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You are here: Penwith on the Web/Living in Penwith/Sustainable Development and Improvement (Planning and Building Control)/Local Plan
Penwith District Local Plan
Adopted 2004
13 COMMUNITY SERVICES
This Chapter in PDF format (170Kbs)
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INTRODUCTION
POLICY BACKGROUND
POLICIES AND PROPOSALS
Provision of Community Services and Facilities
POLICY CS-1
Education
Health and Social Services
Other County Council Services
Local Community Services
POLICY CS-2
Waste Management
POLICY CS-3
Water Services
Water Environment
POLICY CS-4
POLICY CS-5
POLICY CS-6
POLICY CS-7
POLICY CS-8
Energy Supply
POLICY CS-9
POLICY CS-10
Telecommunications
POLICY CS-11
Summary of POLICIES and PROPOSALS
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Local Plan Menu
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1 Introduction
2 The Local Plan Area
3 Plan Strategy
4 Objectives
5 General Development Guidance
6 Coast and Countryside
7 Towns and Villages
8 Housing
9 Employment
10 Tourism
11 Recreation
12 Transportation
13 Community Services
14 Environmental Appraisal
15 Monitoring and Review
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Proposals Map
Inset Map
Glossary
Plan Help
Terms and Conditions
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13. COMMUNITY SERVICES
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13.1 INTRODUCTION

13.1.1 The provision of adequate services in such areas as education, health care, social and community facilities and sewerage, sewage disposal and water supply is fundamental within our society. This section outlines the range of services available within the District and identifies, where appropriate and known the future requirements of the providers together with the Council's general approach and policies.

13.1.2 There are a wide variety of private and public agencies involved in the provision of these services, ranging from the County and District Councils to the privatised utilities such as South West Water and South Western Electricity. While the services provided by many of these agencies are often easily identified there are those which are less immediately apparent. One such example is the Environment Agency which, in addition to being involved in major flood alleviation projects, has several other key regulatory roles with regard to such issues as water quality, pollution control and protection of the water resource. At the local level many important services are provided by voluntary groups and charities.

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13.2 POLICY BACKGROUND

13.2.1 Planning Policy Guidance "Development Plans and Regional Guidance" (PPG 12) and emerging PPS12 ''Local Development Frameworks'' recognise that the provision of infrastructure, including education and health facilities, should be taken into account in the preparation of development plans. It is also identified that the planning system should co-ordinate new development with the infrastructure it demands and provide the opportunity for the agencies involved in the provision of services to plan ahead and for the environmental effects of any new provision to be assessed. PPG25 ''Development and Flood Risk'' explains how flood risk should be considered at all stages of the planning and development process in order to reduce future damage to property and loss of life. PPG 20 "Coastal Planning" identifies the danger of flooding in low-lying coastal areas and points out that protection works can have a considerable effect on the coastal environment. PPG 8 "Telecommunications" covers such matters as telecommunications systems, minor and major developments, mast sharing, siting and design. PPG 22 (PPS 22) "Renewable Energy" deals with such issues as greenhouse gas emissions, environmental protection, incorporation of policies in development plans and the location of installations in designated areas. PPG 6 "Town Centres and Retail Developments" indicates that new superstores and supermarkets with dedicated car parks should include recycling facilities to help encourage energy conservation and avoid special trips to recycling centres; while Consultation Draft PPS 6 ''Planning for Town Centres'' focuses on the sequential approach to site selection when planning retail growth, with an emphasis on strengthening the vitality and viability of local centres.

13.2.2 The Regional Planning Guidance (RPG 10) identifies the Government's commitment to encouraging the development of renewable energy sources and the potential of the region for wind-generated electricity. However, it stresses the need to balance the advantages of a clean renewable energy resource against environmental impact, particularly in designated areas and on the coast. On the issue of waste disposal the guidance reiterates the Government's target for increasing the re-cycling of household waste and states that development plans should make provision for re-cycling and the use of waste as a potential energy source. The need for development plans to provide for the growth in modern telecommunications is identified as a vital element in ensuring the economic attractiveness of the region. The dangers of flood risks in coastal areas is also highlighted.

13.2.3 The Structure Plan requires that development should be located where infrastructure facilities and services are available or can be made available and there is general emphasis on specific types of development being within or adjoining the main towns and villages, an approach which maximises accessibility to such facilities (Policy 26, 2004). There are also policies relating to the provision of telecommunications facilities, renewable energy schemes (Policies 3 & 7, 2004) and the recycling and disposal of waste (Policy 6, 2004).

13.2.4 Certain sites and pipelines are designated as notifiable installations by virtue of the quantities of hazardous substances stored or used. These installations are subject to stringent controls under health and safety legislation, however, the Health and Safety Executive advises the local planning authority of both the risks they pose to the surrounding population and the types of development which should be permitted in their vicinity.

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13.3 POLICIES AND PROPOSALS

13.3.1 The various policies in this section relate to three themes within the objectives of the Local Plan. Firstly, they aim to protect the distinctive value of the District from development which would be likely to cause harm and to ensure that there is no adverse impact on air, water and soil qualities. Secondly, they seek to promote energy efficiency and maximise the use of existing and proposed infrastructure and accessibility to services and community facilities. Finally, they are targeted at maintaining and improving the role of towns and villages as centres of activity and meeting the needs of residents and visitors in general for services and facilities while endeavouring to create a 'user friendly' human environment. The section, therefore, makes an important contribution in addressing environmental issues.

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Provision of Community Services and Facilities

13.3.2 The existing level of community services within the District represents a significant past investment in buildings, supply networks and other infrastructure and the maintenance and improvement of the basic fabric will involve further expenditure from both the public and private sectors. It is essential that the best use is made of this investment and, at a wider environmental level, waste of valuable resources is avoided. The requirement for services arises not only from larger scale individual proposals but also from the cumulative effect of small scale development in an area. The implications of development for all services, including schools and health facilities for example, must be fully considered and in the past the provision of services has, on occasions, been led by demand, with insufficient regard to achieving the most effective use of past or proposed investment of resources. Increased emphasis on the development plan in the decision process provides a greater degree of control over the location of development which requires or utilises both public and private service provision. Policy R 1 of the Structure Plan identifies that development should have regard to where infrastructure facilities and services are available or can be made available in line with the overall strategy for development. Where infrastructure is required, which would have not been necessary but for a proposal, Policy R 3 indicates that the development should provide or make a reasonable contribution to their cost. Such payments should however, not be used to bring forward development in inappropriate locations. Within Penwith the existing pattern of development is focused around the towns of Penzance, St. Ives, Hayle and St. Just and the settlements listed in POLICIES H-5, H-6 and H-7 (paras. 8.3.52, 8.3.53 and 8.3.54). The strategy of the Local Plan is to continue to direct development of appropriate scale to these centres in the interests of achieving greater integration, accessibility and sustainability. POLICY CS-1 therefore seeks to ensure that the provision of community facilities and services reflects this approach.

13.3.3 POLICY CS-1:

THE PROVISION OF NEW OR IMPROVED COMMUNITY SERVICES AND FACILITIES MUST BE RELATED TO THE EXISTING AND PROPOSED DISTRIBUTION OF DEVELOPMENT IN TOWNS AND THE VILLAGES LISTED IN POLICIES H-5, H-6 AND H-7.

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Education

13.3.4 Within available resources the County Council is undertaking a programme of school replacement and extension. The Secretary of State for Education has indicated that there may be a need for small extensions to some schools in response to increasing pupil numbers but these are unlikely to have major site implications. In some cases such projects might involve enlarged playing field areas encroaching into Open Areas Related to Settlements (POLICY TV-2 para. 7.3.10). Developments of this type, which are open in nature, are not intended to be precluded from these areas although every effort should be made to minimise any impact. This policy will also be relevant in considering proposals for surplus playing fields where they contribute to local amenity. Where school buildings become surplus to requirements their re-use will be considered in the context of the policies for the conversion of non-residential buildings and POLICY GD-8 (para. 5.3.22).

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Health and Social Services

13.3.5 The West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance has been the subject of a major investment programme. The site of the hospital is tightly constrained by existing development and in order to accommodate the improved facilities an additional area was purchased from the District Council. The future role and capacity of the hospital continues to be an important issue for the District and wider West Cornwall area. As any proposals with site implications are confirmed, they will be considered in the overall context of the Plans policies, particularly those relating to accessibility and the protection of land of specific environmental value. The Social Services Department of the County Council have an area office in Penzance and this Department also administers a small number of residential units for the disabled in the District. In addition the Social Services Department is responsible for the provision of permanent and transit sites for gypsies and this issue is covered by POLICY H-17 (para. 8.3.94) in the Housing section. No additional requirements have been identified.

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Other County Council Services

13.3.6 The County Council is also responsible for a range of further services including libraries, emergency planning, training and the fire service. While no specific requirements have been identified for any of these, guidance notes are available from the Fire Brigade giving details of general access requirements, access facilities to buildings with or without fire mains and the provision of adequate water supplies for fire fighting. The suitability of access for emergency vehicles is identified in paragraph 5.3.12 as an important consideration in relation to the application of POLICY GD-5 (para. 5.3.13).

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Local Community Services

13.3.7 At the local level the District Council provides a number of significant services which include the full range of environmental health responsibilities, refuse collection, street cleaning and beach safety. Most of these functions have minimal land use requirements and are adequately operated from existing offices and depots. The role of the District Council in waste collection is described in paragraph 13.3.12.

13.3.8 In addition to the services provided by the County and District Councils there are numerous activities undertaken by Parish Councils, voluntary bodies and charities which provide a valuable range of services to the local community. These vary from the broad field of assistance offered by organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau to the more specifically targeted work of day centres, luncheon clubs and projects focused on helping the unemployed and other special needs groups. The District Council recognises the important role of these bodies and, within available budgets, provides financial assistance to a significant number.

13.3.9 There is within the District, a large number of premises which provide valuable centres for the provision of the various services mentioned earlier and other community activities. In many cases these are not linked to one specific activity but provide a base for numerous groups. Meeting places, halls, places of worship and public houses are all premises where communal or shared use emphasises their importance to a spectrum of the local community and raises their profile as a focus for a range of activities. Where such premises fulfil a useful function it is important to resist their loss. This can be a particularly significant issue in rural areas where a shortage of community facilities is compounded by inadequate public transport. This can effectively deny some people access to facilities or alternatively, place yet further emphasis on the use of the private car, with a consequent increase in energy use and emissions. The issue of accessibility is considered in the Transport Section (para 12.2.5).Where such facilities make a positive contribution to the needs of the community their loss to other forms of development will not be acceptable. It is possible however, that a situation may arise where a facility can be located more favourably in relation to its potential users, thus reducing the need to travel, or in a better suited building. The Community Plan, Penwith 'A Vision for the Future' (2003) contains Objective C2 which is to “continue to support rural post offices and village stores against any threat of closure”, thus helping to maintain the vital contribution these facilities make to village life.

13.3.10 In addition to protecting the existing range of community facilities it is also important to pursue opportunities to improve the level of provision. However in seeking to expand the breadth and quality of the available facilities it is essential that new provision is well related and integrated with the existing and proposed pattern of development and that the facilities provided are of a scale appropriate to the needs of the locality and conveniently accessible. The policies for the protection of the countryside, the settings of towns and villages and open areas (Section 6 and Section 7) will be particularly important in assessing the wider impact of developments and the suitability of proposed locations. It is possible that the provision of new or improved recreational and sports facilities under POLICY R-1 (para. 11.3.4) will also benefit community organisations.

13.3.11 POLICY CS-2:

PROPOSALS RESULTING IN THE LOSS OF AN EXISTING COMMUNITY FACILITY WILL BE RESISTED WHERE THEY WOULD RESULT IN A SERIOUS DETRIMENT TO THE LOCAL COMMUNITY. PROPOSALS FOR NEW OR IMPROVED LOCAL COMMUNITY FACILITIES WILL BE PERMITTED IN OR ON THE EDGE OF TOWNS AND VILLAGES PROVIDED THAT:-

(i) THE SCALE OF THE FACILITY IS RELATED TO THE NEEDS OF THE LOCALITY; AND

(ii) THERE IS SAFE AND CONVENIENT ACCESS FOR POTENTIAL USERS.

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Waste Management

13.3.12 The County and District Councils, together with the Environment Agency, all have responsibilities in the collection and disposal of waste materials. As part of the development plan the County Council is responsible for preparing a Waste Local Plan and for determining waste related planning applications. The Waste Local Plan, adopted in 2003, addresses the land use implications of waste disposal policies including the need for sites and facilities. The Structure Plan contains policies relating to waste management facilities, proposals for waste disposal and landfilling (Policies W 1 to W 4). In terms of 'on the ground' responsibilities, the County Council is also the Waste Disposal Authority while the District Council is the Waste Collection Authority. The majority of household and commercial waste within the District is collected from wheeled bins, and taken to a landfill site at Connon Bridge, Liskeard via a refuse transfer station adjacent to St. Erth Station. There is also a 'green box' fortnightly recycling collection available to most parts of the District, as well as a village skip service operated by the District Council. The County Council runs two civic amenity sites at Penbeagle Industrial Estate, St. Ives and adjacent to the refuse transfer station at St Erth and private operators run various recycling banks and private skip services throughout the District.

13.3.13 As required by the Environmental Protection Act 1990 the District Council has formulated a Waste Recycling Plan which addresses a wide range of issues including an inventory of waste, current collection and disposal practices, trends, market opportunities, processing and the development of recycling. The Community Plan, Penwith 'A Vision for the Future' (2003) supports recycling through Objective N1, which seeks to increase the amount of waste recycled and composted in Cornwall from 12% to 20% by 2006. There are already several community recycling points within the District primarily dealing with glass, paper, textiles and drink cans. The Waste Recycling Plan anticipates making full use of the County Council's existing or expanded civic amenity facilities for processing materials and accordingly no requirement for additional land is identified. In terms of planning considerations proposals to sort, treat or process waste are the responsibility of the County Council, whilst the Environment Agency is responsible for issuing Authorisations for such activities. However, where facilities are intended only for the collection of materials for recycling they are a matter for the District Council. It is appropriate therefore for the Local Plan to both support the provision and expansion of such facilities and give guidance on the relevant planning issues. The range of materials that might be recycled include paper, glass, wood, stone, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, aluminium, plastic, compost, soil, textiles and oil and it is important that, in the case of local collection facilities, they are accessible to those that are likely to want to use them. It is appropriate therefore to make provision in locations which are already visited by a significant number of people, such as supermarkets or large car parks. If maximum benefit is to be achieved from recycling it is important that it does not generate additional trips, particularly by private car. While the concept of recycling is sound it must be acknowledged that some facilities may be bad neighbours and their effect on the surrounding area must be considered. The provision of effective landscaping will be particularly important (POLICY GD-3, para. 5.3.9). It should be noted that the issue of waste as a source of heat or power is covered under Energy Supply (para. 13.3.30).

13.3.14 POLICY CS-3:

THE PROVISION OF COLLECTION FACILITIES FOR A RANGE OF RECYCLABLE MATERIALS WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT THEY:-

(i) ARE LOCATED ON SITES WHICH ALREADY ATTRACT LARGE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE OR ARE EASILY ACCESSIBLE WITHOUT UNDUE RELIANCE ON THE PRIVATE CARE; AND

(ii) WOULD BE COMPATIBLE WITH SURROUNDING USES.

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Water Services

13.3.15 South West Water is responsible for the provision of water and sewerage services within the District. A substantial investment programme has resulted in most of the difficulties of the past particularly in relation to sewage disposal and treatment, being eliminated. South West Water are tackling remaining problems and where localised difficulties of supply or disposal exist the Local Authority is advised through Consultation Guidance which is regularly updated.

Water Environment

13.3.16 The Environment Agency is charged with protecting and improving the water environment which falls into four broad categories of relevant territorial waters, coastal waters, inland waters and ground waters. This role has resulted in a wide range of responsibilities for the Agency including maintenance and improvement of water quality, conserving water resources, providing effective flood defence, promoting biodiversity and water recreation and improving, maintaining and developing fisheries. However, while the Environment Agency has a regulatory role over some of the factors which affect the hydrological system, it also provides advice via the planning process to promote sustainable land use change in order to minimise adverse impacts on the water environment. The Structure Plan contains a number of policies which are relevant to the consideration of proposals which affect the water environment. Policy MAR 1 requires that development proposals which relate to the coast, estuaries and marine environment be considered against the need to conserve the environment and the economic activity it supports. Policy MAR 2 seeks to avoid significant pollution of marine or coastal waters and MAR 3 identifies that development should not be located in areas at risk of flooding. Within this context it is important that the Local Plan fully addresses those areas where effective land use policies can be applied to protect and improve the water environment. POLICY GD-4 (para. 5.3.11) is particularly important in this respect as it states that, for a development to be acceptable, sewage disposal and water supply facilities must be available and there should be adequate provision for the prevention of flooding on site or elsewhere. As a general principle the Council will support initiatives which lead to improvements to the water environment, including the quality of surface water, and measures to promote sustainable drainage systems and water conservation. Other aspects related to the water environment, including conservation, land reclamation, recreation and access, are covered in the Coast and Countryside section (Section 6) and Recreation section (Section 11).

Flood Risk and Tidal Inundation

13.3.17 New development within either river floodplains or the coastal plain is at risk from flooding and it may increase the possibility of flooding elsewhere through a loss of storage capacity or by impeding the flow of flood water. Land raising in the flood plain can have a similar effect. Policy MAR 3 of the Structure Plan requires that development should not be located in areas at risk of flooding and that any modifications to sea defences should be based on soft engineering and limit the displacement of coastal processes to other sections of the coast. Any modifications should also take into account the potential damaging effects these may have upon nature conservation interests; which should be safeguarded from harm, as highlighted in POLICY CC-10 (para. 6.3.48). It is clearly undesirable to allow development which would have an adverse effect in such areas. In addition it is essential that the integrity and continuity of tidal and fluvial flood defences are maintained and access not denied to them for repair, emergency purposes or future improvement.

13.3.18 The Government's Planning Policy Guidance 'Development and Flood Risk' (PPG 25) aims to reduce the risks to people and the developed and natural environment from flooding. This is reinforced by the Structure Plan Policies ENV15 and MAR3 (Policy 3, 2004). A risk-based approach will be applied when determining applications in relation to flood risk, this will give preference to the development of sites that are at a lower risk of flooding in accordance with the sequential test of PPG25. In order to carry out this risk based approach, an appropriate flood risk assessment is likely to be required to be submitted by the applicant for any application within a river floodplain, washland or coastal floodplain shown on indicative floodplain maps prepared by the Environment Agency; within or adjacent to any watercourse, particularly where there might be the potential for flash flooding, or adjacent to or including any flood bank or other flood control structure. If there is an overriding need for development to be sited in a flood plain, the Environment Agency will be consulted on the effectiveness of mitigating measures, the acceptability of which will also need to be assessed within the context of POLICY CC-14 (para. 6.3.68).

13.3.19 POLICY CS-4:

PROPOSALS FOR DEVELOPMENT WHICH WOULD HAVE AN ADVERSE EFFECT ON THE FOLLOWING WILL NOT BE PERMITTED:-

(i) FLOODPLAINS OR AREAS AT RISK FROM FLOODING, INCLUDING TIDAL INUNDATION;

(ii) TIDAL OR FLUVIAL DEFENCES OR ACCESS TO EXISTING OR FUTURE DEFENCES FOR MAINTENANCE AND EMERGENCY PURPOSES; AND

(iii) WHERE THEY MAY IMPEDE THE FLOW OF FLOOD WATER OR REDUCE STORAGE CAPACITY

IN ASSESSING PROPOSALS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF FLOODPLAINS OR AREAS AT RISK FROM FLOODING, THE COUNCIL WILL GIVE CONSIDERATION TO THE MITIGATORY EFFECTS OF FLOOD PROTECTION MEASURES.

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Groundwater Quality

13.3.20 Groundwater resources are an essential source of water for public supply, industry and agriculture and the cleaning up of contaminated groundwater is both difficult and expensive. POLICY GD-4 (para. 5.3.11) seeks to ensure that development has adequate surface water drainage facilities and that provision is also made to prevent water pollution. However, within this general context it is considered important to avoid developments that would specifically threaten the quality of the groundwater resource.

13.3.21 POLICY CS-5:

PROPOSALS FOR DEVELOPMENT WHICH WOULD ADVERSELY AFFECT THE QUALITY OF GROUNDWATER WILL NOT BE PERMITTED.

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Surface Water Drainage

13.3.22 Consideration of flood issues should not be confined to floodplains. Development throughout a river catchment can have a significant impact on flooding by increasing run-off. This is particularly important in the Penwith District where the relatively small and steep river catchments respond quickly to localised storms. The restriction and reduction of surface water run-off from developments can be encouraged by the provision of surface water storage areas, flow limiting devices in conjunction with storage facilities, or, where ground conditions permit, the use of infiltration areas or soakaways. As well as reducing the total and peak flows of run-off, these systems can contribute substantially to good design in improving amenity and wildlife interest in developments, as well as encouraging natural groundwater recharge.

13.3.23 An appropriate flood risk assessment will be required to be submitted by the developer where the development is of such a size or nature relative to the receiving watercourse or drainage system such that there could be a significant increase in surface water run-off from the area.

13.3.24 POLICY CS-6:

PROPOSALS FOR DEVELOPMENT SHOULD, WHERE PRACTICABLE, INCLUDE MEASURES FOR:-

(i) SOURCE CONTROL TECHNIQUES FOR SURFACE WATER DISPOSAL;

(ii) RAINWATER HARVESTING; AND

(iii) SUSTAINABLE DRAINAGE SYSTEMS.

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Private Sewage Treatment

13.3.25 POLICY GD-4 (para. 5.3.11) makes it clear that for development to be acceptable it must be adequately served with sewerage and sewage treatment facilities. It is important that, where mains drainage facilities are available, new development proposals should utilise these services. Only where connection to the public sewer can be shown to not be feasible taking into account cost and practicability should a private sewage treatment system be considered. Individual private treatment systems can, when inappropriately located or inadequately maintained, cause problems in terms of adverse effects on the local environment, amenity or by causing disturbance and arrangements for their maintenance in the long term should be secured.

13.3.26 POLICY CS-7:

THE USE OF SEPTIC TANKS AND CESSPOOLS WILL NOT BE PERMITTED IN SEWERED AREAS. 'PACKAGE' SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANTS WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT:-

(i) THERE IS NO ADVERSE IMPACT ON THE AMENITY OF THEIR SURROUNDINGS;

(ii) THEY DO NOT CAUSE DISTURBANCE BY NOISE, SMELL OR MAINTENANCE ACTIVITIES; AND

(iii) ARRANGEMENTS FOR ON-GOING MAINTENANCE CAN BE SECURED THROUGH THE USE OF A PLANNING
OBLIGATION.

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Works affecting Watercourses, Waterbodies, River Corridors and the Coast

13.3.27 All types of work in, under, over and adjacent to watercourses (including rivers, streams and ditches), lakes, ponds and the coast need to be properly evaluated in order to avoid damage to the water environment. Uncontrolled works in the vicinity of watercourses may lead to a range of problems including increased risk of flooding; erosion of the beds and banks of watercourses, waterbodies, and the coast; displacement of coastal processes; increased danger to the public; restricted access and damage to the associated river corridor. The culverting of watercourses should be kept to a minimum and usually limited to access purposes; the building over the top of culverted watercourses should be wholly exceptional. An appropriate flood risk assessment will be required to be submitted by the developer where the development is within or adjacent to any watercourse.

13.3.28 The Structure Plan places a general emphasis on development proposals relating to the coast, estuaries and marine environment being considered in relation to the need to conserve the environment (Policies MAR 1 & MAR 3). The Environment Agency will advise upon the impact of such proposals on the water environment and in relevant circumstances an Environmental Assessment may be required. Where it is determined that such works are essential, but will have an adverse impact, mitigation measures will be required. River corridors are important areas of open land which should be protected from inappropriate development which could have an adverse impact on nature conservation, fisheries, landscape, public access or water-related recreation. POLICY CC-10 (para.6.3.48) identifies the need to safeguard the nature conservation interests on inland waterways and POLICY CC-14 (para. 6.3.68) identifies the need to safeguard the nature conservation value of the shoreline and coastal waters.

13.3.29 POLICY CS-8:

PROPOSALS FOR DEVELOPMENT WHICH WOULD AFFECT WATERCOURSES OR THE COAST WILL NOT BE PERMITTED WHERE THEY COULD DAMAGE THE INTEGRITY OF THE WATER ENVIRONMENT. THE CULVERTING OF WATERCOURSES WILL NOT BE ACCEPTABLE WHERE IT WOULD RESULT IN A BREAK IN THE CONTINUITY OF THE RIVER CORRIDOR OR PROBLEMS OF SAFETY, MAINTENANCE OR FLOODING. WHERE PRACTICABLE CULVERTED WATERCOURSES SHOULD BE REOPENED AND RESTORED TO THEIR NATURAL STATE.

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Energy Supply

13.3.30 The District has established distribution networks for both gas and electricity and, through the development plan system and regular consultation, the supplying companies are able to provide input on the availability of services and to develop their networks to meet demand. It is not anticipated that there will be any specific major land requirements related to the maintenance or improvement of these networks. The County Council commissioned the Cornwall Sustainable Energy Partnership (CSEP) to produce a 'Sustainable Energy Strategy for Cornwall' along with an accompanying 'Planning Guidance' document to support the Strategy by providing advice and information to LPAs. Policy ENER 1 of the Structure Plan states that all proposals related to the development of the energy industry will be assessed in terms of their impact on the landscape, agricultural land, nature conservation, the historic environment and amenity. Where such proposals come forward within the District they will be considered within the context of the framework of policies in the Plan, particularly those related to the protection of the countryside and townscape. The Council will continue to press for the undergrounding of overhead power lines where they have an adverse effect on the landscape and urban environment. However, account will also be taken of technical and practical considerations, as well as cost. It should be noted that POLICY GD-2 (para. 5.3.7) requires that development utilises energy efficient building types.

Renewable Energy Sources

13.3.31 Renewable energy is a term applied to continuous energy flows that occur naturally in the environment from the sun, wind, oceans, plants and the fall of water. Energy from wastes from within the earth are also included. National policy is to encourage the development and use of renewable energy resources where they have prospects of being economically viable and environmentally acceptable. The intention is to provide diversity and security of energy supply and to reduce the present adverse environmental impacts of producing energy from fossil fuels, notably carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Accordingly PPG 22 (PPS 22) "Renewable Energy", stresses the advantages of energy from alternative sources over that produced by conventional methods. However, it is also identified that some renewable energy resources can only be utilised where they occur and often sites proposed for development will be in rural areas and on the coast. PPG 22 makes it clear that a balance must be found between utilising the energy resource and the need to take account of the value of designated areas.

13.3.32 Policy ENER 2 of the Structure Plan allows for renewable energy schemes where they are environmentally acceptable having regard to the benefits arising from generating energy from non-fossil sources. The estimates for energy generation from the various sources identified in paragraphs 13.3.33 to 13.3.40 are those quoted in Table ENER 1 of the Structure Plan, and have been identified from ETSU's 'Land Use Planning and Renewable Energy in Cornwall' report.

13.3.33 In formulating the approach of the Local Plan to the generation of energy from renewable sources it is necessary to assess the potential the District offers for the production of energy and the following paragraphs outline various types of projects and their likely relevance to Penwith. The Community Plan, Penwith 'A Vision for the Future' (2003) addresses the need to investigate the use of renewable forms of energy within Penwith through Objective N22.

Wind Power

13.3.34 Wind energy is recognised as one of the most promising renewable resources and the technology is well advanced. Typical turbines are 30 to 35 metres high with two or three blades revolving at 30-50 revolutions per minutes around a horizontal axis. They can be deployed singly, in small clusters or in larger 'wind farms'. A medium sized wind farm might consist of 10 to 25 turbines. Generally turbines need to be located in open exposed areas with high annual mean wind speeds. The ability to connect to the electricity grid is also an important factor in site suitability. Individual turbines and wind farms are highly visible over wide areas and while it is possible to locate such developments in sympathy with the landform and existing features, such as hedges, regard must be paid to their wider landscape impact. They can also cause problems of shadow flicker, reflected light, television and radio interference and noise both from the turbine and the blades. The unusual and novel nature of turbines can also prove distracting to car drivers in some locations. Traffic generation, after construction, is low and their actual land take minimal. It is estimated that allowing for technical requirements, physical constraints and the need to protect designated areas the unexploited practicable wind resource of Cornwall is 65 megawatts. Clearly the exposed and windy nature of Penwith lends itself to the production of energy from this source, but the distinctive scale and character of the landscape in the western part of the District must also be fully taken into account.

Waste Combustion

13.3.35 Fuel for waste combustion can come from a variety of sources including municipal waste, tyres, straw, animal litter and sewage sludge. Municipal waste can be 'mass burnt' or certain elements reclaimed prior to combustion and it is anticipated that in the future an average plant would handle 200,000 tonnes per year. Other low value wastes, such as straw and wood, are expensive to transport and facilities are therefore likely to be small scale and locally orientated. In general terms installations of this type require good access for heavy vehicles and there is usually a need for a tall chimney. Emissions must conform to the requirements of the Environmental Protection Act. If the production of energy from municipal waste is to be pursued a central and accessible location will be required. Any other projects within the District are likely to be limited in scale and restricted to locations close to the source of supply of the raw material. All proposals including the burning of waste will be dealt with by the County Council (para. 13.3.13).

Biogas

13.3.36 Anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge and farm waste produces a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide which can be burnt directly for heating buildings or process heating or used to produce electricity by means of a gas-burning engine/generator set. Power plants intended to process sewage sludge are likely to be installed at existing sewage treatment works and consequently may not be particularly intrusive. However, a flare stack may be required to burn unwanted gas and these can have a significant impact and cause problems of noise. Farm installations are likely to be very limited in scale and can often be located in existing buildings. Within Penwith there may be some capacity to install a plant at the Start Plantation Sewage Works at St. Erth but other than this such plants are likely to be of the small 'on farm' type with very limited impact.

Energy Forestry and Crops

13.3.37 While waste material from woodland and forest management can be used as a fuel to produce energy, commercial production usually requires specialist wood crops such as willow or poplar. These crops can be grown on a two to three year rotation period and arable coppicing must be seen as a relatively long-term commitment as no harvest or income will be generated for three to four years. Straw, whole crop cereals and high yield tropical alternatives, which might be suited to Cornwall, can also be used. The growth of such crops could be undertaken on 'set aside' land and the production of crops for fuel could prove a valuable form of diversification for local farmers. This aspect is referred to in paragraph 9.3.30 of the Employment section. As installations of up to 2 megawatts output can be successfully located in many traditional farm buildings they need not be visually intrusive. However, there will be a need for a chimney stack and, if the wood is chipped on site, the noise will be similar to a saw-mill. The delivery of the raw material from off-site sources will require a considerable number of traffic movements. By far the greatest visual impact will come from the growing of the crops, an operation which does not require planning permission. Within Cornwall it is estimated that a resource of 17 megawatts per year is available based on willow coppice only. It is possible that production of suitable crops could be undertaken in Penwith particularly in the more sheltered areas.

Solar Energy

13.3.38 Active solar systems are those which collect the sun's radiation and transfer it in the form of heat to water or air. Direct sunlight is not necessary to make these systems effective. Passive solar design uses a building's form, fabric and orientation to capture, store and distribute solar energy with a consequent reduction in demand for additional heat and light. The installation of active solar systems usually involves fitting panels to the roof or a collector system in the garden. The visual impact of such installations will vary depending upon their context but particular attention should be paid to their impact in Conservation Areas (POLICY TV-6, para. 7.3.19), on Listed Buildings (POLICY TV-10, para. 7.3.28) and in other sensitive locations. While the total resource for Cornwall has been identified as 1.5 megawatts this is a form of energy which is available throughout the District and can be generated at the point of use with limited impact. POLICY GD-2 (para. 5.3.7) requires development to maximise passive solar gain.

Hydro-Power

13.3.39 The majority of projects which harness water power produce electricity and, whilst some older installations include a dam and storage reservoir, new developments are likely to be small in scale and to utilise a natural pool or headpond to supply a turbine via a conduit. The turbine can be installed in a building the size of a domestic garage. While water channels and the building are likely to be visible these may not be detrimental to the landscape or may be screened. Problems of noise are minimal and traffic movements very light. The generation capacity of Cornwall is estimated at 0.75 megawatts and within this figure the resource available in Penwith is likely to be very limited.

Landfill Gas

13.3.40 Landfill gas, which is principally a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide, may be used as a source of energy through combustion for heating or for electricity generation. In order to exploit landfill gas a site must be provided with a gas collection system and the necessary plant for energy generation. Clearly this type of gas is only available in commercially viable quantities from fairly extensive landfill sites. As there are no significant sites of this type at present operational in Penwith there is no prospect of producing energy from this source.

Wave Hub and Tidal Barriers

13.3.41 Wave Hub consists of an electrical 'socket' connecting arrays of wave-powered electricity generators to the national grid. The best area for wave energy has been identified as being close to the electricity grid off the North Cornwall coast. Critical constraints are the wave and sea areas excluded by a variety of other established users. Taking into account water depth, seabed condition, shipping lanes, the MOD practice firing range and following consultation with the fishing industry, SWRDA have established that the best place for a wave hub would be about 10 miles off the coast of Hayle. Tidal barrages work by placing turbines in a barrage to harness the movement of the tide to generate electricity. There is a particularly high tidal range along the west coast of England which creates favourable conditions for this type of electricity generation, however, the only location identified in Cornwall as being suitable for a major scheme of this type is the Camel Estuary.

13.3.42 From the foregoing it is apparent that the most likely sources of renewable energy within Penwith are wave, wind, energy crops and biogas. The last two mentioned are likely to involve relatively small generating plants which, with careful siting, could be well related to existing enterprises or installations. The growing of energy crops could have visual impact but this is beyond planning control. Without doubt it is the exploitation of wind power which could have the greatest implications for the District.

13.3.43 As a matter of principle the production of energy from renewable sources is one that should be supported. However, if renewable energy generation proves to be commercially viable the exploitation of the resource could have significant implications for the environment and it is essential that any proposals are judged within the context of all the relevant policies in the Local Plan, particularly those in the General Development Guidance section (Section 5) and those intended to protect areas and sites of landscape, nature conservation, historic and scientific value. In addition it is important to ensure that specific projects do not adversely effect the character of the area in which they are located or cause disturbance. Within the areas designated as AONB and Heritage Coast, the need for renewable energy development will be assessed against the specific features or qualities which justified the designation.

13.3.44 POLICY CS-9:

PROPOSALS FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY SCHEMES WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT ANY ADVERSE IMPACT ON THE CHARACTER OR NATURE CONSERVATION INTERESTS OF THE SURROUNDING AREA OR LIKELY SIGNIFICANT DISTURBANCE BY NOISE, SMELL, DUST, VIBRATION OR MAINTENANCE ACTIVITIES ARE OUTWEIGHED BY THE NEED FOR THE DEVELOPMENT. WHERE PROPOSALS INVOLVE THE GENERATION OF ENERGY FROM WIND POWER THEY MUST NOT CONFLICT WITH POLICY CS-10.

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13.3.45 While one of the significant potential sources of renewable energy in Penwith is wind power it is also one which has the most significant visual impact. Policy ENER 2 of the Structure Plan identifies that provision should be made for the development of renewable energy schemes which are environmentally acceptable but that in so doing account should be taken of landscape impact and the effect on agricultural land and measures taken to minimise impact on local amenity and to secure the removal of redundant installations. In considering proposals for wind turbines, either individually or in groups, it is essential that they meet the terms of POLICY CS-9 (para. 13.3.44) and to ensure that their operation would not constitute a risk to public safety or cause problems of interference or disturbance. Where wind energy projects are acceptable the Council will wish to conclude a planning obligation to secure the removal of the generating equipment and ancillary installations should the enterprise cease operations; as due to the alien physical dominance of wind installations, their continued existence in the countryside, when they become redundant, would be unacceptable in landscape terms. Also, developer funded remediation of interference with telecommunications may be appropriate. The AONB and Heritage Coast within Penwith together cover the greater part of the coast and the central moorland. The landscape within these is very open and the views, both across the peninsula and along the coast, are extensive. The overall impression is of an unspoilt landscape with a wild and timeless character. The development of large turbines or groups of turbines would have a significantly detrimental effect on these designations by being visible over considerable distances, breaking the continuity of the coast and introducing dominant, modern industrial structures which are totally alien. Proposals for such developments in areas adjoining the AONB could also have an adverse visual impact which would prove detrimental to the amenity and enjoyment of the designated area. It is vital that the AONB and Heritage Coast are protected from potentially damaging developments and accordingly only small single turbines located in or adjacent to existing complexes will be acceptable. Proposals for wind energy projects within the AONB, Heritage Coast, or in locations which would have an effect on the AONB must be considered in the context of POLICIES CC-3 and CC-4 (paras. 6.3.13 and 6.3.18).

13.3.46 POLICY CS-10:

PROPOSALS FOR INDIVIDUAL WIND TURBINES, GROUPS OF TURBINES OR WIND FARMS WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT:-

(i) THEY MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF POLICY CS-9;

(ii) THEY WOULD NOT POSE A RISK TO PUBLIC SAFETY OR CAUSE DISTURBANCE BY SHADOW FLICKER, REFLECTED LIGHT OR INTERFERENCE WITH TELECOMMUNICATION RECEPTION; AND

(iii) MEASURES TO ENSURE THE REMOVAL OF INSTALLATIONS, SHOULD THEY CEASE TO OPERATE, AND THE RESTORATION OF THE SITE CAN BE SECURED THROUGH THE USE OF CONDITIONS OR A PLANNING OBLIGATION.

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Telecommunications

13.3.47 Planning Policy Guidance "Telecommunications" (PPG 8) makes it clear that the Government supports the development of the present networks and future new technologies. While it is accepted that environmental considerations need to be weighed in the balance it is expected that, with certain safeguards, the planning system will enable comprehensive and adequate coverage to be achieved. The needs of the different technologies often limit the locations where equipment can be installed. Frequently 'line of sight' requirements or a need to place receiving and transmitting apparatus above other 'clutter' such as building and trees results in locations on high and open ground being preferred. Penwith already contains a number of installations of varying sizes and there is a notable concentration within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty between St. Just and Land's End. While the location of the District in the far west of the country may make it significant in some areas of communication, for example aircraft navigation aids, the lack of a large land mass should reduce the need for equipment related to other networks such as the 'cell' systems.

13.3.48 Whilst it is accepted that there are certain constraints on the placing of telecommunications equipment, careful siting and the avoidance of sensitive locations such as the designated areas, Conservation Areas and the setting of Listed Buildings can considerably reduce the effect of installations and public reaction. Whilst it is accepted that there are technical limitations all proposals for telecommunications equipment will be expected to be located, designed and coloured in such a way as to minimise their impact on both the wider area and the immediate locality. It is acknowledged that equipment of this type does not readily lend itself to being hidden. However, every opportunity should be taken to screen buildings and lower sections of masts where this is appropriate in landscape terms. The pace of technology development in telecommunications is rapid and the Council will seek planning obligations or planning conditions to ensure the removal of equipment should it cease to operate, and the subsequent restoration of the site. Due to the alien intrusion of telecommunications equipment its continued presence in the countryside, once it has become redundant, would be unacceptable in landscape terms. Where a proposal is for a large mast or tower the Council will need to be satisfied that it is not possible to use an existing structure or building and where equipment is to be located on an existing building it must, within technical limitations, be located in such a way as to minimise the impact on the appearance of the building. It is considered appropriate to limit the development of telecommunications installations in the AONB and Heritage Coast to those for which there is no practicable alternative site.

13.3.49 At a domestic scale there is an increasing demand for satellite television receivers. While the installation of satellite dishes may fall within permitted development there can be occasions where exercising such a right could have a serious effect on amenity. In certain circumstances the local planning authority can intervene where the conditions of the permitted development have not been fully complied with and householders are advised to obtain "A Householder's Planning Guide for the Installation of Satellite Television Dishes" from the Department of the Environment and Transport or contact the Planning and Building Control Service for advice.

13.3.50 Revised PPG8 “Telecommunications” states that “if a proposed mobile 'phone base station meets the I.C.N.I.R.P. guidelines for public exposure it should not be necessary for a local planning authority, in processing an application for planning permission or prior approval, to consider the further health aspects and concerns about them. While health issues are likely to remain a matter of public concern, if a proposal meets the I.C.N.I.R.P. guidelines, it is not necessary to consider health matters any further.”

13.3.51 POLICY CS-11:

PROPOSALS FOR TELECOMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT:-

(i) THEY UTILISE LOCATIONS, AS FAR AS TECHNICALLY FEASIBLE, WHICH MINIMISE THE IMPACT ON THE CHARACTER AND AMENITY OF THE WIDER LANDSCAPE;

(ii) THEY ARE SITED, DESIGNED AND COLOURED TO MINIMISE THE EFFECT ON RESIDENTIAL AMENITY, LOCAL LANDSCAPE FEATURES AND THE SETTING OF SETTLEMENTS; AND

(iii) THEY INCORPORATE, WHERE APPROPRIATE, LANDSCAPING AND PLANTING TO INTEGRATE THE DEVELOPMENT WITH ITS SURROUNDINGS AND IN THE CASE OF A LARGE MAST OR TOWER IT MUST BE DEMONSTRATED THAT THE USE OF AN EXISTING MAST, TOWER OR OTHER TALL BUILDING OR STRUCTURE IS IMPRACTICABLE. WHERE THE PROPOSAL IS TO INSTALL EQUIPMENT ON A BUILDING IT MUST, AS FAR AS PRACTICABLE, BE POSITIONED TO MINIMISE THE EFFECT ON EXTERNAL APPEARANCE.

WITHIN THE AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY AND HERITAGE COAST SUCH PROPOSALS WILL NOT BE PERMITTED UNLESS THERE IS NO PRACTICABLE ALTERNATIVE LOCATION OUTSIDE THE DESIGNATIONS.

Note: Where a determination as to whether approval of siting and appearance is necessary the Local Planning Authority will require prior approval where the proposal does not comply with the above policy. The Local Planning Authority will intervene to seek the relocation of an antenna installed under permitted development rights where it does not comply with the above policy.

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Summary of POLICIES and PROPOSALS

TOPIC LOCAL PLAN POLICIES/PROPOSALS STRUCTURE PLAN POLICIES 1997 (2004)
Community services and facilities CS-1 R 1, R 3 (Policy 26)
Education (GD-8, TV-2)  
Health and Social Services (H-17)  
Other County Council services (GD-5)  
Local community services CS-2, (R-1)  
Waste disposal and recycling CS-3 (GD-3)  
Water environment GD-4 W 1 to W 4 (Policy 6)
Flooding/Inundation CS-4 (CC-14) MAR 1 to MAR 3, R 1
Groundwater CS-5 (GD-4) MAR 3 (Policy 3)
Private sewage treatment CS-7 (GD-4)  
Watercourses, waterbodies and the coast CS-8 (CC-14) MAR 1 (Policy 4)
Drainage CS-6  
Energy supply (GD-2) ENER 1 (Policies 7 & 3)
Renewable energy sources CS-9 (GD-2) ENER 2
Wind power CS-10, (CC-3, CC-4) ENER 2
Telecommunications CS-11  
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