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6. Policies for management of development


6.1 This chapter sets out the detailed Policies for Management of Development, which, in conjunction with the Thematic and Strategic Spatial Policies, are the basis for the determination of planning applications for the development and use of land and buildings.

6.2 Some of the policies in this chapter are set out in similar themes to the Thematic Policies so that the links can be clearly identified. Each policy is presented within a box which also includes the link to the key diagram/maps. The policies do not, for the most part, include cross references to the Thematic and Strategic Spatial Policies as all the policies are inter-related to one another and should be read together.

6.3 The explanatory text provides clear justification for the policy, its links to national, regional and local strategies and other sources forming the evidence base.

6.4 The implementation of the Policies for Management of Development is important in facilitating the delivery of some of the Strategic Spatial, Thematic Policies and the Spatial Objectives set out in the Core Strategy.



6.5 The main sources of pollution in Thurrock are emissions from road transport and industrial processes. Although in recent decades, cleaner fuels and the implementation of pollution control policies have led to some reductions, pollution attributed to motor vehicles remains, with heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) being the main contributors. Thurrock has fifteen Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) mainly in the west of the Borough, in close proximity to major transport routes, such as the M25 and A13.

6.6. Owing to Thurrock’s industrial and extensive quarrying and land-filling past, the area has a legacy of contaminated land.  Consequently it also has land where stability may be an issue.  Some of this land lies within the urban area where development needs to take place to avoid intrusion into the Green Belt.

6.7 The Borough also has a history of incompatible land uses, with housing having been developed next to heavy industries.  This has resulted in a poor living environment.  The Council’s aspiration is to break from previous trends and to minimise pollution, enhance local amenity and provide safe and healthy environments for the community.  The Council does not wish legitimate business activities to have to be curtailed because of the introduction of sensitive uses in locations where their presence would be likely to lead to restrictions over business activity having to be imposed in order to avoid unacceptable nuisance to those sensitive uses, unless that is part of the planned change of an area.

6.8 The Council will be guided by the NPPF, EC Directive 2000/60/EC and Environmental Agency Acts to assess the implications of development, and will seek compliance with, and contribution to, EU limit values and national objectives for pollutants taking into the presence of AQMAs.

6.9 In implementing this policy the Council will liaise closely with the Environment Agency and other relevant pollution control bodies.

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

6.10 The Council is required to periodically review and assess strategies relating to pollution control under the environment protection legislation.


  1. Development will not be permitted where it would cause or is likely to cause unacceptable effects on:
    1. the amenities of the area;
    2. the amenity, health or safety of others;
    3. the amenity, health or safety of future occupiers of the site; or
    4. the natural environment.
  2. Particular consideration will be given to the location of sensitive land uses, especially housing, schools and health facilities, and nationally, regionally and locally designated biodiversity sites, and areas of recreational and amenity value which are relatively undisturbed by noise and valued for this reason.
  3. The Council will require assessments to accompany planning applications where it has reasonable grounds to believe that a development may suffer from, or cause:
    1. Air pollution;
    2. Noise pollution;
    3. Contaminated land/soil;
    4. Odour;
    5. Light pollution and shadow flicker;
    6. Water pollution;
    7. Invasion of privacy;
    8. Visual intrusion;
    9. Loss of light;
    10. Ground instability;
    11. Vibration
  4. Where the assessment confirms such potential harm, planning permission will only be granted if satisfactory solutions can be achieved through design, or suitable mitigation measures can be put in place through conditions or a planning obligation.  Where an assessment is not forthcoming the Council may refuse permission on a precautionary basis.
  5. The Council will seek compliance with, and contribution to, EU limit values or national objectives for pollutants, taking into account the presence of Air Quality Management Areas and the cumulative impacts on air quality in local areas arising from individual sites.
  6. In the interests of supporting legitimate business activity pursuant to policy CSSP2 the Council will resist the introduction of sensitive uses in locations where their presence would be likely to lead to unreasonable restrictions over business activity having to be imposed in order to avoid unacceptable nuisance to those sensitive uses.  Exceptionally the Council may accept co-location of sensitive uses with business uses where the sensitive uses are part of approved proposals for the redevelopment of a wider area from business use to a predominantly residential use.

Key Diagrams and Maps

 Not Applicable



6.11 Thurrock has an environment of surprising contrast of industry, housing, infrastructure, farming and wildlife habitats. In some cases this has led to fragmented character and poor quality of physical and visual linkages. To rectify these deficiencies, the Council considers it essential that new schemes are built to appropriate design and layout standards to protect and enhance the quality and value of the built environment, natural assets and amenity on and around the development site.  The NPPF states that good design is a key aspect of sustainable development, is indivisible from good planning, and should contribute positively to making places better for people.  It further states that it is important to plan positively for the achievement of high quality and inclusive design for all development including individual buildings, public and private spaces and wider area development schemes.  Development should function well and add to the quality of the area, not just for the short term but over the lifetime of the development.  Thurrock Council fully embraces these objectives.  This policy sets out the criteria that will be assessed when considering schemes to ensure that their design and layout contributes to a high quality accessible environment in Thurrock.

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

6.12 Thurrock Council has commissioned a number of studies which appraise the characteristics of the Borough, including seven Conservation Area Appraisals, the Landscape Capacity Study (2005), the Urban Character Study (2005) and the Thurrock Unitary Historic Environment Characterisation Project (2009).  These studies form a basis for good design in Thurrock by providing developers with initial information and guidance on how to approach the design of individual sites. The Council’s forthcoming Design and Sustainability SPD and Layout and Standards SPD will provide guidance in securing high quality designs in Thurrock.


1. The Council requires all design proposals to respond to the sensitivity of the site and its surroundings, to optimize the potential of the site to accommodate development, to fully investigate the magnitude of change that would result from the proposals, and mitigate against negative impacts.

All development proposals must satisfy the following criteria:

  1. Character - Development must contribute positively to the character of the area in which it is proposed, and to surrounding areas that may be affected by it. It should seek to contribute positively to local views, townscape, heritage assets and natural features, and contribute to the creation of a positive sense of place.
  2. Continuity - Development proposals must promote continuity of street frontages and provide active ground floor frontages as far as reasonably possible.
  3. Public Realm - New development should contribute to improvements in the public realm by contributing sensitive planting, street furniture, appropriate lighting and public art where appropriate. The quality of the design and detailing of all development, including interfacing elements such as facades, steps and walls should be robust, engaging and contribute positively to the public realm.
  4. Public and Private Amenity space - Development proposals must provide adequate public and private amenity space in accordance with Thurrock’s relevant adopted standards, particularly in areas with identified deficiencies. It should be attractive, safe, uncluttered, readily accessible and should promote play.
  5. Accessibility - Development proposals must allow easy and safe access for all members of the community. Development must also integrate land uses and all modes of transport but pedestrians and cyclists must be given priority over traffic in scheme design.
  6. Permeability and Legibility - Development should promote connections between places that people wish to use, including public transport links, community facilities and the Greengrid. Development should be designed to help people find their way and must be legible for all members of the community, providing recognisable routes using landmarks and signage where appropriate. 
  7. Safety and Security - Development proposals must create safe and secure environments and reduce the scope for crime and fear of crime. Where appropriate, proposals should adopt the principles of Designing Out Crime set out in the Police Service’s publication ‘Secured by Design’.
  8. Landscape - Features contributing to the natural landscape in the Borough, such as woods, hedges, specimen trees, unimproved grassland, ponds and marshes, will be protected and where appropriate enhanced to maintain their landscape and wildlife value. Provision and enhancement of landscape features will also be required to contribute to multiple uses and/or eco-system services, including amenity, recreation, flood alleviation and Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems.
  9. Diversity - Development proposals must promote variety and choice through a mix of mutually compatible developments and uses. 
  10. Utilities - Development proposals must accommodate public services and utilities without compromising design and layout. This includes providing suitable access to maintenance, waste and emergency service vehicles.
  11. Energy and Resource use - Development should be designed to minimise energy and resource use. This includes integrating sustainable construction techniques, siting and orientation of buildings to maximise energy and water efficiency.
  12. Layout - The layout of all development should optimise the assets of the site, while conforming to the appropriate standards for layout, design and access set out in the Layout and Standards SPD.  

2. In the interests of encouraging good design the Council will require residential developers to carry out robust assessments of their proposals using the Building for Life 12 questions, where the questions are relevant to the development being proposed, and submit such assessments in support of planning applications.  The Council will use these questions as the basis for discussions with intending developers both before and after submission of planning applications.  The objective will be to arrive at a mutually agreed assessment of proposals prior to a decision being made where there are no ‘red’ outcomes and where the only ‘amber’ outcomes are those where the characteristics of the site and its circumstances are such as to make ‘green’ outcomes unachievable.

3. The Council will encourage pre-application discussions and design review of development proposals by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and/or other relevant bodies, and in relation to proposals having a wider impact, will wish to see that developers have worked closely with local communities to arrive at proposals that take account of their views.

4. Where the Council has produced a design brief for a site or sites, developers will be obliged to meet its detailed requirements.

Key Diagrams and Maps

Not Applicable



6.13 Thurrock has a number of tall residential, commercial and industrial buildings, located principally in Grays, Chadwell St Mary and Tilbury, and on the River Thames.  These buildings have a role in marking the settlements in which they are located, although their effects on the landscape and the community can be negative as well as positive. 

6.14 The Council wishes to adopt a positive approach to assessing tall building proposals.  It recognises that they can enhance the quality of the environment in Thurrock, so long as they are developed in appropriate locations, are of high quality design, and can be shown to make a positive contribution to the landscape and the quality of life of residents.

6.15 There are several locations within Thurrock’s commercial areas where tall buildings would not necessarily be out of keeping, owing to the existing context. In many areas within Thurrock, however, tall buildings are not appropriate in urban and landscape design terms.

6.16  Against the background of design guidance set out in the NPPF Thurrock will operate its tall buildings policy in accordance with guidance recognised as best practice, such as ‘Guidance on Tall buildings’ (2007), published by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and English Heritage.

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

6.17 This policy is informed by Thurrock Council’s Urban Character Study (2005), Thurrock Landscape Capacity Study (2005), Thurrock Unitary Historic Environment Characterisation Project (2009) which assesses the features and sensitivity of each settlement including the types of development options acceptable. 


1. The Council defines tall buildings as:

  1. Buildings of more than six storeys or a height of two storeys above the prevalent form of development, whichever is the lesser, within an established primarily residential area; or
  2. Buildings of more than six storeys in other locations including recently developed, predominantly residential neighbourhoods.

2. Thurrock will assess applications for tall buildings against the Criteria for Evaluation set out in Section 4 of the CABE/English Heritage publication ‘Guidance on Tall Buildings’ (2007).  The Council will only support those applications, which respond positively to all the relevant criteria. The relevant criteria in Thurrock are:   

  1. The relationship to context
  2. The effect on historic assets
  3. The relationship to transport infrastructure
  4. The architectural quality of the proposal
  5. The sustainable design and construction of the proposal
  6. The credibility of the design, both technically and financially
  7. The contribution to public space and facilities
  8. The effect on the local environment
  9. The contribution made to permeability
  10. The provision of a well designed environment

3. .Applicants must demonstrate that they have considered this guidance in detail and have used it as a basis to develop their scheme design.

4. Applicants must demonstrate that their proposals are also in accordance with other policies in this plan, including PMD2 - Design and Layout, and the Design and Sustainability SPD, when published.  

5. Applications will only be granted in locations identified in the Adopted Site Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map. 

6. Proposals for tall buildings in Thurrock will only be considered acceptable, outside of the locations (included in the Adopted Site Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and shown on the Proposals Map), in exceptional circumstances. Such exceptional circumstances will arise only when an applicant can demonstrate that a tall building will act as a catalyst for long term regeneration, with significant social, economic and environmental benefits for the local community, while also meeting the requirements of the criteria above and other relevant policies.

7. Applications for outline permission for tall buildings should not be submitted; detailed applications will be required.

8. Tall structures that cannot be occupied (such as silos, telecommunication masts, wind turbines, and chimneys) are not considered tall buildings by the Council and will be dealt with on their own merits, taking into account other relevant policies in the plan and as many of the CABE/English Heritage Criteria for Evaluation (above) that are relevant.

Key Diagram and Maps

Sites will be included in the Adopted Sites Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map.



6.18 Thurrock’s architectural, archaeological and historic heritage is made up of both statutorily and non-statutorily protected assets.  The Council is committed to preserving or enhancing those assets for the benefit of current and future generations, by controlling development affecting their fabric or setting.

6.19 Statutorily protected heritage assets include Listed Buildings, Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Archaeological sites, Conservation Areas, and Historic Parks and Gardens.  The Council also recognises the importance of non-statutorily protected heritage assets, such as ancient woodlands, landscapes and hedgerows, as well as those assets on the Thurrock Heritage at Risk Register and the Local Listing.

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

6.20 The Council has produced a Character Appraisal for each of its seven Conservation Areas which evaluates the special interest and significance of these areas and sets out how they will be preserved and enhanced.  The Council’s Thurrock Heritage at Risk Register identifies the Borough’s Listed Buildings in need of repair and/or maintenance which will be reviewed annually.


The Council will ensure that the fabric and setting of heritage assets, including Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas, Scheduled Monuments and other important archeological sites, and historic landscape features are appropriately protected and enhanced in accordance with their significance.

  1. The Council will also require new development to take all reasonable steps to retain and incorporate non-statutorily protected heritage assets contributing to the quality of Thurrock’s broader historic environment.
  2. Applications must demonstrate that they contribute positively to the special qualities and local distinctiveness of Thurrock, through compliance with local heritage guidance including:
    1. Conservation Area Character Appraisals;
    2. Conservation Area Management Proposals; 
    3. Other relevant Thurrock-based studies, including the Landscape Capacity Study (2005), the Thurrock Urban Character Study (2007) and the Thurrock Unitary Historic Environment Characterisation Project (2009).
    4. Further local guidance as it is developed.
  3. The Council will follow the approach set out in the NPPF in the determination of applications affecting Thurrock’s built or archaeological heritage assets including the expectation that the relevant historic environment record will be consulted and the heritage asset(s) assessed using appropriate expertise where necessary.  This will include consideration of alterations, extensions or demolition of Listed Buildings or the demolition of unlisted buildings within Conservation Areas, and requirements for pre-determination archaeological evaluations and for preservation of archaeology in situ or by recording.

Key Diagram and Maps

Map 4: Location of Landscape Character Areas
Map 6: Location of Listed Buildings, Scheduled Monuments and Conservation Areas



6.21 Open spaces, outdoor sports and recreational facilities contribute to national objectives to promote social inclusion and community cohesion, mental and physical health and wellbeing, and regeneration. They also often contribute to biodiversity, nature conservation and other multi-functional uses in the Borough. The existing facilities in Thurrock are important assets which serve the communities in which they are located; their importance relates not only to their function but also to their amenity value, contribution to local character and distinctiveness and to Thurrock’s Greengrid.

6.22 The provision of high quality, well managed and accessible open spaces, outdoor sports and recreational facilities is central, therefore, to Thurrock’s aim of improving the sense of place in the Borough and enabling the community to benefit from sport and leisure activities. These facilities will help address local deficiencies and needs. In addition, developer contributions will also be expected to address Borough wide Greengrid requirements (Policies CSTP18 and PMD16).

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

6.23 The NPPF states that planning policies for open space, sports and recreational facilities should be based on robust and up-to-date need assessments.  Thurrock Council undertook quantitative and qualitative assessments of existing local provision and deficiencies in open space in the Community Needs and Open Spaces Study (2005).  The findings inform local policy and strategy development, and enable the determination of locally derived standards of provision. The study has informed the Thurrock Open Spaces Strategy 2006-2011 and the related Play Strategy for Thurrock: The Thurrock Play Partnership 2007-2017.

6.24 Thurrock’s Refreshed Cultural Strategy (2006) also recognises that sports events, facilities and development, clubs, health and wellbeing initiatives, physical activity, parks and open spaces, children’s play, playgrounds and play activities all contribute towards the cultural life of Thurrock and are important elements in enriching the quality of life of residents and improving the economic prospects of the area.

6.25 The Sports and Active Recreation Strategy for Thurrock (Thurrock Council, TTGDC and Sport England, 2010) amplifies previous work, such as the Thurrock Open Space Strategy 2006-2011, with the objective of ensuring that the Borough has a sports and active recreation facility infrastructure which meet the needs of existing and future residents and visitors.

6.26 The Council has commissioned a Thurrock Outdoor Sports Strategy which refers to the extent and nature of deficiencies in outdoor sport provision in the Borough.



1. The Council will safeguard all existing open spaces, outdoor sports and recreational facilities. Development proposals that would result in their complete or partial loss or cause or worsen a deficiency in the area served by the space or facility will not be permitted unless:

  1. conveniently located and accessible alternative facilities of an equivalent or improved standard will be provided to serve current and potential new users; or improvements to remaining spaces or facilities can be provided to a level sufficient to outweigh the loss;
  2. proposals would not negatively affect the character of the area and/or the Greengrid.

Any alternative and improved facilities should be available for use before an existing open space or facility is lost.

2. The Council may also allow:

  1. a partial loss of an open space or outdoor sports pitch site, where that partial loss would be due to the development of facilities ancillary to the use of that space or site (e.g. changing rooms) and would not result in a loss in the quality or number of pitches provided and their use; or
  2. the redevelopment of an existing open space, outdoor sports or recreational facility where redevelopment would incorporate a type of open space, outdoor sports, or recreational facility for which there is greater need.


3. Proposed development must ensure that:

  1. New open spaces, outdoor sports and recreational facilities are provided in accordance with adopted standards to meet the needs of the development and to address deficiencies.
  2. New facilities are fully integrated into the design of development schemes as an element of place making.
  3. Facilities are safe and easily accessible to all.    

Where the Council considers that provision on-site is not feasible or appropriate, it will require developer contributions to improve existing, or provide new, spaces or facilities elsewhere.


4. The standards for the quantity and quality of open spaces, sports and recreational facilities and accessibility to them that the Council will require to be met are set out in the Layout and Standards SPD (Appendix 5 provides current standards). Consideration should also be given to the Design and Sustainability SPD and the Developer Contributions SPD, which provide related information.

5. In addition, the Council has the following specific requirements:

  1. Children’s Play Space:
    1. Residential development resulting in a net increase in dwellings of two or more bedrooms will be required to contribute to the provision of Children’s Play Space.
    2. Local Areas for Play (LAP’s) should be provided on-site, unless this is proven to be impracticable given site constraints.
    3. LAP’s should be located in a position close to the homes of residents, where they will be safe and secure, as these play spaces are for very young children. 
    4. Local Equipped Area for Play (LEAP’s) and Neighbourhood Equipped Area for Play (NEAP) may be located on-site or off-site, depending on local requirements. Where provision will be off-site, developer contributions will be required.
  2. Outdoor Sport Facilities (including playing pitches, courts and greens):
    1. New developments will be required to contribute to the provision of appropriate outdoor sports facilities. 
    2. All sports and recreational facilities are required to incorporate appropriate ancillary facilities, such as changing rooms and parking to ensure access for the whole community.
  3. Allotments:
    1. The redevelopment of existing allotment sites for other uses will only be permitted where it can clearly be shown that the facility is no longer required or that it can be adequately and conveniently replaced elsewhere without a loss of biodiversity value.
  4. Exemptions:
    1. Sheltered dwellings, nursing and residential homes, residential extensions and annexes, and temporary dwellings will not be required to provide or contribute towards Children’s Play Space, Outdoor Sports Facilities or Allotments.
    2. Redevelopment schemes where there is no net gain in the number of bed spaces will also be exempt from the provisions of 5(I), 5(II) and 5 (III) above.

Key Diagrams and Maps

Map 3: Location of Greengrid



6.27 Approximately 60% of the total land within Thurrock is designated as Metropolitan Green Belt. The Council considers it important to provide robust strategic and management of development policies to ensure the delivery of high quality development throughout the Borough.

6.28 A problem frequently associated with the urban fringe in the Green Belt is the growing demand for horse-keeping facilities. Horse riding as an activity requires significant areas of open land and there is a demand for a variety of facilities for this use, ranging from commercial riding schools to domestic stables. In land use terms, the main difference between private and commercial stabling is that the level of activity and size and number of buildings generated by commercial establishments tends to be much greater and makes the siting of such developments particularly sensitive. Traffic generation and car parking requirements associated with such uses also need to be the subject of careful consideration.

6.29 Planning applications for stud farms and livery stables are often accompanied by the request for a dwelling for security reasons. It is a principle of Green Belt policy guidance that development should not be permitted, which will generate additional employment resulting in the demand for new dwellings.

6.30 With regard to stables, the standard of one horse per 0.6 ha of grazing land is required in order that the land is not over-grazed and thus remains self-sufficient in terms of food supply. It is the standard recommended by the British Horse Society. Over-grazing causes visual and ecological harm to the landscape, and the importation of feedstocks permits an over intense use of land and a greater presence of stable buildings. Application of the standard will ensure that the number of stables present on a site is ancillary to the use of the land for grazing.  

6.31 There are a number of localities within the Green Belt, comprising well defined frontages of tightly knit development identified by the Council as Established Residential Frontages, where there can be some relaxation of normal Green Belt Policy without harm to the objectives of the Green Belt.  

6.32 Although generally open in character the Green Belt contains various buildings which should only be developed or redeveloped in ways consistent with the objectives of Green Belt policy.  This policy sets out clear guidance on the types of development that will be permitted within Thurrock’s Green Belt and the reasonable limitations that will apply to those developments.

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

6.33 The Green Belt in Thurrock is protected and maintained though the principles set out in Government guidance.  The Council will produce a Supplementary Planning Document to provide guidance on how the Council will define disproportionate additions and materially larger replacement buildings.  The Thurrock Greengrid Strategy principle puts the natural environment at the centre of land use management and development in Thurrock.


The Council will maintain, protect and enhance the open character of the Green Belt in Thurrock in accordance with the provisions of the NPPF.  The Council will plan positively to enhance the beneficial use of the Green Belt by looking for opportunities to provide access to the countryside, provide opportunities for outdoor sport and recreation, to retain and enhance landscapes, visual amenity and biodiversity, and to  improve damaged and derelict land.

Planning permission will only be granted for new development in the Green Belt provided it meets as appropriate the requirements of the NPPF, other policies in this DPD, and the following:

1. Extensions

  1. The extension of a building must not result in disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original building.  In the case of residential extensions this means no larger than two reasonably sized rooms or any equivalent amount.
  2. The extension of the curtilage of a residential property which involves an incursion into the Green Belt will only be permitted where it can be demonstrated that very special circumstances apply.

2. Replacement Buildings

  1. Replacement dwellings in the Green Belt will only be permitted provided that the replacement dwelling is not materially larger than the original building.
  2. The replacement of other buildings shall only be for the same use, and the replacement building shall not be materially larger than the one it replaces.

3. Established Residential Frontages

  1. Where an established frontage of residential development exists in the Green Belt, planning permission will be granted, subject to compliance with all other relevant policies in this plan, for new dwellings on genuine infill plots and the replacement of existing dwellings and the extension of existing dwellings located on the existing frontage only.   Replacement dwellings and extensions to existing dwellings will not be subject to the size limitations contained in paragraphs 2 and 3 of this policy.  Established frontages of residential development in the Green Belt are identified on the Interim Adopted Proposals Map.

4. Re-Use and Adaptation of Buildings

  1. The re-use and adaptation of buildings for residential, employment, leisure or community use will be permitted, provided the following criteria are met:
    1. The building is of a permanent and substantial construction and does not require significant rebuilding before it can be put to its proposed use;
    2. The building should not detract from the character and appearance of the locality after implementation of the new use. The bulk, form and general design of the building must reflect its surroundings;
    3. The proposed use can be fully contained in the building and would not require extensive new buildings or inappropriate use of open areas;
    4. The use does not have a materially greater impact than the present use on the openness of the Green Belt or amenities of the area by reason of noise, visual intrusion, traffic generation, fumes, dust or other forms of nuisance.
  2. Re-use or adaptation of existing farm buildings for non-agricultural purposes will not automatically result in permission being granted to erect additional buildings to accommodate the displaced agricultural uses. Where permission for re-use or adaptation is granted, the Council will consider attaching a condition that removes permitted development rights for new farm buildings on the agricultural holding. The following factors will be considered when applying such a condition:
    1. The openness and landscape value of the agricultural holding and surrounding area; and
    2. The grouping and/or dispersion of existing buildings on the agricultural holding and in the vicinity;
    3. The size of the holding and the ability to disperse new agricultural buildings widely within it.

5. Equestrian Facilities

  1. The Council will expect stables to be located in existing buildings wherever possible. New buildings will only be permitted where there are no suitable existing buildings.
  2. Stables will only be permitted where they are requisite to the use of the land for grazing.  The Council will only permit one stable per 0.6 hectares (1.5 acres)1 of grazing land and the stable must be on, or immediately adjacent to, the grazing land.
  3. Stud farms, riding schools and other large-scale commercial equestrian facilities will only be permitted in the Green Belt where they use existing buildings.
  4. Permission will not be given for additional housing in association with stables.

6. Infilling and partial or complete redevelopment of a previously developed site comprising more than a single building, and located outside of Established Residential Frontages

  1. Infilling should:
    1. have no greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt and the purpose of including land within it than the existing development
    2. not exceed the height of the existing buildings discounting any abnormally tall existing structures; and
    3. not lead to a major increase in the developed proportion of the site.
  2. Redevelopment should:
    1. have no greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt and the purpose of including land within it than the existing development taking into account any proposed enclosure of open land
    2. contribute to the achievement of the objectives for the use of land in the Green Belt
    3. not exceed the height of the existing buildings discounting any  abnormally tall existing structures
    4. not occupy a larger area of the site than the existing buildings unless this would achieve a reduction in height which would benefit visual amenity, and
    5. satisfactorily integrate with its landscape surroundings and, where it may be appropriate in order to meet that objective, buildings should be sited closer to existing buildings.

The relevant area for the purposes of II iv above is the aggregate ground floor area of the existing buildings excluding temporary buildings.  Any buildings demolished prior to the grant of permission for redevelopment will not count as developed area. 

The Council will expect the site to be considered as a whole, whether or not all buildings are to be redeveloped, and the floor area limitation at II iv above relates to the redevelopment of the entire site.  Any proposals for partial redevelopment should be put forward in the context of comprehensive, long-term plans for the site as a whole.

In granting permission the Council may impose conditions to ensure that buildings which are not to be permanently retained are demolished as new buildings are erected in order to keep the total development area under control so that there is no adverse effect on openness.

7.  Agricultural and Forestry dwellings

i. Permanent agricultural dwellings

New permanent dwellings will be allowed on well-established agricultural units to support existing agricultural activities providing all of the following are met:-

  1. there is a clearly established existing functional need for one or more workers to be readily available at most times on the unit.
  2. the need relates to a full time worker, or one who is primarily employed in agriculture and does not relate to a part-time requirement.
  3. the unit and activity concerned:- have been established for at least three years; have been profitable for at least one of them; are currently financially sound; and have a clear prospect of remaining so.
  4. the functional need could not be fulfilled by another existing dwelling on the unit, or any other existing accommodation in the area which is suitable and available for occupation by the worker(s) concerned.
  5. the proposed dwelling is of a size commensurate with the established functional requirement.
  6. the proposed dwelling would be sited so as to meet the identified functional need, and be well-related to existing farm buildings or other dwellings, and;
  7. the relevant requirements of the Council’s policies for management of development are met.

In relation to (i) above such need will be considered to exist if workers are needed to be on hand day and night in case animals or agricultural processes require essential care at short notice, or to deal quickly with emergencies that could otherwise cause serious loss of crops or products and pose a substantial threat to the financial soundness of the unit. 

The protection of livestock from theft or injury by intruders may contribute on animal welfare grounds to the need for a new dwelling but will not by itself be considered sufficient to justify one.  Requirements arising from food processing, as opposed to agriculture, will not be considered justification for a new dwelling.

If any dwelling(s) or building(s) suitable for conversion to dwellings have recently been sold separately from the farmland concerned this will be considered as evidence of a lack of agricultural need.

In relation to (v) above dwellings that are unusually large in relation to the agricultural needs of the unit, or unusually expensive to construct in relation to the income the unit can sustain in the long term will not be permitted.  The relevant consideration will be the requirements of the enterprise rather than those of the owner or occupier.  The planning permission for a dwelling will be made subject to a condition removing ‘permitted development’ rights for enlargement in order to ensure that a dwelling once built does not exceed a size commensurate with the established functional requirement. 

ii. Temporary agricultural dwellings

If a new dwelling is essential to support a new farming activity, whether on a newly created agricultural unit or an established one, the Council will only permit this to be provided by way of a caravan or other temporary removable accommodation.

Temporary accommodation will only be permitted if all of the following are met:-

  1. there is a functional need for the dwelling which could not be fulfilled by another existing dwelling on the unit, or any other existing accommodation in the area which is suitable and available for occupation by the worker(s) concerned;
  2. there is clear evidence of a firm intention and ability to develop the enterprise and it has been planned on a sound financial basis;
  3. the relevant requirements of the Council’s policies for the management of development are met.

Such accommodation will only be permitted to be present on the agricultural unit for a maximum of four years, unless by this time permission has been granted for a permanent agricultural dwelling and that dwelling is the subject of sustained construction activity.  In such case the Council will grant further time limited permissions for the temporary accommodation until the permanent dwelling is habitable or the Council considers the dwelling is no longer the subject of sustained construction activity.

iii. Forestry dwellings

The Council does not envisage that requirements for forestry worker accommodation will arise, but should they do so this policy will equally apply.

iv. Occupancy restrictions

In order to ensure that any permitted agricultural dwelling is kept available for meeting the need for such accommodation for so long as it exists planning permission for such accommodation will be subject to an appropriate occupancy condition limiting occupation to a person solely or mainly working, or last working, in the locality in agriculture or forestry, or a widow or widower of such a person, and to any resident dependents.  The Council will not agree to the removal of such conditions unless it has been satisfactorily demonstrated that there is no longer any need on the particular holding and in the area for a dwelling for someone solely, mainly or last working in agriculture.  Those seeking removal will be expected to show that for the period of two years preceding the planning application for removal of the condition, sustained and appropriately targeted efforts to sell or rent the premises on terms reflecting the encumbrance of the agricultural occupancy condition have been made with no success.  The Council will not consider this requirement to have been met unless the property has been marketed for the duration of this period at a discount of at least 35% against open market price.  The Council will not agree to the removal of occupancy conditions from temporary accommodation.

8. Definitions and Limitations

In considering whether a proposal complies with the above:

  1. account will only be taken of lawful existing buildings,
  2. for the purposes of paragraph 1 and 2 ‘original building’ means in relation to a building existing on 1st July 1948, as existing on that date, and in relation to a building built on or after 1st July 1948, as so built.  Any building which is itself a replacement building will not be considered to be an original building for the purposes of this policy and the acceptability or otherwise of any proposals for further extension or replacement will be judged by reference to the ‘original building’ which preceded it.  If the exact size of this previous building is unknown the redevelopment of a replacement dwelling will be limited to a like for like replacement,
  3. for the purposes of paragraph 6 a ‘previously developed site’ is one which is, or was, occupied by a permanent structure, including the curtilage of the developed land and any associated fixed surface infrastructure, but excludes the site of agricultural or forestry buildings, land that has been developed for minerals extraction or waste disposal by landfill purposes where provision for restoration has been made through development control procedures, and land that was previously developed but where the remains of the permanent structure or fixed surface structure have blended into the landscape in the process of time.

Key Diagrams and Maps

Established Residential Frontages are identified on the Interim Adopted Proposals Map.



6.34 The NPPF states that pursuing sustainable development involves seeking positive improvements in the quality of the natural environment, moving from a net loss of bio-diversity to achieving net gains for nature.  It further states that the planning system should contribute to and enhance the natural environment by minimising impacts on biodiversity and providing net gains in biodiversity where possible.  Thurrock Council is committed to this vision and will protect and enhance all of its designated biodiversity sites, such as Ramsar sites, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Local Wildlife Sites and Local Nature Reserves in accordance with the requirements of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (2006) and the NPPF.  The protection and management of the internationally designated (Ramsar) site within Thurrock is achieved by a combination of the provisions in the Habitat Regulations and Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

6.35 With respect to SSSIs, the NPPF indicates that where a proposed development on land within or outside a SSSI is likely to have an adverse effect on an SSSI, planning permission should not normally be permitted.  Where an adverse effect on the site’s notified special interest features is likely, an exception should only be made where the benefits of the development, at the site, clearly outweigh both the adverse impacts that it is likely to have on those features and any broader impacts on the national network of SSSIs.

6.36 Designated biodiversity sites are an important constituent of Thurrock’s green assets, and contribute to the Borough’s Greengrid. Within the Borough, there are a significant number of these sites that contains species of principal importance, e.g. UKBAP or Red Data Book species. In addition to designated biodiversity sites, there are a number of brownfield sites which include biodiversity value and species of principal importance. The biodiversity value within these sites also contributes to the green assets of the Borough and requires protection from the impacts of development. Thurrock Council is committed to conserving and enhancing biodiversity and geodiversity on non-designated sites and also the habitat of species of principal importance.

6.37 Thurrock Council intends to conserve and enhance its green assets, through appropriate design and management, and will seek to ensure the integrity of the biodiversity network within the Borough. Designated Biodiversity Sites within the Borough will be included in the Adopted Site Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map.

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

6.38 The Council’s Thurrock Biodiversity Action Plan 2007-2012, Thurrock Biodiversity Study 2006-2011 aims to identify and conserve priority specifies and habitats in Thurrock.


1. Development proposals will be required to demonstrate that any significant biodiversity habitat or geological interest of recognised local value is retained and enhanced on-site.  Where it can be demonstrated that this is not possible, and there is no suitable alternative site available for the development, developers will be required to show that their proposals would mitigate any loss of biodiversity or geological interest.  In circumstances where it can be demonstrated that neither retention on site nor mitigation is possible, developers will be required to provide appropriate compensation for any significant loss of biodiversity or geological interest, such that there is no overall net loss of biodiversity habitat or features of geological conservation interest in Thurrock.  The Council will seek to achieve net gains in biodiversity where such gains would be possible, with particular reference to the desirability of re-creating priority habitats and the recovery of priority species.

2. The Council will not permit development that would result in the loss, or partial loss, of a locally designated biodiversity or geological site, except in exceptional circumstances where it can be demonstrated that there is no alternative, subject to the sequential approach outlined in (1) above.

3. To enable the Council to determine an application which would result in a loss of biodiversity or geological value, the developer will be required to submit a detailed justification setting out:

  1. why the loss is considered to be unavoidable
  2. an assessment of what species and habitat would be lost or adversely affected as a result of development (including an ecological survey where appropriate)
  3. how the loss or adverse effect is proposed to be mitigated on-site through habitat restoration or creation; and/or compensated for through the acquisition and management of a suitable site within the area, or a financial contribution towards the purchase and management of such a site or management of an existing site to bring it up to a necessary standard.

4. Thurrock Council will require development proposals to incorporate biodiversity or geological features into the design as far as possible.  These may include green roofs, brown roofs and the creation of green corridors for wildlife.

5. Where it is necessary to secure the biodiversity or geological interest of a development site, the Council will seek the provision and implementation of a Biodiversity or Geological Management Plan through planning obligations. The Council will evaluate development proposals and biodiversity management plans or geological management plans against recognised best practice.

Key Diagrams and Map

Map 5: Location of Strategic Biodiversity Sites
Sites will be identified in the forthcoming Thurrock Local Plan and on the Proposals Map.



6.39 The availability and design of car parking are integral to a number of challenges in Thurrock, including the need to promote alternatives to private car use (modal shift), make the best use of land given the high levels of growth being planned and the constraints of the Green Belt, and tackle high levels of vehicle crime. These challenges are particularly pressing in the Thurrock Urban Area. The Core Strategy policy CSTP14: Transport in the Thurrock Urban Area clearly states the importance of a policy approach to car parking and the need to link availability with levels of accessibility in order to support efforts to achieve a modal shift.  The NPPF advises that when setting local parking standards local planning authorities should take into account accessibility, the type, mix and use of development, the availability of and opportunities for public transport, local car ownership levels, and the overall need to reduce the use of high-emission vehicles.

6.40 A challenge that has become increasingly evident in Thurrock is the need to address the issues in residential areas of degraded street scenes and impeded access for service and passenger transport vehicles that can happen where limited car parking availability has not discouraged car ownership and has instead displaced vehicle parking onto surrounding roads2. Indeed, with only 1 in 5 households in Thurrock having no car or van, and an average of 1.2 cars or vans per household3, it is apparent that to avoid such displacement new development will need to provide sufficient residential car parking.Research4 has shown that, according to house buyers, attempts to restrict parking in order to curb car ownership had little or no impact on the number of cars a household would acquire.

6.41 The policy will ensure a level of good quality and safe parking that is sufficient for the accessibility needs of development in Thurrock, taking into account the levels of accessibility by sustainable transport modes, the need to promote modal shift and the need to provide adequate access for service and public transport vehicles.

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

6.42 The Thurrock Transport Strategy 2008 - 2021 recognises the need to manage the availability of car parking, especially non-residential, in order to promote modal shift and tackle congestion. In particular the strategy proposes applying maximum parking standards for new commercial development and that in the Thurrock Urban Area the Council may apply tighter restrictions.The Sustainable Communities Strategy (Thurrock LSP 2009) priority sets out that roads, public transport networks and housing will be enhanced so that local people have better access to employment opportunities, other amenities and affordable housing.


All development will be required to comply with the car parking standards set out in the Layout and Standards SPD. For residential developments the standards comprise of ranges within maximum and minimum levels of provision dependant on defined circumstances.  For non-residential uses maximum standards apply.

  1. In those parts of Thurrock which have good levels of car parking enforcement available, coupled with high levels of accessibility, reduced standards for residential and non-residential car parking will be applied.
  2. Additionally, in other parts of the Thurrock Urban Area where the Council considers the potential substantial modal shift is clearly demonstrated by the Transport Assessment/Statement and Travel Plans, the reduced maximum standard for non-residential car parking and reduced minimum standards for residential car parking will be applied. Where the reduced standards are applied, the Council will require developer contributions to support the development of controlled parking zones, the enforcement of parking restrictions and car-free living, and other measures to reduce inappropriate on-street parking.
  3. The Council will require developers to use the relevant residential carparking standard in conjunction with suitable physical design to reduce the risk of inappropriate on-street parking, thereby avoiding a street scene dominated by cars while maintaining access for service and emergency vehicles.
  4. Development will be required to facilitate more equitable access and sustainable transport modes through the provision of at least the minimum levels of parking, as specified in the Thurrock Parking Standards Guidance,
    1. for:Cycles
    2. Powered two-wheelers
    3. Disabled car users
    4. Electric and other low emission vehicles
  5. Subject to the above framework, vehicle parking provision will only be permitted where it is safe and of a high design quality, including where it is either:Overlooked from within dwellings
    1. Managed and monitored from commercial premises
    2. Openly visible from the public highway, or
    3. Planned on-street provision

Refer to policy PMD11 on Freight Movement for the Council’s policy approach to HGV parking provision.

Key Diagrams and Maps

Not Applicable



6.43 The inclusion of this policy is needed to ensure that access requirements are appropriately considered when determining planning applications. In addition, policy CSTP17: Strategic Freight Movement and Access to Ports identifies the need for freight traffic to keep to the most suitable routes in order to reduce adverse impacts on amenity, the environment, sustainable transport modes, and the integrity of the highway itself. 

6.44 Relevant local issues focus around congestion on the Strategic Road Network, particularly the A13, and on key local roads such as A1306 and the potential for this to worsen with the growth that needs to be accommodated in Thurrock. In addition, many of the roads in Thurrock, especially in rural areas, are minor and unclassified and generally unsuitable for large vehicles or heavy traffic flows.

6.45 This policy ensures that proposals for development affecting the highway will be considered in relation to the road network hierarchy and the function of each level of that hierarchy. The aim is to enhance the street scene and to mitigate adverse impacts on the transport system, which includes impacts on capacity, safety, air quality, and noise.

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

6.46 The Thurrock Transport Strategy 2008 - 2021 aims to deliver network efficiency and traffic network management improvements before increasing capacity. With regard to HGVs, the strategy recognises the need for delivering goods, but that this needs to be reconciled with social and environmental concerns and other distribution issues.The Sustainable Communities Strategy (Thurrock LSP 2009) priority sets out that roads, public transport networks and housing will be enhanced so that local people have better access to employment opportunities, other amenities and affordable housing.

Definitions of the Road Network Hierarchy

Level 1 routes (Corridors of Movement) comprise:

  • Strategic Non-Trunk Roads. These serve to facilitate traffic movement between major centres within the region. This category would include any roads of regional significance as described in the East of England Plan or future Government advice on the road network.
  • Rural/Urban Distributors. These allow traffic to move freely and safely between local centres and from local centres to the major road network, within some local centres these distributors may be defined as streets.

Level 2 routes (Urban and Rural Roads/Streets) comprise roads that serve as main connections between substantial rural populations and the minor road network and act as through roads to distribute traffic to residential areas within urban conurbations.

Level 3 routes (Local Roads and Streets) comprise:

  • Access Roads/Streets. These provide secondary links to villages and large towns forming minor distributors and access to individual properties.
  • Residential Estate Roads/Streets. The layout and design of estate roads is covered in the Layout and Standards SPD



1. Routes of all levels

The Council will only permit the development of newaccesses or increased use of existing accesses where:

  1. There is no possibility of safe access taken from an existing or proposed lower category road
  2. The design of the development minimises the number of accesses required.
  3. The development makes a positive contribution to road safety or road safety is not prejudiced.
  4. The development preserves or enhances the quality of the street scene.
  5. The development avoids causing congestion as measured by link and junction capacities.
  6. Measures are taken to mitigate all adverse air quality impacts in or adjacent to Air Quality Management Areas.
  7. The development will minimise adverse impacts on the quality of life of local residents, such as noise, air pollution, and the general street environment.
  8. The development will make a positive contribution to accessibility by sustainable transport.

These criteria apply to routes of all levels (1, 2 and 3). The following principles also apply to particular levels:

2. Level 1 Routes - Corridors of Movement.

  1. There is a presumption against new accesses or the increased use of an existing direct access onto a Corridor of Movement. Development served by side roads connecting to a Corridor of Movement will only be permitted where it can be demonstrated that the Corridor of Movement will not be adversely affected in terms of highway safety and traffic capacity.
  2. Development will not be permitted where it impacts adversely on capacity and safety.
  3. Where the Corridor of Movement comprises an Inter-urban Public Transport Route or provides access to one or more of the Borough’s ports, new accesses must not have an adverse impact on the free flow of traffic.
  4. Exceptions will be made only for developments of overriding national importance, strategic sites allocated in this Local Development Plan, and strategic public transport facilities.

3. Level 2 Routes - Rural Roads only

  1. The establishment of new accesses or increased use of existing direct accesses will not normally be accepted for Rural Level 2, except where the access is for small-scale uses permissible in the Green Belt which do not adversely affect road safety or limit capacity. 
  2. The Council will require that the provision of accesses is consistent with the Layout and Standards SPD.  In all cases any access that is proposed should meet current design standards.
  3. Exceptions to this policy will be made for the working of minerals to recognise that minerals can only be worked where they occur. In such cases, road improvements may be sought from developers.

Key Diagrams and Map

Map 2: Road Network Hierarchy



6.47 A local management of development policy is required to support Core Strategy transport policies (especially CSTP14 Transport in the Thurrock Urban Area) and ensure new development plays its role in implementing travel planning measures and the intensive application of Smarter Choices required by CSTP14.

6.48 The intensive application of Smarter Choices has been found to reduce car use by up to around 10%5. This is the scale of reduction required to make the growth in Thurrock, especially the urban area, deliverable and sustainable6.

6.49 The purpose of the policy is to encourage safe, healthy and sustainable travel options. By reducing car travel, Travel Plans/ Assessments can improve health and wellbeing, free up car parking space, and make a positive contribution to mitigating adverse impacts on the transport system, the environment and amenity.  Taking into account any proposed mitigation including provision of sustainable transport modes and safe and suitable access, the Council will resist development where the residual cumulative impacts would be severe.  Depending on the circumstances, this may include development proposals that would have a significant adverse effect on the free flow and safe movements of vehicular and non-vehicular traffic and/or fail to limit the use of motor vehicles and promote adequate alternative modes of transport.

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

6.50 The Thurrock Transport Strategy 2008 - 2021 has clear policies on the need for modal shift, especially in the Thurrock Urban Area, to reduce congestion through Smarter Choices such as school and workplace travel plans.


Transport Assessments, Transport Statements, and Travel Plans must accompany planning applications in accordance with the Department for Transport guidance in Guidance on Transport Assessments (March 2007).

  1. Travel Plans must be consistent with Council policies. They will normally be secured through planning obligations, although planning conditions might suffice where this will clearly be the best option because the outcomes and measures required are simple and very clear, such as where the travel plan is for an existing use.
  2. All developments that fall below the thresholds for individual Travel Plans will be expected to support the Council’s Smarter Choices programme or Area Wide Travel Plans.
  3. Where schools add capacity through development or new schools are proposed, they will be required to develop a School Travel Plan or revise their existing Travel Plan.
  4. Proposals for residential developments of 25 units or more should be accompanied by a ‘Safe Routes to School’ assessment. 
  5. Development will only be permitted where the Travel Plans, Transport Assessments or Transport Statements are agreed by the Council and there is adequate provision for existing or planned transport infrastructure and other proposed measures.

Proposed mitigation measures will either be implemented in their entirety by or on behalf of the developer or will be implemented as part of a wider pooling of resources. Developers will be required to make provision for the objectives of the agreed Travel Plans to be monitored. Agreed Travel Plans will include targets, coupled with penalties if outcomes are not being met.

Where adequate affordable mitigation is not secured or achievable and the residual cumulative impacts of development proposals are likely to be severe, such developments will be resisted. 

Key Diagrams and Maps

Not Applicable



6.51 Thurrock is known as a logistics hub and there is considerable forecast growth in freight movements with development such as London Gateway and expansion of Tilbury Port. Road transport is likely to remain the main mode for freight movements in the foreseeable future.

6.52 The impact of goods vehicle traffic using unsuitable roads can be significant. This is a particular issue for the minerals and, to a lesser extent, the waste industries. Most of the roads in rural areas where mineral workings or landfill sites are located are usually minor and generally unsuitable for large vehicles. This can lead to localised adverse impacts on the environment, road condition, or amenity. Problems also arise from widespread on-street HGV parking due to insufficient off-street parking for HGVs.

6.53 This policy aims to facilitate the movement of goods and accommodate the growth in freight movements in a sustainable way, by encouraging modal shift, and mitigating adverse impacts on residents, other transport users, the transport system itself, and the environment.

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

6.54 The Thurrock Transport Strategy 2008 - 2021 aims to deliver a freight modal shift onto rail freight and water borne freight. It also recognises that the need for delivering goods should be reconciled with social and environmental concerns and other distribution issues, as well as the need to mitigate congestion through improving the efficiency of the network. The strategy also identifies the need for 24-hour lorry parks.


1.  Applicants for development with a need for freight movements exceeding the equivalent of 200 daily HGV movements will be required, as part of their planning applications, to produce a Sustainable Distribution Plan. This should include evidence that commercially viable opportunities for freight carried by rail, water, pipeline or conveyor have been maximised, and that air quality impacts have been minimised.

  1. In addition, applicants for development generating significant HGV movements or extending the period over which existing HGV movements will continue will be required to carry out a HGV Impact Assessment. This will be either stand-alone or as part of the Sustainable Distribution Plan and will comprise a technical appraisal of routes and their adequacy, taking into account the need to avoid sensitive areas such as unsuitable residential areas.
  2. HGVs will be required, through the use of planning obligations, to use Corridors of Movement (see Policy PMD9 and its associated map) in preference to roads further down the Council’s Road Network Hierarchy.
  3. Development generating significant levels of HGV traffic will only be permitted where they have access to Corridors of Movement on roads that are suitable or can be improved to a standard that will make them suitable for the level and type of HGV traffic the development is likely to generate and where the access would not be contrary to Policy PMD 9.
  4. Through the use of planning obligations, developers will be expected to fund any road improvements that are required if existing routes are not entirely suitable and contribute towards area-wide transport improvement programmes in order to mitigate any potential/wider adverse impact of the development.

2. i. For B1, B2 and B8 developments in excess of 30,000 sqm, planning obligations for Vehicle Booking Systems will be secured as part of the overall Sustainable Distribution Plan, ensuring that the site cannot be used by any operator, until a Vehicle Booking System has been set up for that operator. This will be used as a mechanism to manage access onto designated routes during peak periods in order to manage road capacity. Designated routes will include the A13, A1089, A1306 and A1014.

ii. B1, B2 and B8 developments in excess of 30,000 sqm will only be permitted where adequate facilities are provided for drivers of commercial vehicles.  Where 24-hour operation is permitted for such developments, provision must be made for overnight parking for goods vehicles in accordance with the Layout and Standards SPD

3. Adequate on-site loading/unloading and manoeuvring space will be required in all circumstances in accordance with the Layout and Standards SPD.

Key Diagrams and Maps

Key Diagram
Map 2: Road Network Hierarchy



6.55 Employment and housing growth and its associated development can have serious implications for climate change. Thurrock has a designated growth of at least 18,500 new homes and up to a further 4750 dwellings to meet provision to 2026 and beyond and an indicative figure of 26,000 new jobs over the plan period which is likely to increase emissions from domestic, industrial, commercial and transport sectors. Currently, over 70% of all CO2 emissions in Thurrock arise from gas and electricity consumption, which is where stringent standards can ensure that growth in total energy consumption within the Borough is minimised, whilst still allowing for economic and housing growth.

6.56 The East of England is the driest region in England and water resource availability is limited. Average household per capita water consumption in Thurrock 2006-2007 was 155 litres a day, 5% higher than the national average of 148 litres. As such, water is likely to become a scarce resource as a result of significant growth pressures coupled with climate change.

6.57 This policy will provide an opportunity to promote new techniques in design and renewable energy in residential and non-residential buildings. To achieve this in Thurrock, the Council will ensure that developments will be made sustainable by securing the use of sustainable construction techniques. This will help to reduce waste and carbon emissions; encourage better use of water and energy; and reduce environmental impact and increase efficiency of construction industry.

6.58 The Code for Sustainable Homes is an environmental assessment method for rating and certifying the performance of new homes against a range of design categories including energy performance.  Although devised as a voluntary rating system to foster a step change in sustainable building practice for new homes the intent was that the code would signal the future direction of Building Regulations in relation to carbon emissions ultimately leading to the goal that all new homes would be ‘Zero Carbon’ by 2016.  However the definition of ‘Zero Carbon’ which is separately emerging for the purposes of national regulation is diverging from that defined by level 6 of the Code.  The Council considers that requiring residential development to comply with level 4 of the Code in tandem with other policy requirements set out in this DPD and the future national requirement for homes to be ‘Zero Carbon’ by 2016 is the most appropriate means to ensure that homes in Thurrock are built to a satisfactory standard against a range of sustainability considerations.

6.59 The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is the environmental assessment tool adopted and currently used by many local authorities and Government agencies, to ensure overall environmental performance of non-residential developments are achieved and carbon emissions are reduced. In 2008 the Building Research Establishment (BRE) introduced mandatory minimum requirements for energy and water consumption and a new ‘Outstanding’ classification as part of BREEAM. To achieve this rating, an overall score of 85% must be achieved. 

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

6.60 The Thurrock Climate Change Evidence Base shows that industrial and commercial emissions in Thurrock are particularly high - double national levels and 166% higher than regional levels. Industrial and commercial gas and electricity consumption accounts for 33% and 21% of total CO2 emissions in Thurrock respectively.

6.61 The Council requires new development to achieve high sustainability standards to move non-residential developments towards zero-carbon development. In order to give developers adequate time to prepare to meet the eventual requirements for zero carbon development, the Council seeks to promote improved standards on a phased basis over a realistic time period. This approach will move Thurrock and developers closer to achieving the Government’s ambition that all new non-domestic buildings are zero carbon from 2019, as announced in the 2008 Budget.


In determining planning applications for new development, the following criteria must be met:

1. Residential

Proposals for new or conversion to residential development must achieve a “Code for Sustainable Homes” level 4 rating, except in respect of any of the Code’s requirements that have been officially superseded by mandatory national standards.

In meeting the above requirement the Council will require the following credits to be achieved as a minimum in the respective design categories:

  1. External Water Consumption: 1 credit
  2. Management of surface water run-off from developments: 2 credits
  3. Ecology: 4 credits

2. Non-residential (including Expansions or Extensions) over 1000m2

Proposals for non-residential development must achieve, as a minimum, the following BREEAM standards (or equivalent), where appropriate:

  • BREEAM Very Good up to 2016;
  • BREEAM Excellent from 2016;
  • BREEAM Outstanding from 2019 (in addition to national standards for zero carbon).

These requirements may be relaxed where the developer is able to prove that these requirements will be economically unviable, rendering development of the site undeliverable.

3.  Proposals for development will be required to submit an Energy and Water Statement in support of planning applications. The statements will be expected to show how the proposed development would:

  1. Minimise water consumption;
  2. Minimise energy consumption;
  3. Maximise water efficiency and water recycling
  4. Maximise the use of recycled materials and sustainably sourced materials; and
  5. Minimise waste and maximise recycling during construction and after completion. 

Further details of these requirements will be set out in the forthcoming Design and Standards DPD.

Key Diagrams and Maps

Not Applicable



6.62 Decentralised energy is a broad term used to denote a diverse range of technologies, including micro-renewables, which can locally serve an individual building, development or wider community and includes heating and cooling energy. Decentralised energy is supplied from local, renewable and/or low-carbon sources (i.e. on-site and near-site, but not remote off-site) and is usually of a relatively small scale.7

6.63 The Council seeks to increase the proportion of renewable and low-carbon energy generation within the Borough to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and the carbon footprint. New development presents the best opportunity to secure decentralised, renewable or low-carbon energy sources such as on-site renewable energy generation technologies and district energy networks which are more cost effective to fit at the construction stage. District energy networks are defined as networks of district heating, district cooling, and other district energy supply systems such as electricity or biogas supply systems. District energy networks are supplied from local, renewable and/or low-carbon sources.

6.64 The Council supports the provision of on-site renewable and low-carbon energy generation in new developments and will seek to secure its provision. The policy aims to ensure that developers of both residential and non-residential developments incorporate on-site renewable energy technologies and low-carbon energy technologies to provide a proportion of the developments energy requirements to reduce subsequent carbon emissions.

6.65 It is not always advisable to refer to specific technologies, as energy technologies are evolving rapidly, but for the purpose of this policy renewable and low-carbon energy may include wind generation, photovoltaic cells, passive solar heating systems, waste heat distribution systems, biomass and ground source heat pumps.

6.66 The East of England Plan (2008) Policy ENG1 stipulates that planning authorities must maximise opportunities, particularly in major growth locations and Key Centres for Development and Change, for developments to set new yardsticks of performance in the use of energy from on-site renewable and/or decentralised renewable or low carbon energy sources and that, as a minimum, 10% of the energy consumed in new development should come from such sources.

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

6.67 Thurrock’s Annual Monitoring Reports confirm that decentralised renewable energy installations to date have been rare, with none in 2006/07. There is scope to increase this proportion substantially. The Thurrock Energy Study (2010) has enabled the Council to identify priority locations where there is the potential for district energy networks, which could deliver higher proportions of renewable or low-carbon energy.


1. New development of 5 or more residential dwellings, or 1,000 sq metres or more of non-residential floorspace, must secure, as a minimum, the following proportions of their predicted energy from decentralised and renewable or low-carbon sources, unless it can be demonstrated to the Council’s satisfaction, by way of a full viability assessment, that this is not feasible or viable:

  • 10% from 2010;
  • 15% from 2015; and
  • 20% from 2020.

2. Priority Locations

Within the Priority Locations, the Council will:

  1. Require all opportunities for establishing district energy networks to be taken up, where they would provide higher proportions of renewable or low carbon energy to be delivered than in (1) above.   
  2. Require other developments considered suitable for connection to existing or feasible district energy networks to be designed to enable connection to such networks.

Where developers consider their proposals unable to feasibly or viably deliver, or connect to, district energy networks this will need to be demonstrated by way of technical appraisal and open book economic viability assessment.  The Council will not permit developments that would prejudice the provision of such networks.

3.   Identification of Priority Locations

  1. The priority locations are those which meet any, or any combination, of the following conditions:
    • residential developments of 100 dwellings or more;
    • residential developments on sites larger than 2 ha;
    • non-residential developments with a total floorspace exceeding 10,000 sq metres.
  2. Smaller sites in close proximity to an existing or proposed district energy network are considered priority locations if they meet any of the following conditions:
    • sites smaller than 20 dwellings within 50 metres of an existing or proposed district energy network,
    • 20-30 dwellings within 100 metres of an existing or proposed district energy network,
    • 31-40 dwellings within 150 metres of an existing or proposed district energy network,
    • Sites larger than 40 dwellings within 200 metres of an existing or proposed district energy network
    • All commercial and other non-domestic developments within 200 metres of an existing or proposed district energy network.
  3. Priority Locations will be included in the Adopted Site Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map.  Sites which are not identified as Priority Locations at adoption of the Site Specific Allocations and Policies DPD, but which are demonstrated subsequently to meet the conditions to provide district energy networks, will be subject to the requirements of this policy.

4.  The Developer Contributions SPD and/or CIL Charging Schedule will set out requirements for development to contribute to securing decentralised energy systems.

Key Diagram and Maps

Priority Locations identified by the Council will be included in the Adopted Site Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map.



6.68 Increases in population and housing stock from growth is likely to increase emissions from the domestic and transport sectors, whilst job growth of 26,000 is likely to increase carbon dioxide emissions from the transport, industrial and commercial sectors. To ensure that growth in carbon dioxide emissions from new development is minimised, the Council wishes to see development become carbon neutral.

6.69 Carbon neutral development means that any increased carbon dioxide emissions from all new development including extensions are balanced by savings in carbon dioxide elsewhere, by making payments into a Carbon Offset Fund. Any growth in CO2 emissions will therefore be required to be offset through a one-off payment to the Thurrock Carbon Offset Fund.

6.70 Developers are required to support planning applications with an Energy and Water Statement, as set out in PMD12 Sustainable Buildings.  The Council will use this statement to calculate the required Thurrock Carbon Offset Fund contribution. A one-off contribution will be required for each tonne of CO2e8, by means of an obligation under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The details of this obligation will be set out in the forthcoming Developer Contributions SPD. The Thurrock Carbon Offset Fund will be managed and monitored by Thurrock Council, and the Council will identify and manage the carbon reduction measures the Fund will look to address, in accordance with the Thurrock Climate Change Strategy and the associated actions arising from the implementation of this strategy. The Thurrock Carbon Offset Fund will be subject to appropriate governance requirements and will be properly audited.  

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

6.71 The Thurrock Climate Change Evidence Base (2008) shows that Thurrock has the highest per capita CO2 emissions of the comparable Unitary Authorities and also shows that CO2 emissions in Thurrock are 46% higher than national levels and 58% higher than regional levels, based on Defra’s emissions of CO2 for local authority areas, 2005 data. Thurrock Council is preparing a Thurrock Energy Study which will be completed by summer 2010. The study will enable the Council to identify priority areas for increased levels of renewable energy and decentralised energy networks and to develop a local tariff for the Carbon Offset Fund.


The Council will require developers to demonstrate that all viable energy efficiency measures and renewable or low-carbon technology opportunities have been utilised to minimise emissions, in accordance with PMD12 and PMD 13. Thereafter:

  1. Any development (whether new build, conversion or renovation) that would lead to a net increase in carbon dioxide emissions, over and above existing emissions for the development site, will be required to make contributions to the Thurrock Carbon Offset Fund.

The net greenhouse gas emissions from the new development will be measured as tonnes per year. Financial contributions to the Thurrock Carbon Offset Fund will be based on the methodology set out in the forthcoming Developer Contributions SPD and the Design and Sustainability SPD.

Key Diagram and Maps

Not Applicable



6.72 Due to its proximity to the River Thames, the management of flood risk in Thurrock should be considered at all stages of the planning process in accordance with the NPPF and Planning Practice Guidance.  Through the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment and Sequential Test, Thurrock Council have considered flood risk in relation to strategic planning and policy.

6.73 The Sequential test for individual development sites will be addressed on a strategic scale during the production of the Site Specific Allocations and Policies DPD. When planning permission is sought for individual developments on sites allocated in development plans that have been informed by the Thurrock SFRA and sequentially tested on that basis, developers need not reapply the Sequential Test, but must apply the sequential approach when locating development within the site.  All other individual development sites will also be expected to pass the Sequential Test, with relevant evidence being provided to the Council by the developer.

6.74 Following the application of the Sequential Test, Planning Practice Guidance may indicate the need for the Exception Test to be applied. It is likely given the extensive area of Flood Zones 2 and 3 in Thurrock, that the Exception Test will be required for a significant number of applications.

6.75 In light of the above, and in accordance with the NPPF, developers are therefore required to submit a site-specific Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) with all planning applications if:

  • The development site lies within Flood Zones 2 and 3, as illustrated by the Environment Agency’s Flood Zone maps;
  • The development site is 1 hectare or greater in area and in Flood Zone 1;
  • The development site is in an area of Flood Zone 1 where there are known critical drainage problems.

6.76 Site-specific FRAs are required to identify and assess the risks of all forms of flooding to and from the development and demonstrate how these flood risks will be managed so that the development remains safe throughout its lifetime taking climate change into account.  Those proposing developments should take the advice from the emergency services when producing an evacuation plan for the development as part of the flood risk assessment.  The objectives of a site-specific FRA, as set out in Planning Practice Guidance, are to establish the following:

  • Whether a proposed development is likely to be affected by current or future flooding from any source;
  • Whether it will increase flood risk on-site or elsewhere;
  • Whether the measures proposed to deal with these effects and risks are appropriate;
  • If necessary provide the evidence to the LPA so that the Sequential Test can be applied; and
  • Whether the development will be safe and pass part (c) of the Exception Test if this is appropriate.

6.77 It should be noted that where a site-specific FRA demonstrates that the proposed development would result in an increase in flood risk to others, development will not be permitted.

6.78 Further advice on producing Flood Risk Assessments is provided in Planning Practice Guidance and also by the Environment Agency in their Flood Risk Standing Advice to Applicants and Agents available by following the links on their website at: www.environment-agency.gov.uk.

6.79 In addition to the above requirement for a Flood Risk Assessment, developers should also note that under Sections 109 and 210 of the Water Resources Act 1991, the prior written consent of the Environment Agency will be required for any proposed works or structures, in, under, over or within 9 metres of the top of the bank of a designated Main River or tidal defence, or within 9 metres of the toe of a designated flood defence.

6.80 Erection of flow control structures or any culverting of a watercourse will also require the prior written approval of the Environment Agency under the terms of Section 23 of the Land Drainage Act 1991. Culverting is normally resisted on nature conservation and other grounds and consent for such works will not normally be granted except for access crossings.


1. Applications relating to sites not covered by the Thurrock Sequential Test will be required to be supported by a site-specific Sequential Test to demonstrate compliance with the NPPF, and associated Planning Practice Guidance.  To reflect the nature of Thurrock’s defended floodplain, particular reference should be made to the hazard rating for each site where covered by the Thurrock Strategic Flood Risk Assessment.

2. Only those applications classified under the ‘minor development’ or ‘changes of use’ categories will be exempt from both the Sequential and Exception Tests, and ‘water compatible’ development will be exempt from the Exception Test.  All developments will still be expected to meet the requirements for Flood Risk Assessments.

3. Development proposals subject to the Exception Test in Thurrock must show that the following criteria have been met (in addition to FRA requirements outlined in the NPPF and associated Planning Practice Guidance):

  1. In addressing that part of the Exception Test requiring demonstration that the development provides wider sustainability benefits to the community that outweigh flood risk, reference should be made to the main assessment criteria outlined in the Thurrock Sustainability Appraisal and any opportunities to reduce the overall flood risk posed to the community, including schemes to make space for water;
  2. The FRA must demonstrate that the development will be ‘safe’, without increasing flood risk elsewhere, and where possible will reduce flood risk overall. For Thurrock, this will mean addressing the following points in particular:
    1. Flood hazard must be fully considered and reference should be made in the site-specific FRA to the SFRA, or site-specific modelling. This should be used to inform a sequential approach to planning within the site;
    2. Where it is deemed acceptable to reduce flood storage as a result of development, level for level compensation storage must be provided to ensure that there is no increased flood risk elsewhere;
    3. Where appropriate, an emergency plan for the development must be submitted that is consistent with the emergency plan for the area. This will include evidence that 'more vulnerable' development can achieve safe access/egress to a communal refuge point or unaffected area accessible to the emergency services. In highly exceptional cases where access/egress to a place of safe refuge cannot be achieved, these will be considered on their individual merits;
    4. Where appropriate, flood avoidance, flood resistance and flood resilience measures must be incorporated into the design of any development;
    5. Evidence that surface water management schemes, and other flood defence measures that are required on-site in order to allow a development to take place will be adequately maintained for the lifetime of that development by the site owner;
    6. Evidence that the proposed development will not interfere with the potential for future maintenance or improvements to flood defences.

4. Developers may be required to provide Developer Contributions towards the improvement of Emergency Planning services and flood defence measures within Thurrock as part of flood management mitigation.

5. Developments will be expected to incorporate Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS) to reduce the risk of surface water flooding, both to the site in question and to the surrounding area. Where the potential for surface water flooding has been identified, site specific Flood Risk Assessments should ensure that suitable SUDS techniques are incorporated as part of the redevelopment.

Key Diagrams and Maps

Not Applicable



6.81 Thurrock Council needs to be able to assess and understand the implications of the planned growth on the Borough’s infrastructure and services. In particular, there is a need to ensure that each local community has easy access to a full range of services. To create and maintain sustainable living conditions and high quality lifestyles for existing and future communities, it is essential that growth is properly accommodated within the Borough and that such growth can assist in creating a better environment for Thurrock. Growth can make a positive addition to an area, for example, providing new homes and jobs. It can also have an impact on the local community, placing additional pressures on local infrastructure and facilities such as local schools, road network, open spaces and other essential services.

6.82 Where new development is acceptable in principle, but the proposal would give rise to negative impacts that could not be controlled by the imposition of planning conditions, developer contributions can help to reduce or mitigate its impact on the locality by requiring a developer to either deliver or contribute to services/facilities by way of either physical works or financial contributions. There are various ways that this may be provided, whether on-site, off-site or through financial contributions in lieu.  Some of the infrastructure proposals within the Core Strategy will be implemented by developer contributions. The Council is researching feasible approaches to inform the forthcoming Developer Contributions SPD.

6.83 This policy aims to set out the Thurrock’s approach to the delivery of developer contributions. This policy will be supported by a Developer Contributions SPD that will provide greater clarity on the scope and scale of the developer contributions that may be anticipated within Thurrock.

6.84 The statutory provisions for planning obligations are found at Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 (as amended).  The NPPF confirms that local planning authorities should consider whether otherwise unacceptable development could be made acceptable through the use of conditions or planning obligations, and that planning obligations should only be used where it is not possible to address unacceptable impacts through a planning condition.  The levy regulations indicate that a planning obligation may only constitute a reason for granting planning permission for the development if the obligation is:

  1. necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms;
  2. directly related to the development, and;
  3. fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development.

6.85 The Government is currently proposing to revise the way that developer contributions are collected. The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) would enable local authorities to levy a standard charge on new development to support infrastructure delivery. Thurrock Council will amend its developer contributions regime, as and when new legislation, guidance and regulations are issued.

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

6.86 Most development proposals in Thurrock will have essential infrastructure requirements, in one form or another, whether it is transport improvements or the provision of community or leisure facilities. The Council’s Infrastructure Prioritisation and Implementation Programme identifies where deficits in facilities and infrastructure provision currently exist within the Borough and advises on the quantity and distribution of the new infrastructure that will be needed to serve any additional growth in the number of dwellings. The delivery and implementation of some of these facilities will be achieved through developer contributions from new development. The Council is currently producing a Developer Contributions SPD and CIL Charging Schedule which will inform the application of this policy.


1. Where needs would arise as a result of development, the Council will seek to secure planning obligations under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and in accordance with the NPPF and any other relevant guidance.  

2. Through such obligations, the Council will seek to ensure that development proposals:

  1. Where appropriate contribute to the delivery of strategic infrastructure to enable the cumulative impact of development to be managed.
  2. Meet the reasonable cost of new infrastructure made necessary by the proposal.
  3. Mitigate or compensate for the loss of any significant amenity or resource.
  4. Provide for the ongoing maintenance of facilities provided as a result of the development.

The wide range of matters that may be covered by obligations include:


Affordable Housing (including intermediate and key worker housing)

Mobility Housing

Lifetime Homes

Special Needs Housing

Education and Training


Early Years and Childcare

Primary Schools

Secondary Schools

Sixth Form Provision

Higher Educational Provision

School Transport

Adult Learning

Safer Routes to School

Vocational training in employment

Employment of local residents

Transport Infrastructure

Provision of Technical Work

Network management

Sustainable Public and Community Transport

Accessibility and Travel planning

Pedestrian Infrastructure including Public Rights of Way

Cycling Infrastructure

Road Infrastructure

Parking Infrastructure / enforcement

Transport Information and Marketing Scheme and Residential Season Ticket

Maintenance Payments for new and existing infrastructure

Community, Cultural and Social Infrastructure

Library Services

Community Centres (including Places of Worship)

Youth Facilities

Emergency Services - Police Service, Essex Fire and Rescue, Health Care, Ambulance Services

Public Art

Recreational and Leisure Facilities including Open Space, Play Equipment and Pitches

Built Environment

Street Scene Improvements

Preservation and enhancement of the Historic Environment

Safety and designing out crime

Sustainable Design and Layout

Environment/ Climate Change

Renewable Energy Additions

Biodiversity and Landscaping

Green Infrastructure


Carbon Offset Fund

Flood defense infrastructure

District Energy Networks

Other Utilities and Communications

Including water and waste water

3. To ensure the robust, sustainable and effective delivery of infrastructure within Thurrock, the Council will seek, where appropriate, different types of contributions from new development. These will be set out in the forthcoming Developer Contributions SPD.  The range of contributions that will be utilised in Thurrock include:

  1. Standard Charges - to ensure certainty and clarity in the delivery of developer contributions, a formulaic approach with a standard charge will be utilised where appropriate.
  2. Maintenance Payments - where appropriate maintenance contributions will be sought, usually in the form of a one-off payment.
  3. Forward or Support Funding - Specific elements of the development package may be required to be in place at an early stage in the build programme.
  4. Pooling of Contributions - Pooling of contributions will be an appropriate way of collecting together funding from a number of developments in an area to facilitate the provision of infrastructure needed to meet the cumulative impact of development where a single development would not fairly be able to meet the associated costs. Cross boundary impacts with other Local Planning Authorities will require joint agreement between authorities. Effective and productive joint working with neighbouring authorities will be promoted.

Key Diagrams and Maps

Not Applicable

1 British Horse Society.

2 Essex County Council's Draft Parking Standards, Design and Good Practice document provides evidence to this effect.

3 Office of National Statistics Census 2001. Given the trend for increasing car ownership, it is likely this will have become a greater issue since 2001.

4 CABE research What Home Buyers Want: Attitudes and Decision Making amongst Consumers.

5 Peterborough - Sustainable Travel Demonstration Town. Final Evaluation Report March 2009. Sustrans and Socialdata.

6 Colin Buchanan and Partners Report 4.1. Thurrock Infrastructure Prioritisation and Implementation Programme 2006 - 2021.

7 Department for Communities and Local Government, Planning Policy Statement: Planning and Climate Change, December 2007.

8 Carbon offsets are measured in metric tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) and may represent six primary categories of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, HFEs, HFCs, SF6).

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