Fire Station Adjacent to Kirtley
Conflicts with the following Local Plan Policy statements
(Local Plan policies also copied below)
ENV1 a) Encouraging where possible retention of valuable Existing Natural features such as trees and hedgerows.
b) Encouraging the protection and enhancement of smaller areas of open space, which are not formally identified, as Green Wedges or Wildlife Corridors
Justification of policy 3.8, 3.9, 3.10, 3.23, 3.24
Policy ENV1: Accessible Green Space
The Borough Council will encourage the provision of a network of accessible greenspace throughout the Borough. This greenspace and open space network, as shown on the Proposals Map, will be protected and enhanced by:
i) Encouraging the use of footpaths, cycleways, disused railway lines, canals and canal towpaths as means of access through the urban area and to the countryside.
ii) Resisting development which is likely to damage the integrity of a wildlife corridor, green wedge or open space.
iii) Encouraging developments to provide links to green wedges, open space and the recreational footpath, cycleway and canal towpath networks.
iv) Encouraging where possible the retention of valuable existing natural features such as trees and hedgerows in development proposals.
v) Encouraging the protection and enhancement of smaller areas of open space which are not formally identified as green wedges or wildlife corridors.
Justification of Policy:
3.8 The importance of wildlife corridors, which provide a network of interlinked sites, is widely accepted and helps to create pockets of wildlife habitat throughout the Borough. Maintenance of ‘ecologically healthy’ landscape also assists in fulfilling the requirements of EC Habitats Regulations (Article 10) and UK Habitats Regulations (Regulation 37). Wildlife corridors form a network which facilitate the movement of plants and animals between important wildlife sites. In addition to this, they provide easy access to members of the public for informal recreation and amenity.
3.9 Green wedges comprise relatively large areas of a predominantly open character which penetrate towards the town centre from the edge of the Borough linked by the green corridors. The Borough Council recognises their great value as open space areas for leisure and recreational purposes as well as their overall contribution to the natural environment.
3.10 The growth of Tamworth as an expanded town has resulted in the loss of continuous stretches of countryside with animal and plant species becoming fragmented and isolated. The retention of existing and the formation of new linear habitats within Tamworth are regarded as critical to the future of nature
Policy ENV7: Habitats and Biodiversity outside Designated Nature Conservation Sites
When considering development proposals outside designated sites of national or local importance, the Borough Council will take into account the potential effects on habitats and biodiversity. The Borough Council will expect developers to submit an ecological survey as part of all major planning applications and applications where existing records reveal the presence of species of high nature conservation importance. In all cases where development or land use change is permitted, development proposals will be expected to avoid or minimise any adverse effects by retaining and safeguarding linear and any other landscape features that are of major importance for wildlife. Where damage is unavoidable, the Borough Council will expect developers to undertake the following mitigation measures:
The relocation of flora and fauna of high nature conservation importance to suitable alternative locations in those cases where species cannot be adequately safeguarded on site.
and justification of Policy
3.27 Nature conservation cannot be confined to individual sites and needs to encompass the wider environment if the natural environment of the Borough is to reflect fully the diversity of habitats and species. The consideration of nature conservation issues in all planning proposals will help to establish this wider context and generate a more pro-active approach towards protection and enhancement. Where the ecological value of a site is not known, an ecological survey could avoid the disturbance or destruction of habitats and species of value. The Borough Council considers that it would be reasonable to request an ecological survey from developers of sites of known importance and all major development sites (which are defined by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister as 10 or more dwellings or where the number is not known, more than 0.5 hectares; and floorspace of 1000 square metres or a site of 1 hectare or more for all other uses).
Policy ENV8: Habitats of Legally Protected Species
Proposals for development or land use change that would have an adverse impact on a statutorily protected species or a key species identified in the UK or Staffordshire Biodiversity Action Plans will not normally be permitted. Where development is permitted that may have an effect on these species, the Borough Council will impose conditions and, where appropriate, seek to use its powers to enter into planning agreements to:
i) facilitate the survival of individual members of the species;
ii) reduce disturbance to a minimum; and
iii) provide adequate alternative habitats to sustain at least the current levels of population.
Proposals for development or land use change which affect a European protected species will not be permitted unless:
i) the development is in the interests of preserving public health or public safety or other reasons of over-riding public interest including those of a social or economic nature and beneficial consequences of primary importance of the environment;
ii) there is no satisfactory alternative;
iii) the development would not be detrimental to the maintenance of the population of the species concerned at a favourable conservation status in their natural range.
ie - find some bats?? Or evidence to show that they at least feed or fly in the area - or for some other legally protected animal (badgers?)
Policy ENV9: Protection of Trees, Woodlands and Hedgerows
The Borough Council will resist development that would involve the removal of any tree, woodland or hedgerow, which contributes significantly to the character of the landscape or its surroundings, unless the need for development is sufficient to warrant the loss and the loss cannot be avoided by appropriate siting or design. Where permission is given and trees, woodland or hedgerows are lost through development, replacement planting using native species will be required on an appropriate scale and in accordance with a landscaping scheme. Opportunities for additional planting should be taken in all appropriate development.
Justification of Policy:
3.31 Smaller groups of trees and individual trees can make a major contribution to the landscape especially in urban locations. This policy gives an opportunity for consideration to be given to the amenity value and significance of all trees and hedgerows and allows replanting to be required where tree loss is unavoidable. The retention of existing planting also contributes to the visual impact of planting in an area, aids biodiversity and gives an appearance of greater maturity to the urban scene.
3.32 In certain locations the planting of new native broad-leaved trees would make a positive contribution to the natural environment and local landscape of the Borough.
Open Space and Recreation
3.42 Open space and sport and recreation facilities can make a positive contribution to our urban and rural environments. Open spaces take a variety of forms and include formal parks, allotments, maintained open spaces on housing estates and civic spaces. They provide areas for formal and informal recreation, visual benefits in terms of greening the environment and they form valuable wildlife habitats. Recreation facilities can be formal or informal, indoor or outdoor and provide obvious health benefits.
Local Plan Objective
3.43 The role of the planning system is to ensure that there are sufficient open spaces and sport and recreation facilities and that these are provided where they are needed. Other important factors are the quality of facilities and accessibility to users. It is important that facilities can be easily reached by cycling and walking, as well as the private car. Heavily used facilities should also be accessible by public transport.
3.44 The general principle is to retain recreation facilities and open space within the Borough. The value attached to a particular facility may relate to a variety of factors, including the contribution it makes to the character of an area, its recreational value, nature conservation value or the extent to which it provides a break in the built environment. The two aspects of planning for open space and recreation, protection of existing facilities and provision of new, are set out in the following objectives.
Key Open Space and Recreation Objectives:
?? To protect existing open space and sports and recreation facilities from development.
?? To ensure that development proposals address any unmet need for open space and sport and recreation facilities whether this requires new provision or enhancement to existing provision.
3.45 In order to plan positively for open space, sport and recreation, the Borough Council needs to be in a position to understand the distribution and quality of existing provision, what deficiencies and surpluses exist and where new provision is needed. The Government, through Planning Policy Guidance Note 17, advises local authorities to undertake robust assessments of need and audits of existing provision on a neighbourhood by neighbourhood basis. This will enable the Borough Council to set standards for open space and recreation facilities at a local level, which will reflect the specific needs of the Borough.
Protection of Open Space
3.47 Open spaces within an urban area like Tamworth are very important and are valued as they can be used for a range of functions to enhance quality of life. The objective of this policy is to ensure that people have easy access to open spaces that provide for as wide a range of amenities as possible.
Policy ENV13: Protection of Open Space
The Borough Council will seek to retain and enhance existing open spaces, as indicated on the Proposals Map, and redress any deficiencies in the provision or accessibility. Proposals for development that would result in either the loss of open space or which would otherwise adversely affect open spaces will not be permitted unless it can be demonstrated that none of the following would be prejudiced:
i) Avoiding a deficiency of open space or facilities
ii) Providing for both formal and informal sport and recreation
iii) Providing for children's play
iv) Buffering of incompatible uses
v) Defining community boundaries
vi) Accommodating green corridors and other pedestrian and cycle routes
vii) Contributing to biodiversity
viii) Contributing to visual amenity
ix) Achieving local community aspirations.
When considering proposals which would result in the loss of or other adverse affect upon open spaces, the Council will take into account any compensatory provision that is proposed. This might take the form of replacement open space or the improvement of existing open spaces in the area.
In the absence of approved local standards, developers will be required to demonstrate, through an independent assessment that uses a methodology of the kind indicated in PPG17 that open space is surplus to requirements. As part of this, developers will need to consult with the local community and demonstrate that their proposals have wide community support.
Justification of Policy:
3.38 This policy is designed to ensure that open space is protected from loss to inappropriate development. The audit and assessment has highlighted where deficiencies and surpluses of provision exist. This will enable the Council to seek the protection of open space where it is needed and provision of additional open space areas to redress deficiencies in a particular area and/or the enhancement of existing open spaces, for example, by increasing the range of facilities or improving accessibility.
3.49 In certain circumstances, the loss of an open space may be considered acceptable if compensatory provision is to be made, either in the form of replacement open space or through the enhancement of existing open space in the area. It is essential that any loss or compensatory provision is based on a robust assessment of the needs of the local community, either by the Borough Council, or an independent survey on behalf of the developer.
Provision and Use of Open Space
3.50 High quality and well maintained open space is a key factor affecting the quality of new development. The audit and assessment of open space in the Borough highlights where overall deficiencies exist and of what type. This will enable the Council to set local standards for provision and seek additional provision or improvement of open space in areas that are deficient. In advance of the local standards being set, the standards set out in the following policy will be used to assess development proposals.
Policy ENV14: Open Space for New Developments
The Borough Council will seek to achieve a minimum standard of open space for new developments of 2.43 hectares per 1000 population. (note: Glascote Heath already falls well below this figure! Losing Kirtley Woods and area will just make this worse!)
Justification of Policy:
3.51 Open space should be provided in accordance with the adopted standard in Structure Plan Policy R6: Open Space in Urban Areas, which currently stands at 2.43 hectares per 1000 population and concurs with the adopted minimum standard of the National Playing Fields Association. In all cases an assessment will be required of open space and facilities within the area taking into account the housing and population mix and likely community demand. In fixing the type and amount of provision for open space in, or in connection with, individual residential developments, some allowance will be made for special circumstances affecting a particular application, such as a town centre location or accommodation designated specially for elderly persons.
3.52 When assessing new housing development the amount and quality of existing open space will also be taken into account . However, only in circumstances of clearly demonstrable adequate provision, in terms of quantity and quality, for both existing and proposed development, will no further provision, or contribution towards provision, be expected.
3.53 However, in certain circumstances it may be more appropriate to make provision off-site or make a contribution towards the improvement of existing facilities where this provides greater benefit to the local community. This policy should be read in conjunction with Structure Plan policy R6 and the detailed Borough Council Interim Planning Guidance on open space and children's play provision.
Policy ENV15: Loss of Playing Fields and Sports Pitches
Development resulting in the loss of playing fields and sports pitches will not be permitted other than in exceptional circumstances where it can be demonstrated that:
i) The proposed development is ancillary to the use of the site as a playing field and does not adversely affect the quantity or quality of pitches and their use; or
ii) The proposed development only affects land which is incapable of forming a playing pitch (or part of one); or
iii) The playing fields that would be lost as a result of the proposed development would be replaced by a playing field or fields of equivalent or better quantity and quality and in a suitable location; or
iv) The proposed development is for an outdoor or indoor sports facility of sufficient benefit to the development of sport to outweigh the loss of the playing field.
(note: - possible objection to loss of part of athletics stadium?)
Increasing Public Access to Land
3.59 The expansion of the total area of public access land and improvement of facilities on existing land will be sought by the Borough Council in order to encourage fuller public participation in a range of sport, recreational, community and nature conservation activities. The following two proposals are designed in order to achieve this objective.
Policy ENV17: Increasing Public Access Land
The Borough Council will seek to achieve the provision of greater public access to areas of open space in the Borough. This will apply especially within the Tame Valley at Dosthill, which is of particular value and would meet a range of local recreational needs if management and accessibility were enhanced.
Justification of Policy:
3.60 Public access land includes a variety of means from full public ownership to footpath provision and picnic places. These areas represent both a local recreational and a wider tourism resource.
Quality Design in New Development
3.67 Good design is always essential but particularly as more development takes place within the existing urban fabric.
Policy ENV19: High Quality Design
The Borough Council will expect all development proposals to achieve a high standard of design based on a thorough analysis of the physical context and constraints of the site and its surroundings. In particular, development proposals will be expected to:
i) Be well related and make a positive contribution to its surroundings and landform in terms of siting, mass, scale, proportion and appearance.
ii) Result in a safe and secure environment by creating pleasant, convenient and safe routes through an area, and incorporating natural surveillance, lighting, boundary and landscape treatments and other measures to improve security
iii) Minimise the impact of vehicles, parking and servicing areas.
iv) Incorporate appropriate landscaping and boundary treatments as an integral part of the proposal using native species wherever possible.
Consider detailed matters relating to lighting, signing, street furniture and decoration as an integral part of the overall scheme.
Justification of policy
3.69 The impact of development on the built environment is a major factor on the quality of the visual environment and lasts for many generations. The Borough Council in collaboration with Staffordshire County Council is committed to implementing high standards of design through the Staffordshire Residential Design Guide. This has been adopted as supplementary planning guidance. Site specific interim planning guidance has also been formulated to assist potential developers in the preparation of their schemes.
3.70 A well-designed development will meet the needs of those with impaired mobility as well as other forms of disability. This should be done in the context of meeting the Borough Council’s wider sustainability objectives and ensuring that all users of the development feel safe and secure within the environment created.
In addition this Fire Station proposal is for a site that is not identified for any employment or housing use in the Local Plan. Yet other sites that might be suitable are. Doultons, Sandy Way, and off the A5 at Ventura Park. Those are sites that should be used first by virtue of the fact that they are available and the Local Plan specifies such a use.
Lastly and certainly not least important - Kirtley Woods is a long standing Greenfield site. The Local Plan discourages all development of Greenfield sites before brownfield sites are used.