Chapter 6 Proposals
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6.1 GENERAL POLICIES FOR DEVELOPMENT CONTROL
   
This section is made up of general proposals with which all developments should comply. They are included in order to ensure that new developments in the District are sustainable, in keeping with their surrounding buildings and countryside, do not adversely affect the amenities of existing residents or activities, do not cause major noise problems and are not located in areas liable to flood.
   
General Policies for Development and Change of Use
GEN 1 General policy for development
GEN 2 General policy for changes of use
 
Landscape Character Areas
GEN 3 General policy for landscape character areas
 
Design Quality
GEN 4 General design policy
 
Proposals for Provision of Infrastructure or Utilities
GEN 5 Proposals for provision of infrastructure or utilities
 
Proposals Creating or Affected by Un-neighbourly and Noisy Uses
GEN 6 Policy for noisy/un-neighbourly developments
GEN 7 Policy for noise-sensitive developments.
 
Pollution and the Quality of Air, Surface Water and Ground Water
GEN 8 Pollution
GEN 9 Contaminated Land
   
Renewable Energy
GEN 10 Renewable Energy
   
Proposals In Areas Affected By Flooding And Poor Drainage
GEN 11 Areas affected by flooding or poor drainage
   
Design Against Crime
GEN 12 Design Against Crime
   
   
 
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General Policy for Development and Change of Use
GEN 1 PROPOSALS FOR DEVELOPMENT WHICH ACCORD WITH OTHER PROPOSALS OF THIS PLAN WILL BE PERMITTED WHERE THEY:
  (i) Are in keeping with the local character by virtue of their scale, design, massing, height, prominence, materials, layout, landscaping, siting and density;
  (ii) Avoid any material loss of amenity to existing and adjoining residential, commercial, recreational, agricultural or forestry uses, by virtue of noise, disturbance, noxious fumes, dust, pollution or traffic generation;
  (iii) Cause no material loss of amenity to adjoining residential uses, through loss of privacy, overlooking or the creation of shared facilities;
  (iv) Do not constitute ribbon or sporadic development, unrelated to existing patterns of settlement within the District;
  (v) Include provision for the conservation or enhancement of the District's landscape, ecology and historic heritage and natural resources;
  (vi) Where the public would reasonably expect to use the building, provide suitable access for people with impaired mobility, including those confined to wheelchairs;
  (vii) Have adequate arrangements on site for access, servicing or the parking of vehicles;
  (viii) Do not give rise to traffic flows on the surrounding road network, which would cause material detriment to the amenities of nearby properties and settlements or to highway safety;
  (ix) Do not create the need for highway improvements which would be detrimental to the character and setting of roads within the conservation areas or rural lanes in the District;
  (x) Do not lead to problems further afield by causing heavy traffic to pass through residential areas or settlements, or use unsuitable roads;
  (xi) Include provision for any necessary improvements to infrastructure and utilities resulting from the development;
  (xii) Take account of the proximity of overhead cables and power lines;
  (xiii) Avoid the installation of lighting, which is visually damaging to the character of the area.
     
Hart District is a high quality environment in which to live, work and enjoy recreation. The District Council is committed to protecting the District's environment and the quality of life of its residents. This does not however mean that no change should take place. The control of development provides the opportunity to manage change positively by ensuring that new developments are sustainable, in keeping with the surrounding area, and that the overall quality of the environment is maintained. The local planning authority is only able to refuse planning permission where it would cause demonstrable harm, but when considering applications it will negotiate with developers in order to ensure the best standards of development possible.
Landscaping schemes will be requested in conjunction with new developments, paying attention to the existing character of the landscape and to the provision of new wildlife habitats where appropriate. Standards of design in urban and rural areas will be a material consideration in determining planning applications.
 
 
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The environment is important not only for its aesthetic value. The conservation of a wide range of biological species, and the promotion of energy efficiency in order to help combat acid rain and global warming, can assist in maintaining a way of life that is sustainable long into the future. This is emphasised in the Government's White Paper "This Common Inheritance" and in the UK Strategy for Sustainable Development.
   
 
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GEN 2 CHANGES IN THE USE OF BUILDINGS WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT NEITHER THE PROPOSED CONVERSION NOR ITS ACCESS AND SERVICING ARRANGEMENTS ARE DETRIMENTAL TO THE CHARACTER OR SETTING OF THE BUILDING OR ADJOINING BUILDINGS. THE BUILDING SHOULD BE OF PERMANENT AND SUBSTANTIAL CONSTRUCTION AND CAPABLE OF CONVERSION WITHOUT MAJOR OR COMPLETE RECONSTRUCTION.
 
Changes in the use of buildings may have an impact on their appearance and surroundings, in terms of visual intrusion, scale, amenity, design, use of materials and external alterations. Where such impact is detrimental to the character and setting of the building or its surroundings, permission will not normally be granted.
   
 
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Landscape Character Areas
GEN 3 WITHIN THE LANDSCAPE CHARACTER AREAS, AS INDICATED BELOW AND SHOWN ON THE PROPOSALS MAP, DEVELOPMENT WILL BE PERMITTED IF IT DOES NOT ADVERSELY AFFECT THE PARTICULAR CHARACTER OF THE LANDSCAPE, AND IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH OTHER POLICIES OF THIS PLAN.
  1. Wellington
  2. Tylney
  3. Bartley
  4. Whitewater Valley
  5. Blackwater Valley
  6. Firgrove
  7. Bramshill
  8. Hazeley / West Green
  9. Winchfield
  10. Dogmersfield
  11. Hart Valley
  12. Minley
  13. Tweseldown
  14. Redlands
  15. Hart Downs
     
A detailed landscape appraisal of Hart District has been carried out and published in the Hart District Landscape Assessment, April 1997. The Landscape Character Areas above have been identified as a result of this work. The six built up areas of Fleet/Church Crookham, Yateley, Blackwater, Hartley Wintney, Hook and Odiham are not included within these areas, because they are not within the open countryside.
The countryside is protected for its own sake, under policies RUR 2 and RUR 3 of this plan, and the advice within PPG7 on the Countryside and Rural Economy. This policy is not intended to prevent appropriate development from taking place in the countryside. Where development is permitted under other policies of the plan however, it is important that it respects the landscape character of the surrounding countryside and that is the purpose of this policy. The identification of specific landscape character areas, and the description of the character, potential threats to this character, and future management needs included as part of the appraisal, will guide planning decisions across all of the countryside within Hart District.
The Blackwater Valley (Landscape Character Area 5) also has additional policies specifically concerning its recreational and open gap functions.
The results of the landscape appraisal are summarised within the introductory sections of this plan (Section 3.3) For the purposes of appraising proposed developments, reference should be made to "Hart District Landscape Assessment" (Hart District Council, 1997).
   
Design Quality
Design of Built Environment
Design - the arrangement and quality of our built surroundings can contribute considerably to our well-being, and our senses of delight and belonging. Town and village centres, and the areas where we live - if comfortable, convenient, coherent, and attractively laid out and managed - can have an appearance and identity which is appealing to us individually but which can also help to increase the economic attraction of the District overall and its social and cultural well-being.
   
 
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An important aim of the local plan is to support areas that already display high quality in urban design, to encourage development and other measures which will improve and raise existing urban design quality; and to ensure that with the introduction and development of new built-up areas, centres and spaces high standards of urban design are achieved as considered appropriate by the local planning authority.
 
 
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General Design Policy
GEN 4 DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS WILL BE PERMITTED WHERE THEY SUSTAIN OR IMPROVE THE URBAN DESIGN QUALITIES OF TOWNS, VILLAGES AND OTHER SETTLEMENTS WHICH DERIVE FROM THEIR LAYOUT AND FORM, SCALE, CHARACTER OR APPEARANCE, SPECIAL FEATURES, OR THE ARRANGEMENT, SCALE AND DESIGN OF BUILDINGS AND SPACES.
 
In keeping with the principal aims of the local plan, the local planning authority will seek to protect the District's existing built design qualities and seek to extend higher standards in the quality of the built environment to new development. Accordingly the local planning authority will not normally approve development which detracts from the existing built design qualities contributing to the attraction and appearance of built-up areas, their convenience or their sense of place and identity.
When considering proposals for development, including changes of use, the local planning authority will have regard to the effect that a proposal may have upon the existing built-up area. Matters to be taken into account may include:
developed structure, which may reflect location, topography and landscape and surroundings;
layout and form, which may be influenced by natural or man-made features;
scale, where the relative size, status and prominence of buildings, spaces, features, and their component parts will be considered in respect of context;
character or appearance, which may be derived in broad terms from the urban structure and arrangement of an area, buildings and spaces, landscape and ecology, materials, texture and colour, and the diversity, nature and effect of activities within an area.
Applicants for planning permission should, as a minimum, provide a short written statement setting out the design principles adopted as well as illustrative material in plan and elevation. This material should show the wider context and not just the development site and immediately adjacent buildings. Inclusion of relevant perspective views can also be of value. Such material will be particularly important in relation to complex or large-scale development proposals and those involving sensitive sites. PPG1 paragraph A4 also gives valuable advice in this respect.
The local planning authority (LPA) will require the preparation of planning briefs where considered necessary for major development sites allocated in the local plan and for substantial windfall sites. (These will either be prepared directly by the LPA or on behalf of the LPA by the applicant in conjunction with the LPA, subsequently to be formally approved by the LPA). Supplementary planning guidance to assist in the submission of proposals for development will also be provided.
Those submitting development proposals are recommended to discuss their ideas at an early stage and before schemes become firmed up. The local planning authority will endeavour to assist in respect of urban design matters in the preparation of development proposals and to this end a check list of matters likely to be of significance in the analysis of the urban design implications of proposals is included in supplementary planning guidance.
 
 
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Proposals for Provision of Infrastructure or Utilities
GEN 5 DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS FOR THE PROVISION OF INFRASTRUCTURE OR FOR UTILITIES AND RELATED SERVICES WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT THERE WOULD NOT BE AN UNACCEPTABLE IMPACT ON AMENITY, INCLUDING VISUAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT.
 
The Council will generally encourage improvements to the District's infrastructure and utilities, many of which will be necessary to serve proposed new developments, or to upgrade current facilities. Such proposals will however be considered against the environmental policies of this plan, with the aim of avoiding any significant detrimental effects on important nature conservation, historic, landscape or other environmental interests.
 
 
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Proposals Creating or Affected by Un-neighbourly and Noisy Uses
GEN 6 PROPOSALS FOR DEVELOPMENT WHICH COULD CREATE, INTENSIFY OR EXPAND NOISY OR NOXIOUS USES OR WHICH WOULD GENERATE VOLUMES OR TYPES OF TRAFFIC UNSUITED TO THE LOCAL AREA WILL ONLY BE PERMITTED WHERE:
   
 
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  (i) The site is not located where the proposal would have a serious adverse effect on the amenities of existing housing and other sensitive uses such as schools, or the recreational amenity of quiet areas of countryside; or
  (ii) The proposal incorporates adequate noise abatement measures to alleviate any material loss in amenity.
     
Sporadic development can result in several different land uses becoming established within close proximity, some of which may be detrimental to the quality of the environment and a nuisance to other land uses. The District Council is anxious to ensure that new development is appropriately sited so that it does not cause a nuisance through noise to other users in the area.
This policy, together with the following policy GEN 7, is therefore included for amenity reasons. In granting planning permission, the local planning authority may impose conditions and seek legal agreements to control the occupier, hours of operation and arrangements for minimising disturbance by noise, dust, smoke, fumes or other pollutants, and for establishing and maintaining landscape works.
Examples of noisy uses include some types of commercial uses, as well as recreation uses including water sports, shooting, motor sports and war games. The Council will encourage land management agreements, drawn up in consultation with the relevant bodies, where this can lead to the co-existence of conservation and development.
The District Council will apply the advice contained in Circular 10/73 and PPG24, the Planning Policy Guidance Note on "Planning and Noise", and any subsequent guidance supplementing, revoking or re-enacting that advice. In addition, due regard will be given to advice from the Department of the Environment, Building Research Establishment, Transport and Road Research Laboratory or any other appropriate public body (including the Council's Environmental Health section) advising on noise which falls within the scope of a material consideration as outlined in the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act.
 
 
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GEN 7 PROPOSALS FOR DEVELOPMENT FOR NOISE SENSITIVE USES, PARTICULARLY DWELLINGS, HOTELS AND SCHOOLS, LOCATED CLOSE TO MAJOR ROADS, RAILWAY LINES OR OTHER NOISE-GENERATING USES WILL ONLY BE PERMITTED WHERE ADEQUATE MEASURES ARE TAKEN FOR NOISE AMELIORATION.
 
The Council would not wish to see uses which are relatively sensitive to noise located close to existing uses that generate a lot of noise, without appropriate measures to reduce adverse impact of noise on the new development. Such noisy uses may include main roads, railways and air traffic. Advice on appropriate noise levels will be sought from the Council's Environmental Health section.
 
 
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Pollution and the Quality of Air, Surface Water and Ground Water
GEN 8 PROPOSALS FOR DEVELOPMENT WHICH COULD SIGNIFICANTLY ADVERSELY AFFECT THE QUALITY OF AIR, SURFACE WATER OR GROUND WATER, WILL NOT BE PERMITTED.
   
Polluting land uses or processes such as certain types of industry can adversely affect health, the natural environment and general amenity. Such land uses are particularly inappropriate near residential areas, water-courses and sites of nature conservation interest. When considering such applications, advice will be sought from the Council's Environmental Health section and the Environment Agency. Where nature conservation sites may be affected, the local planning authority will also consult English Nature.
Circular 1/97 Planning Obligations states that planning obligations should only be sought where they are necessary to make a proposal acceptable in land-use planning terms. PPG23 'Planning and Pollution Control' at paragraph 1.31 acknowledges that the potential for pollution affecting the use of land is capable of being a material consideration in deciding whether to grant planning permission. In this respect, planning obligations will be sought to provide appropriate aftercare on sites likely to be harmed by pollution where shown to be necessary to enable the development to proceed. The Environment Agency has prepared a Catchment Management Plan for the River Blackwater catchment, which covers most of the District. This includes targets for reducing pollution levels in the River Blackwater, and maintaining the presently unpolluted waters of the Rivers Whitewater and Hart.
Guidance on considerations affecting the acceptability of development from a ground water protection viewpoint has been prepared by the Environment Agency Thames Region entitled "Policy and Practice for the Protection Of Ground Water".
   
 
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There are a number of habitats in and around the district, which are dependent on correct quantity and quality of water being available. This may be compromised by changes in water extraction for industry, agriculture or domestic water supply.
Central Government advice on this issue is included in PPG23 on Planning and Pollution Control. Polluting land uses are also controlled under the Hazardous Substances Act.
 
 
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GEN 9 PROPOSALS FOR DEVELOPMENT ON LAND THAT IS, OR THERE IS REASON TO BELIEVE MAY BE, CONTAMINATED, WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT THE APPLICANT HAS CARRIED OUT AND SUBMITTED A SITE SURVEY TO ESTABLISH THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF THE CONTAMINATION WHICH, TOGETHER WITH THE SENSITIVITY OF THE PROPOSED USE TO THE CONTAMINATION, OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS AND THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PROPOSED REMEDIAL MEASURES DO NOT PUT THE DEVELOPMENT AND ITS USERS AT RISK.
     
Earlier uses may have left land contaminated but if the land is suitably located and its reuse is practicable, contaminated land should be recycled to reduce the demand for greenfield sites for development and to reduce the threat such sites can pose to health, safety and the environment. Government policy expressed in PPG23, Planning and Pollution Control, is that remedial works should be undertaken to deal with any unacceptable risks posed by contamination, taking into account the uses proposed. As far as possible contamination should be dealt with on the site itself to avoid the risks of contaminating other land and of transporting contaminated materials.
Before development or other use of the land takes place any contamination that may pose a threat needs to be dealt with. Where land is known to be contaminated, or there is reason to believe that it might be, if development is proposed the applicant will be expected to have carried out a site survey and assessment to establish the nature and the extent of the contamination and to submit the results of the survey and assessment with any application.
Development will not be permitted unless practicable and effective measures are to be taken to control contamination during development and thereafter in a way that will not expose occupiers of the development and of neighbouring land to unacceptable risks or pollute surface or ground water.
In addition it should be noted that:
(1) Complementary powers exist under the Building Regulations and Environmental Health legislation.
(2) The local planning authority accepts no liability for its decision to grant planning permission on any site that subsequently proves to be contaminated. The decision will be made on the basis of evidence available at the time the planning application is made. In law, it is the owner of land who is responsible for removing contamination.
 
 
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Renewable Energy
GEN 10 PROPOSALS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF RENEWABLE ENERGY SCHEMES WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT:
  (i) The impact of the development on the immediate and wider landscape is not significantly detrimental;
  (ii) The proposal does not adversely affect features and areas of ecological, historic or cultural interest;
  (iii) The impact of development on local land use and residential amenity is minimised, both during and after construction, to the satisfaction of the local planning authority;
  (iv) The proposal is justified in terms of local and wider benefits;
  (v) The location is necessary as the particular resource can only be harnessed where it occurs.
     
The Government's policy is to stimulate the development of new and renewable energy sources wherever they have prospects of being economically attractive and environmentally acceptable, in order to contribute to:
diverse, secure and sustainable energy supplies;
reduction in the emission of pollutants;
encouragement of internationally competitive industries.
The Government has published Planning Policy Guidance on Renewable Energy (PPG22) together with technical annexes, which set out in more detail the particular issues that local authorities should consider in determining such proposals. PPG22 defines "Renewable energy" as the term used to cover those energy flows that occur naturally and repeatedly in the environment - energy from the sun, the wind and the oceans, and the fall of water. The heat from within the earth itself, geothermal energy, is usually regarded as renewable, although locally it cannot always sustain continuous extraction. Plant material is an important source of renewable energy. Combustible or digestible industrial, agricultural and domestic waste materials are also regarded as renewable sources of energy.
   
 
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The Council acknowledges that new and renewable energy sources can potentially contribute to energy needs in a significant and sustainable way. Renewable energy sources offer the hope of increasing diversity and security of supply, and of reducing harmful emissions to the environment. The aim of the planning system is to secure economy, efficiency and amenity in the use of land in the public interest. The Council's encouragement of the development of renewable energy sources must be weighed carefully with its continuing commitment to policies for protecting the local environment. The Council acknowledges the advice in PPG22 that proposals to harness renewable energy can display a variety of factors peculiar to the technology involved.
Moreover, such schemes can have particular locational restraints since, in many cases, the resource can only be harnessed where it occurs. The Council will need to consider both the immediate impact of renewable energy projects on the local environment and their wider contribution to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
 
 
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Proposals In Areas Affected By Flooding And Poor Drainage
GEN 11 DEVELOPMENT IN AREAS LIABLE TO FLOOD, OR WHICH WOULD UNACCEPTABLY INCREASE THE RISK OF FLOODING ON OTHER LAND, WILL NOT BE PERMITTED, UNLESS APPROPRIATE AND SATISFACTORY ALLEVIATION OR MITIGATION MEASURES ARE INCLUDED.
     
Circular 30/92 "Development and Flood Risk" requires that local authorities take into account flood risk in drawing up development plans, and that the Environment Agency is consulted on applications that have implications for flood risk. Development permitted without regard to such considerations can lead to danger to life, damage to property and wasteful expenditure. Engineering works can reduce risk but can never eliminate it entirely.
The local planning authority will discuss with the Environment Agency any development proposals which:
are within flood-plains;
could significantly increase surface water run-off from the area;
are within or adjacent to watercourses;
include or affect any flood control structure;
are situated in areas where NRA have indicated there is a drainage problem;
would involve the culverting or diversion of any watercourse.
 
 
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Design Against Crime
GEN 12 PLANNING PERMISSION WILL NOT BE GRANTED FOR DEVELOPMENT WHICH FAILS TO INCORPORATE APPROPRIATE PROVISION FOR PUBLIC SAFETY AND CRIME PREVENTION WITHIN ITS DESIGN.
 
The design and layout of new development can directly reduce opportunities for crimes such as theft, assault and burglary, as well as reducing the fear of crime. Developments can be designed and laid out to provide for the surveillance of open spaces, houses can be set out so that the main living areas look out over the access road, and adequate lighting can provide for surveillance at night. Existing developments can be improved by the addition of crime prevention facilities. The aim of designing against crime is to reassure the public by making crime more difficult to commit, increasing the risk of detection and providing people with a safer and more secure environment. Advice on this issue is given in the DETR Circular 5/94, Planning Out Crime. The Police launched a "Secured by Design" initiative in 1989 to draw attention to this issue, and the local Police may be consulted in relation to proposed developments.
 
 
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