement of Little Braxted.
For this reason I object to the proposal.
Countryside and Coast Officer - Overall, there should be a number of positive
ecological benefits arising from this development if sufficient effort is put into
appropriate mitigation measures. However, I say this with a number of reservations.
My main concern is the likely impacts associated with digging the trench for the cable
to connect to the national grid at Witham Primary School (it is now established that
the application should have referred to the Witham Primary Substation). I could see
no information within the application paperwork regarding this part of the
development. Will this be the subject of a separate planning application? If not, then
in my opinion we do not have enough information to properly assess the ecological
impacts of this application.
The rest of my comments below relate solely to the fields where the solar panels will
be located.
As stated above, this part of the development could result in positive ecological
benefits for some species but this is largely based on a number of assumptions as the
information provided by the developer is lacking in detail in several areas.
Species associated with hedgerows and field margins such as Linnet, Yellowhammer,
bats and reptiles should benefit significantly if all existing hedgerows and rough grass
margins are retained (as proposed), improved where necessary and managed
appropriately in the future. A scaled map showing all of these along with information
about proposed future management would be helpful. Reptiles would also benefit
from the provision of some additional features such as log and stone piles placed at
strategic locations around the site.
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Agenda Item no.
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Countryside and Coast Officer continued
I note that a new section of hedgerow will be provided to screen the footpath running
along the southern boundary of the site but could find no details with regards to tree
species, planting details or proposed future maintenance. There is also some mention
of planting standard trees but again I couldn’t find any details regarding numbers,
locations, species etc.
Existing mature trees are to be retained. Where these are close to construction areas
some method of protection may be required to prevent damage. It would also be
beneficial to consider installing bird & bat boxes on some of these trees.
There is mention of the construction of a swale to intercept surface water from the
site. I welcome this proposal but could find no details of the proposed location, size,
shape, construction method etc. As well as helping to prevent any potential pollution
from the site, this could be a valuable wildlife feature if designed and managed
appropriately.
Badger activity on the site appears to be very low but there may be setts in the
woodland to the south of the site. The proposed security fence around the site will
pose a serious barrier to the free movement of large mammals such as badgers, foxes
and deer. Badger gates are proposed within the fence but no map has been provided
with suggested locations.
Finally, I could find very little information regarding the future management of the
site between and under the PV panels. Therefore, it is difficult to assess the impact,
positive or negative, on species such as Skylark, Yellow Wagtail and Brown Hare.
If the site is seeded with a grass and wildflower mix and managed by light grazing or
infrequent mowing then there could be a significant increase in invertebrate
populations which would benefit a wide range of other species. However, those
species mentioned above would probably benefit more from the cultivation of low
growing arable crops between the rows, with occasional bare strips.
The use of chemicals to control vegetation would not be welcomed.
Environmental Health Officer - I have read the supporting information including
the Environmental Method Statement. We accept that in many ways photovoltaic
installations are unlikely to cause harmful environmental impacts and over the long
term contribute positively to the environment. However we would like the following
matter to be clarified prior to making any further recommendations.
These matters should have been covered in the Environmental Statement. If they are
included I would be grateful if it can be made clear.
The supporting information states that Lightsource Renewable Energy Limited
imposes strict conditions that the installation shall not exceed 35dBA beyond the site
boundary. A case has been made that in practice this is inaudible beyond the site
boundary. Although this predicted level is low there are parts of the Maldon District
where background noise levels are lower than 35 dBA, particularly at night.
Inaudibility is a very stringent condition and whilst a preferably state of affairs for any
new development in reality we have found that this is a difficult standard to achieve.
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Agenda Item no.
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Environmental Health Officer continued:
The development also includes electrical installations that may produce noticeable
tonal noise from electric "hum" from the 10 or so transformers at the site.
Therefore in order to reassure us that noise from the development is as stated a noise
survey shall be submitted to support this statement. This shall include actual
background noise levels at the nearest noise sensitive premises. It shall also include
predicted calculations relating to the photovoltaic installation with particular
consideration to tonal elements. With regards to the 35dBA we would like to know
over what time period this is measured.
It is important that this information is provided before any further recommendations
for conditions are made as it may be difficult to attenuate the noise frequencies in
question if it is shown that it is indeed intrusive.
The Glint and Glare Assessment dated 11/1/13 has concluded that there will be a
negligible impact on transport on the A12 and aircraft. However it has not identified
residential properties as a receptor. This may be valid but justification is required
prior to commenting further on the application.
A Flood Risk Assessment has been provided dated 28/11/12. This concludes that
there is a low risk of flooding from the River Blackwater and that SUDS will be
provided for surface water drainage. This will reduce the risk of flooding from the
site as it is now. As the site is over 1 hectare in size the Environment Agency and
ECC Flood and Water Management team are consulted.
If after receiving the information above we regard that the site is suitable for its end
use suitable conditions could be recommended.
Further information will be required for the following matters. However this could be
required in conditions if we deem the site to be suitable for its end use.
The supporting information also states that there will be "approximately" 140 HGV
deliveries of components of "roughly a maximum of 3-4 per day". These are vague
statements so I would expect more detail and an assessment of transport-related noise
on the nearest noise sensitive premises and how this will be minimised.
With regard to the construction method statement further details are required. This
relates to justification for construction methods e.g. need for percussion piling instead
of another method, how construction noise will be monitored and how noise will be
attenuated to reach the required standard at the nearest noise affected premises. Also
despite the inert soils there is likely to be dust produced from dry soils. Therefore
boundary dust monitoring will be required. It also mentions potential damage to the
access route so likely impacts should be stated.
Amended Plans
I have reviewed the Additional Glint and Glare and Noise Information for the
proposed solar cell array at Little Braxted dated 7 May 2013.
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Agenda Item no.
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Environmental Health Officer continued
Glint and Glare
The report states that solar panels work by absorbing light and have a low reflectivity
compared with glass. However it does identify two potential receptors at Hales Farm
and Lea Lane Fruit Farm 610m and 780m to the “west” (sic EAST) of the
development respectively who may be at risk for a period between 1704 hours GMT
and 1946 hours BST between February and October due to a combination of
topography and position of the sun.
In mitigation it states that they will be at risk of glint for a very limited period of time
due to the distance from the site. It is inferred in the report that this will be
considerably less than the 5 to 6 minutes experienced by a receptor that would be no
more than 100m from the site. The report also states that glint will be obscured by
obstacles such as trees and hedges aided by a reduction in height of the panels.
It appears from the information provided that the applicant that a site specific
assessment has been undertaken and two vulnerable receptors have been identified.
However Environmental Health does not feel that the applicant has suitably
demonstrated how it has reached the conclusions made in the additional information.
Therefore further information is required to justify the conclusions made and how
other properties in the vicinity have been eliminated as potential receptors.
In addition Environmental Health would like the reassurance that should glint and
glare cause a nuisance potential mitigation and remedial works can be undertaken to
address this.
Noise
The report also provides additional information relating to noise impact due to
concerns raised by Environmental Health. The report states that noise will not be an
issue and goes as far as stating that there will be no audible noise beyond the site
boundary once ambient noise is taken into account. Also as I understand there will be
no equipment running during the night when ambient levels are low which further
protects against noise impact.
The design and access statement states that "Lightsource has strict conditions relating
to noise within the contracts we have with the specialist Engineering, Procurement
and Construction (EPC) firms that we use to construct the solar farms and source the
infrastructure. These conditions require that a maximum noise level of 35dBA is not
exceeded at the site boundary. What this means in practice, is that there will be no
audible noise beyond the site boundary once ambient noise is taken into account."
There is no information to support the effectiveness of this limit at the proposed site.
No specific background noise levels have been taken at the various receptors in the
area. Also there is no information relating to whether any noise characteristics such
as tone or intermittent sounds is considered in the assumptions. It is possible that a
level of 35 dB(A) may be intrusive especially if there is noise component that makes
the noise noticeable.
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Agenda Item no.
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Environmental Health Officer continued
Assumptions have been made about the ambient noise level in the area and that it is
dominated by traffic noise form the A12. Having visited the site this may be the case
but on other occasions noise from the A12 is not apparent. In addition any
background noise will drop significantly during the night.
After some research I have found that the main sources of noise from solar farms are
intermittent mechanical noise from the inverter and electrical switch gear and
intermittent noise from cooling fans that switch on and off during the daytime.
Although the supplied information states that the solar farm will only operate during
the day my research has found that the transformers may operate for 24 hours a day.
Therefore there is also the potential for the introduction of electrical noise from tonal
hum from transformers.
I have also researched other planning applications for solar farms. I have noted that
Environmental Assessments for these operations have been accompanied by noise
impact assessment reports.
Therefore due to the uncertainty over the impact of noise from the development and in
line with practices of other Environmental Assessments Environmental Health
recommends a noise assessment by a competent person to evaluate any potential
impacts and mitigation measures required.
Planning Policy - The Maldon District Replacement Local Plan (RLP) was adopted
in November 2005, and was prepared in accordance with Part II of the Town and
Country Planning Act 1990 and the Planning and Compensation Act 1991. The
National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that relevant policies which were
prepared using the 2004 Act should be given full weight up to March 2013, even if
there is a limited degree of conflict with national policy. As the RLP was produced
using national planning policy prior to the 2004 Act, due weight should only be given
to relevant policies according to their degree of consistency with the NPPF. The
greater the consistency with the Framework, the greater the weight that can be given
to existing policies in the RLP.
The NPPF also states that decision makers should give weight to relevant policies in
emerging plans such as the Maldon Local Development Plan, according to the stage
of preparation, the extent of unresolved objections to relevant policies, and the degree
of consistency with the NPPF. The more advanced the stage of preparation, the
greater the weight that can be given.
The East of England Plan was revoked by Government on 3 January 2013. Therefore,
no policies from the Regional Spatial Strategy should now be considered as part of the
decision making on planning applications.
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Planning Policy continued:
Development outside defined settlement boundary
The site is located outside the development boundary. RLP Policy S2 states that areas
outside the development boundary should be protected for their own sake, particularly
for their landscape, natural resources and areas of ecological, historical,
archaeological, agricultural and recreational value. As the proposed development site
is located outside the development boundary, the application is contrary to RLP
Policy S2. However, due to the large land area required for the proposed type of
development, it is unlikely that an appropriate site would become available in the
District within defined settlement boundaries.
The existing site is a greenfield site currently used for agricultural use. The site is
designated as grade 3, good to moderate quality agricultural land. If it is considered
appropriate to approve the application, it is recommended that the site should revert
back to greenfield land upon completion of the proposed use. This should include a
condition in the planning permission requiring the land to be reverted back to its
current condition.
Design and Landscape
Policy BE1 of the adopted Local Plan requires development proposals to be
compatible with their surroundings, and / or improve the surrounding location. In
particular the effect on the surrounding area should be considered in terms of scale
and height of development, external materials, and visual impact. Outside defined
development boundaries, Policy BE1 requires new development to make a positive
contribution to the landscape and open countryside.
Policy CC6 of the RLP states that proposals for development in the countryside will
only be permitted provided that no harm is caused to the landscape character in the
locality, the location, siting, design and materials are appropriate for the landscape in
which the development is proposed, and the development is landscaped to protect and
enhance the local distinctiveness and diversity of the landscape character of the area
in which it is proposed.
The application site is located in a designated Special Landscape Area. Policy CC7
states that permission will not be given for development unless its location, siting,
design, materials and landscaping conserve or restore the character of the area in
which the development is proposed.
In relation to design and landscape policies within the RLP, the key issue which any
decision on the proposed development should consider is the visual impact of the
development on the surrounding landscape. If the proposed development does not
have a positive contribution to the landscape, or the development cannot be
landscaped and screened appropriately to mitigate any adverse visual impacts, then
the proposals will be contrary to RLP Policies BE1, CC6, and CC7.
Please also refer to the Council’s Senior Urban Design and Conservation Officer for
specific advice in respect to design and impact upon the surrounding landscape.
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Planning Policy continued:
Heritage
The site is located close to a number of listed buildings, including two grade 1 listed
buildings within 2km of the site. The site is also located within the Maldon Historic
Landscape Characterisation Zone 1.1. The NPPF states that when considering the
impact of a proposed development on the significance of a designated heritage asset,
great weight should be given to the asset’s conservation.
Please also refer to the Council’s Senior Urban Design and Conservation Officer for
specific advice in respect to the impact on the significance of surrounding listed
buildings.
Flood Risk
A small section of the south western part of the site is located within Flood Zone 2
and 3. The NPPF states that inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding
should be avoided by directing development away from areas at highest risk of
flooding.
The application notes that the south western boundary to the site would be allowed to
flood if required, and would not cause harm to the proposed use. The Flood Risk
Assessment accompanying the application states that development would remain safe
throughout the lifetime of the proposed use, and the development would not increase
flood risk elsewhere and would reduce flood risk overall. The proposed development
therefore meets the requirements of the NPPF in relation to flood risk.
Climate Change and Renewable Energy
RLP Policy PU6 states that the development of renewable energy facilities will be
permitted provided they would not have significant visual impact on the surrounding
area, the countryside and local landscape, and should not have an adverse impact on
local landscape, sites of historical or conservation importance, and adjoining
properties and landholdings.
As noted above, the key issue to consider in relation to the proposed development is
the visual impact on the surrounding area. If it is considered that the proposed
development would have a significant detrimental visual impact on the local
landscape which cannot be mitigated by appropriate screening, then the proposals
would be contrary to Policy PU6 of the RLP.
The NPPF states that planning should support the transition to a low carbon future by
encouraging the use of renewable resources, ‘for example, by the development of
renewable energy’. When determining planning applications, local planning
authorities should not require applicants for energy development to demonstrate the
overall need for renewable or low carbon energy, and should approve the application
if its impacts are (or can be made) acceptable unless material considerations indicate
otherwise.
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Planning Policy continued
Conclusion
The NPPF states that when determining planning applications, and unless material
considerations indicated otherwise, local planning authorities should approve the
application if its impacts are (or can be made) acceptable. The key consideration in
relation to the proposed development is the visual impact on the surrounding
landscape. If the visual impact of the proposal is not considered to have a detrimental
impact on the surrounding area, or if appropriate screening can be applied to mitigate
any adverse visual impacts, then in relation to the requirements of the NPPF, the
application should be approved.
6.
Letters of Representation
Letters of Objection:
Anne & Simon Hudson-Lund Ishams Barn Ishams Chase Wickham Bishops
Pauline Roydon Bridle End 18 Handleys Lane Wickham Bishops
Graham Clare Bridle End 18 Handleys Lane Wickham Bishops
Mr Phillip Wardle 14 Wellands Wickham Bishops Witham
Colin B Westley 12 Wellands Wickham Bishops Essex
Pauline O.Player Pasture Cottage Heath Lane Little Braxted
Mr Stuart Burns Hamara Maypole Road Wickham Bishops
Sophie Burns Hamara Maypole Road Wickham Bishops
Ms D Leonard 7 Elizabeth Villas D'Arcy Road Tiptree
Richard Sceats 40 Church Road Wickham Bishops Witham
Paul Greenwood 47 Wellands Wickham Bishops Essex
Daron Gunson 4 Tiptree Road Wickham Bishops Witham
Gemma Hine 19 Holt Drive Wickham Bishops Witham
Mr & Mrs Dixon 16 Handleys Lane Wickham Bishops Witham
Danita Petty Thatched Cottage Heath Lane Little Braxted
Clifford Harrington 22 Wellands Wickham Bishops Essex
Audrey Harrington 22 Wellands Wickham Bishops Essex
JA & MA Popham Corner Cottage Braxted Road Little Braxted
Shelia Camp 41 Wellands Wickham Bishops Witham
Richard Fennell Bryden House Witham Road Wickham Bishops
Mr Mick Buckingham 20 Heathgate Wickham Bishops Witham
Geoffrey & Jean Upson Glen Acres Ishams Chase Wickham Bishops
Mr & Mrs Taylor 10 Heathgate Wickham Bishops Witham
Mr & Mrs D & L Bailey Oakview 24 Blacksmiths Lane Wickham Bishops
Mrs S White 42 Heriot Way Great Totham Maldon
Mr & Mrs Logan Wood Highwood Ishams Chase Wickham Bishops
Mr & Mrs Staines Glen Chantry Ishams Chase Wickham Bishops
John Mennie 26 Byron Drive Wickham Bishops Essex
Mrs Gloria Hammond Brambles Church Road Wickham Bishops
David Gladman 26 Tiptree Road Wickham Bishops Essex
Mr & Mrs Brian Freeman Cormey 1 Handleys Lane Wickham Bishops
Chris Petty Thatched Cottage Heath Lane Little Braxted
Linda Allen 4 Beech Green Wickham Bishops Witham
C Dobie Little Braxted Mill Witham Road Little Braxted
A Dobie Little Braxted Mill Witham Road Little Braxted
C A Buchanan Benton Hall Farm Wickham Hill Wickham Bishops
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Letters of Objection continued:
Mr & Mrs Tarling 30 Blacksmiths Lane Wickham Bishops Essex
Mrs Suzanne Kyan Woodstock House Green Man Lane Little Braxted
Mr & Mrs S J Nicholas 37 Wellands Wickham Bishops Essex
Charles Lodge 59 Church Road Wickham Bishops Essex
Teresa Ulrich Digswell Kelvedon Road Little Braxted
Michael Ulrich Digswell Kelvedon Road Little Braxted
Mrs Jean Everitt Stoneylands Kelvedon Road Little Braxted
Mr Phillip Everitt Stoneylands Kelvedon Road Little Braxted
Mrs Jean F Ross Adlestrop Kelvedon Road Little Braxted
Mr & Mrs P Setter Chantry House Ishams Chase Wickham Bishops
Dr M J T Carr Trust Cottage Kelvedon Road Little Braxted
Mr Mike French Glebe Cottage Kelvedon Road Little Braxted
Tracey Fulcher Glebe Cottage Kelvedon Road Little Braxted
Mr Martyn Routs 41 Wellands Wickham Bishops Witham
Mr & Mrs Brown 9 Buckleys Close Wickham Bishops Essex
Mr BA Littlewood Flamborough Cottage Braxted Road Little Braxted
Marilyn Harvey Heath House Braxted Road Little Braxted
Andrew & Janice Lawrence The Mill House Little Braxted Essex
Penelope A Johnson 5 Wellands Close Wickham Bishops Essex
Mrs J M Marshall The Briars 3 Paxwood Church Road
D Marshall The Briars 3 Paxwood Church Road
P W Crane 4 Poney Chase Wickham Bishops Essex
Mr John Kyan Woodstock House Green Man Lane Little Braxted
Mr Roy Tracey Langlands Kelvedon Road Little Braxted
Mr & Mrs David _ Jenny Higgins 17 Byron Drive Wickham Bishops Witham
Mrs H Bendall 4 Hall Cottages Witham Road Little Braxted
Jane Williams 21 Wellands Close Wickham Bishops Witham
J Hudson 6 Arbour Lane Wickham Bishops Essex
Witham & Countryside Society C/O John Palombi Bramstons White Horse Lane
Witham
Dr & Mrs N Towson Nomans Braxted Road Little Braxted
Sue Hopgood Glenvine 10 Arbour Lane Wickham Bishops
Mr & Mrs A Cochrane Elm Lodge Beacon Hill Wickham Bishops
Mr & Mrs Janet And John Richardson 15 Holt Drive Wickham Bishops Witham
C B Westley 21 Wellands Wickham Bishops Essex
M Menzies The Stables Great Braxted Hall Braxted Park Road
Mr Graham Bendall 4 Hall Cottages Witham Road Little Braxted
Roy W Sach 22 Walden House Road Great Totham Essex
Mrs W.J Jacob Quilters Beacon Hill Wickham Bishops
G.K Jacob Quilters Beacon Hill Wickham Bishops
Felicity Mawson 27 Armond Road Witham Essex
The Ramblers Association 64 Feering Hill Feering Colchester
Donald Rees Great Braxted Hall Braxted Park Road Great Braxted
Cllr Robert Mitchell Deputy Cabinet Member For Environment, Sustainabilty &
Carbon Management Braintree District Council Causeway House
Gordon Franklin 31 Bramble Road, Witham
J R Dixon via email
Louise Yeates Sewells Farm Witham Road Little Braxted
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Main reasons for Objection:

Should seek to locate Solar Panels on buildings before using agricultural land.

Loss of agricultural land.

Impact on footpaths (both during construction and after).

Access from A12 too narrow.

Landscape and visual impact.

Introduction of earth bunds an alien feature in local landscape.

Impact on Whet Mead Nature Reserve and wildlife in general.

Potential noise from transformers.

Lack of consultation with local residents.

Impact on Listed Buildings.

Contravenes planning policies CC6, CC7, PU6 and BE1.

Overdevelopment of site.

Application is vague without full details.

Industrial type development in the countryside.

Distraction to road users of A12.

Concerns relating to traffic management during construction and delivery of
panels.

Planning blight.

Lack of detail with regard to connection to the National Grid – if route
includes Whet Mead Nature Reserve, then this is a former landfill site with
potential for methane.

Should be located on brownfield land.

Impact from HGVs.

15MW energy is theoretical and relates to capacity, not the expected energy to
be produced.

Surface water runoff.

Unacceptable impacts on local landscape, historic buildings impact

ecology (Whetmead nature reserve)

Glint and Glare are not accurately assed for all residents / drivers on A12, the
proximity of cable route to the a high pressure gas main, paucity of
landscaping planting and inability to offset the impacts of development for a
considerable time.

In addition some residents had visited an existing solar farm and noted poor
ecology mitigation and inadequate screening from modest landscape planting.
The residents considered that these proposals will not comply with saved local
plan policies and the provisions of the National Planning Policy Framework.
Letters of Support:
Mr & Mrs W R & A Hopkins Broomfields Farm Lea Lane Great Braxted
Mr James Barke Hales Farm Witham Road Little Braxted
Mr Stuart McCrudden West Hall Bungalow Lea Lane Great Braxted
Colette Chapman Brook Cottage Lea Lane Great Braxted
Mr Kit Speakman Little Braxted Hall Witham Road Little Braxted
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Letters of Support continued:
Victoria Long Brook Cottage Lea Lane Great Braxted
Fiona MacAulay The Mill House And Attached Mill Bridge Mill Lane Great Braxted
Mr Oliver Barke Lark Rise Green Man Lane Little Braxted
Scot Yeates 34 Coast Road West Mersea Essex
Nichola Cain Courtyard Offices Little Braxted Hall Little Braxted
Main reasons for Support:

Investment in renewable energy should be supported.

Scheme has been amended to reflect local concerns – Localism at work.

Involves loss of poor quality agricultural land (Grade 3b).

Permission would be for a temporary period.

Less intrusive in terms of noise and visual impacts than other forms of
renewable energy, such as wind farms and waste incinerators.
7.
Assessment of Proposal
Policy Issues
(i)
Relevant Development Plan Policies
Adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan

S1 – Development Boundaries and New Development

S2 – Development outside Development Boundaries

CC6 – Landscape Protection

CC7 – Special Landscape Areas

BE1 – Design of New Development and Landscaping

PU6 – Renewable Energy
(ii)
Maldon District Local Development Plan
The Council agreed the approach for progression and production of a Local
Development Plan for the Maldon District on 21 July 2011. This follows the reforms
being introduced to the planning system by the Government, including the Localism
agenda, and subsequent discussions with elected Members. The Local Development
Plan will be based largely upon the existing draft Core Strategy document, but there
will be amendments and additions to certain aspects of the Plan.
Once adopted, the Local Development Plan will supersede the Maldon District
Replacement Local Plan ‘saved policies’ as the statutory Development Plan for the
District. In the meantime, the National Planning Policy Framework states that the
Replacement Local Plan ‘saved policies’ can continue to be given due weight
according to their degree of consistency with the Framework (the closer the saved
policies in the plan to the policies in the Framework, the greater the weight that may
be given). The East of England Plan formerly was part of the statutory Development
Plan for the District, was revoked on 3 January 2013. The Local Development Plan
will have to be in conformity with National Planning Policy.
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The “Local Development Plan Preferred Options” consultation document was
published on 10 July 2012. This document carries limited weight but can be referred
to as a material consideration.
(iii)
Government Guidance

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published by the
Government on 27 March 2012 and came into immediate effect. The NPPF
provides the national planning guidance and forms a material consideration
with all planning applications. This document supersedes all Planning Policy
Guidance notes and Planning Policy Statements as well as other certain
government publications listed within Annex 3 of the NPPF. Notwithstanding
this Local Plan ‘saved policies’ can continue to be given due weight according
to their degree of consistency with the Framework (the closer the saved
policies in the plan to the policies in the Framework, the greater the weight
that may be given).
7.1
Principle of Development and sustainability
7.1.1
The Environmental Statement
7.1.1.1 The proposal falls within category 3(a) of Schedule 2 of the Town and Country
Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011, as it is an industrial
installation for the production of electricity, steam and hot water on a site with an area
in excess of 0.5ha. It is considered that due to the size of the proposal the
development impacts upon the historic nature of the environment and landscape with
a number of historic assets and archaeological potential in the locality of the
development having a significant environmental effect. For these reasons an
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was required.
7.1.1.2 Under the Regulations the procedure for undertaking an EIA normally involves the
submission of an application for a request for a Screening Opinion (to decide whether
an EIA is required) and then a request for a Scoping Opinion (to identify the content
and methodology for inclusion in the ES). Both procedures involve consultation and
adoption by the local planning authority. The request for a Screening Opinion
(SOR/MAL/12/00903) was determined by the Council in November 2012. A request
for Scoping Opinion was not made and the ES submitted accompanying this
application was prepared without “Scoping” consultation with the Council. Equally,
the application drawings and supporting documentation was not subject to pre
application consultation. Officers note that formal pre application discussions ceased
on exchange of written opinion in November 2012.
7.2
Planning Policy
7.2.1
The policy position and the need for renewable energy
7.2.1.1 The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up in 1988 to investigate
world climate change implications and a number of reports have been produced
outlining the likely implications. Such reports have led to the formulation of climate
change policy at International and European levels. Already a number of measures
have been implemented at the national level in order to meet the above target through
the Renewables Obligation (2002) and the Renewable Energy Strategy (2009). The
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United Kingdom is required by a European Directive to secure 15% of its energy
supplies from renewable sources by 2020 with the Renewable Energy Strategy 2009
setting out how this should be met. It has a target that 30% of electricity demand
should be met from renewable sources by 2020. The Energy White Paper 2007 and
the Energy Act 2008 highlight the Government’s Strategy to move towards cleaner
energy supplies and one of the key elements is to provide more support for low
carbon technologies.
7.2.1.2 The UK Renewable Energy Roadmap Update 2012 reaffirms the Government
commitment to meeting the 2020 target. It states ‘Solar photovoltaics (solar PV)
recorded the highest growth with a five and a half times increase in capacity to
1.4GW by the end of June 2012 compared to June 2011. Solar PV is now identified
as a key technology in this Renewable Energy Roadmap Update (the Update) as costs
have fallen dramatically and deployment increased markedly.’ It is intended that a
Solar PV Strategy be published in 2013 to encourage the development in the UK.
7.2.2
National Planning Position
7.2.2.1 The National Planning Policy Framework (the “NPPF”) sets out Central Government
planning policies and how these are to be applied.
7.2.2.2 Paragraphs 6 and 7 of the NPPF confirm the commitment to sustainable development
based on three dimensions:
“an economic role - contributing to building a strong, responsive and competitive
economy, by ensuring that sufficient land of the right type is available in the right
places and at the right time to support growth and innovation; and by identifying and
coordinating development requirements, including the provision of infrastructure;
a social role - supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by providing the
supply of housing required to meet the needs of present and future generations; and by
creating a high quality built environment, with accessible local services that reflect
the community’s needs and support its health, social and cultural well-being; and
an environmental role – contributing to protecting and enhancing our natural, built
and historic environment; and, as part of this, helping to improve biodiversity, use
natural resources prudently, minimise waste and pollution, and mitigate and adapt to
climate change including moving to a low carbon economy.”
7.2.2.3 This is followed by a commitment to a presumption in favour of sustainable
development and paragraph 14,
‘For decision-taking this means:

approving development proposals that accord with the development plan
without delay; and

where the development plan is absent, silent or relevant policies are out-ofdate, granting permission unless:

– any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably
outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in this Framework
taken as a whole; or
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
– specific policies in this Framework indicate development should be
restricted.”
Section 10 of the NPPF refers to ‘Meeting the challenge of climate change, flooding
and coastal change’. Paragraph 98 requires that when determining planning
applications for the supply of renewable and low carbon energy local authorities
should ‘approve the application if its impacts are (or can be made) acceptable’.
7.2.3
Local Planning Position
7.2.3.1 Local Plan Policy PU6 Renewable Energy is the main policy relevant to the proposal.
7.2.3.2 Policy PU6 Renewable Energy states that proposals for the development of renewable
energy facilities will be permitted provided they would not:
a)
have a significant impact on the appearance of the surrounding area, the
countryside or local landscape; and
b)
i)
generate an unacceptable level of noise or traffic; or
ii)
have an adverse impact upon areas of ecological, architectural,
landscape, historical or conservation importance; or
iii)
have a detrimental impact upon the adjoining properties and
landholdings
7.2.3.3 Existing Local Plan policies that predate the NPPF are required to be assessed in
accordance with paragraph 215 of the NPPF, which advises that “due weight should
be given to relevant policies in existing plans according to their degree of consistency
with this framework (the closer the policies in the plan to the policies in the
Framework, the greater the weight that may be given).”
7.2.3.4 Policy PU6 has already been subject to a level of assessment with regard to renewable
energy projects. It is recognised that there will be some adverse impact from
renewable energy schemes and the test of suitability is consideration of the ‘planning
balance’ whereby the harm caused in respect of policy PU6 should be assessed
against the positive planning principle that applies to renewable energy.
7.2.3.5 It is concluded that Policy PU6 is not strictly in accordance with the NPPF, which
does reduce the weight that should be given to it, but it remains an adopted policy of
the Development Plan and accordingly carries some weight.
7.2.3.6 The Local Development Framework – Core Strategy has no specific policies for
renewable energy but a number of policies refer to climate change and improving
energy efficiency through new developments. Chapter 5 of the Core Strategy through
paragraphs 5.3.2 & 5.3.3 addresses climate change and renewable energy.
7.2.3.7 In August 2004 Maldon District Council adopted its Energy Strategy 2004-2011.
This sets out the Council’s vision of a future in which the District has a safe and
secure energy supply, in which the energy system of the District does not contribute
to increased climate change, in which the residents of the District do not suffer from
fuel poverty, and in which locally available sources of renewable energy are a
significant part of the energy mix. The Energy Strategy indicates that 10% of
Maldon’s electricity should be locally-generated through renewable sources by 2010
and it encourages the production of sustainable energy within existing planning
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policies. More recently, 2009, Maldon District Council Environment and Climate
Change Strategy 2009 states the potential risks posed by climate change are also
driving policy makers to consider, and reduce environmental impacts, with a strong
focus on reducing carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) and improving energy efficiency.
7.2.4
Summary
7.2.4.1 There is a clear and evident need for developing renewable energy resources both
nationally and locally to achieve renewable energy targets. The development of such
renewable energy sources would provide electricity and would help tackle climate
change by reducing the need for burning of fossil fuels. However these benefits need
to be considered on balance with any adverse impacts in accordance with the National
Planning Policy Framework.
7.3
Landscape Character
7.3.1
The scale of the application development must be considered in the context of both
the size of the site and expanse of the proposed solar panel arrays. The site measures
34.47ha and uses four fields. This is considerable area of land, which is reflected by
the large number of solar panels that can be accommodated, but the solar panels (as
amended) will be 1.54m in height, which is not readily comparable with other forms
of development. It is essential, therefore, that applications are supported by clear and
precise information so that a proposal can be properly assessed.
7.3.2
To assist Officers in the assessment of landscape and visual impact the Council
appointed a landscape consultant to provide expert advice. The advice given has been
included in this section of the report.
7.3.3
A detailed description of the application site and its surroundings is given in the
Landscape Visual Impact Assessment, along with a range of landscape character
information which details the site at a national and local level.
7.3.4
In terms of assessing potential impacts the development may have on landscape
character, in line with the methodology adopted by the applicant and detailed in
Appendix 2, the applicant must determine the sensitivity of the site’s landscape
character.
7.3.5
In 6.24 of the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment, the applicant states,
“Overall, the landscape character of the site is considered to have a low sensitivity to
change”.
7.3.6
Table 4, levels of sensitivity for landscape character, which is within Appendix 2,
details a low landscape character sensitivity as:
“Areas that exhibit a negative character. May have a strong sense of enclosure that
reduces visual sensitivity, are likely to be already affected by man-made elements,
have reduced tranquility, are likely to have little inter-visibility with adjacent
landscapes and exhibit a low density of sensitive landscape elements. These elements
may include detractors such as power-lines, industrial derelict or inappropriate built
forms with no aesthetic value or evidence of strategic planning. There is a lack of
mature vegetation cover and no landscape designations apply.”
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7.3.7
Although the applicant states that the sensitivity of the local landscape character is
low, there is no information within the Landscape Visual Impact Assessment to
evidence this evaluation.
7.3.8
In terms of the sensitivity of landscape character, the Natural England National
Character Area assessments pertinent to the site and surrounding area offer no
guidance regarding sensitivity or capacity to absorb development.
7.3.9
However, at a more local level, the Blackwater / Brain / Lower Chelmer Valley
Landscapes Character Area (C6) (Essex County Council and Southend on Sea
Borough Council Landscape Character Assessment 2003), does offer some guidance
on sensitivity evaluation for the site. Classing the proposed solar farm as ‘a largescale open use’, the landscape sensitivity level would be classed as medium. The
applicant has this document as appendix A of the Landscape Visual Impact
Assessment.
7.3.10 Additional and more detailed information regarding the sensitivity of the landscape
and visual character of the site can be found in the ‘Braintree District Settlement
Fringes – Landscape Capacity Analysis for Witham’ – Braintree District Council
November 2007 (report carried out by Chris Blanford Associates). The key
objectives of this study were to provide a transparent, consistent and objective
assessment of the sensitivity and capacity of selected settlements to accommodate
new development and to identify where new development could best be
accommodated without unacceptable adverse landscape and visual impacts. The site
falls within Landscape Setting W4 of the report, and in terms of landscape character
the area is classed as medium to high sensitivity, with visual sensitivity being classed
as medium. In this instance, the form of any new built development has been
assumed to be residential or employment development of 2 or 3 storeys in height.
7.3.11 The applicant’s baseline classification of the landscape character of the site as being
of a low sensitivity is therefore contrary to the above two documents. It is noted that
the landscape capacity for Witham is related to the sensitivity of the landscape in
terms of new buildings. The applicant, therefore, needs to evidence the conclusion
that the site is of a low sensitivity in terms of a solar farm development, as this is key
in determining the significance of potential landscape and visual effects arising from
the development. The following document should have been utilsed by the applicant
to carry out their own bespoke capacity/sensitivity study of the site and its
surroundings in order to justify and evidence the low value they have attached to it –
Countryside Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage, “Landscape Character
Assessment Series: Topic Paper 6 – Techniques and Criteria for Judging Capacity and
Sensitivity”, (2003).
7.3.12 On a different note, in terms of assessing the potential impacts of the development on
landscape character, the Council would expect the applicant to detail the potential
impacts during the construction, operational and decommissioning phases, detailing
which individual elements of the development have impacts during the various stages.
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7.3.13 Summary
7.3.13.1 The applicant has failed to submit conclusive evidence to demonstrate that the local
landscape character is one of low impact in association with the proposed
development. This failure to establish a demonstrable “baseline” for landscape
character then unduly influences the applicants findings with regard to ability of the
local landscape to accommodate the scale and expanse of development proposed. In
the absence of demonstrable baseline evidence the Council consider that
precautionary principles should be exercised within a local landscape otherwise
characterised as being either of high or moderate landscape sensitivity within
recognised local landscape character analysis. The proposals cannot therefore
demonstrate compliance against the NPPF and the saved local plan polices CC6, CC7
and PU6.
7.4
Visual Amenity
7.4.1
The applicant selects a number of “Viewpoints” to demonstrate visual impact. These
six photoview locations are detailed within the Landscape and Visual Impact
Assessment. From five of these locations (1, 3, 4, 5, 6) the applicant has stated the
site is not visible, and from 1 location (photoview 2) the view of the site is restricted.
In 7.22 of the Landscape Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) , the applicant states that:
“The desktop studies and field survey helped to identify viewpoints that were
regarded to be representative of the range of views and receptors around the site. The
selected viewpoints (Appendix 7) are not intended to cover every single possible view
but are intended to be representative of a range of receptor types e.g. residents,
walkers on public footpaths and road users, from different directions and distances
from the site.”
7.4.2
Officers agree with the applicant that the viewpoints should be representative of the
range of views and receptors around the site, and accept that the site will not be
visible in every photo view. However, the applicant gives no clarification as to why
these specific “photo views” are selected. There are alternative viewpoints from
where the site and the proposed development are visible, these should have been
considered and potentially included in the LVIA and would have provided a more
robust assessment. Only including viewpoints where the site cannot be seen could be
construed as misleading. It is also noticeable that, whilst the District Council had
some initial discussion through pre application with regard to potential viewpoints,
the Environmental Impact Assessment was not the subject of a scoping exercise. The
scoping process should have been used to gain agreement in respect of those specific
viewpoints to be included as part of the LVIA. A scoping consultation may have been
useful in order to pick up any sensitive local vantage points. In addition, Officers
note that the photographs were all taken at the same time of year, early autumn, when
there was still a significant level of leaf cover on the vegetation. Guidance
recommends that to give an accurate assessment that photographs are taken at a
variety of times in the year, demonstrating a variety in leaf cover, hence a varying
degree of screening to the views.
7.4.3
As well as the applicant selecting and assessing additional photo view locations, it
would normally be expected that photomontages are produced to accompany each
view point. The Photomontages associated with the photo views should also detail
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the existing, proposed, and five year interval views of the proposals. It is notable that
the applicant has provided photomontages for four views from Little Braxted Lane.
There is no detailed justification offered as to why the applicant has not included any
of these viewpoints within the photo view assessment, as above it would be useful to
have a comprehensive assessment from this lane.
7.4.4
Relating to the actual assessment of potential visual impacts which may arise from the
development, with the exception of the six photo view locations, there is very little
detail in the Landscape Visual Impact Assessment which evidences and backs up the
applicant’s conclusions. For example, in 7.15, the applicant states that:
“It is anticipated that properties located further from the proposed development, along
Lea Lane, will have very limited first floor filtered views, or no discernible views”.
7.4.5
Officers cannot readily find any detailed analysis which supports this statement.
7.4.6
It would normally be anticipated that the applicant gives detail the potential visual
impacts of the development in detail on individual roads, Public Rights of Way and
open access land, settlements and individual residential properties. Officers consider
assessment of impacts from Lea Lane and those at Ishams Chase, as well any
landscape designations and recreation spaces such as Whet Mead Nature Reserve
would enable an accurate overview to be obtained.
7.4.7
The issues of residential amenity and visual impact are discussed in Section 7.6
below.
7.4.8
As with the assessment of impacts on landscape character, in assessing the potential
visual impacts of the development, Officers would expect the applicant to detail the
potential impacts during the construction, operational and decommissioning phases.
7.4.9
Other visual amenity Issues - Landscaping and planting:
7.4.9.1 The application proposal includes a landscape scheme in connection with the
landscape and visual impact.
7.4.9.2 Subsequent changes to the scheme were submitted following local consultation, but
there is no explanation as to how these changes relate to the original proposal and the
case put forward as part of the ES. It is, therefore, not possible to provide an accurate
and comprehensive review of the landscape proposals in the absence of supporting
information and justification.
7.4.9.3 The existing application site boundary hedges are to be retained and maintained at a
height of 2.5-3m. A new hedgerow is proposed along the southern boundary
alongside the public footpath that runs along the site boundary. The footpath
currently emerges from an existing plantation to the south emerges at the application
site boundary where it runs along that boundary east/west with the woodland
plantation to the south and with open views to the north across the application land.
The proposed hedge once at the specified height will create a less attractive footpath
route blocking the open views to the surrounding countryside.
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7.4.9.4 A new earth bund is proposed along the eastern site boundary along Witham Road,
which will introduce an alien feature. Planting is proposed to soften the view of the
bund, but this will take some time to establish. The bund will result in a discordant
and locally disjointed landscape feature set apart from the pattern of gently undulating
landscape, enclosed by historic hedgerows.
7.4.9.5 The applicant has been invited to provide additional information in respect of the
amended proposals, but this has not been forthcoming.
7.4.10 Other visual amenity Issues - Proposed bund:
7.4.10.1 The 1.0m high bund proposed to run the length of the eastern edge of the site would
be totally out of character with the area and, in officer’s opinion, would stand out as
an incongruous feature, effectively drawing attention to the site as something to be
‘screened’. Any mitigation measures included in the scheme, such as hedges etc,
should be considered as features which remain in the landscape beyond the lifetime of
the development, and therefore they should be sensitive to and enhance the character
of the landscape.
7.4.10.2 In terms of the proposed planting, there is a lack of information relating to the tree
planting in terms of the density of the planting. Likewise, in relation to the proposed
hedgerow planting along Little Braxted Lane, Officers consider that simply ‘gappingup’ the existing hedgerow is an unacceptable strategy, as, for part of the length of this
lane, the hedgerow is missing altogether or is extremely thin. In addition, maintaining
this hedgerow at 2.5 – 3.0m in height would again be totally out of character with the
management of other hedgerows in the locality.
7.4.10.3 Perhaps a more appropriate solution could be to establish a thick, dense hedgerow of
1.5 – 2.0m in height. Experience suggests that such a new hedgerow could take
approximately 7-8 years at a minimum to create any sort of screen. Officers draw
member’s attention to another development under the control of the applicant at
Marston, Lincolnshire. This site has been operational for two years, but where hedge
planting is remains at an early stage of growth and offers little amelioration of visual
impact. Members are advised that the absence of landscape planting proposals is a
significant concern for Officers. The mitigation offered by the applicants in respect of
any short and medium term off setting of visual impact is unclear and is not evaluated
either within any phased photomontage assessment or detailed landscape planting and
site management measures.
7.4.10.4 A meeting was held with the applicant to discuss the various aspects of the
landscape and visual impacts, the applicant was invited to submit further information
including specific locations for additional viewpoints, and landscape planting but
none was received prior to the deadline provided.
7.4.11
Other visual amenity Issues - Security fencing:
7.4.11.1 Paragraph 1.11.9 of the Environmental Statement states that the 2.0m high fence
shown on drawing L0203-12-A is an example of the type of fencing which may be
used.
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7.4.11.2 As the security fencing is a major element of the development, the design and colour
of the actual fence to be used should be included within the Landscape and Visual
Impact Assessment so that its impact can be assessed.
7.4.12
Other visual amenity Issues - Inverter Buildings:
7.4.12.1 Paragraph 1.11.6 of the Environmental Statement states that the inverter buildings
will be clad or painted to be recessive in colour and to blend in with the site.
7.4.12.2 The definitive colour and dimensions of these buildings also need to be included
within the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment.
7.4.13
Summary
7.4.13.1 The application lacks a sound methodology and execution of visual assessment both
in terms of the impacts of the proposed development upon the local landscape and
further with regard to the assessment of mitigation measures proposed. It is the lack
of robust consideration that demands the Council to exercise a precautionary approach
towards this application. As elsewhere it is not possible to either accurately assess
these proposals or indeed then be able to reasonably weight any impacts alongside the
undoubted benefits that solar energy proposals can offer. The proposals are therefore
unable to demonstrate compliance with the NPPF and saved local plan polices BE1,
CC6, CC7 and PU6
7.5
Heritage assets and setting within the historic landscape
7.5.1
The ES includes a Cultural Heritage Chapter and an Archaeological Desk Based
Assessment that states it should be considered as the heritage statement required by
the NPPF.
7.5.2
The Report identifies Listed Buildings at Little Braxted, those at Sewells Farm and
the historic landscape associated with the North Blackwater Valley. It finds that the
wider setting of the Little Braxted Listed Buildings broadly comprises woodland to
the north, and northwest, and open fields to the south.
7.5.3
The Report concludes that there are two groups of designated assets located relatively
close to the study site, including the Grade I Listed Church of St Nicolas. While the
development will change the wider setting of these assets, the impact of that change is
not considered to be substantial as described in paragraphs 132 and 133 of the NPPF.
7.5.4
The Council’s Conservation Officer has considered the application proposal and the
supporting documentation and objects to the proposal on the basis it will have a
significant and detrimental appearance in the existing landscape and its special and
distinctive characteristics and will impact on the wider setting of a collection of listed
buildings that make up the settlement of Little Braxted.
7.5.5
The applicant has responded to the initial comments made by the Council’s
Conservation Officer via a rebuttal. The rebuttal raises a number of issues, querying
the degree of any perceived harm and of the impact on the significance of the
designated heritage assets. The applicant accepts that the wider setting of the heritage
assets will be affected by the proposed development, but considers it will only be to a
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marginal degree, with an overwhelming portion of this wider setting remaining intact
and unaffected by the proposed solar farm.
7.5.6
In support of her original comments, the Council’s Conservation Officer refers to The
Setting of Heritage Assets, English Heritage, October 2011.
7.5.7
Paragraph 2.3 of this publication states,
“A long distance view may intersect with, and incorporate the settings of numerous
heritage assets…”
7.5.8
Planning Policy Statement 5 Practice Guide Paragraph 114 states:
“the way in which we experience an asset in its setting is also influenced by other
environmental factors such as…spatial associations and by our understanding of the
historic relationship between places. For example buildings that are in close
proximity but not but not visible from each other may have a historic or aesthetic
connection that amplifies the experience of the significance of each. They would be
considered to be within one another’s setting.”
7.5.9
Paragraph 115 states: “Setting will therefore, generally be more extensive than
curtilage and its perceived extent may change as an asset and its surrounding evolve
or as understanding of the asset improves.”
7.5.10 Paragraph 116 then states: “The setting of a heritage asset can enhance its
significance whether or not it was designed to do so. The formal parkland around a
country house and the fortuitously developed multi-period townscape around a
medieval church may both contribute to the significance.”
7.5.11 This underpins the original consultation comment that “The wider setting of the listed
buildings is intrinsically linked to the landscape character of open arable fields on
valley sides…..”
7.5.12 The application proposal appears to rely on the argument that the setting of the Little
Braxted group of Listed Buildings is not affected if the proposed development can be
screened or where it cannot be seen in the same public view.
7.5.13 Summary
7.5.13.1 The solar farm will impact on the setting of listed buildings to such a degree as to
cause significant demonstrable harm to the setting of heritage assets and the local
historic landscape. On this basis the Council’s Conservation Officer has reaffirmed
her objection in principle to the proposed solar farm, contrary to the NPPF and saved
local plan policy PU6
7.6
Residential Amenities (Visual intrusion and nuisance):
7.6.1
The settlement pattern is sparse and therefore Officers could reasonably expect
assessment of visual impact in terms of individual dwellings. For example Officers
had anticipated that each property at Ishams Chase and Witham Road would be dealt
with individually.
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7.6.2
The properties nearest to the application site are those on Witham Road and on
Ishams Chase. The ES submitted as part of the planning application refers to nearby
properties, but there are a number of omissions.
7.6.3
The impact of the development is primarily a visual one in terms of effect on
properties, as the solar farm will be passive once constructed with only occasional
maintenance visits and no day to day presence required.
7.6.4
The Environmental Health team has requested further information with regard to
potential for noise. The applicant states that the equipment will only be active during
daylight hours. The Environmental Health Officer maintain his earlier request for a
noise survey to support the proposals.
7.6.5
Properties at Little Braxted, specifically Little Braxted Hall and Little Braxted Mill
and Mill House, do not have views of the application site due to the topography of the
land, therefore, it is concluded there will be no significant impact.
7.6.6
Properties to the east of the application site on Witham Road are far closer and will
have views to the site.
7.6.7
The Hall Cottages are some still some distance away from what is a passive
development form and the impact is not considered to be significant.
7.6.8
Homefield House is the nearest dwelling, being just 60m away and the dwelling has a
principal aspect facing the application site. Although the solar panels are some 30m
set back into the application site resulting in a separation of some 90m, the boundary
fence and proposed earth bund will be nearer and a dominant feature along Witham
Road. The impact will be significant, but the view will be framed with existing
woodland to the south and views across the site to the west. The current occupier has
raised no objection to the proposal.
7.6.9
Properties on Ishams Close will have a view of the southern tip of the proposal where
there is no 30m set back of the panels. The development is a minimum of 260m
distant and of a limited extent of the view, although a full assessment cannot be made
in the absence of a response to matters raised in respect of the planning application
Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment.
7.6.10 Summary
7.6.10.1 The applicant has supplied additional information relating to noise; Officers
appreciate the applicant’s submission regarding limitations to impacts in relation to
activity during daylight hours. However concerns persist with regard to tonal noise
impacts from power transmission, along with specific impacts from switch gear
mechanisms and cooling fans. The absence of a noise report to comprehensively
asses these impacts are at the heart of Officers concerns. The precautionary approach
is recommended with regard to an unsubstantiated series of conclusions which are not
supported by a robustly scoped noise assessment. The proposals therefore fail to
comply with the NPPF and local plan saved policies CON5 and PU6
7.6.10.2 The absence of a comprehensive consideration within the applicant’s landscape
visual impact assessment (LVIA), does not allow a reliable and accurate measure of
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the impact upon these adjacent dwellings. The lack of bespoke consideration for each
dwelling together with the significant scale and expanse of development leave
Officers with no alternative other than to recommend a precautionary approach with
regard to visual impacts on residential amenity. The proposals are therefore
considered contrary to the provision of the NPPF and saved local plan policy PU6.
7.7
Glint and Glare
7.7.1
The application is accompanied by a Glint and Glare study, which explains that
although ‘glint and glare’ are commonly referred to together, glint is the direct
reflection of sunlight, whereas glare is diffuse reflection (or reflection of the bright
sky around the sun). Glint is normally much more intense – hence significant – than
glare.
7.7.2
The study identifies the main receptors considered as Southend Airport, users of the
A12 and other significant receptors such as minor aerodromes within approximately
10km (there are none), Stansted Airport and en-route air traffic, and dwellings in
Witham.
7.7.3 The study finds that where glint from the proposed Little Braxted solar array may be
observed by ground based or airborne receptors (unless at high level and/ or very
close to the solar farm), glint can only be observed:

in the mornings from 17 February to 24 October, to the west in arcs between
approximately west-northwest and southwest from the solar farm, from 05:30
to 07:10 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), or 06:30 to 08:10 British Summer
Time (BST) – after the last Sunday in March;

in the evenings from 26 February to 14 October, to the east in arcs between
approximately east-northeast and southeast from the solar farm, from 17:04 to
18:46 GMT, or 18:04 to 19:46 BST – after the last Sunday in March.
7.7.4
Glint never persists at near-horizontal angles where it could affect ground-based
receptors for more than 65 minutes on any one day – and for longest close to
midsummer. The sun will never be more than 41° from any glint observable by
ground-based receptors, so the worst case described above can never occur, and the
glint is often almost insignificant due to the proximity of the sun.
7.7.5
Southend Airport
7.7.5.1 Glint could only be observed from 29 March to 14 September between local times of
17:35 GMT/ 18:35 BST and 18:13 GMT/ 19:13 BST and the Study finds that there
will be no safety impact on Southend Airport receptors
7.7.6
A12
7.7.6.1 Glint from the solar farm may be directed towards the A12 to the west and southwest
of the Little Braxted site from 7 March to 6 October between local times of 05:42
GMT/ 06:42 BST and 06:32 GMT/ 07:32 BST (of these dates, BST is always local
time after 31 March). When glint occurs, the sun would always be in the general
direction of –and slightly above – the glint: it would never be more than 26° from the
glint as viewed by an observer. The Study finds that there will be no safety impact on
A12 Receptors.
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7.7.7
Residential amenties – Glint and Glare
7.7.7.1 The study concludes that the overall impact of glint from the proposed solar on other
receptors is assessed as negligible.
7.7.7.2 The Council’s Environmental Health Officer has commented on the Glint and Glare
Study and notes that it has not identified residential properties as a receptor. The
applicant was, therefore, requested for further clarification in respect of residential
properties near to the application site, as the Study only refers to residential properties
in Witham.
7.7.7.3 The applicant has submitted an addendum report which is considered to fail to provide
adequate detailing in relation to the impacts of glint and glare on local residential
dwellings.
7.7.8 Summary
7.7.8.1 There is no objection raised in respect of the submitted Glint and Glare Study, but
there is concern that individual residential properties near to the site outside of
Witham are not identified as a receptor.
7.7.8.2 The addendum report submitted by the applicant also raises concern, because it has
not been prepared by the same author of the original technical study and does not
identify all residential properties to the east of the application site that are within the
area affected by glint shown in the original report. Homefield House is considerably
closer than the properties that are identified, as is Sewells Farm, which the addendum
report claims is outside the glint affected zone, but which is shown well within it on
the original study mapping.
7.7.8.3 Furthermore, the original report is based on a solar panel array with a total height of
2.5m, as opposed to the 1.54m height now proposed. The applicant has not made it
clear as to whether this would affect any of the findings of the original study.
7.7.8.4 The addendum report provides an inadequate assessment in regard to the potential
impacts of glint and glare upon the adjacent residential properties. No assessment is
given for individual properties within the impacted area. Given the sparse nature of
development in the adjacent area and potential for adverse impact it is considered
reasonable to expect a bespoke analysis to demonstrate any impacts from these panels.
The applicant has therefore failed to provide a robust assessment to measure the
impacts of the development in terms of light pollution prevention under the
considerations of the NPPF and saved local plan policies CON5 and PU6.
7.8
Highways
7.8.1
Highway matters relating to the application proposal relate to the construction phase
of the development and then long term maintenance. The ‘Planning and Design and
Access Statement’ sets out the proposed access proposals and the ‘Construction
Method Statement’ includes further information relating to deliveries during the
construction phase.
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7.8.2
The submitted application drawings do not identify the access route. The track that
connects the site to the public highway to the north is not identified as part of the
application site, but as other land owned by the applicant. The applicant has been
invited to amend the application to include this track, because the supporting
statements indicate this land is required to access the site to carry out the construction
phase and most likely for decommissioning.
7.8.3
Construction traffic
7.8.3.1 Construction is anticipated to take place over a 2 to 3 month period. Heavy Goods
Vehicles (HGVs) will deliver the various components to the application site during
this period and it is proposed that these follow a route via the A12 and the Rivenhall
End junction on to Braxted Road. As the vehicles leave the Braxted Road they will
pass through “The Commodities Centre” running through the marshalling yard of the
businesses and onto the private track known as “Nero Road”. Nero Road is a narrow
mettled private track, it may be necessary for any construction plan to consider
provision of passing bays to facilitate safe and free flowing movement along its length
during construction. When leaving the southern end section of Nero Road vehciles
will need to pass through the marshalling yard of the Little Braxted Hall businesses.
The vehicles then re-join the public highway via a sharp right turn to Witham Road at
the Little Braxted Hall commercial complex immediately to the east of the Grade 1
Listed Little Braxted Church. Vehicles will then travel the relatively short distance of
75m westwards on Witham Road to the farm access track to the north of the
application site.
7.8.3.2 This route avoids vehicles using the Little Braxted Lane from the A12, which is a
narrow road that is largely single carriageway.
7.8.3.3 It is, however, not possible to secure a routing agreement via a planning condition,
particularly as the route involves third party land not owned or controlled by the
applicant. The applicant has been invited to submit a unilateral undertaking to secure
the route, but no agreement or heads of terms were received prior to the committee
reporting deadline date.
7.8.3.4 The applicant has submitted a table of proposed traffic movements that provides a
breakdown of the deliveries of the various solar farm components and the number of
vehicles required.
Week
Mounting System
Solar Panels
Cabling
Inverters &
Transformers
Total Number of
HGVs
HGV Movements
1
2
3
25
4
15
15
6
5
6
30
6
7
8
Total
46
75
6
20
10
7
3
10
25
36
36
20
17
3
137
50
72
72
40
34
6
274
7.8.3.5 The first two weeks show no movements, as this is the period of site preparation prior
to the delivery of the solar panels etc. and the greatest number of traffic movements
occur in weeks four and 5. The applicant indicates that this will result in 4 HGV
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deliveries (eight movements) on average per day throughout the main 5 week delivery
period (weeks 3 to 7 inclusive).
7.8.3.6 The Highways Agency, responsible for the A12, has no objection but wishes to
discuss the timing and method of delivery with the applicant.
7.8.4
Maintenance
7.8.4.1 Following completion of the solar farm, vehicle movements will be limited to
maintenance visits estimated by the applicant as between 10-20 visits each year
throughout the 25 year lifetime of the development. These vehicles are likely to enter
the application site via an existing field access onto Witham Road, but this is not
defined by the planning application.
7.8.5
Decommissioning
7.8.5.1 The development is proposed over a 25 year period prior to the removal of all of the
components. The applicant estimates that this will repeat the vehicle movements
required for construction.
7.8.5.2 The applicant states that the scrap value of the materials on site will cover the costs of
remediation, but offers no safety net via any legal undertaking to cover any potential
shortfall should this not be the case. The position regarding site remediation is
therefore not robust.
7.8.6
Summary
7.8.6.1 The application proposal will require a significant number of vehicle movements
during the construction period, but this is the case with the majority of development
and it is a temporary impact. Both the Highway Authority and the Highways Agency
raise no objection in terms of highways safety
7.8.6.2 The proposed construction route is potentially preferable to any attempt to use Little
Braxted Lane from the A12, but this would demand a legal agreement to secure
enforcement of the proposed offsetting measure. The applicants have failed to
support the proposals with a binding agreement that can deliver the amelioration
offered within the applications supporting documentation, and therefore the Council
cannot give weight to the proposed offsetting of impacts proposed by the applicants.
The proposals cannot then be accurately considered against the provisions of the
NPPF and saved policy PU6.
7.9
Conservation
7.9.1
The application ES includes an Ecological Appraisal. The findings of the Appraisal
are that the improved grassland and arable farmland within the application site is of
low ecological value. Habitat enhancement is proposed, to include hedgerow interplanting, strengthening and planting of standard trees. Rough grassland field margins
will be maintained. Implementation of these enhancement measures would likely
provide a net biodiversity gain at a local level.
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7.9.2
Overall impacts are considered to be low. With appropriate mitigation and sensitive
design measures, it is considered that impacts on protected and notable species can be
avoided. A preconstruction survey is proposed for badger and if any vegetation
removal is required during the nesting season, a nesting bird check by an ecologist is
also recommended
7.9.3
Natural England has no objection to the development and has suggested that planning
conditions be imposed to secure measures to enhance the biodiversity of the site.
7.9.4
The Council Countryside and Coast Officer also finds that overall, there should be a
number of positive ecological benefits arising from this development if sufficient
effort is put into appropriate mitigation measures.
7.9.5
The Officer raises concern about the route of the proposed connection to the national
grid with regard to any potential route for cabling that may impact on the Whet Mead
Nature Reserve. It should be noted that the Ecological Appraisal does not consider
the potential connection route, only the actual solar farm.
7.9.6
The applicant has provided an indicative routing plan for grid connection but notes
that connection still to be fixed. There is no detailed assessment of the impacts of this
connection upon the Whet Mead Nature Reserve. This absence of clarity fails to
address the issues relating to local wildlife protection with regard to the implications
arising from connection to the National Grid.
7.9.7
Summary
7.9.7.1 The application site itself has limited ecological value and there will be impacted on
slightly from the proposed installation of solar arrays.
7.9.7.2 Ecological impacts on the Whet Mead Nature Reserve arise from the proposed
connection route to transfer electricity from the solar farm to the national grid. The
applicants indicate that there will be no direct impact, as the potential route should
avoid the Nature Reserve. Officers note that there is no detailed analysis of the
impacts within the ES or any detailed agreement on the proposed connection.
7.9.7.3 The scheme proposes enhancements to biodiversity, but there is no detailed scheme is
provided to demonstrate delivery of these benefits. Measures can be secured by
planning condition, but, whereas the planning application refers to a net benefit
arising from the development, it is not possible to attach weight to any positive impact
without a detailed scheme. The applicant’s amended proposal to set back solar panels
from Witham Road in the North East of the application site. Despite requests, there
has been no statement as to potential management and use of this land. A valuable
opportunity to offer mitigation and management for biodiversity enhancement appears
to have been missed.
7.9.7.4 The absence of information in relation to demonstrable harm to habitat without
detailed assessment for assessing or offsetting impacts is contrary to the provisions of
the NPPF and saved local plan CC5.
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7.10
Drainage & Flood Risk
7.10.1 The application site is in flood zone 1 and is supported by a Flood Risk Assessment.
The solar panels will not increase the amount of surface water runoff and although
there will be an increase in hard surfaces, the rows of panels are 8m apart allowing
rain water to run off the panels onto the ground. The applicant has also proposed
additional swales along the western boundary as a further measure to avoid surface
water issues. No detailed evidence relating to the precise location or scale of the
swales was provided with the initial submission. The Environment Agency has not
objected to the development and has approved the Flood Risk Assessment.
7.10.2 The applicant has now supplied indicative details of a sustainable drainage system.
The system utilises a system of swales to the western site boundary and running down
the centre of the site. These swales are offered as detail within an indicative amended
plan. There is no supporting drainage calculation or evidence to support the capacity
of these systems. It is not possible to accurately evaluate the competency of this
measure and therefore reliably assess implications for surface water infiltration from
the increased impermeable area proposed. This lack of information leaves the
Council unable to assess this proposed mitigation and the offsetting of surface water
flows that the applicant should be reasonably required to provide.
7.11
Planning Obligations
7.11.1 The applicant has indicated that a community fund may be offered to the local Parish
Council, but this is not part of the formal planning application. The circular guidance
relating to s106 planning agreements specifically requires that the use of s106 should
only relate to the amelioration of the direct impacts of any developments. Further that
any offset via s106 should be proportionate to the impacts of the development. Here
there is no statement as to the relevance of the monetary lump sum in relation to the
material planning impacts of this scheme. It is difficult to see how a one off monetary
contribution such as this could be supported by a section106 agreement.
7.12
Conclusions
7.12.1 There is a clear need for renewable energy which weighs heavily in favour of the
development and this is supported by current Government policy at the national and
local policy level.
7.12.2 This planning application relates to a renewable energy proposal where Local
Authorities are advised by the NPPF to “recognise the responsibility on all
communities to contribute to energy generation from renewable or low carbon
sources”. The determination of the proposal must be one that is based on the planning
balance whereby any adverse impacts are weighed against the benefits accrued from
the generation of renewable energy. Any decision to refuse planning permission must
be clearly evidenced to show that any demonstrable harm cannot be outweighed by
the demonstrable benefits.
7.12.3 To determine any planning application, however, a planning authority is required to
assess all aspects of a proposal prior to seeking to consider the planning balance of
matters both in favour and against. This requires that the planning application is
supported by robust details and accurate information.
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7.12.4 In the case of the proposed solar farm at Little Braxted the planning application is
supported by insufficient and in part imprecise information. The foregoing sections
highlight specific concerns regarding inadequate information relating to:
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
Impacts on landscape character;
Construction access;
Local wildlife in relation of connections to the National Gird connection;
Sustainable drainage systems;
Glint and glare in relation to local residential amenity;
Failure to provide appropriate noise impact evidence.
7.12.5 Particular concerns arise with regard to the assessment of the Landscape and Visual
Impact Assessment within the Environmental Statement (ES), but also to the
amendments made to the application following submission. These amendments
propose to alter the height of the main development component and the layout of solar
arrays without revisiting the ES which still refers to the previously submitted details.
The ES and amended plans present conflicting evidence.
7.12.6 The absence of a justified explanation or an addendum to the ES to address either the
reasons for the amendments or their impact on the findings in both the ES and other
supporting documents, whether they are positive or negative, is a further failing of the
planning application.
7.12.7 There is a significant objection to the principle of the proposed development in
relation to the impact on both the setting of the Listed Buildings at Little Braxted and
to the local historic landscape.
7.12.8 Little Braxted is a historic, isolated dispersed settlement. The nucleus of Little
Braxted is its church, hall complex and mill with farmsteads close by. These
buildings are designated heritage assets with a significance that is inclusive of their
setting in the wider landscape. As a collection of listed buildings the surroundings in
which they are situated and experienced include the arable fields, hedgerows,
woodland and topography. If the proposed development impacts on the landscape
then in turn it has to impact on the surroundings in which the listed buildings are
experienced. The Council’s Senior Conservation Officer attaches significant adverse
impacts from these proposals upon these listed heritage assets.
7.12.9 The planning balance required for a proposal for renewable energy requires
consideration as to whether adverse impacts can be made acceptable. It is concluded
that in respect of the historic environment these impacts cannot be made acceptable
and the application should be refused. Furthermore, that the inaccuracies ,limited
analysis and justifications within the supporting evidence will not allow an accurate
and balanced view to be taken as to the impacts of the proposals in the wider
landscape. It is therefore not possible to accurately assess the demonstrable benefits
from this development or indeed accurately weight their impacts with regard to
landscape visual impact, construction access, local wildlife impacts from the proposed
grid connection, sustainable drainage implications or glint and glare impacts on local
residential amenity. The proposals therefore fail to comply with the National
Planning Policy Framework and saved local plan polices S2, CON5, CC5, CC6, CC7,
PU6 and BE1 and are therefore recommended for refusal for the following reasons.
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Recommendation
REFUSE for the following reasons:
1
The proposed Solar Farm as a result of the scale and expanse of development of the
panels and their visual intrusion would have a significant detrimental impact upon this
unique historic enclosed landscape and the setting of listed buildings, which are
recognised for their historic and architectural importance. The proposal is therefore
contrary to policies CC7, BE1 and PU6 of the adopted Maldon District Replacement
Local Plan. Despite careful consideration of the renewable energy benefits supported
by Local Plan policies and the National Planning Policy Framework, it is not possible
to consider that the benefits of this renewable energy proposal will demonstrably
outweigh the significant adverse impacts of the development upon this special and
historic landscape and the setting of those local listed buildings of Little Braxted and
the surrounding area.
2
It is not possible to comprehensively assess all of the impacts of the proposed Solar
Farm, because the planning application is supported by inadequate information
relating to the impacts on landscape character, access during construction, local
wildlife interests in respect of the proposed connection to the national grid,
sustainable drainage and glint in respect of the various individual residential
properties near to the application site, and potential adverse noise impacts. These
inadequacies prevent an accurate assessment of the development against policies S2,
CON5, CC5, CC6, CC7, PU6 and BE1 of the adopted Maldon District Replacement
Local Plan and all other material considerations including the National Planning
Policy Framework in relation to those factors listed above. It is not possible to set
these inadequacies aside by virtue of the developments renewable energy benefits,
therefore precaution relating to inadequate evidence and failure to demonstrate
suitable mitigation prevent the District Planning Authority from approval of this
scheme.
POSITIVE AND PROACTIVE STATEMENT
Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) (Amendment
No.2) Order 2012 - Positive and Proactive Statement:
The Local Planning Authority has acted positively and proactively in determining this
application by identifying matters of concern with the proposal and discussing with the
Applicant/Agent. However, the issues relating to heritage impact are considered to be so
fundamental to the proposal that it has not been possible to negotiate a satisfactory way
forward and due to the harm which has been clearly identified within the reasons for the
refusal, approval has not been possible. Furthermore, that the applicant has been advised of
other areas of concern relating to demonstration of impacts and securing ameliorating
measures and has been unable to supply comprehensive evidence within a reasonable time
period to meet these concerns.
Enquiries to:- Phillip Rowson, Development & Projects Manager, (Tel 01621 875738 ).
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PL3
FUL/MAL/13/00222
HEYBRIDGE EAST
Erection of 5 detached dwellings with garages and associated private amenity space and
private access drive.
Land At Broad Street Green Road Heybridge Essex
Applicant:- Granville Developments
Agent:- John Finch Partnership
1.
Introduction
1.1
This application was considered by the North Western Area Planning Committee at its
meeting on 3 June 2013 for consideration as the application site is located partly
within the Parish of Heybridge as well the Parish of Great Totham. The application
also follows a previous application which was put to the Council for determination
following recommendations by both the North Western and Central Area Planning
Committees.
1.2
The application will also be considered by the Central Area Planning Committee on
19 June which will also make a recommendation to the Planning and Licensing
Committee on 20 June 2013. The recommendation from the Central Area Planning
Committee will form part of the Members’ Update at the Planning and Licensing
meeting 20 June 2013.
1.3
The North Western Area Planning Committee recommended the application for
approval as per the Officer’s recommendation.
2.
Site Description
2.1
The application site is located on the eastern side of Broad Street Green Road,
Heybridge and amounts to a total area of 0.49 hectare). Broad Street Green Road is a
busy B class road which has been recently reduced in speed limit from variances of
40MPH and 50MPH to a flat speed of 40MPH. There is a footpath along Broad Street
Green Road leading towards Heybridge where a range of local shops, services,
primary schools and some places of local employment are available.
2.2
The site is rectangular in shape with frontage onto Broad Street Green Road of
approximately 150ms. The site is located within the Parishes of Heybridge and Great
Totham although falls outside of the defined development boundaries of both areas.
2.3
The site is situated between existing residential development that comprise a mix of
large detached properties to the north, some of which are set back from the roadside
and have shared access off Broad Street Green Road, and smaller detached and semi
detached properties to the south which are closer to the roadside and more visually
prominent. The layout of properties in this section of the road is ribbon in character.
2.4
The site is currently vacant although it is understood that the site may have served as a
grazing paddock previously. It is bounded by mature trees and hedgerow and there is
an existing gated access in the southern portion of the site. The front boundary of the
site benefits from a mature hedgerow.
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3.
The Proposal
3.1
This revised scheme follows the grant of planning permission under application
FUL/MAL/12/00818 for five detached houses on the site. Those dwellings were
comparable in appearance, scale and form, spaced relatively far apart on the site and
based on the principles of a landscaped focused development.
3.2
The current proposal also proposes five detached dwellings, all of which have 5
bedrooms. Instead of attached garages, each dwelling would now have a detached
garage. Two of these would be immediately in front of the access onto Broad Street
Green Road with their respective dwellings adjacent. The garages would all have
hipped roofs and be of a comparable size and scale to one another. The garages
would each measure 6.4m wide and 7.2m in depth with a height of 5.8m. Each has
sufficient space for two cars to be parked and have two garage doors on the front
elevation. The side elevation of each garage would also contain a separate pedestrian
doorway. Additional space is available in front of the garages for further parking if
required.
3.3
The dwellings would remain linear in form, albeit on slighting different scales and
having different appearances to those originally approved. Each dwelling would have
a floor space of between 188.7sqm and 221.3sqm. The rear gardens provided for each
dwelling would range range between 250sqm and 400sqm.
3.4
The plots are numbered from north to south, with plot 1 being the northern most. This
dwelling is 4.0m from the northern boundary. The dwelling on plot 5 is 12.98m from
the southern boundary and the garage 4.84m from the same boundary.
3.5
The dwellings on plot 1 and 5 would be the same in design terms. They would each
have a height of 9m, a width of 15.5m and a depth of 6.88m. The elevations of the
dwellings would be in weatherboarding. This would be an H shaped dwelling type
with one larger and one smaller forward projecting gable. The rear elevation would
have a bay window.
3.6
The dwelling on plot 1 would be set back from the roadside by 7.2m at its closest
point. The garage would be sited adjacent to the dwelling (south) approximately 4m
from the southern elevation.
3.7
The dwelling on plot 5 would be 9m from the front boundary. The garage would be
sited in front of the principal elevation of the proposed dwelling by 1m and 1.3m from
the front site boundary. It would be roughly in line with the southern flank elevation
of the dwelling.
3.8
The dwelling on plot 2 would be rectangular in shape with a single storey rear
projection. A full height cross wing would be provided slightly protruding from the
front and rear elevation. On the rear this would adjoin the single storey element. The
front elevation would have a small single storey addition which extends forward and
has a roof slope directly off that of the principal structure. There would be two
dormer windows in this elevation of the dwelling and a further two with roof light and
standard window in the rear elevation. The dwelling would measure 8.3m to the
maximum ridge, a maximum of 15.59m deep, reducing to 10.3m, and having a width
of 12.2m. The dwelling would also be finished in weatherboarding.
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3.9
The garage for plot 2 would be sited to the south of the proposed dwelling by 6.8m
and effectively in front of the principal access to the site. This garage would be 3m
from the flank of the garage serving plot 3, both of which would be screened to some
degree by proposed new planting adjacent to the hardstanding access area. The
garage on plot 3 would be only 2m from the northern elevation of that dwelling.
3.10
In terms of plot 3, the dwelling proposed would be an H shaped form with two cross
wings projecting forward and rearwards of the principal structure. A front lean to
open porch would be provided between the two cross wings, tiled to match the roof of
the dwelling. The dwelling would measure 8.6m in height to the ridge with the height
of the cross wings marginally lower at 7.6m. It would have a maximum depth of
9.7m and minimum depth of 7.4m. The width of the dwelling would be 14.1m.
3.11
The northern cross wing would be fully rendered with the southern cross wing
rendered at first floor only. On the flank elevation the render would cease at the
chimney breast. The remainder of the elevations would be finished in
weatherboarding.
3.12
The dwelling on plot 4 would be more of a compact L form with a cross wing on the
northern side reducing down towards the south end of the dwelling. The cross wing
would be weatherboarded with the remainder of the dwelling being in render. The
side elevation of the dwelling would have a small buttress offering an open porch to
the ground floor and additional floor space at first floor. The dwelling would measure
8.6m in height, 13.56m in width and between 11.6m (max) and 9.0m (min) in depth.
3.13
The garage proposed to serve plot 4 would be sited to the north of the dwelling by
1.8m. It would be sited approximately half way back from along the northern flank
elevation of the dwelling.
3.14
All dwellings would have clay pantile and plain tiles for the roofs with windows in
white painted timber joinery.
3.15
Internally each dwelling would provide five bedrooms at first floor level, some with
en suite facilities. A family bathroom would also be provided. At ground floor level,
generally the dwellings would have the same facilities, offering a kitchen, utility,
breakfast room, lounge, study / family room and dining room. A small cloak room is
also proposed in the ground floor of each dwelling.
3.16
In terms of siting, the dwellings would be in a linear form, with the garages also in
line. The only garage to go against this gain of development is plot 5 whereby the
garage is sited at right angles to the road.
3.17
In terms of access, a new access is proposed centrally along the front boundary of the
plot. This would measure 6m wide and block paving would start 6m back from the
highway edge. A small section of the existing hedge would be required to be cut back
in order to achieve the visibility splays. The hardstanding area would provide a
continuous driveway though the site to serve each of the dwellings with individual
parking and turning areas also.
3.18
The existing access near to the south western corner of the plot would be closed up
and replanted.
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3.19
All existing landscaping at the site would be retained and improved with new
specimens where possible. Areas surrounding the dwellings would be laid to lawn
with some paving provided between garages and respective dwellings. The dwellings
on plots 1 and 5 would also have separate gates, separating them to a degree from the
remainder of the development.
3.20
Additional Plans received:
3.20.1 Following the consultation response from the Council’s Tree Officer (as stated in the
report), amended plans were provided to remove lines around trees on the rear
boundary that were not going to be removed for clarification. No other changes have
been made to the plans.
4.
Relevant Planning History

FUL/MAL/03/00485 - Proposed nursery / pet centre (outline application with
all matters of detail reserved for future determination). Refused - 17.06.2003.

FUL/MAL/12/00818 - Erection of five detached dwellings with associated
private amenity space and private access drive. Approved - 20.12.2012.
4.1
This present application follows application 12/00818/FUL whereby planning
permission was granted for five detached 5-bed dwellings. This application was
approved on 20.12.2012. Four of these dwellings had attached garages with the fifth,
provided closest to the southern boundary, having a detached garage. The dwellings
all had the same height (8.55m), varying in width between 12.4m and 18.9m (max)
and depth between 12.4m and 18.9m (max). The dwellings had wrap around gardens
with much of the existing landscaping at the site being retained to offer a landscape
focused development. The dwellings were in a linear form with a single central
access into the site off Broad Street Green Road.
4.2
The application was supported by the Central Area Planning Committee. The North
Western Area Committee did not support the application. It was resolved to grant
planning permission for the development at a meeting of the Council.
4.3
This application is a material consideration in assessing this present scheme.
5.
Consultation Replies
Parish Council
Heybridge Parish Council – Support.
Great Totham Parish Council – Support.
Additional response received in relation to amended layout plans – The Council is
unable to ascertain the changes on the revised plans.
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External
Essex County Council Highways Authority – No objection subject to conditions
(clear to ground visibility; access at right angles to road & width of access; residential
travel plan; closure of existing access; surface water; no unbound materials within 6m
of highway; gates inward opening and 6m from highway) and informatives.
Historic Environment Advisor – Place Services – Essex County Council - The
trenches dug for the archaeological evaluation are still roughly in the right place,
although rather more to the frontage of the proposed houses than centrally placed.
The Senior Conservation and Urban Design Officer is correct in saying that the
purpose of the trenching is check the areas that will be disturbed and applicants
should be discouraged from changing their layout post-trenching or informed that
further trenching maybe required.
However, given that the results from the trenching comprised a single ditch of
possible medieval date, the changes to the proposed scheme in this case are not
sufficient to justify a second round of trenching. There is no need therefore to attach a
similar condition to the present application.
Internal
Environmental Health – No objection. Suggested conditions (surface water
drainage and assessment of pluvial and fluvial flood risk) and informatives
(construction working hours and contamination).
Additional response received in relation to amended layout plans – Clarification was
sought from the Environmental Health oofficer in respect of conditions and
informatives varying between the current proposal and previous application
(12/00818/FUL). The Environmental Health Officer has suggested that as the
development is near to a watercourse it should have flood risk assessment as well as
conditions for surface water drainage. This is because the risk of flooding is
becoming a greater priority particularly due to the problems experienced this winter in
the District.
After further research it was concluded that we had no evidence that the site was
contaminated or is suspected of it so would be more reasonable to provide an
informative rather than a condition relating to land contamination.
It is also unlikely that the development would have external illumination unless it is
social housing. Therefore the condition relating to this is removed.
Officer response to this additional comment from Environmental Health - Whilst the
officer has suggested that the additional and varied conditions are imposed, there has
been no material change in circumstances at the site since the previous application
was determined. It is not considered reasonable therefore to add these into the report.
Senior Conservation and Urban Design Officer (re: Archaeology) – No objection
subject to archaeological conditions being imposed.
Senior Conservation and Urban Design Officer - Object. The proposal is not
locally inspired for smaller housing units or distinctive/characteristic in the given
context.
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Tree Officer –The tree report for the previous application was fine, but it needs to be
updated to reflect the changes in this submission. This can be conditioned.
Concerned that on plans 2892.07A and 2892.01C, the impression is given that some
of the trees that were previously to be retained may be removed, although it is
difficult to tell as there is no key for the plans. Officer has liaised with the agent and
amended plans have been submitted to address this concern with dotted lines
removed.
Proposed conditions:

Landscaping scheme to be agreed prior to development.

Foundation details and service runs.

Pre-development site meeting with me to inspect the position of protective
fencing etc.

Submission of tree protection monitoring.
6.
Letters of Representation
6.1
None received.
7.
Assessment of Proposal
Policy Issues
(i)
Relevant Development Plan Policies
Adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan

S2 - Development Outside Development Boundaries - Outside the defined
development boundaries the coast and countryside will be protected for their
own sake.

CC6 - Landscape Protection - The natural beauty and quality of the
landscape shall be protected, conserved and enhanced.

H1 - Location of New Housing - Will not be allowed outside development
boundaries unless required in accordance with other policies.

H6 – Housing Density – Housing density will be permitted at a range
between 30-50 dwellings per hectare subject to exceptions.

BE1 - Design of New Development and Landscaping - Development will
only be permitted if it is compatible with its surroundings and meets defined
criteria.

T2 - Transport Infrastructure in New Developments – New development
will be expected to achieve sustainability and highway safety throughout.

T8 - Vehicle Parking Standards - New development will be expected to
meet the adopted parking standards.
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(ii)
Maldon District Local Development Plan
The Council agreed the approach for progression and production of a Local
Development Plan for the Maldon District on 21 July 2011. This follows the reforms
being introduced to the planning system by the Government, including the Localism
agenda, and subsequent discussions with elected Members. The Local Development
Plan will be based largely upon the existing draft Core Strategy document, but there
will be amendments and additions to certain aspects of the Plan.
Once adopted, the Local Development Plan will supersede the Maldon District
Replacement Local Plan ‘saved policies’ as the statutory Development Plan for the
District. In the meantime, the National Planning Policy Framework states that the
Replacement Local Plan ‘saved policies’ can continue to be given due weight
according to their degree of consistency with the Framework (the closer the saved
policies in the plan to the policies in the Framework, the greater the weight that may
be given). The East of England Plan formerly was part of the statutory Development
Plan for the District, was revoked on 3 January 2013. The Local Development Plan
will have to be in conformity with National Planning Policy.
The “Local Development Plan Preferred Options” consultation document was
published on 10 July 2012. This document carries limited weight but can be referred
to as a material consideration.
(iii)
Government Guidance

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published by the
Government on 27 March 2012 and came into immediate effect. The NPPF
provides the national planning guidance and forms a material consideration
with all planning applications. This document supersedes all Planning Policy
Guidance notes and Planning Policy Statements as well as other certain
government publications listed within Annex 3 of the NPPF. Notwithstanding
this Local Plan ‘saved policies’ can continue to be given due weight according
to their degree of consistency with the Framework (the closer the saved
policies in the plan to the policies in the Framework, the greater the weight
that may be given).
7.1
Principle of Development and Housing Need
7.1.1 Policy S2 of the adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan is the principal
strategic policy for the District. Policy S2 is a strategic policy and is unequivocal in
its purpose by stating that development outside defined settlement boundaries the
coast and countryside should be protected for its own sake, particularly in terms of
landscape, natural resources, ecological, heritage, archaeological, agricultural and
recreational value.
7.1.2 Therefore, new development should not take place in unsustainable locations outside
the defined development boundaries (as specified in the Development Plan) unless the
development in question is for other purposes specified elsewhere in the Development
Plan. In accordance with policy S1, development will be directed towards existing
settlements (as defined by the Development Plan), where access to community
facilities and sustainable transport options will be greater. Policy H1 similarly seeks
to direct new housing towards settlements unless it complies with other policies of the
plan.
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7.1.3 The application site is located outside of the defined development boundary of both
Great Totham and Heybridge. It therefore remains in a location where the above
mentioned policies would discourage development. Therefore the proposal would be
in direct conflict with the aims of policies S1, S2 and H1, together with those
“qualifying” policies CC6, BE1, T1 and T2 of the Local Plan.
7.1.4 Planning permission has already been granted at the site for 5 houses detached 5
bedroom houses. Therefore the general principle of development has already been
established. The proposal would not alter the use of the land as already approved
under the recent planning application. There has been no material change in policy
since determination of that application to warrant an alternative view.
7.1.5 Similarly, as the principle of development at the site has been established for 5
detached 5 bedroom dwellings, the minor contribution that the proposal could make to
housing in the district would remain a relevant consideration.
7.2
Impact on Character and Appearance of the Area
7.2.1 Policy CC6 of the Local Plan aims to protect the natural beauty, tranquillity, amenity
and quality of the District’s landscape, by ensuring that (a) development causes no
harm to the landscape character of the locality, (b) the design of the development is
appropriate for its setting and (c) landscaping is included in the proposal to enhance
local distinctiveness.
7.2.2 Policy BE1 also states at part (c) that outside of development boundaries, new
development would make a positive contribution to the landscape and open
countryside.
7.2.3 The site is currently vacant and is bounded by mature trees and hedgerows which
form a visually green facade when traversing along Broad Street Green Road. The
trees and landscape features on the site are considered to positively contribute to the
locality, creating a visual link between the countryside and development in the area.
The landscaped nature of the plot also creates a visual break between the development
immediately fronting the roadside to the north and south. It is therefore considered
vital for this to be retained and enhanced where possible in order to protect and
enhance the character of the locality in a positive manner, and help integrate the
proposed development into its surroundings. A landscaping condition would be
considered appropriate to ensuring this can be achieved.
7.2.4 The application shows that existing landscaping at the site is to be retained as far as
possible. The proposed dwellings would be sited within the central section of the plot
– away from the site boundaries. The siting of development in this manner would
enable the existing trees to be protected. Details of tree protection by way of an
arboricultural report, tree protection plan and method statement have been submitted
with the application. This indicates that the existing trees on the site appear in good
condition with no signs of pests or disease with the exception of a willow tree which
is in a poor state. The report suggests that this tree could present a danger to future
occupiers and it is recommended for removal. The report indicates that 2 low quality
trees would require removal as part of the proposal. These are located in the site and
not on its boundaries. There is also potential for the root protection area (RPA) of T1
(close to the south western corner of the site) could be comprised by the garage for
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plot 5. Recommendations are therefore included in the report relating to this. The
report also refers to discussions with the Tree Officer in respect of tree G1, located on
the western boundary which may require pruning.
7.2.5 The report indicates means to protect the trees during construction, including
protecting fencing, providing service runs outside of the RPAs for existing trees, and
careful siting of materials and site facilities. Working within the RPA of any trees
would be supervised by an arborist on site.
7.2.6 The Council’s Tree Officer has been consulted in relation to this application. In the
previous application conditions were recommended and imposed. In this instance the
Tree Officer has stated that the details contained in the submitted arboricultural
information is sufficient but would need to be updated in order to reflect the amended
plans and development of the site. The Tree Officer has recommended a number of
conditions which are considered applicable to this development and would help
ensure the trees are protected at the site. These conditions have therefore been
included.
7.2.7 Although a small section of the front boundary hedge will be lost as a result of the
proposal, the existing access would be closed up with new hedgerow planted in its
place. Native hedgerow would match the existing and could assist in providing
further enhancement to the street scene, particularly adjacent to 24 Broad Street Green
Road.
7.2.8 The development would retain a relatively spacious layout with the garages barely
visible from the surrounding area as a result of the existing front boundary hedge.
This is evidenced on plan reference 2892.30 showing a cross section of the site with
the existing boundary hedge and views from passing traffic of the garages. It is
therefore considered essential that this front boundary hedge is retained and enhanced
where possible.
7.2.9 Notwithstanding this fact, the dwellings proposed are greater in size and scale
compared to those already approved at the site. There could be a greater impact on
the character of the area caused by the development. However, it is recognised that
Broad Street Green Road has a diverse character, with no development on the
opposite (western) side of the road and the eastern side of the road comprising a
variety of dwellings all of which front the roadside. The character of the area is
diverse and therefore it is considered that the increased scale of dwellings on the site
as now proposed may not, on balance, have a significantly greater impact on the
character and appearance of the locality compared to the approved scheme. It would
however be essential that landscaping is protected and enhanced at the site in order to
not comprise the character and appearance of the locality. A landscaping scheme
condition could therefore be imposed to ensure appropriate landscape inclusion and
retention at the site.
7.2.10 It is recognised that surrounding properties in the locality have limited landscaping.
However, given the current appearance of the site it is important to retain existing
features in order to integrate the development within its setting.
7.2.11 The Senior Conservation and Urban Design Officer has objected to the proposal,
raising concerns that domestication of the site would impact upon the character of the
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area. However, whilst these comments are taken into account, it is a material
consideration that planning permission has already been granted at the site. The
impact of the development would not be considered significantly greater to the
detriment of the character and appearance of the locality, compared to that already
approved.
7.3
Layout, Scale and Design
7.3.1 Policy BE1 addresses the design of new development, and at part (a) aims to ensure
that development is compatible with its surroundings in terms of factors including
layout, site coverage, architectural style, scale/bulk/height, materials, visual impact
and relationship to mature trees.
7.3.2 It is firstly noted that the Senior Conservation and Urban Design Officer has objected
to the proposal on the basis of the design of development, particularly the principle of
providing 5 large detached houses on the site. The principle of development has
however already been established. The Officer has stated that the proposal should
have integrated itself into the street scene where there are modest dwellings (cottages,
semi detached dwellings and detached dwellings) fronting the roadside. Concerns are
raised that the first buildings seen when entering the access are garages rather than
dwellings (as was the case with the previous scheme), and that the dwellings on plots
1 and 5 were at angles to the road.
7.3.3 Whilst these comments are taken into consideration, it is relevant that the character of
Broad Street Green Road is considered to be relatively mixed. It is accepted that there
are smaller dwellings towards Heybridge along the street frontage. However, towards
Great Totham dwellings are of a larger size and scale, not dissimilar to those now
proposed, or previously approved. The context of the area is therefore considered to
be varied in terms of dwellings styles and types and not simply limited to smaller
cottages of a semi and detached nature.
7.3.4 In this regard, the appearance of the proposed dwellings are all now varied offering
further variety in the street scene compared to the previous approval. All five
proposed dwellings have a comparable use of materials, albeit they are utilised in
various ways to create variance in design and appearance. The dwelling also offer
different forms based loosely on the idea of a standard H or L shaped structure. This
variance would be considered to assists in creating some visual interest in design
terms.
7.3.5 It is however recognised that the proposed dwellings are larger than those approved
originally at the site. The dwellings also each have separate detached double garages
whereas previously 4 of the properties had attached garages. As such the built form at
the site is greater than already approved at the site. As a result of the size and scale of
dwellings, it is considered that the visual impact and dominance of development could
be greater than that already approved. However on balance, this is not considered
sufficient enough to refuse planning permission alone.
7.3.6 The dwellings would not be considered to appear cramped on the site and some
spaciousness would be retained. Proposed fencing between the plots would not
considerably alter the spaciousness of the site particularly when viewed by those
traversing along the road.
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7.3.7 Notwithstanding these concerns, the layout of development is in effect, the same as
the previous scheme with dwellings in a linear form set back from the roadside and
accessed from a single crossover onto Broad Street Green Road. The submitted plans
do show that a reasonable portion of the site would remain landscaped with dwellings
a sufficient distance from the boundaries to allow existing landscaping features to be
retained. The removal of permitted development rights for outbuildings in the
curtilage of the dwellings, as with the previous application, would be considered
important in ensuring this is maintained in the long term, positively benefiting the
character and amenity of the landscape area. A condition of this nature was included
on the previously approved scheme, being considered necessary for the protection of
the amenity of the locality and amenity of future occupiers of the 5 dwellings.
7.4
Provision of Amenity Space
7.4.1 The Essex Design Guide (EDG) has been adopted as guidance by the Council. This
document indicates the preferred level of amenity space for residential properties.
The proposed development would provide adequate amenity space for each dwelling
in accordance with this guidance, exceeding the minimum requirements. The layout
of development also provides garden and open land between the dwellings and
associated garages on each plot helping to ensure that the site does not have an
overdeveloped or cramped appearance.
7.5
Effect upon Neighbouring Properties
7.5.1 Policy BE1 (a) addresses impact of development on the amenity of neighbouring
occupiers. The proposed dwellings on plots 1 and 5 are the closest to other residential
properties. The dwelling on plot 1 would be 4m from the northern boundary and the
dwelling on plot 5 12.98m from the southern boundary. It is however recognised that
the dwelling on plot 1 is somewhat closer to the boundary than that previously
approved which was 11m from the boundary and that adjacent to the southern
boundary is 1.02m closer than previously approved. There would however be a
greater impact on the occupiers of the northern neighbour as a result of the proposed
development.
7.5.2 The northern boundary of the site has some mature planting along it and the near
neighbour has a boundary fence. The proposed elevations show no windows on the
flank elevations facing north or south on plots 1 and 5. Therefore this would ensure
no overlooking is caused to neighbouring occupiers.
7.5.3 The existing boundary planting also provides a reasonable degree of screening
between existing and proposed dwellings ensuring that the amenity of current and
future residential occupiers is capable of being maintained, preventing where possible
any undue loss of light, overshadowing or dominance which may otherwise be
detrimental to residential amenity.
7.6
Access, Parking & Highway Safety
7.6.1 Policy BE1 (a) (x) addresses traffic impact and access arrangements, and policy T2
and T8 relate to accessibility and parking standards. Policy T2 aims to ensure that (a)
development provides safe access to and from the highway, including adequate
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visibility splays, (c) facilities giving priority to public transport, pedestrians and
cycling, and (g) promotion of social inclusion and accessibility.
7.6.2 The proposal provides sufficient room for two cars per dwellings parked in the
garages. Additional space is available for further parking if required in front of the
garages. The layout of the site allows vehicles to enter and leave the site in a forward
gear with turning spaces provided for each dwelling. The proposal would thus
comply with the requirements of policy T8 and the adopted Parking Standards
Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).
7.6.3 Having a central shared access off Broad Street Green Road means that there would
be no net increase in the number of crossovers onto the road as the existing access in
the southern section of the site would be closed. The shared access would be
considered to provide an opportunity for social inclusion and accessibility throughout
the site which could benefit the future occupiers. Existing footpaths leading to the
town of Heybridge offer walking opportunities for future occupiers. In this respect
small pedestrian entrances are shown as gaps in the hedgerow on the front boundary
of the site. This reflects the approved scheme and would allow for quick and direct
access for the fire brigade, or other emergency service, should the need arise.
7.6.4 The Highways Authority has raised no objection to the application subject to
conditions and informatives being imposed. These conditions reflect those proposed
by the Highway Authority in the previous application and are therefore considered
acceptable.
7.7
Other considerations
7.7.1 In terms of archaeology, conditions have been proposed by the Senior Conservation
Officer. However, since submission of the application, an archaeology report has
been submitted by email dated 18 April 2013. This related to the previous scheme but
was submitted to form a part of this present application. The report prepared by
Colchester Archaeological Trust and dated March 2013 has therefore been considered
as part of this proposal. The Conservation Officer considered that the conditions
should be attached as the scheme was different to that previous approved. However,
the Historic Environment Advisor at Essex County Council has advised that following
an assessment of the details of that report, the results show a single ditch possibly of
medieval date, the changes to the proposal would not justify a second round of
trenching. As such there is no requirement for the conditions to be attached.
7.8
Conclusion
7.8.1 Having regard to the issues raised above and consideration of the previous approved
scheme it is concluded that the proposal would be acceptable. The changes to the
proposal by way of design, scale and siting of the dwellings, in addition to the
inclusion of detached rather than attached garages would not be considered to
significant affect the character and appearance of the locality, over and above that
already approved. The dwelling may be more visible in the site but the retention and
protection of landscaping features would assist in mitigating any increase in visual
impact caused by this amended scheme.
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Recommendation
APPROVE subject to the following conditions:
1
The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of three years
from the date of this permission.
REASON: To comply with Section 91(1) of The Town & Country Planning Act 1990
(as amended).
2
The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in complete accordance with
the approved drawings specifically referenced on this decision notice as well as the
submitted detailed specifications which forms part of this permission, unless
otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
REASON: In order to ensure that the development is carried out in accordance with
the approved details.
3
No development shall take place until written details or samples of all materials to be
used in the construction of the external surfaces of the development hereby permitted
have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The
development shall be carried out using the materials and details as approved.
REASON: To ensure that the hereby approved is in keeping in its setting and to
comply with policy BE1 of the adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan.
4
No works or development shall take place until full details of both hard and soft
landscape works to be carried out have been submitted to and approved in writing by
the Local Planning Authority. These details shall include the layout of the hard
landscaped areas with the materials and finishes to be used and details of the soft
landscape works including schedules of shrubs and trees to be planted, noting the
species, stock size, proposed numbers/densities and details of the planting scheme's
implementation, aftercare and maintenance programme. The hard landscape works
shall be carried out as approved prior to the beneficial occupation of the development
hereby approved unless otherwise first agreed in writing by the Local Planning
Authority. The soft landscape works shall be carried out as approved within the first
available planting season (October to March inclusive) following the commencement
of the development, unless otherwise first agreed in writing by the Local Planning
Authority. If within a period of five years from the date of the planting of any tree or
plant, or any tree or plant planted in its replacement, is removed, uprooted, destroyed,
dies, or becomes, in the opinion of the Local Planning Authority, seriously damaged
or defective, another tree or plant of the same species and size as that originally
planted shall be planted in the same place, unless the Local Planning Authority gives
its written consent to any variation.
REASON: To ensure that the landscaping is well laid out in the interest of visual
amenity and in order to comply with policy CC6 of the adopted Maldon District
Replacement Local Plan.
5
No drainage or service runs (including cables, pipes or similar services) shall be laid
beneath the canopy of any tree identified for retention upon the approved the
arboricultural report and tree protection plan, dated 12 March 2013, or any revision
thereof required by condition 7 nor within any fenced protection zone unless
otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Any drainage/service
runs that are installed within the root protection area of any retained tree, must be
constructed in accordance with BS5837:2012.
REASON: To ensure the protection of the trees in the interests of visual amenity and
the character of the area in accordance with policies BE1 and CC6 of the adopted
Maldon District Replacement Local Plan and the National Planning Policy
Framework.
6
Agenda Item no.
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6
7
8
9
No development shall commence until details of the foundations to be used for the
development hereby permitted have been submitted to and agreed in writing by the
Local Planning Authority. The development shall be carried out in accordance with
the agreed details.
REASON: To ensure the protection of the trees in the interests of visual amenity and
the character of the area in accordance with policies BE1 and CC6 of the adopted
Maldon District Replacement Local Plan and the National Planning Policy
Framework.
Notwithstanding the details submitted with the application, the arboricultural report
and tree protection plan, dated 12 March 2013 shall be altered to reflect the layout of
development as per approved plans reference 2892.07A and 2892.02C which form a
part of this permission, shall be submitted to and agreed in writing by the Local
Planning Authority prior to the commencement of the development hereby approved.
The report shall be prepared in accordance with the requirements of BS5837:2012.
REASON: In order to ensure protection of the trees at the site which contribute to the
character and appearance of the locality in accordance with policies BE1 and CC6 of
the adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan and the National Planning
Policy Framework.
Notwithstanding the requirements of condition 7, all trees and hedges on the site
(including boundary hedges) identified for retention on the approved plan references
"tree protection plan" and arboricultural report dated 12 March 2013, which are
attached to and form part of this permission, or any revision thereof as required by
condition 7, shall not be removed, cut back in any way, or damaged unless or
otherwise first agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority. No clearing,
demolition or development shall commence within the site until the trees and hedges
shown to be retained have been protected by the erection of temporary fencing in
accordance with British Standard 5837:2012 (Trees in Relation to Construction) and
the details contained within the approved arboricultural report which is attached to
and forms part of this permission, unless otherwise agreed in writing. The protective
fencing and ground protection shall be maintained until all equipment, machinery and
surplus materials have been removed from the site. Within the fenced protection
zone(s) no materials shall be stored, no rubbish dumped, no fires lit and no buildings
erected inside the fence, nor shall any change in ground level be made within the
fenced area unless otherwise first agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
If within five years from the completion of the development a tree or hedge shown to
be retained is removed, destroyed, dies, or becomes, in the opinion of the Local
Planning Authority, seriously damaged or defective, a replacement shall be planted
within the site of such species and size, and shall be planted at such time, as specified
in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
REASON: To ensure retention of the rural character of the area in accordance with
policies BE1 and CC6 of the adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan and
the National Planning Policy Framework.
No works or development shall take place until a scheme of supervision for the
arboricultural protection measures required by conditions 7 and 8 has been submitted
to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. This scheme will be
appropriate to the scale and duration of the works and will include details of:

Induction and personnel awareness of arboricultural matters by a qualified
Arboriculturalist.

Identification of individual responsibilities and key personnel.

Timing and methods of site visiting and record keeping, including updates
6
Agenda Item no.
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
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
Procedures for dealing with variations and incidents.
The scheme of supervision shall be carried out in accordance with the details agreed.
The scheme of supervision shall be administered by a qualified arboriculturist
instructed by the applicant and approved by the Local Planning Authority prior to
commencement of the development.
REASON: To ensure the protection of the trees in the interests of visual amenity and
the character of the area
Prior to first occupation of the development, the access at its centre line shall be
provided with a clear to ground visibility splay with dimensions of 2.4 metres by 160
metres to the north and 2.4 metres by 160 metres to the south, as measured from and
along the nearside edge of the carriageway. Such vehicular visibility splays shall be
provided before the access is first used by vehicular traffic and retained free of any
obstruction at all times.
REASON: To provide adequate inter-visibility between vehicles using the access and
those in the existing public highway in the interest of highway safety.
Prior to first occupation of the development the vehicular access shall be constructed
at right angles to the highway boundary and to the existing carriageway. The width of
the access at its junction with the highway shall not be more than 6 metres, shall be
retained at that width for 6 metres within the site and shall be provided with an
appropriate dropped kerb vehicular crossing of the highway verge.
REASON: to ensure that vehicles can enter and leave the highway in a controlled
manner in the interest of highway safety.
Prior to occupation of the proposed development, the Developer shall be responsible
for the provision and implementation of a Residential Travel Information Pack for
sustainable transport, approved by Essex County Council.
REASON: In the interests of reducing the need to travel by car and promoting
sustainable development and transport.
Prior to the commencement of the development details shall be submitted to and
approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority in consultation with the
Highway Authority for the permanent closure of the existing vehicular access to the
south of the site incorporating the reinstatement of the highway verge. The works
shall be implemented and retained in accordance with the approved details within
three months of the new vehicular access being brought into use.
REASON: To ensure the removal of and to preclude the creation of unnecessary
points of traffic conflict in the highway in the interests of highway safety.
Prior to commencement of the development details showing the means to prevent the
discharge of surface water from the development onto the highway shall be submitted
to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved scheme
shall be carried out in its entirety prior to the access becoming operational and shall
be retained at all times.
REASON: To prevent hazards caused by water flowing onto the highway and to
avoid the formation of ice on the highway in the interest of highway safety.
No unbound material shall be used in the surface treatment of the vehicular access
within 6 metres of the highway boundary of the site.
REASON: To avoid displacement of loose material onto the highway in the interests
of highway safety.
Any gates provided at the vehicular access shall be inward opening only and shall be
set back a minimum of 6 metres from the back edge of the carriageway.
REASON: To enable vehicles using the access to stand clear of the carriageway
whilst gates are being opened and closed in the interest of highway safety
6
Agenda Item no.
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17
18
19
Prior to the commencement of the development details of the surface water and foul
drainage scheme to serve the development shall be submitted to and agreed in writing
by the Local Planning Authority. The agreed scheme shall be implemented prior to
the first occupation of the development.
REASON: To prevent pollution of the water environment and to ensure a satisfactory
means of surface water and foul drainage disposal is provided.
No means of external illumination of the site shall be installed unless otherwise
agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The external illumination shall be
retained as such thereafter.
REASON: To protect the residential amenity of neighbouring properties and
occupiers therein.
Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 3 of the Town & Country Planning
(General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (No.2) (England) Order 2008 (or any
Order amending, revoking or re-enacting that Order) no garages, extensions or
separate buildings (other than ancillary outbuildings not exceeding 10 cubic metres in
volume) shall be erected within the site without planning permission having been
obtained from the Local Planning Authority.
REASON: In order to ensure the site is not overdeveloped, in the interest of visual
amenity of the area and in accordance with policies BE1 and CC6 of the adopted
Maldon District Replacement Local Plan.
REASON FOR APPROVAL
This permission has been granted having regard to policies S2, CC6, H1, H6, BE1, T2 and T8
of the adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan and to all other material
considerations, including those policies emerging through the Maldon District Local
Development Plan Preferred Options Consultation and the National Planning Policy
Framework. The carrying out of the development permitted, subject to the conditions
imposed, would accord with those policies and in the opinion of the Local Planning Authority
there are no circumstances which otherwise would justify the refusal of permission.
INFORMATIVES
1
The applicant should ensure the control of nuisances during construction works to
preserve the amenity of the area and avoid nuisances to neighbours:
a.
No waste materials should be burnt on the site, instead being removed by
licensed waste contractors;
b.
No dust emissions should leave the boundary of the site;
c.
Consideration should be taken to restricting the duration of noisy activities and
in locating them away from the periphery of the site;
d.
Hours of works: works should only be undertaken between 0730 hours and
1800 hours on weekdays; between 0800 hours and 1300 hours on Saturdays
and not at any time on Sundays and Public Holidays.
2
Under Section 23 of the Land Drainage Act 1991, prior written consent from the Lead
Local Flood Authority (Essex County Council) is required to construct any culvert
(pipe) or structure (such as a dam or weir) to control, or alter the flow of water within
an ordinary watercourse. Ordinary watercourses include ditches, drains and any other
networks of water which are not classed as Main River.
If you believe you need to apply for consent, further information and the required
application forms can be found at www.essex.gov.uk/flooding. Alternatively you can
email any queries to Essex County Council via [email protected]
6
Agenda Item no.
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3.
4.
5.
6.
Planning permission does not negate the requirement for consent, and full details of
the work you propose will be required at least two months before you intend to start.
Should any contaminated ground conditions or the existence, extent and
concentrations of any landfill gas be found that was not previously identified or not
considered in a scheme agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority, the site
or part thereof shall be re-assessed a scheme to bring the site to a suitable condition in
that it represents an acceptable risk shall be submitted to and agreed in writing with
the Local Planning Authority.
All works affecting the highway to be carried out by prior arrangement with, and to
the requirements and satisfaction of, the Highway Authority and application for the
necessary works should be made to Essex Highways on 0845 603 7631.
There are trees on the boundaries of the site which are the subject of a Tree
Preservation Order. No work may be undertaken to these trees without the prior
consent of the Local Planning Authority. You are advised to contact the Council's
Tree Officer at Council Offices, Princes Road, Maldon, CM9 5DL Tel: (01621)
854477
Notwithstanding the requirements of BS5837:2012, additional information on
installation of services near trees can be obtained from 'Guidelines for the Planning,
Installation and Maintenance of Utility Apparatus in Proximity to Trees - Issue 2'.
Published by The National Joint Utilities Group.
POSITIVE AND PROACTIVE STATEMENT
Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) (Amendment
No.2) Order 2012 - Positive and Proactive Statement:
The Local Planning Authority has acted positively and proactively in determining this
application by identifying matters of concern within the application (as originally submitted)
and negotiating, with the Applicant/Agent, acceptable amendments to the proposal to address
those concerns. As a result, the Local Planning Authority has been able to grant planning
permission for an acceptable proposal, in accordance with the presumption in favour of
sustainable development, as set out within the National Planning Policy Framework.
Enquiries to: Samantha Gibbs, Development Control Officer, (TEL: 01621 875861).
6
Agenda Item no.
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6
Agenda Item no.
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PL4
FUL/MAL/13/00308
MALDON EAST
Variation of Condition 9 of approved application FUL/MAL/11/00334 - variation operating
times
Parks Trading Unit Office The Promenade Park Park Drive Maldon
Applicant:- Mr Ian Haines - Maldon District Council
1.
Introduction
1.1
This application is presented to the Planning and Licensing Committee because it
relates to land owned by the District Council.
1.2
The application will also be considered by the Central Area Planning Committee on
19 June which will also make a recommendation to the Planning and Licensing
Committee on 20 June 2013. The recommendation from the Central Area Planning
Committee will form part of the Members’ Update at the Planning and Licensing
meeting 20 June 2013.
2.
Site Description
2.1
The application site relates to the Council’s depot and trading unit which is currently
used in part by Enterprise as an operating centre for the refuse and recycling
collection contract. The site contains a number of buildings and storage areas,
including a workshop, vehicle waste enclosure, offices, staff accommodation, vehicle
and machinery store and nursery (greenhouses). The site is bound by high security
fencing (3m in height) and some planting.
2.2
The site is located on the northern side of a track road, serving the Maldon Yacht
Club and used as part of the vehicular exit for the Promenade Park. The road also
serves the Park Drive Fitness Club which is to the west of the application site. This
track road is off the north eastern side of Park Drive and is located opposite
residential development fronting the road. There are also a number of culs-de-sac and
roads off Park Drive serving additional dwellings.
3.
The Proposal
3.1
This application seeks a variation of condition 9 of application FUL/MAL/11/00334
whereby planning permission was granted by decision notice dated 29 June 2011 for
the demolition of the dilapidated vehicle and machinery storage sheds and garages
and the erection of new, and extension to existing, agricultural style vehicle and
machinery stores for secure parking of tractors, plant and machinery. The proposal
also included the erection of staff welfare accommodation building, associated
landscape works, fencing and gates, and the use of part of depot for overnight parking
of waste contractors’ vehicles.
6
Agenda Item no.
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3.2
This application was approved subject to 11 conditions. Condition 9 of this decision
stated the following:
“The Waste Refuse Contract shall only operate from the site between 06:00 hours and
18:00 hours on weekdays and between 06:00 hours and 18:00 hours on Saturdays
and not at any time on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Reason: In order to ensure the appropriate use of the site in accordance with policy
E7 of the adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan.”
3.3
The present application seeks to vary this condition to allow the waste refuse contract
to operate on Good Fridays. The justification for this as provided within the
application states the following:

There are some bank holidays that the collection service needs to operate in
order to minimise disruption to residents on collection days. One of these is
Good Friday.

Occasionally there are other bank holidays e.g., where there are two bank
holidays occurring consecutively such as a standard bank holiday Monday
followed by a special bank holiday Tuesday such as the Diamond Jubilee.

The application suggests that it is operationally expedient to work on the
second bank holiday in such instances.

The application suggests that allowing the proposal would reduce disruption to
residents helping to reduce complaints and reduce littering from rubbish bags
being left out on the wrong days.
3.4
On this basis, the application proposes to vary condition 9 in the following manner:
“The Waste Refuse Contract shall only operate from the site between 06:00 hours and
18:00 hours on weekdays and between 06:00 hours and 18:00 hours on Saturdays
and not at any time on Sundays and Public Holidays with the exception of Good
Friday and unless otherwise agreed in writing”.
4.
Relevant Planning History

FUL/MAL/02/00769 - Demolition of storage sheds and erection of new shed
for tractor storage. Approved 07.10.2002.

FUL/MAL/04/00533 - Establish Waste Transfer Station to enable safe
management of waste prior to transfer. Approved 13.08.2004.

FUL/MAL/11/00334 - Demolition of dilapidated vehicle and machinery
storage sheds and garages. Erection of new and extension to existing
agricultural style vehicle and machinery stores for secure parking of tractors,
plant and machinery. Erection of staff welfare accommodation building.
Associated landscape works, fencing and gates. Use of part of depot for
overnight parking of waste contractors vehicles. Approved 29.06.2011.

FUL/MAL/11/00811 - Amendment to FUL/MAL/11/00334 - to increase
boundary fence height from 2m to 3m. Increase length to incorporate east,
south and partial west boundaries of depot site. Screen fencing by planting
mixed native hedging inter-planted with standard native trees. Approved
18.11.2011.
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Agenda Item no.
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5.
Consultation Replies
Town Council
Maldon Town Council – No objection.
Internal
Environmental Health – No objections – comments and suggested changes:Environmental Health has received complaints regarding noise from waste vehicles
leaving the site. This was due to revving and acceleration into Park Drive in the early
morning. However this was within the existing permitted hours in condition 9.
Vehicle operators have been asked to review their driving style in an attempt to
minimise complaints.
Do not believe that the variation would significantly influence the amount of
complaints received. The noise impact is likely to improve by the use of
multifunctional vehicles which will reduce the number of vehicle movements.
Concerned that the application gives an opportunity to work on Sundays and Bank
Holidays with written permission. This opportunity did not exist in the original
condition 9. Working during these times may cause excessive disturbance although
there may be exceptional operational needs. Therefore recommend condition is
varied as follows:
“The waste refuse contract shall only operate from the site between 0600 hours and
1800 hours on weekdays and Saturdays and not at any time on Sundays and Public
Holidays with exception of Good Friday and unless otherwise agreed in writing.
Where there is a request to operate on Sundays or public holidays other than Good
Friday this shall be submitted to and agreed by the Local Planning Authority.”
6.
Letters of Representation
Letters of Objection:
C E Dunn 1 Mirosa Drive Maldon Essex
Main reasons for Objection:

Early noise from vehicles starting out is unbearable.

Sundays and bank holidays are the only days this noise does not wake nearby
occupiers.

Consideration of use of access and noise caused by garden and household
waste on Sundays and bank holidays and visitors to the promenade park.

Original application done by stealth.

Nature of site has changed and 28 vehicles use the site.
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Agenda Item no.
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7.
Assessment of Proposal
Policy Issues
(i)
Relevant Development Plan Policies
Adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan

S1 - Development Boundaries and New Development - Strategic policy
which requires new development to be directed to those sites within the
designated development boundaries.

BE1 - Design of New Development and Landscaping - Development will
only be permitted if it is compatible with its surroundings and meets defined
criteria.

E7 - Extension or Intensification of Employment Premises within
Development Boundaries - Employment uses will only be permitted on nonallocated employment sites if an improvement to residential amenity, highway
safety or appearance of the site is achieved.
(ii)
Maldon District Local Development Plan
The Council agreed the approach for progression and production of a Local
Development Plan for the Maldon District on 21 July 2011. This follows the reforms
being introduced to the planning system by the Government, including the Localism
agenda, and subsequent discussions with elected Members. The Local Development
Plan will be based largely upon the existing draft Core Strategy document, but there
will be amendments and additions to certain aspects of the Plan.
Once adopted, the Local Development Plan will supersede the Maldon District
Replacement Local Plan ‘saved policies’ as the statutory Development Plan for the
District. In the meantime, the National Planning Policy Framework states that the
Replacement Local Plan ‘saved policies’ can continue to be given due weight
according to their degree of consistency with the Framework (the closer the saved
policies in the plan to the policies in the Framework, the greater the weight that may
be given). The East of England Plan formerly was part of the statutory Development
Plan for the District, was revoked on 3 January 2013. The Local Development Plan
will have to be in conformity with National Planning Policy.
The “Local Development Plan Preferred Options” consultation document was
published on 10 July 2012. This document carries limited weight but can be referred
to as a material consideration.
(iii)
Government Guidance

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published by the
Government on 27 March 2012 and came into immediate effect. The NPPF
provides the national planning guidance and forms a material consideration
with all planning applications. This document supersedes all Planning Policy
Guidance notes and Planning Policy Statements as well as other certain
government publications listed within Annex 3 of the NPPF. Notwithstanding
this Local Plan ‘saved policies’ can continue to be given due weight according
to their degree of consistency with the Framework (the closer the saved
policies in the plan to the policies in the Framework, the greater the weight
that may be given).
6
Agenda Item no.
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7.1
Principle of Development
7.1.1
The principle of development has been established at this site as per application
FUL/MAL/11/00334. The proposal would not alter the use of the land, other than to
vary the days of which activities take place.
7.2
Justification
7.2.1
The application suggests that there is a need for the varied working hours particularly
on double bank holidays to allow waste collections to take place without additional
disruption to the community and to help prevent waste being left on the roadside on
the wrong days. This is considered a reasonable request. However, in order to
determine whether the proposal is acceptable it is necessary to consider other material
considerations. In this instance, the most applicable to this application is the impact
on neighbouring amenity.
7.3
Impact on neighbouring amenity
7.3.1
Policy BE1 identifies the need to ensure no harm is caused to neighbouring amenity
by way of new development. Whilst the proposal does not relate to new development
per say, it does relate to the use as permitted on an additional day of the year.
Therefore the impact on neighbouring amenity is an important consideration.
7.3.2
In determining the impact, if any, on neighbouring amenity, the comments from
Environmental Health are relevant. The consultation response indicates that there
have been complaints about noise disturbance from the use, albeit within the hours
permitted by condition 9 of the original planning approval. The Environmental
Health Officer also indicates that action has been taken to try and alleviate this as
vehicle operators have been asked to review their driving style in an attempt to
minimise complaints.
7.3.3
It is considered that the most harm by way of noise and disturbance is likely to occur
in the morning, particularly so on bank holidays when many people are not at work
and schools are closed. The letter of objection received would also suggest that noise
disturbance during the early morning hours is of most concern to local residents.
7.3.4
In order to protect the amenity of neighbouring and nearby occupiers from the
proposed activities on Good Friday, it is considered that working hours could be
altered, specifically on this day from those proposed in the varied condition, to be
later in the morning. Whilst waste collection would therefore take place later in the
day, the activities could still be carried out on a typical collection day whilst helping
to protect the amenity of those residents living nearby, particularly during the early
hours of the morning.
7.3.5
The applicant has been contacted to request consideration of working hours on Good
Friday of between 8am and 6pm, as opposed to 6am to 6pm as proposed. This would
however be considered to assist in overcoming concerns of noise disturbance on Good
Friday.
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Agenda Item no.
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7.3.6
Environmental Health are of the view that by allowing operations on one additional
day, it would be unlikely to significantly influence the amount of complaints received
in respect of noise and disturbance from vehicles leaving the site overall. It is also
suggested that noise impact may improve due to the use of multifunctional vehicles
which would reduce the number of vehicle movements to and from the site overall.
Notwithstanding these comments it is considered that monitoring should be carried
out in order to ensure that the additional working to take place on Good Friday does
not cause any significant or detrimental increase in impact on neighbouring amenity
by way of noise and disturbance. It is considered that a temporary consent could be
granted to allow this assessment to take place and a review of the requirements of the
waste collection arrangements in the future. A temporary consent of 2 years would be
considered appropriate in this respect.
7.4
Other Considerations
7.4.1
A final point raised in the consultation response from Environmental Health is the
potential for activities to take place on other bank holidays. The proposed condition
in this respect does not provide any opportunity to operate on other bank holidays.
7.4.2
It is recognised that there are no changes to the existing access or parking
arrangements at the site, in addition to the activities taking place.
7.5
Conclusion
7.5.1
The proposal to vary condition 9 of planning approval reference FUL/MAL/11/00334
is considered acceptable subject to alterations being made to the proposed varied
condition. In this respect, it is recommended that the hours of operation on Good
Friday commence at 08:00 rather than 06:00 and that prior written approval is
received from the Local Planning Authority if there is any requirement for working on
other bank holidays other than Good Friday. In addition, to ensure that there is no
increase in harm to residential amenity caused by the proposed variation, a temporary
consent would enable a future assessment of impact including consideration of any
complaints relating to Good Friday waste collections.
7.5.2
The proposal is therefore recommended for approval subject to these considerations.
Recommendation
APPROVE subject to the following conditions:
1
Except on the dates stated in condition 9 of application FUL/MAL/11/00334, the
Waste Refuse Contract shall only operate from the site on Good Friday between the
hours of 0800 and 1800 and at no other time.
REASON: In order to ensure the appropriate use of the site and protect the amenity of
nearby residential occupiers in accordance with policies E7 and BE1 of the adopted
Maldon District Replacement Local Plan.
2
The use hereby permitted and referred to in condition 1 above, shall be discontinued
and carried out as permitted under the terms of condition 9 of application
FUL/MAL/11/00334 on or before 30 June 2015 unless before that date a formal
planning application for the continuation of such use has been approved by the Local
Planning Authority.
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Agenda Item no.
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3
REASON: In order to assess the impact of the use on, and ensure no harm is caused
to, the amenity of neighbouring occupiers in accordance with policy BE1 of the
adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan.
This permission relates only to the variation of condition 9 (operating times) as
approved under the terms of planning permission FUL/MAL/11/00334. The terms
and conditions imposed upon planning permission FUL/MAL/11/00334 shall
otherwise remain extant, unaltered and of effect.
REASON: For the avoidance of doubt as to the extent of this permission and to ensure
that the development is carried out in accordance with the approved details.
REASON FOR APPROVAL
This permission has been granted having regard to policies S1, BE1 and E7 of the adopted
Maldon District Replacement Local Plan and to all other material considerations, including
those policies emerging through the Maldon District Local Development Plan Preferred
Options Consultation and the National Planning Policy Framework. The carrying out of the
development permitted, subject to the conditions imposed, would accord with those policies
and in the opinion of the Local Planning Authority there are no circumstances which
otherwise would justify the refusal of permission.
POSITIVE AND PROACTIVE STATEMENT
Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) (Amendment
No.2) Order 2012 - Positive and Proactive Statement:
The Local Planning Authority has acted positively and proactively in determining this
application by assessing the proposal against all material considerations, including planning
policies and any representations that may have been received and subsequently determining
to grant planning permission in accordance with the presumption in favour of sustainable
development, as set out within the National Planning Policy Framework.
Enquiries to: Samantha Gibbs, Development Control Officer TEL: 01621 875861
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PL6
FUL/MAL/13/00448
MALDON NORTH
Change of use for Market stalls 2 days a week
Car Park Butt Lane Maldon Essex
Mr Richard Holmes - Maldon District Council
Applicant:- Mr Richard Holmes - Maldon District Council
PAGE No. 29
1.
Introduction
1.1
This application has been brought to this Central Committee for comments and
recommendation for the Planning and Licensing Committee as the site is located on
Council owned land, and Leisure and Liveability Services is the applicant.
1.2
The application will also be considered by the Central Area Planning Committee on
19 June 2013 which will also make a recommendation to the Planning and Licensing
Committee on 20 June 2013. The recommendation from the Central Area Planning
Committee will form part of the Members’ Update at the Planning and Licensing
meeting 20 June 2013.
2.
Site Description
2.1
The application site is located within the development boundary for Maldon, within
the Town Centre and the Conservation area as defined in the adopted Maldon District
Replacement Local Plan.
2.2
The application relates to the south-eastern corner of the Butt Lane car park, which is
owned by Maldon District Council. The application site covers an area of
approximately 605 sq. m. which covers 28 existing car parking spaces. The site is
accessed from the car park itself with pedestrian access from Wenlock Way.
3.
The Proposal
3.1
The proposal seeks approval for the continuation of the change of use of the car park
for market stalls two days a week; the current permission expires August 2013.
4.
Relevant Planning History

FUL/MAL/04/00971 - Change of use of part of car park to Maldon retail
market, 2 days per week (Thursday and Saturday) – Approved - 09.12.2004.

FUL/MAL/06/01022 - Continued use of part of car park as retail market on 2
days per week (Thursday and Saturday) – Approved - 28.11.2006.

FUL/MAL/07/00469 - Change of use of part of car park to Retail Market for
2 days per week (Thursday and Saturday) until 31st August 2008. – Approved
- 30.07.2007.

FUL/MAL/08/00643 - Use of part of car park for Maldon retail market 2 days
per week (Thursday and Saturday) until 31 August 2010 – Approved 29.07.2008.
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

5.
FUL/MAL/10/00401- Use of part of car park for Maldon retail market 2 days
per week (Thursday and Saturday) until 31 August 2012- Approved
10.08.2010
FUL/MAL/11/00344- Continuation of use of part of car park for Maldon
retail market 2 days per week (Thursday and Saturday) until 31 August 2013Approved 23.06.2011
Consultation Replies
Parish Council
Maldon Town Council- No Objection
External
Essex County Council Highways- No response received at the time of writing.
Internal
Conservation Officer- No response received at the time of writing.
Environmental Health- No Objection, subject to a condition:
There should be a restriction on amplified music being played on the stalls so as not to
disturb the nearby residential properties:
1.
There shall be no amplified sound used within the premises unless otherwise
agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
6.
Letters of Representation
6.1
None received at the time of writing.
7.
Assessment of Proposal
Policy Issues
(i)
Relevant Development Plan Policies
Adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan

BE1- Design of New Development and Landscaping – Development will
only be permitted if it is compatible with its surroundings and meets defined
criteria.

BE13- Development in Conservation Areas – Development will only be
permitted if the design is of a high standard incorporating scale, form,
materials and detailing is respect of the characteristics of buildings in the area.

T8 - Vehicle Parking Standards - New development will be expected to
meet the adopted parking standards.
(ii)
Maldon District Local Development Plan
The Council agreed the approach for progression and production of a Local
Development Plan for the Maldon District on 21 July 2011. This follows the reforms
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being introduced to the planning system by the Government, including the Localism
agenda, and subsequent discussions with elected Members. The Local Development
Plan will be based largely upon the existing draft Core Strategy document, but there
will be amendments and additions to certain aspects of the Plan.
Once adopted, the Local Development Plan will supersede the Maldon District
Replacement Local Plan ‘saved policies’ as the statutory Development Plan for the
District. In the meantime, the National Planning Policy Framework states that the
Replacement Local Plan ‘saved policies’ can continue to be given due weight
according to their degree of consistency with the Framework (the closer the saved
policies in the plan to the policies in the Framework, the greater the weight that may
be given). The East of England Plan formerly was part of the statutory Development
Plan for the District, was revoked on 3 January 2013. The Local Development Plan
will have to be in conformity with National Planning Policy.
The “Local Development Plan Preferred Options” consultation document was
published on 10 July 2012. This document carries limited weight but can be referred
to as a material consideration.
(iii)
Government Guidance

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published by the
Government on 27 March 2012 and came into immediate effect. The NPPF
provides the national planning guidance and forms a material consideration
with all planning applications. This document supersedes all Planning Policy
Guidance notes and Planning Policy Statements as well as other certain
government publications listed within Annex 3 of the NPPF. Notwithstanding
this Local Plan ‘saved policies’ can continue to be given due weight according
to their degree of consistency with the Framework (the closer the saved
policies in the plan to the policies in the Framework, the greater the weight
that may be given).
7.1
Principle of Development
7.1.1 The application site lies within the Town Centre of Maldon as defined in the adopted
Maldon District Replacement Local Plan. The Market helps to strengthen and
maintain the role of Maldon town centre by improving the range of retailing which
helps to promote the vitality and viability of the town centre environment. The
application is therefore acceptable in principle.
7.2
Relevant History
7.2.1 The application site has had planning permission to run the Maldon Retail Market
since 2004. Temporary consent has been granted previously as it is not considered
that a grant of permanent planning permission is appropriate. The granting of
temporary consent enables the Local Planning Authority to reassess the impact of the
development upon the area. Some concerns have been raised in the past regarding
hours of operation and breaches of previous planning permissions. These issues
appear to have been resolved; however conditions relating to hours of use and the
granting of a temporary consent only are considered appropriate to allow on-going
monitoring.
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7.3
Access, Parking & Highway Safety
7.3.1 It is acknowledged that the Market does result in the loss of car parking spaces on
Market days. However, this has to be considered in the wider context of the overall
number of car parking spaces available within the Town Centre as a whole, as well as
the economic benefits of there being a Market within the Town Centre.
7.4
Impact on Residential Amenity
7.4.1 The proposed Market spaces are located within close proximity to residential
properties at Old Mill Close and Wenlock Way, as a result the impact of the Market
stalls on the residential amenities of these properties have been assessed.
7.4.2 The impact of the change of use is not considered to have any greater demonstrable
harm to the occupiers of adjacent buildings than the use of the car park by reason of
disturbance. However, through liaison with the Environmental Health Officer, a
condition has been suggested to ensure that there is a restriction on amplified music
being played on the stalls so as not to disturb the nearby residential properties.
7.4.3 The use of the car park for the use of Market stalls are not considered to have a
minimal impact on the amenity of the neighboring properties, in compliance with
BE1vii).
Recommendation
APPROVE subject to the following conditions:
1
The use hereby permitted shall be discontinued on or before 31 August 2015 unless
before that date a formal planning application for the continuation of such use has
been approved by the Local Planning Authority.
REASON: It is not considered that the grant of a permanent planning permission
would be appropriate and a temporary permission would enable the Local Planning
Authority to reassess the impact of the development on the character of the Maldon
Conservation Area in accordance with policy BE13 of the adopted Maldon District
Replacement Local Plan.
2.
The Maldon Retail Market hereby permitted shall operate only between the hours
07:30 to 18:00 on Thursdays and Saturdays only with no setting up of any stall prior
to 07:00. All stalls and related equipment shall be removed from the site prior to
19:00 hours on each day.
REASON: To ensure the use is appropriate to the locality in accordance with policy
BE1 (a) (vii) of the adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan.
3.
There shall be no amplified sound used within the premises unless otherwise agreed
in writing by the local planning authority.
REASON: To ensure the use is appropriate to the locality in accordance with policy
BE1 (a) (vii) of the adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan.
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REASON FOR APPROVAL
This permission has been granted having regard to policies BE1, BE6 and T8 of the adopted
Maldon District Replacement Local Plan and to all other material considerations, including
those policies emerging through the Maldon District Local Development Plan Preferred
Options Consultation and the National Planning Policy Framework. The carrying out of the
development permitted, subject to the conditions imposed, would accord with those policies
and in the opinion of the Local Planning Authority there are no circumstances which
otherwise would justify the refusal of permission.
POSITIVE AND PROACTIVE STATMENT
Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) (Amendment
No.2) Order 2012 - Positive and Proactive Statement:
In determining this planning application, the Local Planning Authority has worked with the
applicant in a positive and proactive manner based on seeking solutions to problems arising
in relation to dealing with the planning application by liaising with consultees, respondents
and the applicant/agent and discussing changes to the proposal where considered appropriate
or necessary. This approach has been taken positively and proactively in accordance with the
requirement in the National Planning Policy Framework.
Enquiries to: Rebecca Greasley, Technical Planner (Tel: 01621 875744)
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SE4
FUL/MAL/13/00136
BURNHAM NORTH
Change of use from B2 to class D2 (Children's play centre), and minor alterations to
elevations
Unit 2 Springfield Industrial Estate Springfield Road Burnham-On-Crouch
Applicant:- Mr I Cubberley
Agent:- Mr Colin Stone - Stone Me Ltd
1.
Introduction
1.1
This update report follows the South Eastern Area Planning Committee’s
consideration of the application. Attached at APPENDIX 1 is the Head of Planning
Service’s report to the South Eastern Area Planning Committee on 20 May 2013. The
application needs to be considered by the Planning and Licensing Committee as the
site is located on Council owned land. The landownership certificate within the
application forms refer to joint owners with the other landowner being ‘Roach Valley
Works’ from Rochford.
1.2
The South Eastern Area Planning Committee resolved to recommend the application
for refusal for the following reason:
The proposed usage of the building as children’s play centre would give rise to
increased parking demand which cannot be met on site. As such the proposal would
result in insufficient off street parking provision and would give rise to increased onstreet parking demands, which is contrary to policy T8 of the adopted Maldon District
Replacement Local Plan.
1.3
Since the South Eastern Area Planning Committee meeting the applicant has lodged
an appeal against the non-determination of the planning application. The Council
received notification of the appeal on 30 May 2013 but at the time of writing no start
date has been received. This indicates the appeal is being considered for validation
purposes at the start of the appeal process.
2.
Assessment of Proposal
2.1
Since the South Eastern Area Planning Committee’s recommendation further analysis
of the parking provision has been considered. As the main report (APPENDIX 1)
explains the site can only be considered to have 12 parking spaces as shown on the
block plan as the extra 12 spaces (24 in total) are located to the north of the site in the
public highway so cannot be considered as ‘off street parking’.
2.2
The Highway Authority has been consulted and no objection was raised in response to
the application as it was not considered contrary to the relevant transport policies
contained within the Highway Authorities adopted transportation policies. The
Highway Authority has stated that there are no parking restrictions within Springfield
Road and that on street parking is permitted and any on street obstruction would
therefore be a policing matter and beyond the scope of the planning system. Parking
within the site is a matter for the Local Planning Authority and needs to be assessed
against both Policy T8 and the Council’s adopted parking standards.
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2.3
Policy T8 states that a change of use will only be permitted if provision is made for
off-street parking on or near the site in accordance with the District’s adopted vehicle
parking standards. The adopted supplementary planning document, Maldon’s Vehicle
Parking Standards, states that the requirement for premises within the Use Class D2
requires a maximum of 1 space per 22m2 of gross floor space. The application forms
states that the total internal floor space of the unit is 667m2 and therefore a maximum
of 30 spaces is recommended. In light of the South Eastern Area Planning
Committee’s view the provision of 12 parking spaces is less than half of the
maximum standard and the committee’s view is that the proposed usage of the
building as children’s play centre would give rise to increased parking demand. This
parking demand cannot be met on site and it is considered that parking near to the
site, on the existing public highway land, would be unacceptable. As such the
proposal would result in insufficient off street parking provision. This is likely to
give rise to increased on-street parking demands in this area. Increased on street
parking could lead to inconveniences for lorries using the road and accessing other
industrial sites.
2.4
The South Eastern Area Planning Committee also queried the number of children that
would be using the facility. Details have been provided by the applicant stating that
the maximum capacity for children using the facility would be 30 for ages between 3
and 10 years old and 12 for children below 3 years old, so 42 in total. The café within
the building would provide for ten tables each with four chairs for 40 covers in total.
2.5
The application is recommended for refusal on parking grounds. However in light of
the appeal lodged against the non-determination of the planning application by the
applicant the Planning and Licensing Committee can only resolve to consider the
determination of the application as if it were a live application. The Planning and
Licensing Committee decision will therefore form the basis of the Council’s case for
appeal.
Recommendation
It is recommended that the following reason of refusal is used as the as the Council’s case to
defend at appeal.
1
The proposed usage of the building as children’s play centre would give rise to
increased parking demand which cannot be met on site. As such the proposal would
result in insufficient off street parking provision and would give rise to increased on
street parking demands, which is contrary to policy T8 of the adopted Maldon District
Replacement Local Plan.
POSTIVE AND PROACTIVE STATEMENT
Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) (Amendment
No.2) Order 2012 - Positive and Proactive Statement:
The Local Planning Authority has acted positively and proactively in determining this
application by identifying matters of concern with the proposal and clearly setting these out
in the reasons for refusal.
Enquiries to: Chris Purvis, Interim Development Control Team Leader, TEL: 01621 875740
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APPENDIX 1
FUL/MAL/13/00136
BURNHAM NORTH
Change of use from B2 to class D2 (Children's play centre), and minor alterations to
elevations
Unit 2 Springfield Industrial Estate Springfield Road Burnham-On-Crouch
Applicant:- Mr I Cubberley
Agent:- Mr Colin Stone - Stone Me Ltd
1.
Site Description
1.1
The application site comprises a vacant unit located towards the south eastern side of
an industrial estate known as the Springfield Industrial Estate. The site is allocated as
an employment site and is within the Development Boundary of Burnham-on-Crouch.
The estate comprises large industrial units which are predominantly used for offices
and general industry. Vehicle access to the site is restricted to Springfield Road to the
north of the site. Springfield Road leads to Maldon Road. Within the estate is a
public road network and there is pedestrian access by way of a public footpath to the
east of the site from Maple Way which together with adjacent roads is a residential
area.
1.2
The unit itself is the centre unit of three and there is access into the unit from both the
north and south elevations. To the north elevation is a grassed area and public
parking within the highway, which is outside of the site. To the southern elevation of
the site is a paved parking and delivery area which is adjoined by similar areas for the
adjacent units.
1.3
Internally, the unit measures 25m wide and 23.5m deep and has first floor offices
within the northern end of the unit.
2.
The Proposal
2.1
The proposal seeks planning permission for the change of use of the existing light
industrial unit, to a soft play based children’s centre falling within Use Class D2. The
Design and Access Statement describes the use as a play centre which will provide an
indoor venue for children in the age range of between 0 – 12 years of age and will be
available for parties and “pay and play” sessions. Light snacks, beverages and meals
would also be available.
2.2
The internal floor area of the unit extends to 667m2 with 480m2 being for public use.
The proposed use would provide employment for six full time staff and seven part
time staff. The hours of operation would be 9:30 to 17:30 Monday to Friday, 9:30 to
16:30 Saturday and 10:00 to 16:00 on Sundays.
2.3
The submitted proposal states that a total of 24 parking spaces would be available
which would be divided between 12 to the paved area to the south of the site and 12 to
the north. The submitted plans also indicate that additional parking is available to the
north east of the site, but this is outside of the site. The site therefore has only 12
parking spaces to the south of the building.
2.4
Externally, limited works are proposed and would comprise refurbishment to
fenestration. The primary access into the unit would be via the southern elevation.
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3.
Relevant Planning History
3.1
None applicable to the application site.
3.2
Planning History for Unit 6, Springfield Industrial Estate:

FUL/MAL/10/00223 - Change of use to children's soft play centre. Approved
11/05/2010.
4.
Consultation Replies
Parish Council
Burnham on Crouch Town Council - Support.
External
Essex County Council Highways - The Highway Authority has no objection to the
proposal as it is not contrary to the relevant transportation policies contained within
the Highway Authority’s Development Management Policies.
Springfield Road is an unclassified road. The mains issues for the Highway Authority
when considering such a proposal are parking and highway safety. Parking is
ultimately for the Local Planning Authority to determine. There are no parking
restrictions along Springfield Road, on street parking is permitted and parking causing
an obstruction is a police matter.
Highway safety is not considered to be an issue. Whilst representations raise a
concern it is expected that visiting children will be escorted by a responsible adult. A
similar facility is operating safely in an adjacent unit and there have been no personal
injury accidents in the vicinity in the last three years. Such issues are considered to be
outside the scope of the planning system and it is the responsibility of any user of the
public highway to act with due care and consideration for other users.
Internal
Building Control - The service can only comment on fire safety, the office at first
floor which now appears as an inner room, travel distances to exits and fire doors
which need clarification. However, these are Building Regulation queries.
Economic Development - Economic Development does not support the loss of
employment (Class B) uses, especially where that may diminish the attractiveness of a
significant employment area to new / existing industrial or commercial occupants. In
addition the service is mindful of the letters of representation pertinent to the
application which notes that a children’s soft play centre already exists in close
vicinity to the site.
Environmental Health – The location of D1 premises for use with children in an
industrial setting may pose a risk to visitors from vehicle movements, including
Heavy Duty Vehicle’s (HDV). The applicant and occupier are reminded that they
must give suitable consideration to parking, vehicle and pedestrian movements and
ensure that these provision are organized in such a way that vehicles and pedestrian
can move in a safe manner to satisfy the requirements of the Workplace (Health,
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Environmental Health continued
Safety and Welfare) Regulation 1992 made under the Health and Safety at Work Act
1974.
Additionally if food is to be prepared, the kitchen must be constructed in order to
comply with Regulation (EC) 852/2004 and that the business must register as a food
business with the local authority within 28 days of operating.
The site is located in a heavily industrial area, with fork lift movements, HDV
movements, air conditioning units and mechanical plant in use creating a high level of
background noise in the area. It is extremely unlikely that noise from any condition
unit or kitchen extract ventilation associated with the application would be audible
above background noise.
There is however no objection in principle to the proposed development and the above
matters are provided for under their own regulations.
No conditions or informatives are recommended.
5.
Letters of Repesentation
Letters of objection:Pennex Limited 14 Springfield Road Industrial Estate Burnham - On - Crouch Essex
Wendy Morris 56 Lavender Drive Southminster Essex
Lucy Banks Pekin Cottage 4 Arcadia Road Burnham-On-Crouch
Richard Shepherd 8 Dunkirk Road Burnham-On-Crouch Essex
Mrs Atkins 63 Fernlea Road Burnham-On-Crouch Essex
Mr R & Mrs C Wells 10 Mangapp Chase Burnham-On-Crouch Essex
Mrs S Baumber 95 Maldon Road Burnham-On-Crouch Essex
Mrs Vanessa Yeoman 8 Beauchamps Burnham-On-Crouch Essex
Sasha Hobday 47 Glebe Way Burnham-On-Crouch Essex
PEM Sheet Metal C/o Steve Bell Impact House Springfield Road Burnham-OnCrouch
KE & H Harber Hilbre Cottage 14 Marsh Road Burnham-On-Crouch
Susan Campbell 1 The Brambles Southminster Essex
Mrs Georgina Massenhove 15 Steeple Road Southminster Essex
Karen Wood 2A Park Road Burnham-On-Crouch Essex
Louise Graves 67A Burnham Road Southminster Essex
Mrs Amanda Gallaway 7 Trent Close Burnham-On-Crouch Essex
Martin Lock Managing Director PES Engineering Springfield Industrial Estate
Miss Katy Roberts Little Ratsborough House Burnham Road Southminster
Anne Burden 13 Mill Road Tillingham Southminster
Darren Knights Pennex Limited Unit 14A Springfield Industrial Estate
Mr & Mrs Wells Birs Lodge Lower Burnham Road Latchingdon
Barbara Diaz Big Stuff Designs Ltd Unit 5 Springfield Industral Estate Springfield
Road
Steve Bell C/O PEM Sheetmetal Limited Springfield Industrial Estate Springfield
Road
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Main reasons for objection:
There is already an established children’s play centre close to the site and
neither will survive due to competition and economic climate.

Loss of employees if existing unit has to close.

Highway Safety in area is with lorries and no allocated parking.

A rival business will threaten the existing play centre which is well run.

Why would another business set up and risk both of them closing.

Competition usually good for business, but this is unreasonable.

The adjacent business was allowed as it is close to the residential area and
customers can walk from the adjacent housing development without the need
to cross any other unit or road.

The existing play centre has its own parking and consulted other units prior to
opening.

A previous play centre closed down due to parking failure and lack of safety.

It was considered that Burnham needed the initial play centre as there was not
on in the area.

The adjacent play centre is not closing down as stated in the Design and
Access Statement, there is no intention of closure or loss of 12 staff.

The Design and Access Statement says that the unit has been empty for some
time due to inflated prices. The agents have confirmed in 2011 and 2012 that
the price was high. The whole unit is now subdivided and manageable.

The adjacent play centre regularly has 20-30 cars in its car park.

Application states that outbuildings will be demolished. There is only one
pre-fab garage.

Photos can demonstrate parking on the grass verge.

Safety must be paramount, the day to day workings of the estate cannot be
considered safe for children.

Interchange of vehicles leads to safety issues between the adjacent units.

The existing play centre supports the local community and allows groups to
use the facility free of charge.

The existing play centre employs local people and is run by local people.

The submitted plans show parking on other units land.

The unit surrounded by other industrial units.

Children will be allowed to run free into the path of heavy vehicle traffic and
drivers would not be aware of them. Parents can be oblivious.

Just because there has been no accidents at one unit does not follow that it will
not happen.

An Industrial unit would not be allowed to set up in the grounds of a school.

There is limited parking and another unit would lead to commercial access
being blocked. Emergency services required unimpeded access.

The landowner of the overflow parking area has not given permission for
parking on their land.

The application states that the current unit is closing, which is not true.
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Main reasons for objection continued:
Under the terms of the lease, the Council can only allow industrial units on the
land. The granting of consent will have a negative effect on the balance of
industry in the town.

The existing unit is close the path and the residential area and good working
relationship established with other tenants.

Parking is minimal and safety would be compromised.

Adjacent occupiers have carried out risk assessments but cannot be held liable
for bad parenting. The Council would be held partly responsible for the death
of a child if another play centre is allowed.

Daily disputes with the existing play centre over bad parking.

Both play centres would be compromised if this is allowed.

Parking and safety would be compromised and accidents would happen.

Where are the outbuildings which the Design and Access Statement says will
be cleared for parking.

The jobs at the existing play centre would be put at risk. Whilst competition
in business is good, the proximity of the two would be unsustainable in these
difficult times.

Children’s play area in an area with HGV’s and industrial machinery is
dangerous and unwise. There is no need for another.

Cannot understand the Town Council supporting the application.

Letter of Objection should be put before the Town Council before they make a
decision and surely the Town Council acting on behalf of the people of
Burnham should take a second look at the application.

The site has continuous industrial activity. Lorries and vans are continually on
the move.

A previous unit had a dangerous incident, but the existing unit is isolated at
the end of the units and close to the residential houses.

The existing unit has worked hard to address parking issues.

Adverts for the play centre state that it will be opening, which is confusing as
the decision has not been made. Large signs have been erected on land owned
by the Council which gives the impression that the Council is in favour of the
proposal. This is not fair or impartial.

The new play centre will not be supported as its position is hazardous.

Lots of businesses struggle and Burnham cannot support two play centres
close together. There is no need for it.

Following articles in the local press, it is irresponsible to open another play
centre. This would result in loss of jobs.

Residents can safely walk to the existing play centre.

As a resident of the area and occupier of an industrial unit, there is an
awareness of the dangers in the estate.

There is already a successful play centre in Burnham-on-Crouch. The town
would not be able to support another. On the same estate and would result in
both closing leaving the area with none.
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Main reasons for objection continued:
Two play centres in close proximity cannot work and jobs will be at risk.

Whilst healthy competition is good, the two units are too close.

The area is overcrowded and parking almost impossible.

Why would a rival business try and set up so close to another. There should
be some business etiquette. Why would the Council agree to creating
opposition to a successful business.

History is likely to repeat itself , and another soft play centre close.

Burnham may be a town, but it is small and should work together to keep
businesses open and not contribute to the lack of success.

There is strong opposition to another play centre and abhorrent that this
situation have even been considered.

The staff at the existing play centre have worked hard to maintain a successful
business. Competition would be counterproductive.

The negatives of the application far outweigh the positives.

Whilst the proposed business may have made a good business case, it cannot
be achieved without taking business from the existing unit.

The business adjacent to the site would have their parking compromised and
would not be able to get large vehicles into or out of their own parking areas is
the roads are used for parking. Large lorries need the full width of the road to
exit other units. Kerbside parking would conflict with existing users and
HGV’s.

Roadside parking would have a serious impact upon the ability of large
vehicles to manoeuvre. Road safety would be compromised and the proposed
use is not compatible with the estate.
Letters of support:Matthew - Spectrum Town Planning Consultants Letten 21 Longship Way Maldon
Essex
Main reasons for support:
The proposed use would provide a safe environment for children ages 0 – 12
to play.

The application proposes to reuse a vacant building and therefore meets the
requirement of Policy S1.

There is a sound case for granting permission although it is contrary to Policy
E1.

It can be demonstrated that the proposal accords with Policy E6.

Paragraphs 17 and 19 of the NPPF state that planning should deliver sufficient
community and cultural facilities and that the planning system should do all it
can to support economic growth.

Paragraph 22 of the NPPF states that planning policies should avoid long term
protection of allocated employment sites where there is no reasonable prospect
of its use for that purpose.

The site has been vacant for two years.
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Main reasons for support continued:

Marketing information supports the vacant situation of the site.

The site is within close proximity of a residential area with a dedicated
footway and the age of the children will warrant a responsible adult being
present.

The application accords with parking policies.

It is positive that the Town Council supports the application.

Competition is not a planning consideration.
6.
Assessment of Proposal
Policy Issues
i)
Relevant Development Plan Policies
Adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan

S1 – Development Boundaries and New Development – A strategic policy
which requires new development to be directed to those sites within the
designated development boundaries.

E1 – Protection of Existing Allocated Employment Site – Development will
only be permitted if it accords the use class specified.

E6 – Protection of Existing Employment Sites – Loss of an employment site
will not normally be permitted unless certain criteria apply.

BE1 – Design of New Development and Landscaping - Development will
only be permitted if it is compatible with its surroundings and meets defined
criteria.

T2 - Transport Infrastructure in New Developments – New development
will be expected to achieve sustainability and highway safety throughout.

T8 - Vehicle Parking Standards - New development will be expected to meet
the adopted parking standards.

CON5 - Pollution Prevention – Development having and adverse impact on
the environment by means of pollution will be refused.
ii)
Maldon District Local Development Plan
The Council agreed the approach for progression and production of a Local
Development Plan for the Maldon District on 21 July 2011. This follows the reforms
being introduced to the planning system by the Government, including the Localism
agenda, and subsequent discussions with elected Members. The Local Development
Plan will be based largely upon the existing draft Core Strategy document, but there
will be amendments and additions to certain aspects of the Plan.
Once adopted, the Maldon District Local Development Plan will ultimately supersede
the saved policies of the Maldon District Replacement Local Plan (2005). Until the
draft Local Development Plan is agreed by Council and published for public
consultation, the Maldon District Core Strategy Regulation 25 Consultation document
(April 2009) provides the latest published emerging local planning policies for the
District. However, the policies included within the document may be subject to
change and can only be given limited material weight in reaching decisions on
planning applications due to their unadopted status.
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(iii)
Government Guidance

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published by the
Government on 27 March 2012 and came into immediate effect. The NPPF
provides the national planning guidance and forms a material consideration
with all planning applications. This document supersedes all Planning Policy
Guidance notes and Planning Policy Statements as well as other certain
government publications listed within Annex 3 of the NPPF. Notwithstanding
this Local Plan ‘saved policies’ can continue to be given due weight according
to their degree of consistency with the Framework (the closer the saved
policies in the plan to the policies in the Framework, the greater the weight
that may be given).
7.1
Principle of Development
7.1.1 The application is for the change of use of an existing industrial unit within an
allocated employment site to that of D2 (Assembly and Leisure). The employment
site is within the defined settlement boundary of Burnham-on-Crouch where policy S1
of the adopted Local Plan is relevant. This policy seeks to direct new development to
areas within the defined settlement boundary. The proposal therefore accords with the
policy criteria of policy S1.
7.1.2 Policy E1 seeks to protect allocated employments sites and development will only be
permitted if it accords with the policy criteria for the site. The policy states that for
the Springfield Industrial Estate, the appropriate Use Class is that of B1 (Light
Industry/Office), B2 (General Industry) and B8 (Warehousing). The proposal would
therefore be contrary to this policy. Policy E6 also needs to be considered and seeks
to protect existing employment sites unless certain policy criterion can be met to
allow for the loss of employment use.
7.1.3 However, the National Planning Policy Framework clearly states that planning
policies should avoid the long term protection of sites allocated for employment use
where there is no reasonable prospect of the site being used for that purpose and
applications should be treated on their merits and the need for different land uses to
support sustainable local communities. The NPPF also states that where there are up
to date policies, and proposals accord with those policies, applications should be
approved. This provides the most up to date policy position. If policy E6 can be met
then the Local Planning Authority must look at the application in favour of
sustainable development and that unless material considerations indicate otherwise,
applications which accord with development plan policies should be approved.
7.2
Loss of Employment Use
7.2.1 The application site is located within an existing allocated employment zone where
policy E1 states that the site will be reserved for employment development. The
proposed development would result in a D2 (Assembly and Leisure) use which is not
considered to be an appropriate use class within allocated employment zones defined
by local plan policy E1. However the Council’s previous decision with regard to Unit
6 should be taken into account as well as guidance contained within the NPPF.
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7.2.2 Paragraph 19 of the NPPF states:
‘The Government is committed to ensuring that the planning system does everything it
can to support sustainable economic growth. Planning should operate to encourage
and not act as an impediment to sustainable growth. Therefore significant weight
should be placed on the need to support economic growth through the planning
system.’
7.2.3 With regard to Policy E6, there are three criteria which should be met or the loss of an
employment site will not be permitted. These criterion are;
a)
The present use of the site irreparably harms the character and amenities of the
adjacent area and there are no other remedies available to rectify the loss of
character other than seeking a cessation of the current use; or
b)
The site would have a greater benefit to the community if an alternative use
were permitted; or
c)
There is evidence of advertisement. “For Sale” by estate agents and in local
newspapers and commercial property journals circulated throughout the
District and County for a period of at least three months at a price to reflect its
current lawful use and this evidence is submitted showing that the site has
been marketed by agents operating in the locality; and that
d)
There is confirmation of a lack of interest.
7.2.4 Criterion a) is not considered relevant in this instance as it is not considered to
irreparably harm the character and amenity of the area. With the exception of external
refurbishment and the laying out of a car park, no other external changes are
proposed. In terms of criterion b) the proposed use would provide a further
community facility albeit as a competitor to other sites within the locale and as
indicated on the application forms, would provide employment for six full time staff
and seven part time staff. It should also be noted that the unit is currently vacant.
7.2.5 In terms of criterion c) & d), supporting information submitted with the application
states that Unit 2 has been vacant for two years and on the market for a similar time
period. Accompanying advertisements from the local press date back to 2011 and a
copy of a marketing brochure and estate agents letter corroborate this. Details have
been submitted from the estate agents with regard to the lack of interest and the long
term vacancy of the unit. The criterion for policy E6 are therefore considered to have
been met.
7.2.6 Economic Development do not support the loss of employment uses within the Use
Class “B” category, and state that this is especially where that may diminish the
attractiveness of a significant employment area to new / existing industrial or
commercial occupants. However, the unit is currently vacant, evidence has been
submitted to confirm long term vacancy in relation to the criterion of Policy E6 and
the site would provide employment for 6 full time and seven part time posts.
7.2.7
Paragraph 22 of the NPPF states:
‘Planning policies should avoid the long term protection of sites allocated for
employment use where there is no reasonable prospect of a site being used for that
purpose. Land allocations should be regularly reviewed. Where there is no
reasonable prospect of a site being used for the allocated employment use,
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applications for alternative uses of land or buildings should be treated on their merits
having regard to market signals and the relative need for different land uses to
support sustainable local communities.’
7.2.8 Furthermore it is considered an appropriate use for such a unit and a precedent has
already been set through the change of use of Unit 6. The proposal is not considered
to harm the nearby employment uses that are between the existing soft play centre at
Unit 6 and the proposed change of use at Unit 2 of the wider area. It is a common
place to find such diversification of employment uses and over the last ten years these
types of facilities have been provided on industrial estates across the County.
7.2.9 On the basis of the NPPF’s presumption in favour of sustainable development and that
policy E6 has been complied with, the loss of this employment site is considered
acceptable.
7.3
Impact upon Character and Appearance of the Area
7.3.1 The submission proposes little in the way of exterior changes to Unit 2 with the
exception of refurbishment of the exterior fenestration and cladding. Such repairs and
redecoration are considered commensurate and appropriate within an employment site
and is not considered to result in significant detrimental impact upon the character and
appearance of the area. The Design and Access Statement makes reference to exterior
lighting and should permission be granted, it is considered appropriate that a condition
is appended to ensure that any lighting scheme is submitted to the Local Planning
Authority in writing for approval.
7.4
Landscaping
7.4.1 The submission makes reference to a grassed area to the front (north) of the building
which would be retained, and the hard standing area to the rear (south) of the site
which would be resurfaced and marked out for parking bays. The parking bays to the
rear (south) of the site have been marked upon the submitted plans.
7.4.2 The Design and Access Statement refers to the clearance of outbuildings within the
area to the south of the site and a letter of representation questions where these are
located. These are temporary structures comprising shipping containers and a
concrete sectional structure which also would appear to have a non-permanent base.
The concrete structure was in the process of being removed at the time of the Officer
site visit.
7.5
Impact upon Adjacent Occupiers.
7.5.1 The hours of use are specified as 9:30 to 17:30 Monday to Friday, 9:30 to 16:30 on
Saturdays and 10:00 to 16:00 on Sundays. Given the position of the unit within an
existing industrial estate and close to the railway line it is considered that the proposal
would not result in a materially harmful impact upon the locality or that of adjacent
occupiers or the nearby residential properties. It is considered that any consent should
be conditioned to ensure that the hours of use are limited to those specified.
7.5.2 The site is within an employment and industrialized area with inherent high levels of
background noise from vehicle movements, air conditioning units and mechanical
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plant. Environmental Health has therefore reported that noise from the unit by way of
equipment is not likely to be audible above background noise. However, it is
considered appropriate that a condition is appended to any grant of permission to
restrict the playing of amplified music within the unit in order to protect the amenity
of adjacent occupiers.
7.6
Access, Parking and Highway Safety.
7.6.1 The NPPF at paragraph 32 states that decisions should take account of whether safe
and suitable access to a site can be achieved for all people. Policy BE1 of the adopted
Maldon District Replacement Local Plan states that development proposals will be
permitted if they are compatible with their surroundings in terms of the effect on the
safety and or amenity of neighbouring occupiers and policy T2 require safe access and
egress from sites. Policy T8 relates to parking and states that a change of use will
only be permitted if provision for off street parking or parking near the site is in
accordance with the Councils adopted parking standards.
7.6.2 The submission states that 24 parking spaces would be available. However, only 12
off street parking spaces would be provided to the area of hard standing adjacent to
the southern elevation of the unit within the site area. A further 12 spaces for
customer parking are indicated to the north of the site and a further overflow area for
parking to the north east of the site, but these cannot be considered as they are within
the public highway and not the site.
7.6.3 Letters of representation have made significant reference to the lack of parking and it
is apparent from the submitted plans and a site visit that the 12 spaces indicated to the
north of the site are within the public highway and not within the jurisdiction of the
applicant. Further to this the area indicated for overflow parking to the north east of
the site is currently a grassed area and is also not within control of the applicant.
Letters of representation have also made substantial reference to highway safety and
the potential for accidents if a further children’s activity centre is allowed on the
estate.
7.6.4 The Highway Authority has been consulted and no objection was raised in response to
the application as it was not considered contrary to the relevant transport policies
contained within the Highway Authorities adopted transportation policies.
7.6.5 The Highway Authority has stated that there are no parking restrictions within
Springfield Road and that on street parking is permitted and any on street obstruction
would therefore be a policing matter and beyond the scope of the planning system.
Parking within the site is a matter for the Local Planning Authority and needs to be
assessed against both Policy T8 and the Council’s adopted parking standards. Policy
T8 states that a change of use will only be permitted if provision is made for off-street
parking on or near the site in accordance with the District’s adopted vehicle parking
standards. The adopted supplementary planning document, Vehicle Parking
Standards, states that the requirement for premises within the Use Class D2 requires a
maximum of 1 space per 22m2 of gross floor space. The submission states that the
total internal floor space of the unit is 667m2 and therefore a maximum of 30 spaces is
recommended. As this is a maximum and not a minimum requirement, it is therefore
determined that levels below this are not contrary to the adopted Maldon District
Replacement Local Plan and the 12 spaces which the proposal could provide is
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considered acceptable due to the sustainable location of the unit and the availability of
on street parking.
7.6.6 In response to the high levels of representation to highway safety, further clarification
from the Highway Authority has been sought on this matter. The Highway Authority
are unequivocal in their response that the surrounding roads to the site are public
highways and that road safety for young children is the responsibility of a parent or
guardian as is the case on any public road network. They have additionally reported
that a similar facility is operating in Unit 6 and that no personal injury accidents in the
vicinity have occurred within the last three years.
7.6.7 Whilst the concerns of those making representation are therefore noted, the proposal
in terms of highway safety and parking is therefore not considered to be contrary to
adopted local policy or guidance contained within the NPPF.
7.7
Other Considerations
7.7.1
Commercial Competition
7.7.1.1 Letters of representation have made significant reference to the issue of an existing
unit which offers similar facilities and which is in close proximity to the application
site. However, there is no requirement to consider this as a planning consideration as
it is beyond the scope of the planning system.
7.7.1.2 A consultation response from the Economic Development Officer states that the
proposal would not be supported due to the loss of employment uses within Use
Classes B1, B2 and B8 as this may diminish the attractiveness of a significant
employment area to new and existing industrial or commercial occupants. As
previously identified in this report, the submission has been supported by evidence to
show that the unit has been vacant for a period of two years and that the NPPF at
paragraph 22 states that where there is no reasonable prospect of a site being sued for
the allocated employment use, applications for alternative uses should be treated on
their own merits and the relative need for different land uses to support sustainable
local communities. The submission also states that the proposal would result in the
creation of six full time and seven part time posts.
7.7.1.3 In this instance it is considered that such a departure from the local plan policy E1 is
an appropriate alternative use given that a similar business was granted permission in
2010. Additionally at paragraph 19, the NPPF clearly states that the planning system
does everything it can to support sustainable economic growth. It is therefore
considered that economic competition should be supported and refusal based upon the
proximity of similar businesses contrary to government guidance.
7.7.2
Procedural Process for Planning Applications.
7.7.2.1 Letters of representation have raised the matter of the Town Council and their
involvement in the planning process and procedures. It should be noted that Town
and Parish Councils are independent bodies from the Local Planning Authority and
that they represent a statutory consultee. In this capacity it is their role to give a
representative view to the Local Planning Authority.
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7.7.3
Advertisements
7.7.3.1 Letters of representation have raised the issue of press and other advertisements.
However, it is not within the jurisdiction of the Local Planning Authority to control
press advertisements and other advertisements which have been brought to the
attention of the Council are not considered relevant to the determination of this
planning application and may be subject to separate advertisement consent.
7.8
Conclusion
7.8.1 Having considered that factors above the application is considered acceptable having
regard to the material considerations of employment, amenity, impact upon adjacent
occupiers and highway safety and parking. Subject to the conditions below the
proposal is recommended for approval.
Recommendation
APPROVE subject to the following conditions:
1.
The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of three years
from the date of this permission.
REASON: To comply with Section 91(1) The Town & Country Planning Act 1990
(as amended).
2.
The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in complete accordance with
the approved drawings specifically referenced on this decision notice as well as the
submitted detailed specifications which form part of this permission, unless otherwise
agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
REASON: To ensure that the development is carried out in accordance with the
details as approved.
3
The use of the premises as a children’s soft play centre shall only operate between
09:30 hours and 17:30 hours Mondays to Fridays, 09:30 hours and 16:30 on
Saturdays, 10:00 and 16:00 on Sundays , Bank and Public Holidays. Further, no
members of staff shall be present on the premises for more than 30 minutes either
before the opening the of the soft play centre or after its closure at any time unless
otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
REASON: To ensure appropriate use of the site in the interests of protecting the
amenities of adjacent occupiers in accordance with policies CON5 and BE1 of the
adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan.
4
The parking spaces shown on the approved block plan within the site shall only be
used for the staff and visitors to the unit and shall be retained in connection with the
use at all times thereafter.
REASON: In the interests of providing adequate parking in accordance with policy
T8 of the adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan.
5
There shall be no amplified sound used in the soft play centre at any time unless
otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
REASON: To ensure the appropriate use of the site in the interests of protecting the
amenities of adjacent occupiers in accordance with policies CON5 and BE1 of the
adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan.
6
No floodlighting or other external forms of external illumination of the site shall be
undertaken without the prior written approval of the Local Planning Authority and
retained as such thereafter.
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REASON: To ensure the appropriate use of the site in the interests of protecting the
amenities of adjacent occupiers in accordance with policies CON5 and BE1 of the
adopted Maldon District Replacement Local Plan.
REASON FOR APPROVAL:
Based upon the lack of interest in the this vacant unit and the National Planning Policy
Frameworks “presumption in favour of sustainable development”, the proposed change of use
is considered acceptable in this location and would not have a materially harmful effect on
the amenities of adjacent occupiers, the wider locality or any other material consideration, in
accordance with policies S1, E1 E6, BE1, T2 and T8 of the adopted Maldon District
Replacement Local Plan and the provisions and guidance of the National Planning Policy
Framework.
POSITIVE AND PROACTIVE STATEMENT
Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) (Amendment
No.2) Order 2012 - Positive and Proactive Statement:
The Local Planning Authority has acted positively and proactively in determining this
application by assessing the proposal against all material considerations, including planning
policies and any representations that may have been received and subsequently determining
to grant planning permission in accordance with the presumption in favour of sustainable
development, as set out within the National Planning Policy Framework.
Enquiries to: Hilary Baldwin, Development Control Officer (TEL 01621 875730).
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