The full Travel Plan should include details of the Travel Plan Coordinators (TPC) roles and responsibilities and timescales. An important action for the TPC for a residential Travel Plan would be to be to establish an exit strategy for the Travel Plan by enabling the residents to take the Travel Plan forward.
In summary therefore, should this application be considered for approval, a full Travel Plan must be submitted prior commencement of the development and must include:
Contact details for the Travel Plan Coordinator;
Timescales for the Travel Plan Coordinator to be in place;
Modal split targets and measures to achieve these targets;
Details of the welcome/marketing pack that is to be given to buyers/occupiers;
In accordance with other developments locally, the Heads of Terms of the S106 agreement should request £100 per dwelling be made available as a travel plan incentive payment. A total cost of £16,000 to be used towards sustainable travel incentives including the provision of discounted bus or rail passes and cycle vouchers. The Travel Plan Coordinator should also devise a list of priorities for the remaining funding should all dwellings not take up this incentive.
A67 / Durham Lane / Tesco Roundabout - Additional Modelling
Additional sensitivity tests were carried out to assess the impact of the development at the A67/Tesco roundabout with different scenarios. There are issues with local congestion at this roundabout and therefore it was imperative that the assessment fully considered the different scenarios to provide a robust assessment of the impact of development traffic on this part of the highway network. Concerns were raised with regards to the original assessment in the TA (see above) that an error in trip forecasts and the methodology applied to calculate traffic distributions in the assessment could under-estimate the impact of development traffic at this junction. The applicant was therefore asked to review the assessment.
The first sensitivity tests at this junction considered the impact if all traffic from the development travelled through the junction in the AM peak and traffic from the development was distributed based on traffic surveys / turning proportions from the traffic model rather than the HA PENELOPE distribution (which looks at the wider strategic distribution). This scenario included all committed developments (and associated infrastructure improvements e.g. widening on the Durham Lane approach associated with the Allen's West development). The results indicate that the critical link is Durham Lane where the Ratio of Flow to Capacity (RFC) increases to 0.86. The queue of PCU's is 5.89. This is compared with a 2022 base forecast (without Urlay Nook but with committed development) of 0.82 with a queue of 4.43 PCUs. Thus the development would impact the junction but the impact is minimal and does not appear to significantly worsen the capacity issues.
The second sensitivity test removed the Allen's West development and associated infrastructure improvements (widening on Durham Lane approach) from the model. The results indicate that without the widening at the junction (and without the Allens West traffic) the RFC is 0.70 with a queue length of 2.29. The results demonstrate that the junction would operate within capacity without the Allen's West traffic and without widening on the Durham Lane approach.
The results of both sensitivity tests therefore show that the roundabout junction would operate within theoretical capacity in future years with both the development traffic and the traffic from other nearby developments.
Technical Services Transport Modelling
The TA included the agreed list of committed developments within the analysis. However, since the TA scoping study, additional planning applications within the local area have come forward. Whilst these are not yet committed, it is imperative that Stockton Council review the wider network impact of all these proposals.
Technical Services therefore commissioned the development of a micro-simulation model to assess the traffic impacts of this development and others locally. This site is one of a number of proposed developments within the Eaglescliffe and Yarm area which, if granted planning approval, could create a cumulative impact within Eaglescliffe and Yarm. Developing a transport model helps to provide a greater understanding into the impact of this development on the wider network and the effectiveness of proposed mitigation measures.
The modelling exercise started with a review of existing traffic patterns using information from the existing Tees Valley TRIPS Model. An AIMSUN micro-simulation transport model was then developed and the base model validated using existing traffic counts and journey time data. The latest journey time data was collected for Yarm High Street on 9th November 2012.
Committed development traffic was added to the base model to allow the assessment to review what the traffic conditions would be like once traffic associated with committed developments is added to the network. The committed developments included within the model were the residential developments at Tall Trees, Morley Carr, Allen's West and The Rings (Ingleby Barwick). Once the base model was validated and agreed, the development traffic was added to the model.
The results from the model, with development traffic, show that in the morning peak journey times through Yarm High Street (on the A67) would increase by 00:14 minutes southbound and 00:48 minutes northbound. In the evening peak, journey time increases are of a similar magnitude with a journey time increase of on 00:09 minutes southbound and 00:46 minutes northbound.
The results from the micro-simulation model show that the development would only marginally increase journey times through the network and there is a negligible deterioration due to the addition of traffic from the development. Subsequently, there is no evidence to object to the development on highway capacity grounds as the changes in journey times are not considered to be of significant adverse impact.
The impact of this development on the local highway network has been assessed using different scenarios and different assessment tools and the outputs have shown the impact to be acceptable subject to mitigation. This is to be secured via S106 contributions, S278 agreements for works to the highway and a Travel Plan. These requirements are summarised as follows:
Junction improvements at the Durham Lane / A66 Elton Interchange. These works should be delivered along with the improvements associated with the Allen's West development. This development may however be implemented before the Allen's West development. In which case if upon occupation of the 20th property of this development the applicant has not entered into a S278 Agreement for the coordinated highways works (with the Allen's West improvements) at the junction, the applicant should provide a S106 for the specified works. The Section 106 contribution would be for the amount applicable for the specified works that would be delivered as part of a S278 Agreement with the Highway Authority; and
An additional crossing point (dropped kerbs and tactile paving) to be installed at a suitable location on Urlay Nook Road to facilitate pedestrian connections between the site and the areas to the east.
The provision of 7 off-street car parking spaces close to Yarm High Street (or financial contribution - £64,166) equipped in accordance with the operational requirements of SBC. These car parking spaces must be fully operational as long-stay parking provision prior to the occupation of the 10th dwelling on the site;
A contribution (£50,000) towards improvements to the existing cycle network to be provided between Lartington Way and Lingfield Drive. These works would be subject to a S278 Agreement and the contribution (£50,000) is therefore an estimate with the actual costs of the Highway Works to be paid by the applicant; and
Provision of a £100 Travel Plan incentive per dwelling (£16,000).
It is agreed that the Public Right of Way through the site could be upgraded by the developer but the works should be implemented to the required Council specifications and should be approved the Right of Way officer.
Landscape & Visual Comments
There are no landscape and visual objections to this development subject to the comments below.
The site is presently undeveloped agricultural pasture land. It has a generally flat open character and lies within the development limits of west Stockton. A well-established hedge containing largely hawthorn fringes the eastern and northern boundaries of the site and this varies in quality and density with some large gaps present. Although this hedge contains only one tree at its southern most starting point it is still a strong visual feature in the area when viewed from Urlay Nook Road.
The western site boundary is formed by a species poor remnant hedge of low visual quality broken up by many gaps. The southern site boundary touches the A67 and is framed by the tree belt planted on the northern boundary of The A67. These trees form a natural barrier to the A67 and are very important to reduce both noise and visual intrusion into the site from this road.
Two other hedges cross the site from east to west. The first crosses the centre of the site and is a species poor mainly hawthorn hedge with a number of gaps. The second hedge is located near the southern site boundary and is a mainly hawthorn hedge of varying heights again with many gaps and contains a mature tree at its eastern end. A public footpath runs from east to west just south of the southern-most hedge exiting the site at its south west corner.
Existing site trees and hedges
All the information contained within the tree report and associated documents is acceptable and no trees or hedges of high quality will be removed to carry out this development.
The site contains 6 no. specimen mature trees all of which are Ash contained with the site hedgerows. Another mature Ash tree is located on the southern edge of the site within the screen planting along the A67. A tree survey has been conducted which has revealed that 5 of these trees have substantial decay and should be felled. Of the remaining trees tree ref no.T8 located near the middle of the site is of low visual quality therefore it is not required to be retained within the development. The final tree, ref T4 is the one located on the southern site boundary and is a good quality tree that should not be damaged by any development. All trees that are required to be felled should be replaced within the open space on the estate as large forest species such as Ash, Lime and Oak.
The tree belt on the southern boundary (north of the A67) forms a dense group of trees that screen the A67 form the site. Parts of this tree belt could benefit from thinning to enhance their screening function.
The hedge (ref hedge 1) that's forms the northern and eastern site boundaries should be retained within any development as it is an important visual feature that frames this part of the site. All other hedges are species poor and contain numerous and sometimes lengthy gaps, but where the development allows their retention and improvement within any scheme would be welcomed.
Tree protection and management should form part of a reserved matters application.
The layout indicated on plan SI-102 rev F is being considered as indicative only, but notwithstanding this there are a number of areas that would need addressing having undertaken a basic level of assessment as follows:
In order to improve the visual setting of the main site entrance on the eastern side of the layout more open landscaped space is required with dwellings set back and curving into the estate. The existing boundary hedge could be extended into the site to help facilitate this aspect of the design.
The main highway into the estate provides little opportunity for landscape with many site frontages formed only from driveways with no planting or lawns. The highway should be opened out to allow specimen tree planting and front gardens thereby providing a good visual quality to the main road. This may require the substitution of building types to reduce and break up the extent of surfaced car parking which dominates the streetscape in the illustrative Masterplan.
A buffer area of planting is required on the western site boundary to screen the adjacent site where an industrial development has been approved subject to a S106 Agreement. The area for this buffer could also be used to provide a footpath, thereby achieving a circular route around the estate linking the areas of open space within the development.
The perimeter hedge to the eastern and northern site boundary would need to be managed as part of the wider open space within the site rather than being in the ownership of individuals as this is an important feature of the site that needs to retained, matching the hedge on the estate opposite this site to the east. Garden boundaries would need to be revised to allow the hedge to be maintained and this could form part of a footpath links between the open spaces - see section on Open space within the development below.
It is anticipated that the potential number of units would need to be reduced to accommodate these landscape improvements relating to both the provision of the additional open space and improved visual quality. The general soft works specification and planting choices indicated on the Landscape Masterplan submitted with the first development plan are broadly acceptable and should be used on the final layout.
The landscape design concept for the estate laid out in the landscape chapter of the design and access statement will need to change to reflect the comments already provided notably relating to the open space provision and design of the site entrance road. These matters must be addressed as part of a reserved matters application.
Open space within the development
The council's Open Space, Recreation and Landscaping SPD (2010) calculator (for the provision of open space) indicates that 0.7 hectares of amenity green space is required within the development site. In accordance with this SPD, 0.6 hectares of this amenity green space should be provided as a whole piece of land roughly square in shape to enable maximum usage. Such an acceptable space has been provided in the south west corner of the site which conforms to the 0.6 hectares size requested with a usable area roughly square in shape. Planting buffers around the edge of the site should be designed to enhance the landscape quality of this area. This space also allows for an acceptable 30 lin m from the A67 highway to the south. The existing buffer tree planting on the northern edge of the A67 must be enhanced with new native tree planting to further screen the play area from this road allowing for the existing service easements - a low mix of thorny small trees such as blackthorn, hawthorn and holly should be used nearer the service easement to act as a physical barrier and thereby prevent 'trespass' on to the A67. The existing public right of way should be diverted as shown in the sketch plan below and surfaced to deter ball games in this area. No links must be provided form the site to the A67.
The longitudinal open space along the southern and south eastern site boundaries follows the service easement corridors and should be used for informal green corridor space utilising the route of the existing public footpath and enhancing the existing hedge and tree planting, allowing for buffer planting for the housing to the north. The buffer planting to the south of this area (on the northern boundary of the A67) should also be enhanced with new planting. All planting must allow for the location of the service easements in the area.
The open space on the northern site boundary should be planted to create a buffer for the surrounding houses and the road to the north (Urlay Nook Road). All planting must allow for the location of the service easements in this area. This space is somewhat isolated from the other open space and footpath links should be provided to link all the open spaces in the development.
In order to improve the housing layout there is the potential to allow some properties to be outward facing into the open spaces improving their relation with the open space and surrounding areas.
A management scheme for the POS would be required to be agreed. This would be for perpetuity (25 years). Maintenance of the main areas of POS as land subject to Title Transfer may be considered by the Local Authority. Further details are noted in the Informative Section.
All these matters must be addressed as part of a reserved matters application.
Old Ellif’s Mill Site - SUDs Area
In the area south of the main site lies the old Ellif’s Mill site which has been selected to locate a Surface Water Retention Basin as part of the developments sustainable drainage scheme as shown on plan dwg. Ref: 91483/2001 rev. C. The site has been identified in the Guidelines for the selection of Local Wildlife Sites (October 2011) in the Tees valley as suitable for a non-statutory designated Local Wildlife Site (LWS), which is due to the presence of a known population of Great Crested Newts.
The site is covered by a variety of habitats including semi improved neutral grass land to the north and a band of dense hawthorn scrub with limited groundcover across the middle of the site This gives way to woodland in the south of the site containing native Ash, Hawthorn and Willow alongside Nelly Burdon’s Beck which forms the southern limits of the site. This woodland contains a reasonably diverse ground flora.
The actual Surface Water Retention Basin and associated pond S1 and S2 mainly cover the area of hawthorn scrub with the woodland to the south remaining although any approved outfall pipe to the beck coming through this area of woodland would have to avoid major damage to tree roots. The actual construction of the basin including earthworks and grading and its associated drainage would have a major impact on the site and the developer should demonstrate how this can be minimised. A full tree survey should also be carried out across the site demonstrating the protection measures required to ensure all those trees worthy of retention are retained within the scheme. The design of the basin should allow for the prevention of trespass notably from children.
There are several ponds on site that support Great Crested Newts and it is understood that a Wildlife report in this respect has been submitted and new areas of habitat for Newts will be created as part of this development.
It is understood that the design of the Surface Water Retention Basin could change, but in principle it could be acceptable from a landscape and visual viewpoint through good design and sensitive execution. Any negative impacts to the existing habitat such as the loss of hawthorn scrub and areas of semi native neutral grass land can be minimised and mitigated against by the provision of new habitats within the new scheme.
Regarding the use of renewables a comprehensive energy report has been provided including estimates of energy use and carbon emissions but no conclusions are drawn as to the approach to meeting CS3. The details of carbon footprint are only partial in that emissions associated with occupancy have been estimated. Details of the proposed means of achieving carbon reduction are required as part of a reserved matters application.
Flood Risk Management
A flood risk assessment (FRA), dated October 2012, has been prepared by Fairhurst. The FRA concludes the following:
The development site is wholly within Flood Zone 1, low probability, and the development type is deemed appropriate;
The development site is currently undeveloped;
The greenfield flow rate for the site has been calculated using the method set out in Institute of Hydrology Report 214 (IH124);
The equivalent greenfield run-off rates range from 10.3 l/s for the 1 in 1 year storm, to 25.3 l/s for the 1 in 100 year storm;
The site is underlain by low permeability soils, and as such infiltration drainage techniques will not be appropriate;
Surface water will be discharged to watercourse or sewer at the greenfield run-off rate;
Storage for surplus flows will need to be provided within the surface water drainage system. This storage could be a combination of green roofs, pervious pavements, geo-cellular tanks, ponds, swales or oversized pipes.
The FRA details two options for the disposal of surface water.
Option 1 involves a new outfall to Nelly Burdon's Beck, with a detention basin located to the west of the existing allotment gardens. A maximum volume for the detention basin is quoted on the Option 1 Drainage Strategy drawing as 1700m³, with a maximum depth of 700mm. The drawing notes that flows should be restricted to 25 l/s for the 1 in 100 year storm.
Nelly Burdon's Beck is an ordinary watercourse which has significant flooding issues downstream of the development, including internal property flooding therefore should this option be perused in any reserved matters application then the discharge rate to Nelly Burdon's Beck should be restricted to 2l/s/ha to help mitigate against this property flooding and should therefore be conditioned.
Option 2 involves the discharge of surface water to the Northumbrian Water (NW) public surface water sewer, located to the east of the development site. A note on the Option 2 Drainage Strategy drawing states that 1650m³ of storage would need to be provided, using a combination of geo-cellular storage, oversized pipes or pond. The drawing notes that flows should be restricted to 25 l/s for the 1 in 100 year storm.
The FRA contains calculations in support of the volumes quoted on the strategy. The calculations suggest that the volume required to store the 1 in 100 year storm (including an allowance for potential climate change), is 1925m³, with a maximum depth of 1m, and a peak discharge rate of 11.9 l/s. This does not fit with the discharge rates quoted in the main body of the report, or with the volumes quoted on the drawings. However, required volumes will be reduced with higher flow rates.
Due to discrepancies in the volumes quoted, using Micro Drainage WinDes software reviewed volumes quoted in the FRA a model with a pond/tank with a maximum depth of 700mm as quoted on the strategy drawing has been used, with flow rates restricted in accordance with the calculated greenfield rates.
The volumes have been assessed to ensure that the equivalent greenfield rates are not exceeded for all return periods up to the 1 in 100 year storm (i.e., maximum 10.3 l/s for the 1 in 1 year storm, and 25.3 l/s for the 1 in 100 year storm). The model, although simplistic, suggests if this option is perused in any reserved matters application then 2040m³of storage would be required to ensure that greenfield rates are not exceeded for all return periods and should therefore be conditioned.
A summary of potential SUDS measures that may be incorporated into the drainage scheme by the developer are noted in the Informative Section.
A number of objections have been raised regarding this application and the issue of waterlogging and flooding at and around the development site, with particular reference to the extreme event that occurred on 25th September 2012. However, development of the site, and the provision of a drainage system designed in accordance with current standards, is likely to alleviate flooding currently experienced at and around the development site.
An assessment of overland flow routes should be undertaken by the developer, to ensure that exceedance flows that are unable to enter the drainage system do not exacerbate any existing local flooding issues. This would need to be demonstrated as part of any reserved matters application and should therefore be conditioned.
The requirement for pre commencement development conditions are in addition to the Environment Agency & Northumbria Water Ltd Conditions referred to in the informative section.
The developer must submit a full maintenance regime for the SUDS scheme, including the future maintenance proposals.
It should be noted that if you own land adjoining a watercourse, you have certain rights and responsibilities. In legal terms you are a 'riparian owner'. The red line boundary for the proposed development site adjoins Nelly Burdon's Beck and therefore the developer will become a riparian owner and will have certain rights and responsibilities. If the developer rents the land, it should be agreed with the owner who will manage these rights and responsibilities.
With regards to the following additional drawings submitted;
Drawing no. 91483/2001 rev C
Drawing no. 91483/2003
Nelly Burdon's Beck is an ordinary watercourse which has significant flooding issues downstream of the development, including internal property flooding therefore should this option be perused the discharge rate to Nelly Burdon's Beck must be restricted to 2 l/s/ha to help mitigate against this property flooding and should therefore be conditioned. The drainage drawings need to be updated to reflect the restricted discharge rate of 2 l/s/ha. The allowable discharge rates for events in 1 in 1 year, 1 in 30 year and 1 in 100 year must be restricted to 6.66 l/s and this may result in a requirement for additional capacity within the SUDS scheme due to the restricted discharge rate. The developer will need to update the proposed SUDS Scheme to reflect this.
Nelly Burdon's Beck is an ordinary watercourse and therefore the consent to discharge into this watercourse will be required from the Local Authority.
Children, Education and Social Care
At present this proposed development will impact directly on the admission zone set for Durham Lane Primary which is a single form entry school (i.e. it only has 30 places in its reception intake each year).
This development for approximately 158 homes will increase the demand for an additional 41 school places (as calculated using the standard Government Department calculation for a Primary School of 158 x 0.26) at the school.
This would create a problem for the Council as at present this school has very low surplus places at present at just over 3% of its Net Capacity of 210 school places across all year groups.
The Council would seek an education contribution of £328,640 (as calculated using the standard Government Department calculation for a Primary School 158 x £2,080) based on this development. We would seek to spend the monies to provide the number places as detailed at the most appropriate location to the address the needs of the development, taking into account the necessary constraints of building on the current school site whilst considering other opportunities to increase places at another school.
The cost of developing a school to accommodate this increase will need to be considered alongside other developments already agreed in this part of the borough and the most appropriate programme of payment(s) to enable the Council to maximise its school building stock and need for total new school places.
Private Sector Housing
The Private Sector Housing Division has no comments to make on this application.
Head of Housing
The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) 2012 has identified an annual affordable housing need in the borough of 560 units, with the majority of need being for smaller properties.
Affordable housing provision within a target range of 15 - 20% will be required on schemes of 15 dwellings or more and on development sites of 0.5 hectares or more.
Off site provision or financial contributions instead of on site provision may be made where the Council considers that there is robust evidence that the achievement of mixed communities is better serviced by making provision elsewhere.
We note from the Supporting Planning Statement submitted as part of this application provision is made for 15% affordable housing on site and would therefore accept the proposed percentage of 15% as it is in line with Council policy.
Based on the residential market site scheme of up to 160 units, 15% affordable housing would equate to 24 affordable units. The affordable units should be provided on site unless the developer can provide robust evidence that the achievement of mixed communities is better serviced by making provision elsewhere.
The mix of affordable housing currently required to be provided is 30% intermediate and 70% rented tenures, and based on the SHMA 2012 a high priority will be accorded to the delivery of smaller houses and bungalows. At a borough wide level this equates to a split of 91% smaller 1/2 bedroom properties and 9% larger 3+ bedroom properties. Affordable housing provision with a tenure mix different from the standard target will only be acceptable where robust justification is provided. This must demonstrate either that provision at the target would make the development economically unviable or that the resultant tenure mix would be detrimental to the achievement of sustainable, mixed communities.
The Supporting Planning Statement submitted with the application proposes a 50:50 split of 2 and 3 bedroom houses: - 12 x 2 bedroom and 12 x 3 bedroom affordable properties. This is not comparable with the split advocated in the SHMA 2012 (91%:9%) and would therefore not address the need identified.
Housing Services acknowledges that the proposed scheme is predominantly made up of 3 bedroom and 4 bedroom dwellings and would therefore accept a reduced percentage of 2 bedroom affordable properties and an increased percentage of 3 bedroom affordable properties as the 15% affordable element of the development (based on the information submitted in the Supporting Planning Statement). The split of 75% 2 bedroom properties, as a minimum, and 25% 3 bedroom properties would be considered acceptable for the affordable housing element on this development.
This will contribute to addressing the identified housing need in the borough and the issues arising from the impending Welfare Reform Act.
Tenure based on 75% 2 bedroom properties and 25% 3 bedroom properties would then be split as follows:
No. of units Size Tenure
18 Units 2 bed 13 x Rented 5 x Intermediate Tenure
6 units 3 bed 4 x Rented 2 x Intermediate Tenure
Space standards - the Council would expect all affordable housing units to comply with Homes and Communities Agency space/quality standards.
Environmental Health Unit
The details are satisfactory and I have no objections in approving outline planning permission for the above development. Subject to the following points being addressed.
A preliminary risk assessment must be completed and submitted for review to identify:
-all previous uses
-potential contaminants associated with those uses
a conceptual model of the site indicating sources, pathways and receptors
-potentially unacceptable risks arising from contamination at the site. Conditions which shall remain in place until the development has been completed are as follows:
1) Due to the nature and potential of surface water runoff via the drainage system from the Elementis process area (that runs through the proposed development), we shall require testing of surface soils where infrastructure of the Elementis drainage system is near to surface (i.e. inspection chambers) to include testing for heavy metals, Cr6 and Chromium III Cr3. Testing should also be carried out in landscaped areas and residential gardens in close proximity to the drainage system. The developer must ensure that access is given at all times by means of the wayleave granted to Elementis on this land.
Any changes to these components require the express consent of the local planning authority. The scheme shall be implemented as approved.
Reason: Contamination from historical and adjacent land uses has been identified; we would therefore request that sampling includes Total Cr, Cr6, Cr3
2) If, during development, contamination not previously identified is found to be present at the site then no further development (unless otherwise agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority) shall be carried out until the developer has submitted, and obtained written approval from the Local Planning Authority for, a remediation strategy detailing how this unsuspected contamination shall be dealt with. The remediation strategy shall be implemented as approved. Reason: Unexpected contamination may exist at the site which may pose a risk to human health and controlled waters.
SBC - Spatial Plans Manager The supply of deliverable housing land
The Council has produced a report entitled '5 Year Deliverable Housing Supply Final Assessment: 2012 2017'. The Report concludes that the Borough has a supply of deliverable housing land of 4.08 years. The Council is not therefore able to demonstrate a 5-year supply of deliverable housing land. This is a significant material consideration in relation to this application.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
The NPPF states (paragraph 14) that at the heart of the NPPF is the presumption in favour of sustainable development which is a 'golden thread running through both plan-making and decision-taking'. For plan-making this includes local planning authorities positively seeking 'opportunities to meet the development needs of their area'. For decision-making it 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 of date, 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
- Specific policies in this Framework indicate development should be restricted.
The NPPF provides that Housing applications should be considered in the context of the presumption in favour of sustainable development. Relevant policies for the supply of housing should not be considered up-to-date if the local planning authority cannot demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites." (para. 49).
The Council cannot demonstrate a 5 year supply of housing land. The policies in the development plan that deal with housing supply are therefore to be considered out of date and the proposal must be assessed in relation to the presumption in favour of sustainable development and the tests set out in NPPF paragraph 14, namely that the application should be granted unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in the NPPF as a whole. Other policies in the development plan that are relevant to the application remain up-to-date and are referenced in these comments.
Achieving sustainable development and core planning principles
The NPPF states that the purpose of the planning system is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development. There are three dimensions to sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.
The NPPF states that a set of core land-use planning principles should underpin both plan-making and decision-making. Included in these principles are that planning should 'take account of the different roles and character of different areas, promoting the vitality of our main urban areas, protecting the Green Belts around them, recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside and supporting thriving rural communities within it'. No specific environmental
harm has been identified as likely to arise from the proposal.
Also included in the core land use principles is 'Every effort should be made objectively to identify and then meet the housing, business and development needs of an area, and respond positively to wider opportunities for growth'. The proposal would assist in addressing the identified need for housing and thus fulfil both a social and an economic role.
The development plan currently comprises the North East Regional Spatial Strategy, the Stockton-On-Tees Core Strategy LDD (March 2010), the saved policies of the Stockton-On-Tees Local Plan 1997, and the Tees Valley Joint Minerals and Waste LDD (September 2011). It should be noted that the Government intends to abolish regional spatial strategies but pending the enactment of a revocation order the Regional Spatial Strategy remains part of the development plan.
Sustainable transport and travel
The proposal will need to be assessed in relation to Core Strategy Policy 2 (CS2) Sustainable Transport and Travel.
Sustainable living and climate change
The proposal will need to be assessed in relation to Core Strategy Policy 3 (CS3) Sustainable Living and Climate Change. The 1st bullet point of point 8 of Policy CS3 states that proposals will: 'Make a positive contribution to the local area, by protecting and enhancing important environmental assets, biodiversity and geodiversity, responding positively to existing features of natural, historic, archaeological or local character, including hedges and trees, and including the provision of high quality public open space'. Whilst it is appreciated that the layout is indicative given that it is an outline application I would recommend that you consider whether the number of dwellings can be achieved cognisant with the provision of high quality public space of the required quantity. I would further point out that one of the core planning principles of the NPPF is 'always seek to secure a high quality design and a good standard of amenity for all existing and future occupants of land and buildings
It is also relevant in the context of residential amenity that the Council has resolved to grant planning permission, subject to the signing of a Section 106 agreement, for a Revised Outline application for an industrial estate comprising the erection of B2 and B8 use class units and associated means of access on land at Urlay Nook Road. It would appear unlikely that the Section 106 agreement will be signed. However, unless this is confirmed it remains a material consideration in relation to this application.
Housing mix and affordable housing provision
Point 5 of Core Strategy Policy 8 (CS8) states 'Affordable housing provision within a target range of 15-20% will be required on schemes of 15 dwellings or more and on development sites of 0.5 hectares or more'. The applicant has submitted a supporting planning statement that offers 15% affordable housing provision. Recent government advice to apply affordable housing targets with flexibility in order to facilitate delivery is also noted. The Council is committed to achieving housing delivery and Policy CS8 acknowledges this by allowing scope for provision at a rate lower than the standard target where robust justification is provided. The standard target is 'within a target range of 15 to 20%.'
In applying this policy the Council has pursued a pragmatic approach based on site characteristics. The site is a greenfield site with no known exceptional site development costs in an area attractive to the market. In these circumstances the relevant target within the target range is 20%. This is the contribution recently agreed in relation to the Morley Carr Farm application (also a greenfield site in an area attractive to the market) and it is important to apply the policy consistently.
The applicant has not provided any justification as to why 20% affordable housing is not being offered. It is noted that the Council's Housing Strategy team have commented that 15% is in line with Council policy. However, this is a planning policy issue.
The 2012 Tees Valley Strategic Housing Market Assessment (TVSHMA) identifies an annual affordable housing requirement of 560 dwellings for the borough of Stockton-on-Tees. This includes an annual requirement for the Yarm, Preston and Eaglescliffe housing sub-division of 97 dwellings. Given that the average annual housing requirement for the borough for dwellings of all tenure types is 555 dwellings it is clearly not realistic to meet the TVSHMA requirement in full and this is recognised in the annual affordable housing targets set by Policy CS8. However, the policy also states that the targets are minimums. It will therefore be a significant contribution to the annual target if applicants for this type of site are consistently required to provide affordable housing provision at the higher end of the target rate of 20%. However, the applicant has yet to make
a clear commitment to provide 20% affordable housing or provide justification for offering provision at a lower rate.
Open space provision
Point 3 of Core Strategy Policy 6 (CS6) states that the quantity and quality of open space, sport and recreation facilities throughout the Borough will be protected and enhanced. Guidance on standards will be set out as part of the
Open Space, Recreation and Landscaping SPD.
Open Space will be required on site in line with the provisions of the Open Space, Recreation and Landscaping SPD. This indicates that approx. 0.75 Ha of amenity green space should be provided on site, with an additional standard charge which will take into account this and any other open space provided on site.
Amenity Green space is considered to be integral to the design quality of new development and has a minimum acceptable size of 0.6Ha for a single area. The requirement for amenity space excludes land set aside purely to provide an attractive setting and/or landscape function, which would normally be provided in addition to the required amenity green space.
The application includes 1.3Ha of open space within the red boundary. However, the Design and Access report states the larger public open spaces retain existing Public Rights of Way, vegetation including hedges and trees and supplement these features with wildflower areas and native hedge, tree and woodland buffer planting. This type of space is considered to be Green Corridor, which is opportunity led due to the location of a watercourse or footpath. The open space provided as Green Corridors cannot be considered towards meeting the requirement of Amenity Green space on site, however, the additional open space provision can be considered when negotiating the additional standard charge for the development.
The design of development and any on site open space should follow the guidelines set out within the Open Space, Recreation and Landscaping SPD and the Sustainable Design Guide SPD.
Relationship to the Core Strategy Review of Housing Options process
The Council has recognised that because of changing economic circumstances and the reductions in the public funding available to support regeneration schemes, the housing strategy in the adopted Core Strategy will not deliver the housing requirement for the Borough. Although the Council retains very strong regeneration aspirations, it is firmly committed to achieving the housing requirement for the Borough to 2029. For this reason the Council decided to undertake a review of housing options. This review encompasses the housing spatial strategy and the housing distribution and phasing policy as well as aspects of the housing mix and affordable housing provision policy. This process formally began with the Core Strategy Review of Housing - Issues and Options, public consultation held over a 12 week period in summer 2011.
Draft Preferred Options Housing Allocations
The results of the Core Strategy Review of Housing have been incorporated into the Regeneration and Environment Local Development Document Preferred Options draft. This documented was formally consulted on over an 8 week period in summer/autumn 2012. The application site is identified as a part of a draft allocation. It is therefore, supported as such by professional officer opinion. However, this does not reduce in any way the weight that the Council attaches to
any significant policy or environmental constraints that are relevant to these sites. The Council attaches great weight to ensuring that the process of site allocation is an open, transparent and participatory one which allows full opportunity for comment to the wider public and other stakeholders. The preferred options stage cannot therefore, be legitimately viewed merely as a precursor to an automatic subsequent confirmation or endorsement of any draft policy including any draft site allocation policy.
There is clearly a tension between the site being released for housing development now and the core principle in the NPPF that states that planning should be genuinely plan-led. However, recent decisions by the Secretary of State suggest that this principle is being accorded less weight than the need to demonstrate a five year supply of deliverable housing sites. This is notwithstanding the fact that the Core Strategy Review is housing-delivery led and the Council is seeking to put in place a five year supply of deliverable housing sites as quickly as possible through a plan-led approach. Housing Need and Demand
One of the NPPF core planning principles includes making every effort to 'identify and then meet the housing, business and other development needs of an area, and respond positively to wider opportunities for growth.' The 1st bullet point of NPPF paragraph 47 states that to boost significantly the supply of housing local plans should 'use their evidence base to ensure that their Local Plan meets the full, objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing in the housing market area, as far as is consistent with the policies set out in this Framework,
including identifying key sites which are critical to the delivery of the housing strategy over the plan period'. As previously referenced the Council is not currently able to demonstrate a five year supply of deliverable housing sites and the TVSHMA identifies an annual deficit in the provision of affordable housing of 560 homes. It is a benefit of this application that it would contribute to the
provision of market and affordable housing. This is not withstanding the Council's preference for addressing these issues through a plan-led approach.
The quality of the agricultural land
Paragraph 112 of the NPPF states 'Local planning authorities should take into account the economic and other benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land. Where significant development of agricultural land is demonstrated to be necessary, local planning authorities should seek to use areas of poorer quality land in preference to that of a higher quality.'
Best and most versatile agricultural land is defined as land in grades 1, 2 and 3a of the Agricultural Land Classification (ALC). It needs to be taken into account alongside other sustainability considerations when assessing planning applications. Local site specific surveys were undertaken in 1988 and 1999 but did not include the application site.
The Natural England Strategic Map Information Sheet states that where post 1988 data is available, this is the most reliable source of information on land quality because it is based on field survey work. The Strategic Map Information Sheet goes on to state that site specific studies including new Agricultural Land Classification field surveys will be needed to obtain definitive information on ALC grades for individual sites.
The application site is provisionally grade 3 on the pre 1988 maps but this cannot be relied on as these maps are not sufficiently accurate for use in the assessment of individual development sites and should not be used other than as general guidance.
The proposal needs to be assessed in relation to the presumption in favour of sustainable development. Relevant Core Strategy policies include Policy CS2 - Sustainable Transport and Travel, Policy CS3 - Sustainable Living and Climate Change, Policy CS6 - Community Facilities and Policy CS8 - Housing Mix and Affordable Housing Provision. Regarding Policy CS2, I would point out that one of the core planning principles of the NPPF is 'always seek a high quality design
and good standard of amenity for all existing and future occupants of land and buildings'. It is very important to assess whether the proposed quantum of development is consistent with this, particularly regarding the provision of high quality open space at the quantum line with the provisions of the Open Space, Recreation and Landscaping SPD. Also relevant will be whether or not the application meets the affordable housing requirements set out in Policy CS8 or provides robust justification if offering provision at a rate less than 20%. It is clearly a benefit of the proposal that it would boost significantly the supply of housing and responds positively to an opportunity for growth. However, it is important to balance this opportunity against the considerations referenced in these comments to consider whether the proposal represents sustainable development.
The Environment Agency
We have no objections to the proposal as submitted, and consider the proposed development will be acceptable providing the following CONDITION is imposed on any grant of planning permission:
Development shall not begin until a surface water drainage scheme for the site, based on sustainable drainage principles and an assessment of the hydrological and hydrogeological context of the development, has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The scheme shall subsequently be implemented in accordance with the approved details before the development is completed. The scheme shall also include:
A definitive strategy as outlined in section 4.3 of the submitted Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) (D/I/D/91483/01). This should focus on EITHER attenuation ponds at Eliffs Mill with discharge into the ordinary watercourse OR discharge into NWL sewer.
The discharge rates and volume of storage of the attenuation pond design at Eliffs Mill are as specified in drawing 91483/2001/C.
Reason: To prevent flooding by ensuring the satisfactory storage of/disposal of surface water from the site
Please note that the condition in relation to the FRA set out in our previous letter dated 19 September 2012 (ref: NA/108385/01-L1) is no longer applicable and has been replaced by the above condition. However, the advice in relation to biodiversity and the discharge of foul sewage still applies: detailed below;
Disposal of Foul Sewage
An acceptable method of foul drainage disposal would be connection to the foul sewer. The Sewerage Undertaker should be consulted by the Local Planning Authority and be requested to demonstrate that the sewerage and sewage disposal systems serving the development have sufficient capacity to accommodate the additional flows, generated as a result of the development, without causing pollution.
Biodiversity - Information/Advice to Applicant
The site may contain Great Crested Newts and/or Otters and/or their habitat. These or their habitat are formally protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and Natural England approval will be required. We therefore recommend following the method statements outlined within the Extended Phase 1 Habitat Report provided by Eco-north October 2011.
Northumbrian Water Limited
I note the additional information submitted by the applicant shows the applicant’s intention to dispose of surface water directly into a watercourse using a SUDS pond and no surface water will enter the public sewer. NWL has no issues to raise on this topic as long as the additional information plan- SUDS scheme is approved with the application detailing this information.
I also refer you to NWLs previous comments regarding the protection of the high pressure water main that crosses the site. NWL wish for these comments to still stand on this application and that any approval is given with the condition previously requested.
Previous comments re: water main;
The site is crossed by 15" (375mnm) Trunk Water Main. Easement is shown and a condition is recommended as follows;
Development shall not commence until a detailed scheme for the accurate location, protection of and access to its apparatus during construction and afterwards of the development hereby approved has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority in consultation with Northumbrian Water. Thereafter the development shall take place in accordance with the approved details. Reason Northumbrian Water's apparatus is located in the development site. We require unrestricted access to this apparatus at all times and will not permit the erection of buildings or structures over or within 6m to it. Any proposed crossing, landscaping, parking areas or tree planting must comply with the standard Northumbrian Water guidelines. Diversion or relocation of the apparatus may be possible at the applicant's full cost. The Developer should contact Peter Heppell Advisor (tel. 0191 419 6613) to agree the detailed scheme for the accurate location, protection of and access to its apparatus in accordance with Northumbrian Water's standard easement conditions.
The application is accompanied by an archaeological desk based assessment and field evaluation in the form of a geomagnetic survey. Both reports are well produced and I am happy to recommend them to the planning authority.
The geophysical survey identified a number of anomalies consistent with archaeological features. The nature and date of these features is currently unknown. I appreciate the effort which the developer has taken to examine the archaeological potential of the site but I would recommend that the results of the geomagnetic survey are tested by archaeological trial trenching to establish their significance and to allow the impact of the development on this significance to be properly assessed. This is in line with the advice given in the National Planning Policy Framework (para. 128).
Further comments following Trial Trenching
Thank you for the consultation on this planning application which now includes a report on archaeological trial trenching that took place earlier in the year. This confirms the results of the earlier interim report that an Iron Age and Romano-British settlement survives in a discrete area of the site.
I previously made a planning response dated 6th March 2013 (which are on the web-portal) which remain relevant and I would be grateful if these could be considered as the response to this re-consultation.
The initial comments from Natural England were amended following the submission of further information (Great crested Newt – Risk Assessment and Protected Species Management Plan v2). Their latest response and remaining relevant comments from their initial response is summarised as follows;
This proposal does not appear to affect any statutorily protected sites or landscapes, or have significant impacts on the conservation of soils, nor is the proposal EIA development. It appears that Natural England has been consulted on this proposal to offer advice on the impact on a protected species.
Natural England have assessed the survey for badgers, barn owls and breeding birds, water voles, wide spread reptiles or white clawed crayfish. These are all species protected by domestic legislation and you should use our standing advice to assess the impact on these species.
The protected species survey has identified that Great crested Newts, a European protected species may be affected by this application. The application is not within / close to a SSSI or SAC notified for great crested newts, but is in close proximity to Ellif's Mill and Elementis Local Sites, which are notified for their populations of this species.
Natural England have followed their standing advice, based on the submission information, and consider that the scale of impact on Great Crested Newts is low and that mitigation will;
Ensure no net loss of habitat in terms of quantity and quality,
Maintain habitat links,
Secure long term management of the site for the benefit of newts.
They determined that when the mitigation is taken into account, the proposals comply with Article 12(1) or would be licensable and as such permission may be granted subject to a condition requiring a detailed mitigation and monitoring strategy for Great Crested Newts.
Tees Valley Wildlife Trust
The Wildlife Trust is satisfied that the Assessment and Species Protection Plan addresses the issues that we raised in our letter of objection to the application made on 28th September 2012. It provides a full and fair assessment of existing populations of great crested newt in the vicinity of the development site and how these might interact with the land proposed for housing. It also addresses the legal and conservation management issues for the part of the application site which is proposed for a Sustainable Urban Drainage Scheme. On this basis the Trust wishes to withdraw its objection to the application.
Stockton Police Station - Eddie Lincoln
If the development is to proceed consideration should be given to applying Secured By Design principles. Good design must be the aim of all those involved in the development process and should be encouraged everywhere. Current government planning policy strongly supports this principle and makes clear that community safety is an integral part of the design agenda. Should you wish to apply for Secured by Design certification please complete an application and checklist form, which can be obtained from www.securedbydesign.com Secured by Design SBD New Homes Application Form. Please forward to me at the earliest opportunity
Sport England do not wish to comment on this particular application.
· The loss of potentially vital agricultural land and open green space
· The failure to develop brownfield land before greenfield land
· Confusion and conflict over forecasted housing requirement
· The impact of new housing in this area on the surrounding highway infrastructure
· Cumulative increase in air pollution in the Yarm and Eaglescliffe area
· Potential ground pollution from already aged underground pipelines originating from nearby chemical plant
· Noise pollution
· Impact on protected species
1) Loss of green space: The continued loss of agricultural land and green space is a matter of considerable concern. The advent of climate change is already having an impact on the production of essential foodstuffs around the world. At some time in the future it is anticipated the United Kingdom will have to be self-sufficient in the production of its own essential foodstuffs. The present planning system is proclaiming the need for 'presumption in favour of sustainable development'. The accepted definition of sustainability within the planning process is ' 'development which meets the need of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'. The present profligate disposal of agricultural land and green space at the beck and call of developers is certainly in contravention of this definition.
Once its gone, its gone!
2) Brownfield first preference: The NPPF (Core planning principles,
para 17) has advised Local Planning Authorities to 'encourage the effective use of land by reusing land that has been previously developed (brownfield land) '' .
Stockton has considerable swathes of previously developed land available to fulfil a large proportion of the Council's housing forecast over the next 15 years. The Council also has a large number of extant planning permissions from which it will eventually attract a New Homes Bonus per completed and occupied home. In the absence of Government funding to assist the clearance and decontamination of brownfield land it is suggested the New Homes Bonus be used to kick-start the clean-up of these brownfield sites.
It would appear that Stockton Council is allowing developers to dictate their preferred location of building sites i.e. cheap to build on greenfield sites rather than 'troublesome' brownfield sites. Stockton Council should immediately commence adopting the NPPF advice to encourage development of the brownfield sites in preference to using greenfield sites.
3) Confusing and conflicting housing forecast figures: It has already been observed by CPRE (and reported directly to the Council Spatial Planning officers) that the projected housing forecast figures shown in the LDF Review Preferred Options do not conform with Stockton Council's own statement in 2011 - that there was a significant overall surplus of supply over demand for houses per se in the Yarm, Eaglescliffe and Preston area.
With such miscalculations arising it is possible that unnecessary house-building could take place, based on a knee-jerk reaction to the Government's imposition of a 'presumption to build' and the further unreasonable imposition of the need to include a 5% extra buffer on the Council's housing forecast figures. CPRE regard this Urlay Nook application and a potential Council approval as resultant from this undue Government pressure.
4) Cumulative impact on the highway infrastructure of Yarm, Eaglescliffe and Preston : The existing road system serving the above mentioned areas and roads into the nearby conurbations - offering employment, health facilities and education - is already fragile. The cumulative increase of further unnecessary housing estates in these areas could only exacerbate the present situation. Until a new bridge is built over the River Tees near Yarm provided with improved supporting subsidiary roads the traffic problems are considered insoluble.
5) Cumulative impact of air pollution:
As in item 4) the overloaded road system serving these areas is already presently contributing to excess air pollution. Northumbrian Water in their report stated that the 159 houses would create an increase in traffic flow by 69.7% on the Urlay Nook Road (Section 4.2 Traffic Report). It is not an unfair assumption that motor vehicle-caused air pollution would increase by a similar amount. Also an increase in traffic caused by this estate and other new housing estates in Yarm and Eaglescliffe will considerably add to the air pollution already existing on the often-congested main roads through each township.
6) Ground Pollution and potential chemical contamination: The proposed site is adjacent to the Elementis Chromium factory which has an outlet pipe running under the A67 and into the Ellif’s Mills area. There are also underground pipes from Allens West carrying hazardous waste. A pipe from Allens West recently collapsed, also causing the collapse of the Elementis Chromium outlet pipe, creating a degree of ground pollution. Investigation with cameras in the pipe showed considerable corrosion, placing into doubt the long-term integrity of such underground pipes. A future collapse of any of these pipelines could compromise the area of both the proposed housing estate and the natural surroundings adjacent to the Ellif’s Mill pond which supports a number of Greater Crested Newts.
7) Noise pollution: Examining the site plan it would appear the nearby Police Training Centre is likely to be a source of noise pollution affecting the amenities of the proposed housing estate. The centre is the source of random controlled explosions and discharging firearms. It has also been noted helicopters have landed within the curtilage of the Centre during training exercises. Two issues arise from helicopter usage so near to housing’
a) Noise pollution and b) the safety of nearby residents in the event of an aircraft incident.
8) Impact on protected species: Greater Crested Newts have been observed on the land around the proposed site and in the nearby Ellif’s Mills pond (a distance of 200 metres from the site). It is likely the Newts use the nearby pond for breeding purposes. Contrary to general public understanding Newts spend only a small amount of their life time actually in the water. Most of the time they are living within the open grass lands and vegetation around the pond area. The Newts have a mobility radius of up to half a kilometre from their breeding pond. The proposed housing estate will infringe upon this radius. A large colony of Greater Crested Newts has also been observed within the Elementis Ecology Park, a distance of just under half a kilometre from the Ellifs Park pond. The Council will be aware of the full protection awarded to Greater Crested Newts by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England request Stockton Borough Council to refuse this Outline application for the above reasons.