CHAPTER FIVE - ENVIRONMENT AND CONSERVATION
5.1 One of the main aims of this Plan is to conserve and enhance the physical and natural environment of the area. If the area is to remain attractive as a place in which to live or visit, maintenance of the quality of the surroundings is vital. In certain situations, special measures are required to achieve this. Not all of these are measures appropriate to a local plan, for example details of specific countryside management initiatives, or grants for improvements to street frontages. At the very least, this Plan can provide a positive and sensitive environmental framework for development and advocate certain desirable approaches and initiatives which could follow on from the Plan.
5.2 Energy conservation is covered in the previous section.
5.3 This section considers the subject of heritage and formulates policies of two kinds:
• those that seek to protect heritage features through
existing legislation, for example by preventing inappropriate development.
5.4 In order to have heritage policies it is necessary to have some idea of what is meant by the term. The term is used to encompass the conservation and enhancement of landscape, buildings, nature and archaeological remains - elements that society values for aesthetic, scientific and cultural reasons. The Plan stresses the inter-relationships between these elements which cannot in practice be isolated from each other or human activity.
5.5 The policies reflect the conservation ethic
adopted by the Government’s Countryside Review Committee in 1979
5.6 The policies in this section are broken down for convenience into nine parts dealing with:
GENERAL GOVERNMENT POLICY
5.7 Recent years have seen increasing importance attached by the Government to the conservation of the environment and the important role planning policies have to play in this respect. Government advice is set out in general terms in relation to specific subjects in numerous Planning Policy Guidance Notes (PPGs) and circulars. These changes in Policy reflect the Government’s commitment to sustainable development with its implications for protecting bio-diversity and the need to pass on to future generations the best of today’s environment.
5.8 Reflecting this increased importance attributed to conservation issues, the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 sets a statutory duty on Local Planning Authorities to include policies in their development plans in respect of the conservation of the natural beauty and amenity of the land. This duty strengthens that originally set out in the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
5.9 The County Structure Plan places key importance on protecting the Conservation assets of the County which it defines as “those aspects of the built and natural environment valued both for themselves and as a vital part of our quality of life, sense of place and distinctiveness”. These can be equated with the concept of environmental stock referred to in this Plan. The Structure Plan goes on to say that “Cornwall’s diverse and rich character is a strength, a bedrock, upon which loyalty and the desire to live and work here have been and should continue to be built. Land use planning in Cornwall should be based on a firm commitment to development which concerns and sustains our conservation assets.”
5.10 Key to the implementation of sustainable development is the concept of ‘environmental stock’ which can be applied to the most important aspects of the environment which need to be protected from insensitive development. Policy 11 sets out the Borough Council’s key objective of this chapter of protecting these landscapes, features and habitats of heritage importance within the district. The detailed policies which follow in this chapter recognise the relative importance of such designations from the nationally important down to local sites and areas. An appropriate level of protection is provided for each.
5.11 All the landscape areas, habitats and many of the features (where practical) are identified on the proposals map. The following policies will also apply to any new designations which are identified during the plan period.
5.12 Policy 12 is intended to be complementary to Policy 11 in supporting development proposals which will increase awareness of the Borough’s heritage.
5.13 The Council will take a positive approach to conservation. Landowners and tenants will be made aware of the nature of the heritage landscape, features and habitats on their land or relating to their building and will be encouraged to take an interest or expand their interest in its management with conservation objectives in mind.
5.14 When resources permit, the Council will support initiatives directed towards the purchase or lease of land, the giving of grants and the provision of expert advice and assistance where it is considered desirable on grounds of conservation and/or enhancement of heritage landscape features or habitats or to encourage public access; for example the creation of Local Nature Reserves.
5.15 In some instances such initiatives will, if possible, be managed jointly with other public bodies and will be directed in the medium term towards reliance on private approaches and contributions from other bodies.
5.16 Section 89 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 and Section 17 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 can be used successfully to create management agreements without any money necessarily being involved. Many landowners are keen to make a positive contribution to conservation, given suitable advice and assistance. Public resources are required not so much for the payment of compensation as for the skills and expertise which can be used in this way. Resources for conservation can also be obtained through private sponsors. This approach has not been used in a significant way in the Borough up until now.
5.17 The changing nature of agriculture and Government support mechanisms is also creating novel and welcome opportunities to help conservation. For example, the Farm and Woodland scheme, and the creation of Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) contribute to countryside conservation and enhancement. The Council will promote and support such schemes within the Borough.
5.18 In addition to the designated sites and areas identified in this plan, there is value to much of the countryside and townenvironment beyond those special areas. In towns for example, open spaces may be valuable for recreation and amenity purposes more than for conservation reasons, although nature and landscape conservation should not be dismissed in urban areas (see Nature Conservation Section). The fact that a site or area is not identified as being of heritage importance in this plan does not mean that land has no importance. Small and seemingly nondescript pieces of open land are often important to local people. They are an integral part of the meaning of the area in people’s minds. They are part of the local community’s inheritance. Policy 3, which designates development envelopes, seeks to protect the countryside from uncontrolled development whilst Policy 18 within the nature conservation section protects areas of habitat in the wider countryside.
5.19 Cornwall has some of the most beautiful and important landscape in the British Isles, created by the interaction of geology, natural processes and the influence of man over sometimes thousands of years. Protection of landscape is generally by designation of areas, but it is increasingly being recognised that the maintenance of landscape needs also to be considered in relation to economic and social processes and that therefore, appropriate management is important. Neither should the need to protect and enhance non-designated areas be ignored. PPG 7 The Countryside and the Rural Economy states in para 2.14 that “the countryside should be safeguarded for its own sake........” The priority now is to find new ways of enriching the quality of the whole countryside.
5.20 The Government funded body for designating landscape areas and advising on Policy is the Countryside Agency. In Restormel, the AONBs are the Fowey Valley and the coastline between Porthpean and St Michael Caerhays. In its 1991 policy statement on AONBs, the Countryside Commission states “Along with National Parks, AONBs contain the finest countryside in England and Wales”. Protection of AONB is through Planning Policies. Government advice in PPG 7 states that “in general policies and development control decisions affecting AONBs should favour conservation of the natural beauty of the landscape.”
5.21 The Cornwall Structure Plan includes the following policies in respect of landscape protection:
ENV.1 seeks to protect the landscape character of the coast and countryside of the county with priority given to the conservation and enhancement of AONBs but importance given to the character of the Areas of Great Landscape Value (AGLV) and the undeveloped coast. The Policy also requires consideration to be given to the potential cumulative impact of development, taking account of existing developments or other proposals in the locality.
5.22 The AONB represents the most important landscape area in the District. PPG 7 states that policies for AONBs should favour conservation of the natural beauty of the landscape. Although it is considered appropriate to have regard to economic and social considerations, the PPG goes on to say that it would normally be inconsistent with the aims of designation to permit the siting of major industrial or commercial development in these areas. Only proven national interest and a lack of alternative sites can justify an exception. In assessing the level of harm which developments cause to AONBs, the Council will pay particular attention to the materials proposed and how the development will respect the character of the area.
5.23 Heritage Coasts are not statutory designations although they are identified by local authorities in consultation with the Countryside Commission. As with AONBs with which they often overlap, the emphasis is on conservation, protection and enhancement but with additional objectives of facilitating their enjoyment, appropriate management and taking account of the needs of local communities. Policies 12, 18 and others in the Plan will support these objectives.
5.24 The above areas have all been identified in the Cornwall Structure Plan although the detailed boundaries are defined in this Plan. The boundaries have been defined taking into account work undertaken by the County Council as part of the Structure Plan review as well as analysis undertaken by the Borough Council particularly in response to comments on the Draft version of the Restormel Plan. As a result of these processes some new areas have been identified and some deleted. The new areas included are the Fal Valley to the south of Grampound, some minor additions in the Crantock area and adjacent to the Luxulyan Valley. Denzil Down has now been deleted however Rosenannon Downs are included as an extension to an enlarged Camel and Ellen Valleys area.
5.25 These areas have an attractive landscape where the Council considers special controls should exist. Policy 14 recognises that these areas represent landscapes which are of countywide importance and seeks to protect them from inappropriate development. The Council will support measures to enhance the special qualities of these landscapes.
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5.26 Planning policies have traditionally focused on the quality of landscapes, identifying those of national and local importance with consequent requirements for care to be taken in making development control decisions. This concern has often been expressed in terms of developments being required to reflect the character of landscapes although often this intrinsic character has been less well researched in favour of issues of quality.
5.27 A recent study of the landscapes of Cornwall has been undertaken by the Countryside Commission in association with the County Council, Districts and English Heritage. This publication “Cornwall, A Landscape Assessment 1994” covers the whole of Cornwall, not simply those areas which are designated. The object has been to identify landscape character areas and develop guidelines to protect the distinctive appearance and ecology of them.
5.28 In Restormel the following landscape character areas have been identified:
Central Cornwall - north facing
5.29 The Government underlined its commitment to nature conservation in the White Paper “This Common Inheritance”. Subsequently the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 included a requirement for local plans to include policies in respect of the conservation of the natural beauty and the amenity of the land as well as the improvement of the physical environment. The most recent government advice is contained in Planning Policy Guidance note 9: Nature Conservation.
5.30 In paragraph 3 it states that:
5.31 The PPG notes the importance of the statutory
protected sites such as SSSIs but in paragraph 14 states:
5.32 The PPG adds in paragraph 15:
5.33 To achieve these aims the Government considers that Nature Conservation objectives should be taken into account in all activities which affect rural and coastal land use, and in urban areas where there is wildlife of local importance (para 19). Therefore local plans should:
“Identify relevant international, national and local nature conservation interests. They should ensure that the protection and enhancement of those interests is properly provided for in development and land-use policies, and place particular emphasis on the strength of protection afforded to international designations. Plans should offer reasonable certainty to developers, landowners and residents alike about the weight that will be given to nature conservation interests in reaching planning decisions. ......... Plans should be concerned not only with designated areas but also with other land of conservation value and the possible provision of new habitats.” (para 24).
5.34 Local authorities can and have made a major contribution to conservation policy making and implementation, often in unison with conservation groups. Common measures include:
REGIONAL PLANNING GUIDANCE
5.35 The Borough Council’s approach and policies set out below are consistent with regional guidance (RPG 10) published July 1994. Para 4.17 states that:
“Plans should seek to support sites of nature conservation interest by promoting the conservation of features important to wildlife, such as hedgerows and river banks, to prevent sites from becoming isolated.”
CORNWALL STRUCTURE PLAN
5.36 The Structure Plan policies in respect of nature conservation are policies ENV5, proposals ENVD, ENV6 and ENV7.
5.37 Chapter 3 of the Countryside Local Plan, covers Nature Conservation. Policies in that Plan cover protection of National Nature Reserves (NNRs) and SSSIs (Policy 6), Areas of Great Scientific Value (AGSV) (Proposal C) and protection of shoreline and coastal waters (Policy 7).
SPECIAL AREA OF CONSERVATION
5.39 The Council’s aims and objectives for nature conservation are incorporated within the introduction of this Chapter of the Plan Policy 11 and 12 sets out the Council’s overall objectives of appropriate protection and positive management of nature conservation interests. The following policies provide for specific sites and nature conservation concerns.
5.40 The Camel and its Tributary Valley has been recently designated as an SSSI and also confirmed as a Candidate Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for consideration by the European Union. Government Guidance requires that Candidate SACs are protected as if they are already designated and this Policy is intended to provide an appropriate level of protection recognising the sites potential international importance.
5.42 SSSIs are statutory nature conservation sites notified under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) in recognition of their special biological (flora and fauna) and/or geological interest. They are selected according to rigorous and published guidelines. Together they comprise a nationally important series of areas representing all that is best in the country’s natural heritage. They are key parts of the characteristic natural areas that make up our countryside and they depend on the general health of that countryside. Notification indicates to policy makers, decision makers and developers the importance of the site and provides various forms of statutory protection. Specifically in relation to the planning process maintenance of the nature conservation value and integrity of these sites becomes a crucial responsibility of local planning authorities on behalf of society. Once lost the special wildlife and natural features of many areas are difficult or impossible to restore or re-create. There is seldom any substitute for established habitats or the careful stewardship of the natural heritage within the SSSI series. Loss or damage to earth science or biological SSSIs must be avoided if we are nationally, locally and individually to help fulfil our roles as responsible stewards of an environment to be inherited by future generations.
5.43 PPG 9 states that development proposals which affect SSSIs must be subject to special scrutiny although planning authorities should not refuse permission if development can be subject to conditions that will prevent damaging impact on wildlife habitats or important physical features or if other material factors are sufficient to override natural conservation considerations.
5.44 In Restormel Borough the SSSI interest is concentrated on two main themes. A number of geological SSSIs mainly in the Clay Country help explain the formation, evolution and characteristics of the St Austell Granite and treasure-china clay. There are few counties where knowledge and exploitation of geology is so closely linked to economic and cultural development. The other group of sites are centred around the large and impressive Goss and Tregoss Moor SSSI, much of which is managed by English Nature as the Goss Moor National Nature Reserve (NNR). These sites of heath, mire and scrub whilst not agriculturally productive, are massively productive of the wildlife of Cornwall and represent the remnants of a once much larger resource. Along with ancient woodlands and parts of the coast these represent the jewels in the crown of Restormel’s assets and the Borough Council is committed to making its contribution to their conservation.
5.45 English Nature are in the process of defining consultation areas around SSSIs to reflect the concern that damage to the sites can be caused by developments outside of them. This is particularly important in Restormel where many nature conservation sites are of a wetland nature sensitive to changes in the hydrological system or to pollution from outside. Policy 15 will apply to such developments if appropriate. Similar considerations will apply to Policy 16 below which protects Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs).
5.46 The SINCs have been identified in consultation with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. The significance of the SINCs is recognised by English Nature. These sites are identified as the prime areas of nature conservation significance in Cornwall and are considered to be of at least county importance. They cover approximately 15% of Cornwall’s land area. All biological SSSIs are contained within their boundaries and approximately one third of the SINCs are designated also as SSSIs. Sites range from small ancient woodlands and meadows to extensive heathland and wetland complexes but all provide vital reservoirs for a large proportion of Cornwalls natural flora and fauna. The SINCs have been selected from the total nature conservation asset base of the County in the light of knowledge gained from systematic and extensive countryside habitat and species surveys and by the application of nationally recognised site assessment criteria. Six primary attributes were selected for attention: naturalness, size, diversity, fragility, rarity and typicalness. Four other attributes namely recorded history, the position in the ecological/geographical unit, potential value and intrinsic appeal were considered secondary. The SINCs are proposed in the town parish chapters as they are generally confined to one area.
5.47 These sites are all numbered and shown on the proposals map along with the SSSIs in the Plan area. The Background Papers document which accompanies the Plan contains a list of all these sites and sets out a brief ecological evaluation. A full atlas of the site is available in the Planning Department offices.
5.48 Development proposals likely to affect SINCs will be assessed in line with Policy 16, which recognises that they represent nature conservation assets of countywide importance and seeks to protect them from inappropriate development unless it is suitably mitigated or the benefits of the development outweigh the harm.
Nature Conservation Designations
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AREAS OF GREAT SCIENTIFIC VALUE
5.49 The AGSVs were first defined in the Cornwall Countryside Local Plan. As such, these sites are intended to perform three functions. Firstly to act as buffer zones around the most important and sensitive nature conservation sites. Secondly to provide links between protected sites which will facilitate the movement of wildlife. Thirdly to emphasise areas where resources for nature conservation management and enhancement of wildlife should be concentrated. As such, the sites can be seen as identifying strategic core resource areas complimentary to the conservation corridors policy which seeks to promote specific links between nature conservation sites. The AGSV will be protected as priority areas under Policy 18.
5.50 The Conservation Corridors, although not designated conservation sites themselves, provide important links between designated sites. These allow the migration of wildlife, and as most are river corridors play an important role in the hydrological cycle. The corridors contain many features and small areas of habitat which will be protected under Policy 18. They are not intended to act as a blanket restriction on development but to highlight important areas of the wider countryside outside of designated SSSIs and SINCs. The Conservation Corridors perform a secondary function in identifying areas where enhancement of the nature conservation value should be considered. The Council will pursue initiatives to complete these “missing links”. Schemes such as the Countryside Stewardship programme, now administered by Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) offer opportunities for such enhancement projects, particularly as a response to changes in agriculture. Policy 20 will also be appropriate in certain circumstances.
5.51 River corridors are often scenically attractive and the Plan also identifies many of these corridors as areas where increased public access will be promoted. In this respect, policies for creating long distance and circular walks contained in the Recreation section will also be relevant. Initiatives such as Countryside Stewardship can contribute to providing public access in such areas. However, where possible conflict between the interests of nature conservation and that of public access are likely to develop, the Council is of the opinion that priority should be given to nature conservation.
5.52 Initiatives within the corridors for enhancement or access will be through voluntary agreements. Those corridors which include areas within the China Clay Area are not intended to conflict with the operations of the industry but can assist the process of restoration when working has been completed.
5.53 The importance of wildlife corridors in urban areas is also recognised as important. Past development has often ignored the importance of river corridors in urban areas and only limited examples of urban Conservation Corridors have been identified in the Plan. Policy 18 below will apply to such corridors.
5.54 Specific proposals for river corridors related to new development are incorporated within the Town and Parish Chapters.
5.55 What is appropriate in terms of enhancement will clearly depend on each individual case. The replanting of a hedgerow may be enough in some cases. In others the introduction of new woodland or changing the way areas are managed may be a solution. This Plan is not a management plan. Detailed measures to implement the broad proposals in this Plan will need to be worked up in other ways.
5.56 It is increasingly being recognised that to maintain and enhance biodiversity it is important to see the countryside as a whole. The core nature conservation sites such as SSSIs and SINCs do not survive in isolation from the fields, trees, hedgerows and rivers which surround and should properly unite them. Wildlife does not acknowledge boundaries on a local plan proposals map.
5.57 The importance of protecting the wider countryside has been acknowledged in the EC Habitats Directive 1992. Regulation 37 directly transfers the requirements of Article 10 of the Directive to UK Planning Authorities development plans. By this, the Regulations extend the definition of “conservation of the natural beauty and amenity of the land” to also include “encouraging the management of features of the landscape which are of major importance for wild fauna and flora”. The revised PPG 9 (1994) reflects this directive (paragraph 16).
5.58 The above policy identifies the many features and habitats in the wider countryside which deserve protection. Careful planning of development proposals can often avoid harming such features; retaining them within the development proposal or by incorporating mitigating measures which would reinstate the integrity or continuity of the feature.
5.59 Within the Borough, the AGSVs and the Conservation Corridors highlight the areas where the contribution of such features to maintaining links between designated sites is strongest and these areas will represent the priorities for implementing this policy.
5.60 As noted in the EC directive as well as protecting such features, it is also important that they are appropriately managed. Habitat management generally falls outside of the scope of planning control. However, where appropriate, conditions may be imposed on planning permissions or the Council will seek planning obligations to ensure that such features retain their wildlife value. Policy 11 of the Plan similarly will apply where appropriate to designated nature conservation sites.
5.61 The Council will encourage management of such features in general throughout the Borough. The type of management required will vary from site to site depending on its characteristics. The Council will seek advice from English Nature and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust where appropriate.
LOCAL NATURE RESERVES
5.62 The creation of Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) is one example where positive management for an important site can be achieved, and the Council will take a positive approach to managing its own land holdings. Specific proposals for LNRs are contained in the Town and Parish Chapters. Policy 11 lends general support to the creation of interpretation facilities which would include LNRs.
5.63 This policy seeks to sustain the habitats of protected species which is identified as a material planning consideration in PPG 9 on Nature Conservation. The species most likely to be threatened by development proposal are Badgers and in buildings, Bats and Barn Owls, however other species may well be encountered and a thorough survey is advisable. Proposals for the conversion of buildings such as barns will particularly need to respond to this policy. Considerable expertise exists in incorporating mitigating measures within developments which could include nesting facilities for birds and access to the roof space of a buildings for bats. The Cornwall Wildlife Trust can provide technical expertise on such conservation measures.
5.64 Development proposals often provide opportunities for positive habitat creation for example in leisure developments, whilst some proposals to create new habitats for their own sake will require planning permission where, for instance, engineering works to construct water features are proposed. This policy supports such initiatives. Clearly any development proposals will need to be acceptable in the context of the planning guidance given in this Plan, particularly those policies to prevent sporadic development in the countryside. The importance of creating new habitats in urban areas should not be overlooked however, as they can make a positive contribution to the quality of life in towns.
5.65 The concept of sustainable development recognises the importance of bio-diversity and the Council will support habitat creating schemes in general.
5.66 Large scale tree planting may qualify for grant aid from the Forestry Authority. Farmers may also obtain grants for woodland and shelter belt planting from DEFRA.
5.67 Tree planting is clearly not appropriate everywhere and habitats such as heathlands, wetlands and old meadows should be managed in a way that is sympathetic with their conservation. Generally speaking, sites of nature conservation value or archaeological interest should not be planted on, unless part of an appropriate management plan.
5.68 Hedgerows and in particularly, Cornish hedges are a feature of the Borough and this Plan intends that these should be constructed/replanted and extended where appropriate. The Countryside Stewardship scheme provides financial assistance for conservation of hedgerows. Within Cornwall, the County Council operates with the Districts a landscape conservation scheme, which provides help towards tree planting (including orchards) and other conservation projects.
5.69 There is considerable potential for habitat creation within the Borough. Opportunities for instance may develop in the china clay area as part of the industry’s landscaping and reclamation proposals.
5.70 Although sparsely treed in the more exposed areas, Restormel has some notable woodlands, a number of which have been classified as Ancient Woodland by English Nature (that is to say that the site has been continuously covered by woodland since at least 1600). Restormel’s Ancient Woodlands include woods along the River Menalhyl near St Mawgan, Kings Wood in the Pentewan Valley and the Milltown/Lantyan and Colvithick Woods along the west bank of the Fowey River. Part of the woodland in the Luxulyan Valley now jointly owned by Restormel Borough and Cornwall County Councils, is also Ancient Woodland.
5.71 Ancient Woodlands are rich habitats for plants and wildlife, as well as being important landscape features. Predominant trees within them are sessile oak, ash, and hazel, however some are in danger of having their integrity damaged by invasive trees and shrubs such as sycamore and rhododendron and through the planting of conifer replacements.
5.72 Outside woodlands, trees are important landscape features along hedgerows, in groups at old mine workings and close to farm buildings. Belts of trees and plantations are also a major component in the Boroughs historic gardens, providing the shelter essential for the successful growth of more delicate ornamental trees and shrubs (see Policies 29 and 30). Trees also form a vital component of the towns and villages.
5.73 Unfortunately, Dutch Elm disease has decimated the tree cover of some areas where elm was formerly dominant, with the Porth Valley near Newquay and Gorran Haven being particularly badly affected.
5.74 The felling of woodland is controlled by the Forestry Authority in exercise of its powers under the Forestry Act 1967. A felling licence is normally required from the Authority. In certain cases, such as in Conservation Areas or in an area covered by a TPO, permission is required from the Local Planning Authority or in the case of a SSSI, English Nature.
5.75 TPOs allow planning authorities to control the felling of trees and woodlands in the interests of amenity although this is only applied to trees in woodlands in exceptional circumstances. It is usually considered that some public benefit should result, so that at least some of the trees should be visible from a road or footpath. Landscape, nature conservation and historic features are considered strong supporting factors.
5.76 The prevention of all felling is not a substitute for sound management. The ideal is the preparation and implementation of a woodland management plan under the guidance of a specialist. Normally, this will qualify for grant aid from the Forestry Authority. Those interested in further details can inspect the TPO register at the Borough Planning Department Offices.
5.77 Although such matters change regularly, the current grant regime for community woodland coupled with set aside provisions does provide an attractive option for some farmland close to towns. Under the scheme, up to 20% of a new large woodland can be open space and the area has to be managed in an environmentally sensitive way. Public access and informal recreation is obligatory.
5.78 This kind of scheme could provide a substantial area of landscaping and an improved setting for new major housing or commercial developments. A relatively permanent green area will be created which will help protect certain urban fringe areas from development pressures. Such woodland will also in the long run provide a little help with the problem of global warming and this will be consistent with this Plan’s energy policies.
5.79 Details of community woodlands proposed are set out in the relevant chapters. Should the grant regime become unfavourable to such schemes, it will be necessary to provide for these through entering into Section 106 Agreements or accepting equivalent unilateral undertakings from developers.
5.81 Earth Science sites include features of geological or geomorphological importance. Cornwall, with its mining heritage, is particularly rich in such features and has always attracted the interest of geologists and geomorphologists, as well as producing some notable experts in the field itself.
5.82 Statutory protection for such sites is provided by the SSSI designation under the auspices of English Nature and in this Plan by Policy 15 which protects all SSSIs. In Restormel, these SSSIs are Carn Grey, St Mewan Beacon, Tregargus Quarries, Wheal Martyn, Trelavour Downs, Luxulyan Quarry and Roche Rock. As well as being worthy of protection in their own right these sites often form the focus for education trips for both local schools as well as schools and colleges throughout the United Kingdom together with the many amateur enthusiasts who holiday in the County. As such earth science sites form an important part of our heritage and provide an underdeveloped tourism asset.
5.83 A recent initiative has been the formation of RIGS groups nationally under the leadership of English Nature. RIGS stands for Regionally Important Geological or Geomorphological Sites and is intended to draw attention to and protect sites of local importance which are outside the national statutory protection scheme. The appropriate analogy is with biological SSSIs and SINCs. The importance of RIGS is recognised in PPG 9.
5.84 A Cornwall RIGS group has recently been formed, (who can be contacted through the Cornwall Wildlife Trust) which has started to define sites of local importance. Although there are no rigidly imposed national criteria and procedures in selecting RIGS, some broad themes are becoming widely accepted and used. These themes are the value of the site for education, scientific research and study, and its historical and aesthetic importance. The RIGS in Restormel have been identified on this basis. The Borough Council recognises this important work and the above policy seeks to provide an appropriate level of protection from inappropriate development unless mitigating measures can be incorporated or an overriding need for the development exists. The Council will consult with the RIGS group as part of the planning process. Proposals for the interpretation of all earth science sites will be supported under Policy 12. The Earth Science SSSIs and RIGS are identified in the appropriate Town or Parish Chapters and a description of each site is included in Appendix G of the Background Papers document.
5.85 Some of the earth science sites identified in Restormel are working china clay pits or quarries where the geological exposures have actually been created through the mining taking place. Normal working practices are not incompatible with the designations although clearly it will be important to retain the exposures in any alternative uses if the pit or quarry closes.
5.87 Today’s archaeological landscape is the product of human activity over thousands of years. It ranges through settlements and remains of every period, including the camps of early hunter-gatherers dating to before 7,000BC, prehistoric and medieval sites and the remains of 19th and 20th century activities.
5.88 The importance of preservation of archaeological sites and monuments is accepted at national level as set out in Government Circular 8/87 and PPG 16 (1990).
5.89 Circular 8/87 observed, in para 49 that:
5.90 The preservation of all manner of archaeological sites and their settings is advocated in paragraph 52.
5.91 Where application is made for planning permission to carry out development which would affect an ancient monument whether scheduled or unscheduled, the desirability of preserving the monument and its setting is of course a material consideration.
5.92 The Planning Policy Guidance Note on Archaeology
(PPG 16) expands on circular 8/87.
5.93 All manner of ancient monuments may be further secured in the public interest through acquisition by the Local Authority under Section 11 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. Section 17 of this Act permits local authorities to enter into agreements with the occupiers of ancient monuments, or with other interested parties in order to make provision for, amongst other things:
• the maintenance and preservation of the monument
and its amenities;
5.94 Following on from PPG 16, English Heritage have produced guidelines for archaeological policies in Development Plans. This Plan takes these guidelines fully into account. It also takes account of the views expressed when the draft Newquay Plan was published in July 1991 and the consultation responses to the Plan itself.
5.95 National guidance is reflected in the Cornwall Structure Plan where policy ENV2 seeks to prevent development which will adversely affect sites of archaeological importance
5.96 The emerging Replacement Structure Plan similarly reflects the need to protect the historic environment in policies ENV7, ENV8, ENV9 and ENV10.
5.97 Policies 24 - 27 following provide more detailed control over sites of archaeological interest and encourage more positive action to manage sites with archaeological objectives in mind, including the proper identification, protection and investigation of archaeological sites. Detailed policies for specific sites are set out in the relevant area sections of this Plan.
5.98 The dividing line between archaeology and building conservation area/listed building policy is not clear cut and therefore this section needs to be read closely with the Building Conservation section.
5.99 Areas of Great Historic Value (AGHVs) are areas where there are important groupings of archaeological remains and important remnants of historic landscapes where inter relations between sites can be studied. In recent years the AGHVs have been systematically reviewed with new areas added and some deleted. Areas (1) to (5) were originally defined in the Countryside Local Plan and are transferred to this plan with only minor amendments as a result of a review undertaken for the new Structure Plan.
5.100 A sixth area has been deleted as a result of recommendations from the same review. This area, Dodman Point is not considered to constitute an historic area, but a single archaeological site which will be adequately protected by other policies.
5.101 Sites (6) to (15) were identified by the Cornwall Archaeological Unit (CAU) in its study “The Archaeology of the China Clay Area” and first identified for planning purposes in the Interim Minerals Plan Sites (17) and (18) were recommended for inclusion in the Restormel Local Plan by the CAU at the consultation stage of this plan. Subsequently sites (6) to (15) and (17) and (18) have been identified for inclusion in the new structure plan. Site (16) has been identified separately by the Borough Council.
5.102 The AGHVs cover the whole period of human settlement and consequent impact on the landscape of Cornwall ranging from the Neolithic period up to the twentieth century.
5.103 Areas (1) to (4) identified above are notable for their Bronze Age cemetery remains as well as two cliff castles at Pentire Point and Trevelgue.
5.104 The Helman Tor area (5) contains settlement remains from the Neolithic period and the Iron Age as well as extensive tin streaming remains.
5.105 Areas (6) to (15) within the China Clay area cover the full range of prehistoric and medieval sites as well as industrial remains which chart the more recent history of the area including early china works technology, china stone workings, tin streaming and mining.
5.106 Resugga Castle (16) is the site of a hillfort.
5.107 The Castle-an-Dinas, Belowda, Goss Moor areas covers a multi-period landscape of exceptional diversity with some sites which are the best examples of their type in the County. These include Castle-an-Dinas and St Dennis hillforts, Bronze Age burial mounds, medieval settlements and field systems as well as tin streaming and other mining activities.
5.108 The Luxulyan Valley boasts an industrial past which belies the valley’s sylvan appearance today. As a key access route to the Hensbarrow mining area from the port of Par, it is crossed by a complex network of paths, trackways, leats, tramways and railways as well as containing numerous China Clay dries, quarries and other mining remains.
5.109 The English Heritage discussion papers on Historic Landscape provide for wide ranging definitions which may be confusing in terms of overlaps with other designations. In order to avoid confusion it is considered that archaeology should appear in the definition somewhere, or the current AGLVs should be extended in scope. Historic Archaeological knowledge is a growing area of study and surveys in the future may reveal that in some cases boundaries need to be revised. There may also be other areas which will need to be added.
5.110 Policy 24 recognises that the AGLVs are of countywide importance and seeks to protect them from inappropriate development unless it is suitably mitigated or the benefits of the development outweigh the harm. The Council will support initiatives to interpret these landscapes under Policy 12. Proposals for enhancement will be particularly supported.
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5.111 The Local Plan area is rich in archaeological remains, 120 sites are currently considered by the Department of National Heritage to be of National Importance and are protected as Scheduled Ancient Monuments. Works to these require the consent of the Secretary of State at the Department of Culture, Media and Sports in addition to appropriate local planning consent. Advice on such matters, and on archaeology in general should be sought from the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England (English Heritage).
5.112 In addition to the Scheduled Ancient Monuments, a large number of archaeological sites have been identified by the County Sites and Monuments Record (SMR). This record is being continuously updated and enlarged as a result of historical research, fieldwork, aerial photography and substantiated reports from the general public.
5.113 In 1984 the Government acknowledged that the Schedule of Ancient Monuments no longer coincided with the consensus of informed opinion as to the monuments which were of most archaeological and historical interest. The fact that nationally only 2% of known sites and monuments were scheduled was considered to indicate the need for a nation wide review of the archaeological resource. In 1986 the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England began work on the Monuments Protection Programme (MPP) which seeks to review and evaluate existing information (largely drawn from the County Sites and Monuments Records) so that those monuments which are of National Importance can be identified and scheduling or other means of protection can be recommended. Moreover, the MPP will also provide an assessment of monuments which fall outside the definition of being Nationally Important, but can be identified as being of regional or local importance. In general, any sites to which local plan policies apply ought to be identified on the proposals map. The draft English Heritage guidance referred to above suggests this would create difficulties because the general body of information is not static: new sites are continually being discovered and known ones re-assessed. In many cases an exact boundary cannot be defined or would be artificial. The guidance concludes that it is neither necessary or desirable to define all individual important archaeological sites on the proposals map. It is also true that the sheer numbers of sites would in some areas swamp other plan detail.
5.114 The proposals map therefore only shows the current scheduled sites and the AGHV (Policy 24). The full updated SMR will be taken into account in applying the policies in this Plan. The computerisation of the Sites and Monuments record is complete and a list of all the known sites to which policies will apply can be inspected at the Planning Department offices.
5.115 A series of up-to-date constraint maps have been drawn up to assist with the development control process based on the SMR and these maps can be inspected at the Planning Department Offices.
5.116 The Planning Authority supports the Cornwall County Council and its Archaeological Unit in their efforts to record, interpret and preserve the County’s historic landscape and has contributed to the costs of providing the new detailed constraint maps.
5.117 Where proposals are submitted affecting a site which has been identified as having archaeological value, the County Archaeological Officer will be involved from the early stages of negotiations with applicants to ensure proper implementation of these policies.
5.118 Policy 27 will enable the Borough Council to make properly informed decisions on proposals which may affect sites of interest. For well researched known sites an assessment will be relatively straightforward and probably based on existing information. For sites with archaeological potential, small scale surveys, trial trenching etc. may be necessary. A geophysical survey can be an important method of evaluating potential sites.
5.119 In some cases, a formal Environmental Assessment under the 1988 regulations may be necessary (Circular 15/88).
5.120 The CAU or the Institute of Field Archaeologists can advise on suitable organisations and consultants to carry out necessary work.
5.121 Policies 25 and 26 sets out the Council’s commitment to retaining archaeological sites and preventing development that would harm them.
5.122 The preservation in-situ of important archaeological remains is always to be preferred and this should be the primary objective of all negotiations. If preservation in-situ is not feasible an archaeological excavation for the purpose of preservation by record may be an acceptable alternative. This should always be seen as very much a second best option.
5.123 Where the development is permitted on any site considered to be of potential archaeological value, Policy 26(2) requires the developer to make appropriate and satisfactory arrangements for archaeologists to excavate and record the remains before or during development. This could involve investigation and observation prior to and during the work and the recording of any archaeological deposits, features or finds which might be revealed during the course of the development. The need for such archaeological investigation and recording should not normally cause delay or hindrance to the work of the developer or his contractor but in the complex and important cases developers should build extra time into the development programme.
5.124 Under Policy 12 the Council will support the active management of archaeological sites for educational and tourism purposes. There is an intrinsic cultural value in archaeological sites and the potential contribution of such sites to public understanding can be enhanced through such management. In the long term the preservation of such sites will make good economic sense. The implementation of this policy could be linked in with the policies for open space and footpath networks set out in the recreation section of this Plan and provide through management plans an effective vehicle for integration with other environmental and economic interests (e.g. nature conservation, industrial heritage).
5.125 The Council will set a good example with its own land holdings and where financially possible, promote such management plans and agreements, particularly through joint arrangements and private sponsorship.
5.126 The nationally accepted definition of a Historic settlement is a town which has achieved Borough status before 1600. In Restormel the following Historic settlements have been identified:
5.127 The Local Plan does not contain a separate policy for historic towns. All are protected by the section on Building conservation which together with Policy 20 above will make sure that development proposals take into account Historic Towns status.
5.128 The CAU has recently reviewed the Historic settlements of Cornwall and suggested additional settlements which although not conforming with the National definition above are worthy of recognition for their historic importance. The CAU recommends that these settlements should be designated as Conservation areas. In this plan they have been identified as Areas of Local Architectural or Historic Value. (see paragraph 5.162)
5.129 The latest Government guidance on Coastal Planning is contained in PPG 20 which replaces circular 12/72. The coastline of Restormel is diverse, reflecting a variety of geological and geomorphological backgrounds with a tapestry of wildlife habitats and historic activities.
5.130 PPG 20 states that it is the role of the planning system to reconcile development requirements with the need to protect, conserve and where appropriate, improve the landscape, environmental quality, wildlife habitats and recreational opportunities of the coast.
5.131 The Countryside Service, operated by the County Council, in partnership with the Districts and other bodies, provides an important focus for the management and protection of the coast.
5.132 This section which defines a Coastal Zone together with policy which protects the heritage coast and relevant policies in the Recreation Chapter, provide for the strategic planning of the coast. In addition a variety of other general policies will be important in protecting the Borough’s heritage. General Policies 3 and 6 as well as policies contained in the sections on nature conservation and archaeology, will all be relevant reflecting the diversity of features of importance. Specific policies and proposals are set out in the area chapters.
5.133 The designation of a Coastal Zone is increasingly being seen as an important tool for protecting the coastline. PPG 20 states that undeveloped coast will “seldom be the most appropriate location” for new development. “Few developments require a coastal location. Given both the physical and policy constraints in most parts of the undeveloped coast, it should not be expected to accommodate new development that could be located inland or in existing developed areas.”
5.134 The Regional Planning Guidance for the south west (RPG 10) similarly recognises the importance of protecting the coast. As advised in PPG 20, Local Plans should define Coastal Zones and, within these zones, should not normally provide for development which does not require a coastal location. Where there is an identifiable need for development on the coast, plans should identify areas where such development would be generally acceptable, with priority being given to redevelopment or re-use of land on the developed coast. Sensitive areas of coastline can be protected by providing for tourism and recreation development in other locations with capacity to absorb them.
5.135 In line with this guidance the Restormel Local Plan identifies a Coastal Zone. The zone does not include the AONB, where existing policy guidance is considered sufficient protection, neither does it include areas covered by the development envelopes of settlements. In the main the Coastal Zone includes the inter tidal zone, cliffs, estuaries and areas of adjacent land linked to the coast in landscape and nature conservation terms.
5.136 Policy 28 will permit development within the Coastal Zone only where a coastal location is operationally necessary. In practice all such developments should be preferably located within a development envelope adjacent to the coast. Where this is not possible a location close to a key settlement with a development envelope will be required by clause (c) which cross refers to the Plan’s locational policies . The types of development which would require a coastal location will be very limited with access to the sea being a prime operational factor. Clause (b) cross refers to the policies in the plan regarding conservation. Much of the Coastal Zone is covered by SINC designations and local landscape designations.
HISTORIC PARKS AND GARDENS
5.138 The contribution made to our landscape by historic parks and gardens is increasingly being recognised. Parks and gardens are part of the man-made heritage of the countryside and in some respects can be of archaeological interest. There will also clearly be an overlap with nature conservation policy, particularly in some of the more extensive landscaped parks.
5.139 The definition of what constitutes a park or garden of historic interest is complex. Basically these are parks, gardens, designed grounds, designed ornamental landscapes and places of recreation which illustrate the history of parks and gardens, etc; or illustrate the art of gardening and ornamental landscaping, or they are associated with a particular designer or illustrative of a particular style. Generally, it is agreed that history in this respect pre-dates 1939.
5.140 In 1987 English Heritage published a register of parks and gardens of special historic interest with gradings analogous to those used for listed buildings. Three sites in the Borough were listed and graded as follows to reflect their importance compared with gardens and parks in England as a whole. The three sites chosen were Caerhays Castle (II*), Menabilly (II) and Tregrehan (II*). In 1992 Heligan (II) was added to the list.
5.141 Historic parks and gardens can be broadly divided into three categories:
5.142 Every garden is unique and the above categories only outline the broad characteristics which form the basis for greater study. In addition such sites will often reflect a long history of occupation which will see a wealth of archaeological, historical and botanical features worthy of conservation. Such sites may therefore, be protected by a variety of designations such as TPOs, listing of buildings and AONB, etc. The national list of historic parks and gardens does not confer any statutory protection, however, PPG 15 states that local planning authorities should protect recognised parks and gardens in preparing development plans and determining planning applications.
5.143 Policy 29 is intended to protect nationally important historic parks and gardens from insensitive development. Interpretation facilities will be supported under Policy 12. The Council will, in addition encourage management initiatives appropriate to the intrinsic features of the parkland or garden.
5.144 The nationally important Lanhydrock Gardens are situated on the Borough boundary and, although the Gardens are within the North Cornwall District area, the Council will apply the Local Plan policies to any development likely to affect the setting of the Gardens.
5.145 As well as the nationally important gardens the plan also identifies historic parks and gardens of local importance. The majority of these have been identified from advice provided from the Cornwall Gardens Trust, which was formed in 1988 to preserve and restore gardens of historic value, and who are in the process of identifying gardens of historic interest.
5.146 Extensive research is still needed to assess the appropriate boundaries of the gardens listed here and to define their history and characteristics. The list does not include gardens which have been largely overtaken by development such as Trevarrick.
5.147 There are, however, probably other gardens of interest not on this list. Views on the nature and extent of the gardens identified in Policy 30 will clearly be of great help in reviewing this Plan. The Council will apply Policy 30 to any other gardens that can be shown to be of local importance.
5.148 The conservation of buildings, the spaces between them, and their relationship with the landscape, are all part of the wider conservation framework of this Plan. Finding new uses for buildings must take into account their listed status, and any relevant industrial or other archaeological investigations. These issues need to be considered together when reading the Plan.
5.149 National policy guidance relating to building conservation is set out in PPG 15. Paragraph 2.8 in particular explains that local plans should contain policies and proposals for maintaining and enhancing conservation areas and controlling development in them.
5.150 The key structure plan policy on building conservation is Policy ENV3 which covers Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas and Historic Settlements.
5.151 There are fourteen Conservation Areas in the Borough: and they are listed together with their dates of designation below. Conservation area studies have been produced for St Columb Major, St Mawgan and Crantock. These identify the features which contribute to the special character of the area and suggest policies and proposals for preserving or enhancing their character. Where still relevant such policies and proposals have been incorporated in the Town and Parish chapters of this Plan.
5.152 The Conservation Areas in their order of
5.153 PPG 15 recognises that areas appropriate for designation as Conservation Areas will be found in almost every town and many villages. It is the character of the areas rather than the individual buildings that the 1990 Act seeks to preserve or enhance. The emphasis is on control, rather than preservation, in order to allow the area to remain alive and prosperous but at the same time to ensure that any new development respects its special architectural and visual quality. The Government attaches great importance to those designations which represent a shift of emphasis from negative control to positive planning. It is now recognised that mere preservation and the complete prohibition of new development, or redevelopment, may result in areas of decay and stagnation. The purpose of this policy is therefore to positively express the statutory requirement.
5.154 The fact that neither the 1990 Act nor PPG 15 provide a definition of a Conservation Area, in the same degree of detail as that for listed buildings, gives local authorities a considerable degree of freedom to develop their own policies for their designation and enhancement. This is one of the few areas in the planning system where a Local Authority can develop an individual policy approach, provided that it conforms with the principles contained within the Act. If not developed carefully, however, this could present a problem in that when looked at nationally or regionally there could be obvious differences between neighbouring authorities in both the type of area designated and the matter in which the question of enhancement is handled. Although minor differences are part and parcel of a democratic system, extreme variations could be disadvantageous.
5.155 The definition of “character” and “enhance” could be interpreted differently when related to developments affecting Conservation Areas. The traditional view is that new buildings should be sympathetic in design and materials when considered in relation to the specific character of the traditional architecture of their setting.
5.156 PPG 15 makes it quite clear that new development can take place within a Conservation Area provided that it accords with its special architectural, historic and visual qualities. There will be a number of unlisted buildings within a Conservation Area which have an important function in creating the character of the area, e.g. closing a view or acting as a foil to a listed building. In such cases it will require a very high quality building to preserve or enhance the character. There will be, however, also many buildings of a much lower quality, or those which do not fit in with the general character of the area, where it will be much easier to provide a replacement building which preserves and endeavours to enhance its character. While control over the demolition of buildings in Conservation Areas is obviously essential, properly planned development and redevelopment is equally necessary in order to maintain the viability and vitality which are so important to their future character.
5.157 Occasionally, a new design in Conservation Areas can be an enhancement by virtue of the contrast created between the existing architectural pattern and the new scheme. Areas now designated as Conservation Areas have evolved over many hundreds of years with the introduction of new, and often contrasting buildings, which are now recognised as being of architectural interest, enlivening the area by illuminating the contrast of material styles. Where such contrasting genuinely enhances the locality such development can be welcomed. Giving an appropriate role to the enhancement criterion will ensure a more flexible appropriate assessment of any proposal in a Conservation Area. This will allow development to take place that avoids duplication or replication or a mixture of historical styles or pastiche, and provides a delicate balance to be achieved between the old and new.
5.158 Local character encapsulates not only scale, form, colour and texture but also smell, taste, sound and the seasonal variation of a Conservation Area, leading to security and an understanding of its status.
5.159 Detailed polices and proposals for individual conservation areas are set out in the relevant Town and Parish Chapters. Local policy statements setting out the architectural and historic character will be drawn up for each of the Authority’s 14 Conservation Areas in due course.
5.160 There are many areas in the Borough which, while not necessarily of the quality meriting Conservation Area status, do have a character that is worthy of maintaining and enhancing. These areas are covered by the above policy and in some cases by Policy 35 which relates to the “non-cramming” provisions of PPG 3 and the need to retain urban open space. Some of these areas may be of such a quality as to be a high priority for future conservation and designation and the Council is instituting a separate exercise to examine and appraise this potential. Clearly, Policy 6 is of general application and policies relating to design are applicable. An analogy can be made with the Government’s approach to nature conservation where the same policy attitudes need to be addressed in the countryside as a whole and in locally important areas not just in relation to nationally based designations.
5.161 The proposed areas of local value relate to Conservation Areas in the same way that SINCs relate to SSSIs. In some cases it will be appropriate for them to be put forward as Conservation areas following additional research and assessment. Likewise there will be, as time progresses, additional buildings considered suitable for listing.
5.162 The Areas of Local Architectural or Historic
Value proposed in this Plan are:
5.163 Areas 1 to 14 were identified by the Borough Council from survey work undertaken for the Local Plan. Areas 15-18 have been proposed following a review of the historic settlements of the County undertaken by the CAU. This review identified settlements which, although not conforming to the national definition of an Historic Town, nevertheless represent aspects of the distinctive history and character of the county. Included in this category are Ports and Harbours, many of them of Medieval date which represent the legacy of Cornish fishing, maritime industries and trade, and those settlements which emerged with the industrial revolution, most of which are of recent foundations, but which nevertheless exhibit the vernacular tradition in their architecture and the use of strictly local building materials. In addition to the areas 15-18 proposed above the CAU review also endorsed the importance of Luxulyan, St Stephen, St Dennis and Lanlivery, which had been previously identified by the Borough. The Areas of Local Architectural or Historic Value are proposed in the relevant Town or Parish Chapters.
5.164 Listed Buildings are judged according to
a set of national criteria approved by the Government’s Inspectors
in the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (better known as English
Heritage). They are responsible for seeing that the standards are applied
nationally in the course of the survey of the buildings and for supervision
of the listing fieldwork. Very broadly, the following types of buildings
(including other structures) are eligible for listing:
5.165 In choosing buildings particular attention
is paid to:
5.166 The buildings are classified in grades to
show their relative importance. This does not, however, mean that a Grade
I building is more preservable than a Grade II, since the grading was
originally intended for grant allocation purposes only. The classification
is as follows:
5.167 A listed building must not be demolished, extended or altered in any way that affects its character without having been granted listed building consent, in addition to any planning permission required. There is a presumption in favour of preserving listed buildings and consent for their partial or total demolition is rarely given and then only in exceptional circumstances.
5.168 The Council has to be satisfied that every effort has been made to continue the present use of the building or to find a suitable alternative location. Alterations or new uses are likely to devalue the special architectural or historic interest of the building and the Council has to be satisfied that the works proposed are necessary. Every effort should be made to enhance or conserve the special character.
5.169 The Structure Plan contains a number of policies relating to the re-use of buildings recognising that this is a sensible re-use of existing resources.
5.170 The key Policy is ENV11 which states that provision should be made for the re-use of buildings where the development would not detract significantly from the character and amenity of the surrounding area. In rural areas the Policy requires that priority is given to provision for employment needs. Policy E8 encourages the re-use of buildings in farm diversification schemes and E9 recognises that employment conversions can help to provide for rural employment needs. The potential for re-use of buildings for tourism developments is recognised in Policy TOUR1. The conversion of buildings for residential uses within villages is covered by Policy H10. The traffic implications of concession proposals would need to be assessed against Policies SP2 and TRAN1.
5.171 Policy 6 of this Plan which covers design and setting issues and Policy 9 which would resist proposals which would create unacceptable levels of traffic generation will also be relevant.
5.172 Policy 34(3) provides further safeguards which ensure that buildings are re-used in ways appropriate to the nature of the building and its surroundings. The reference to community uses is included because the Structure Plan policies only cover residential and commercial use.
5.173 The intent of Policy 34 is to maximise the opportunity for the re-use of buildings without prejudicing the aims of protecting and enhancing the landscape, nature and buildings of architectural interest particularly in the countryside. The balance between these two approaches varies with their importance in each case. A proposal which will create no jobs or diversify the economy or help to restore valuable buildings and which is in an AGLV in an isolated position will be a poor candidate for approval. A proposal which is in the town or a village, will create jobs, and will restore a run-down building of architectural value, will be a good candidate for approval. In assessing such proposals General Policies 6 and 51 will be relevant to the effect of conversions on their surroundings.
5.174 Housing conversions are often unsuitable in the countryside because of the desire to add larger windows and make major alterations which destroy the architectural and historical value of the building and make it appear out of place in the landscape. The provision of suburban style gardens, washing lines, etc. also adds to the incongruity. Non-residential conversions can be made much more sensitively.
5.175 When a building is proposed to be converted to housing use, it is important also, to consider what its proposed neighbours will be. In some cases the proximity of intensive agricultural operations, for example, may rule out housing use next door. There is a strong wish today for such insensitivity to be prevented. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and English Heritage have taken a strong stance on the importance of retaining old barns in the landscape. Many areas of the country have stopped giving permissions for residential conversions of barns because of this. Where conversions are permitted, very strict controls are placed on what can be done to the building. These may include keeping as many large open spaces as possible, retaining all old timber work, limitations on sizes and positions of new windows, restrictions on landscaping, etc. The detailed design aspects are often as important or more so than the planning principles. Even where buildings are of no real architectural importance it can be vital to prevent insensitive conversions because of the role of a building as part of the landscape. A particular building may not be capable of conversion because of its condition.
5.176 Restrictive covenants on properties may be sought from owners and developers, when conversions are agreed, as well as appropriate legal agreements with the Local Planning Authority.
5.177 Isolated buildings create a need for services which can often only be supplied at a high cost to the community. In the case of houses, the potential need for health visitors, ambulance services, district nurses and school transport exists whereas for industry and commerce such services are rarely required. The need for waste disposal and the pressures of traffic on inadequate lanes can also cause problems. Overhead cables and other services can create amenity problems in attractive countryside.
5.178 Clearly, in the main towns and in most of the villages that are not conservation areas, changes of use and conversions which involve alterations will not cause any problems although poor design will be resisted.
5.179 PPG 7 emphasises the conservation of the appearance of buildings, reasons why re-use might not be appropriate and refers to controls on abuse when proposals to re-use relatively recent buildings are considered. These policies are considered consistent with the advice in PPG 7, particularly para 2.15 and Annex D.
5.180 This Plan and the Structure Plan provide a very positive framework for diversification with limited restrictions on the re-use of farm and other countryside buildings. It must be stressed that the general intent of the policies is to provide an additional opportunity for income for farmers, not to provide a carte blanche for major commercial operations as a replacement for farming. The latter approach is not considered compatible with the need to protect the countryside from unsuitable larger scale developments (see policy on agricultural diversification).
5.181 It should be perfectly clear that in the context of the re-use of more modern buildings in farm building complexes, the Local Planning Authority will use the same criteria as for any other industrial and commercial proposal. If the building is poorly sited, of unsuitable construction, unattractive, cannot provide sufficient parking or service areas, etc. then approval may well not be forthcoming. It may, therefore, be in the interests of farmers, when they consider new agricultural buildings, to take account of a possible future need to use the building for some other use (see Policy 51).
5.182 It should also be noted that where changes of use to holiday accommodation are considered, agreement will be sought to ensure that Policy 63 is complied with.
5.183 When planning permission is granted under these policies, for the change of use of a building, applicants will normally be advised that no demolition of parts of the building, other than that explicitly identified in the plans and material accompanying the application should take place without the consent of the Local Planning Authority. Applicants should take special care to avoid accidental damage. The attitude of the Local Planning Authority to the rebuilding of demolished buildings or the re-use of materials as may be reclaimed from the demolished building to build largely new buildings will depend on the circumstances of each individual case but clearly for new buildings in the countryside, Policies 3, 6, 76, as well as the policies in this chapter of the Plan, will be relevant. Attention needs to be drawn to the definition of “derelict” at the end of this chapter. In the countryside changes of use to buildings of unsound construction without four walls (or three walls if the building were designed as such) and largely watertight roofs, will not normally be considered favourably and will not normally be regarded as a building for the purposes of these policies. This is considered consistent with the advice in PPG 7 paragraph 37.
5.184 It cannot be stressed strongly enough that one of the prime reasons for allowing changes of use in the countryside is to retain and restore buildings of interest in the landscape and relevant proposals must not only show how this is to be done, but must in practice actually do it. In cases where plans approved are not being correctly followed, the Local Planning Authority will not hesitate to take whatever action is necessary to prevent damage to the features, character or agreed final appearance of the building.
AREAS OF SPECIAL CHARACTER
5.186 Following the advice of the Government as set out in PPG 3; Housing and concern about the loss of attractive urban spaces due to what has become known as “town cramming”, this policy along with the Building Conservation section and other policies in this chapter will help prevent changes to certain urban sites which currently make a significant contribution to the character of the area through for example their landscaping, open nature, or setting. This approach applies equally to sites within villages. In the areas identified these considerations are considered to outweigh the general support for higher densities contained within the Plan. Where appropriate, tree preservation orders and hedgerow management orders will be made to help ensure the success of this policy (see the Nature Conservation section). This policy expands on the provisions of Policy H6 and H16 of the Cornwall County Structure Plan First Alteration.
POLLUTION, DERELICTION AND RECYCLING
5.187 The Environmental Protection Act 1990 defines
pollution of the environment as:
5.188 This section of the Plan deals with air pollution, contaminated land and noise. Policies related to pollution of water systems are contained in Chapter 12 (Utility Services).
5.189 The Government attaches great importance
to controlling and minimising pollution. The Government’s White
Paper ‘This Common Inheritance’ states that the government
will apply policies to:
5.190 The Government’s PPG on Planning and
Pollution controls (PPG 23) reinforces this approach, based on the
concepts that the polluter pays and that pollution issues are addressed
on a precautionary principle. Among the recommendations of the PPG for
consideration in the preparation of local plans are:
5.191 The need to promote recycling is increasingly being recognised. In its White Paper “This Common Inheritance” the Government set a goal of recycling 25% of refuse by the year 2000.
5.192 Applications for development associated with the deposit, treatment, storage, processing and disposal of refuse or waste materials are dealt with by County Planning Authorities. The Borough Council also has some responsibilities for waste related planning applications – namely development for its own purposes and conversion of existing buildings to waste related activities.
5.193 Policies W1, W2, W3, W4 and W5 of the Structure Plan provide strategic policies for waste disposal. More detailed guidance is provided by the Waste Local Plan. The County Council also has a significant role in the context of this chapter as the Minerals Planning Authority which has implications regarding dereliction and China Clay Tipping (see section on Minerals Planning Chapter 3).
THE BOROUGH COUNCIL’S APPROACH
5.194 In line with the sustainable development objectives of this Plan, the Council places considerable importance to the minimisation of pollution, recognising its obligations to protect not only the local environment, but in tackling global environmental issues. The policies on Energy Use (Chapter 4) and Transportation (Chapter 9) contained in this Plan are complementary to those in this section. In addition, the Council has produced a recycling plan, which contributes towards the Government’s commitment towards recycling.
5.195 In respect of derelict and contaminated land, especially that which has resulted from former mining activity, the Council has adopted a corporate approach to the identification and implementation of appropriate remedial action.
5.196 The above policy sets out the Council’s commitment to taking environmental considerations, such as pollution, into account when assessing development proposals. This policy deals specifically with the forms of pollution covered by the definition in paragraph 5.187.
5.197 The policy is not intended to duplicate the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act; from the planning viewpoint the focus is on the acceptability of the use of the land particularly the compatibility with neighbouring uses. In this respect the policy will apply not only to developments likely to cause harm to neighbouring uses but to developments likely to suffer harm if they are located adjacent to a polluting use.
5.198 Scientific research proves that air pollution can cause sickness and disease such as bronchitis, asthma and cancer, with the elderly and children being particularly at risk.
5.199 In new development the use of Chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs has been extensively used in air conditioning plants and the refrigeration units of buildings as well as in insulation material. Dust can cause problems, as has been experienced at Par Docks from the clay industry. The above policy is designed to ensure that developers have regard to the minimisation of potential air pollution, through the use of the best measures technically and economically available.
5.200 Noise can have a serious effect on the quality of life and in certain circumstances be harmful to health. Government advice is contained in PPG 24 (Planning and Noise). It notes that certain land uses such as residential areas, schools and hospitals are incompatible with high levels of noise.
5.201 Policy 37 is intended to ensure that among other factors, the effects of noise are taken into account when assessing development proposals. Where possible noise generating development should be sited away from people to avoid disturbance. New developments that are noise sensitive should be sited away from sources of noise. In some cases noise disturbance can be reduced by the use of acoustic barriers and the installation of sound reduction and insulation measures. The Council will ensure that no serious disamenity will result from development both from existing noise or future noise (where the development involves a site where noise levels are likely to increase). In some cases the cumulative effect of a number of noise generating uses may need to be considered, and the Council will taken into account the potential disamenity of such “noise creep”. The key areas where such conflicts can be anticipated and dealt with are identified in the Town and Parish Chapters, for example by ensuring that new housing is not allowed close to proposed major roads.
5.202 Floodlighting may be necessary for some developments, particularly for safety and security reasons. Developers should take care, however, to ensure that schemes which do require floodlighting are effectively designed to avoid the problems of stray floodlighting which may cause disturbance to neighbouring properties. The use of more sensitive lighting can not only help to reduce energy consumption but help to prevent the occlusion of all but the brightest objects of the night-time sky above urban areas. The Council intends to produce Supplementary Planning Guidance to provide guidelines on floodlight provision.
5.203 Restormel contains much derelict land, although that in the china clay area escapes official recognition as such due to its operational status. In addition, the Borough’s metal mining history has left a significant legacy of former mine workings, whilst other past activities, such as waste disposal and manufacturing, can leave similar problem areas.
5.204 Not all such areas will need remedial work, some will have naturally regenerated and be of nature conservation value, other areas may be worthy of protection for reasons of archaeological or geological interest. The re-use, however, of derelict land, particularly in urban areas, can improve the quality of the environment and reduce the need to use green field sites.
5.205 The Borough is within a Derelict Land Clearance Area where 100% grant aid may be made available to reclaim derelict land. There are also small grants available to tidy up other sites which spoil the appearance of the area. The Council has a strategy for derelict land reclamation which is complementary to this Plan.
5.206 The Council has successfully reclaimed sites for open space and industrial uses and believes that a continuation of this work will improve the area for residents as well as make the area more attractive for inward investment. The County Council’s Derelict Land Strategy and Derelict Land Programme has complemented the Borough’s own work in this sphere.
5.207 Under Policy 2 (1) the Council will take a positive approach to proposals which involve the reclamation of derelict sites. The Council is committed to liaison with English Nature, the Environment Agency, the Regional Development Agency and relevant local expert bodies when considering proposals for reclamation or alternative uses for derelict sites.
5.208 In some cases land may actually be contaminated which can present serious threats to health. Care is needed when assessing development proposals on such sites. In Cornwall it has been found that significant amounts of contamination from mercury and cadmium can be found in areas formerly mined for lead and silver, whilst arsenic was a common by-product from copper mining. In some cases, it has been found that toxic gases are capable of travelling from a contaminated site to adjacent ones. This could be a significant factor in assessing old waste disposal sites.
5.209 The PPG on Planning and Pollution controls advises that the best way of minimising any risks associated with contaminated land is to ensure that such sites are identified at the earliest stage of planning. The PPG states that when determining a planning application for land, which it has reason to believe might be contaminated, the local planning authority will need to consider whether the proposal takes proper account of contamination.
5.210 Policy 39 is designed to ensure that in assessing proposals for development where contamination is involved, account is taken as to how such contamination is to be dealt with. Where the Council considers that appropriate measures are not possible permission will be refused. As a precautionary approach is necessary, investigation of all sites where former mining on other potentially contaminating activities have been undertaken will be required before planning permissions are determined. Figure 5 reproduced from the House Builders magazine provides an indication of potentially contaminating uses and contaminants. This list may not be exhaustive and professional advice should always be sought.
5.211 Policy 40 is intended to avoid possible dangers from unstable land. PPG 14 “Development on Unstable Land” advises local planning authorities to take into account the possibility of unstable land in producing Local Plans. The Council has already produced a series of maps available for public inspection which highlights the area where mining is believed to have been undertaken. These areas should act as an indicator of not only potentially unstable land but also possible contaminated sites. The responsibility for determining the potential contamination or instability of sites will remain that of the developer.
5.212 Much pollution and contamination can be avoided by efficient recycling of wastes and other materials produced as a result of mans activities. The Council will encourage recycling wherever possible, including the re-use of builders waste generated as a result of demolition in the construction of new buildings. The Council will continue to pursue initiatives itself to promote recycling where possible, and is actively involved in promoting sorting at source, composting and other long term initiatives. Developments where recycling facilities will be encouraged are those where large numbers of people are likely to congregate (e.g. shopping areas, public recreation facilities).
Reproduced from ‘The Housebuilder’ February 1993
Potential contaminated sites:
Contaminates that may be encountered
Arsenic, barium, beryllium, boron, cadmium,chromium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nickle, selenium, silver, zinc.
Chloride, sulphide, sulphates, sulphur