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Chapter 3: Topic Based Policies:

3.1 Chapter 3 Topic Based policies, covers policies that generally only apply to certain types of development. This Chapter should be read in conjunction with other policies in the MDD, including those in the cross-cutting chapter.

Green Belt


Policy TB01: Development within the Green Belt

  1. The Green Belt is defined on the Policies Map.
  2. Within the Green Belt, development for the purposes set out in paragraphs 89 and 90 of the National Planning Policy Framework and as set out in point 3 below will only be permitted where they maintain the openness of, and do not conflict with the purposes of including land in, the Green Belt.
  3. The alteration and/or extension of a dwelling and the construction, alteration or extension of buildings ancillary to a dwelling in the Green Belt over and above the size of the original building(s) shall be limited in scale.

3.2 The Council established through policy CP12 – Green Belt of the Core Strategy that there were no exceptional circumstances to warrant changes to the Green Belt boundary. The Green Belt is defined on the Policies Map.

3.3 Inappropriate development is, by definition, harmful to the Green Belt. The presumption against inappropriate development is key to retaining the openness of the Green Belt. Paragraph 89 of the NPPF sets out that although the construction of new buildings is inappropriate in the Green Belt, there are certain exceptions. Paragraph 90 of the NPPF sets out that certain other forms of development are also not inappropriate in the Green Belt.

3.4 With regard to the alteration and/or extension of a dwelling and the construction, alteration or extension of buildings ancillary to a dwelling, proposals will be assessed against the original building(s), as defined in the NPPF. Due to the restrictive policies that apply to the Green Belt and the need to retain the openness of the countryside, only limited extensions to a dwelling will generally be permitted. ‘Limited’ means a cumulative increase of generally no more than a 35% increase in volume over and above the original dwelling.

3.5 For the purposes of clarity, any assessment of increase in volume of a dwelling will not include any other buildings on the site. With regard to the construction, alteration or extension of buildings ancillary to a dwelling, changes should not result in disproportionate additions to the original building(s) or cause a detrimental alteration to the scale of the dwelling or to the scale of development on the site.


Policy TB02: Development adjoining the Green Belt

Planning permission for proposals outside the Green Belt, but conspicuous when viewed from it, will only be granted where it is not detrimental to the visual amenity and openness of the Green Belt in terms of scale, form, siting, materials or design.

3.6 The visual amenity of the Green Belt should not be adversely affected by proposals for development within or conspicuous from the Green Belt which, although they would not prejudice the purposes of including land in the Green Belt, might have a detrimental impact.


Policy TB03: Major Existing Developed Site in the Green Belt (Star Brick and Tile Works)

  1. The Star Brick and Tile Works, Knowl Hill is identified as a major existing developed site in the Green Belt and is defined on the Policies Map.
  2. Within the defined development envelope of the Star Brick & Tile works, the principle of limited infilling or the partial or complete redevelopment of the site will only be acceptable where it would not have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt and the purpose of including land within it than the existing development.

3.7 Major existing developed sites are locations of significant development within the Green Belt and can be redundant or in continuing use. The supporting text (paragraph 4.61) to policy CP12 – Green Belt, of the Core Strategy identifies one major existing developed site at the Star Brick & Tile Works, Knowl Hill, which is an existing waste site, as defined in policy WLP11 – Preferred Areas and Preferred Areas of Search, of the Waste Local Plan for Berkshire (1998). Re-use, redevelopment or limited infilling, which is consistent with Green Belt and other relevant policy is not inappropriate within the defined development envelope of the site.

3.8 As of the adoption date of the former Wokingham District Local Plan (11 March 2004), the major existing developed site had a floorspace of approximately 10,400 sq m. This figure will be used as the basis for interpreting whether development would be acceptable. The Council has reviewed the boundary and approach to development at this location. As there has been no significant change in local circumstances or in the fundamental aims of government policy on Green Belts since the adoption of the WDLP, the Council’s approach has not changed in the MDD. Within the defined development envelope of the site, as shown in Appendix 4, the Council will accept the principle of re-use, redevelopment or limited infilling, subject to relevant policies and site specific considerations.

3.9 Limited infilling will be acceptable to facilitate the continued use of the site, while protecting the openness of the Green Belt. Limited infilling means proposals that are restricted to the areas between the external walls of a building or to small gaps between adjacent buildings, subject to there being no increase in floorspace or the developed proportion of the defined development envelope.

3.10 Improvements expected from development shall be appropriate to the Green Belt. The complete or partial redevelopment of the site offers the opportunity for appropriate improvements without impacting on the openness of, and the purposes of including land within, the Green Belt. In any redevelopment, the area of temporary buildings or areas of hard-standing will not be included in calculating the floorspace to be permitted. Any redevelopment of the site, either total or part, must consider the entire site and be put forward in the context of a comprehensive, long-term plan for the site as a whole.

3.11 In order to achieve appropriate vehicular access to the major existing developed site and the mineral workings, highway changes may be necessary outside the defined development envelope. The form of these works will be subject to environmental and highway considerations.


Policy Background for Policy TB01: Development within the Green Belt, Policy TB02: Development adjoining the Green Belt and Policy TB03: Major Existing Developed Site in the Green Belt (Star Brick and Tile Works)

National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012), i.e. under heading 6 - Delivering a wide choice of high quality homes, paragraph 52; heading 9 - Protecting Green Belt land, such as paragraphs 89 and 90  

Regional

N/A

Local

Core Strategy (2010) policy CP12 – Green Belt

Waste Local Plan for Berkshire (1998) policy WLP11 Preferred Areas and Preferred Areas of Search

Replacement Minerals Local Plan for Berkshire (incorporating the alterations adopted in December 1997 and May 2001

Borough Design Guide SPD (2012)

Atomic Weapons Establishment

Policy TB04: Development in vicinity of Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), Burghfield

  1. Development will only be permitted where the applicant demonstrates that the increase in the number of people living, working, shopping and/or visiting the proposal (including at different times of the day) can be safely accommodated having regard to the needs of “Blue light” services and the emergency off-site plan for the Atomic Weapons Establishment site at Burghfield.
  2. The applicant will need to provide this information where the proposal exceeds the scale of development detailed below for the consultation zone as defined on the Policies Map.
Consultation Zone (Distance from AWE Burghfield) Scale of development
Inner

(0 - 1.5 km)

This corresponds with the Detailed Emergency Planning Zone (DEPZ) for the site
All residential or non-residential applications where one or more additional person may live, work, shop and/or visit (all applications except house extensions, shop fronts, advertisements, Listed Building, Conservation Area consent, prior notifications and telecommunications).
Middle

(1.5 – 3 km)
All residential or non-residential applications where 50 or more additional people may live, work, shop and/or visit.
Outer

(3 - 5 km) 
All residential or non-residential applications where 500 or more additional people may live, work, shop and/or visit.

3.12 Whilst there are no Atomic Weapons Establishments in the Borough, there are two licensed nuclear installations located in the adjacent District of West Berkshire. These are the Atomic Weapons Establishment sites in Aldermaston (AWE A) and in Burghfield (AWE B).

3.13 Planning advice in Circular 04/00 ‘Planning Controls for Hazardous Substances’ requires that the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) must be consulted on developments near nuclear installations to ensure that the potential cumulative increase in either the population or numbers of people living, working, shopping and/or visiting the vicinity of these sites can be safely accommodated. Prior to 31 March 2011, responsibility for nuclear matters was overseen by the Health and Safety Executive (Nuclear Installations Inspectorate).

3.14 Within the context of AWE A, the edge of the outer zone is at 8km whereas for AWE B it is at 5km. Since no part of the Borough is within 8km of AWE A, the authority only needs to consult the ONR for proposals within 5km of AWE B. The ONR produces advice concerning the implications of development around nuclear installations which can be obtained from http://www.hse.gov.uk/nuclear/land-use-planning.htm. The zones can be seen in Appendix 5.

3.15 Assessments were undertaken by the ONR in December 2010 based upon development commitments that are now part of the Adopted West Berkshire Core Strategy. These assessments do not take account of any additional development that could arise in the vicinity of the site through the MDD or similar documents produced by the other authorities within the consultation zones for AWE A and AWE B (Reading Borough; West Berkshire District; Basingstoke and Deane Borough together with Wokingham Borough). Therefore, any changes in the numbers of people living, working, shopping and/or visiting the area around the AWE sites must be carefully assessed across the consultation zones.

3.16 To assist applicant’s interpretation of the policy requirements, the following types of development are likely to include either 50 or 500 people respectively:

  1. 50 or more people could be accommodated in 20 or more dwellings; 1,000 sq m of Use Class B1 (business); 2,400 sq m of Use Class B8 (warehousing & distribution) or 2,000 sq m of other uses
  2. 500 or more people could be accommodated in 200 or more dwellings; 11,000 sq m of Use Class B1; 24,000 sq m of Use Class B8, or 20,000 sq m of other uses.

3.17 These examples are illustrative and applicants will need to provide information on the likely number of people living, working, shopping or visiting the site. The Council will work with the other authorities within the consultation zones together with ONR in monitoring (through the Monitoring Report) the potential cumulative effects of any population increase surrounding these installations.

3.18 The boundaries of the consultation zones may be changed by ONR during the plan period to take account of implications of development both on the AWE sites and within their vicinity together with updates on the resident population.


Residential Uses

3.19 To meet the needs of all of the Borough’s residents the Council will seek a range of types of accommodation for people to live in. These include market housing; affordable housing; housing for the elderly; housing for the vulnerable (particularly extra care); caravans and mobile homes; gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople; rural exception housing; live-work units; agricultural workers dwellings and flats.

3.20 Development proposals for caravans and mobile homes will be assessed on a site-by-site basis against the same criteria by which the Council assesses applications for permanent dwellings.


Policy TB05: Housing Mix

  1. Proposals for residential development shall provide for an appropriate housing mix which reflects a balance between the underlying character of the area and both the current and projected needs of households. Any scheme that requires the provision of affordable housing should provide an appropriate mix of accommodation on a site by site basis, which reflects the Council’s Housing Strategy and the Affordable Housing SPD.
  2. A proportion of all dwellings must be built to Lifetime Homes Standards.  The proportion will be determined on a site-by-site basis, normally within the range of 10-20%

3.21 Core Strategy Policy CP5 - Housing mix, density and affordability requires residential development to provide a mix of dwellings, which Policy TB05: Housing Mix enhances.

3.22 The approach to housing mix should be set out in the applicant’s Design and Access Statement. To sustain mixed communities, developers should bring forward proposals for market housing which reflect the demand and the demographic profile of households requiring market housing.

3.23 Where affordable housing is provided under policy CP5 of the Core Strategy, this should reflect the size and type of affordable housing required. The Council’s Housing Strategy (2010), which will be regularly reviewed depending on need, indicates at page 8 that ‘as a guide’ based on current needs information the Council will aim to achieve the following mix of houses/flats:

  1. 20% 1-bedroom dwellings
  2. 45% 2-bedroom dwellings (which would predominantly be houses)
  3. 20% 3-bedroom houses (to include some 3-bedroom bungalows for people with physical disabilities)
  4. 15% 4-bedroom + houses.

3.24 As set out in paragraph 4.34 of the Core Strategy and the Affordable Housing SPD (2013), including any update, the Council will consider the use of a commuted sum in lieu of affordable housing, to be used to assist with the provision of affordable housing off-site including regeneration projects.

3.25 Lifetime Homes are homes that incorporate 16 design criteria that can be universally applied to new homes at minimal cost, as set out in Homes and Community Agency guidelines. These design features help support the changing needs of individuals and families at different stages of life.

3.26 Applying Lifetime Homes Standards means that development can incorporate design features which help to make them adaptable to meet the varying needs of different occupiers or changing needs through a family’s lifetime occupancy.


Policy Background

National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012), i.e. under heading 6 - Delivering a wide choice of high quality homes, paragraph 50

Planning Policy for Travellers Sites (2012)

Homes and Community Agency Guidelines on Lifetime Homes

Regional

N/A

Local

Core Strategy (2010) policies CP1 - Sustainable Development and CP5 - Housing mix, density and affordability

Borough Design Guide SPD (2012)

Affordable Housing SPD (2013)

Housing Strategy 2010-13 (2010)


Policy TB06: Development of Private Residential gardens

  1. The Council will resist inappropriate development of residential gardens where development would cause harm to the local area.
  2. Proposals for new residential development that includes land within the curtilage or the former curtilage of private residential gardens will only be granted planning permission where:
    1. The proposal makes a positive contribution to the character of the area in terms of:
      1. The relationship of the existing built form and spaces around buildings within the surrounding area;
      2. A layout which integrates with the surrounding area with regard to the built up coverage of each plot, building line(s), rhythm of plot frontages, parking areas, and
      3. Existing pattern of openings and boundary treatments on the site frontage
      4. Providing appropriate hard and soft landscaping, particularly at site boundaries.
      5. Compatibility with the general building height within the surrounding area
      6. The materials and elevational detail are of high quality, and where appropriate distinctive and/ or complementary
    2. The application site provides a site of adequate size and dimensions to accommodate the development proposed in terms of the setting and spacing around buildings, amenity space, landscaping and space for access roads and parking
    3. The proposal includes access, which meets appropriate highway standards
    4. The proposal does not lead to unacceptable tandem development
    5. The design and layout minimises exposure of existing private boundaries to public areas and avoids the need for additional physical security measures

3.27 This policy enhances policy CP1 Sustainable Development of the Core Strategy, as well as CP3 General Principles for development.

3.28 The approach reflects advice set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.

3.29 Private residential gardens are excluded from the definition of previously developed land as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. The Council has defined private residential gardens as:

  1. Land within the curtilage of a residential building(s); and/or
  2. Land where the previous lawful use was for private residential garden.

3.30 The removal of private residential gardens from the definition of previously developed land lowers the priority of such sites for development.


Policy Background

National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), (2012) i.e. under heading 6 – Delivering a wide choice of high quality homes, such as paragraph 53

Regional

N/A

Local

Core Strategy (2010) – policies CP1 - Sustainable Development; CP3 – General Principles for Development; CP17 – Housing Delivery

Borough Design Guide SPD (2012)


Policy TB07: Internal Space Standards

  1. Proposals for new residential units, including change of use or conversions, should ensure that the internal layout and size are suitable to serve the amenity requirements of future occupiers.  The Council will assess all development proposals against the following minimum standards to ensure that the internal layout and size are suitable to serve the amenity requirements of future occupiers.
  2. Three storey houses will require more space to accommodate the additional circulation space required.  Proposals for provision of residential units above existing town centre uses will be considered on a site-by site basis.

Dwelling Type* Minimum gross internal area (GIA) (sq m) Designed occupancy (Bed spaces per property
1 bedroom flat 50 (538.2 sq ft) 2
2 bedroom flat 61 (656.6 sq ft) 3
2 bedroom house 83 (893.4 sq ft) 4
3 bedroom house 87 (936.46 sq ft) 5
4 bedroom house 100 (1,076.4 sq ft) 6

*Five bedroom houses should provide 7 bed spaces and six bedroom houses 8 bed spaces

  1. Household accommodation should in general provide two social spaces, such as a living room and a kitchen/dining room. The Council will seek the following minimum combined floor area for these spaces.

Designed occupancy (Bed spaces per property) Minimum combined floor area of living, dining and kitchen space (sq m)
2 person 23 (247.57 sq ft)
3 person 25 (269.1 sq ft)
4 person 27 (290.63 sq ft)
5 person 29 (312.15 sq ft)
6 person 31 (333.68 sq ft)

3.31 All new housing should have sufficient internal space to cater for a variety of different household needs with the aim of promoting high standards of liveability, accessibility and comfort.  Sufficient internal space can also help achieve Lifetime Homes Standards, as set out in Policy TB05: Housing Mix  Core Strategy policy CP2: Inclusive Communities. It can also help to facilitate home working to help minimise the need to travel in line with Core Strategy policy CP6 Managing Travel Demand.

3.32 Proposals shall be consistent with the Borough Design Guide SPD (2012), which sets out a checklist for householders and developers on the Council’s internal space standards. These standards are in line with the recognised Homes and Community Agency Standards. The Council will require applicants to provide details and plans showing how the internal space standards have been applied. Please note that the imperial measurements shown are for information only and all proposals will be assessed against the metric measurements.


Policy Background

National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012), i.e. under heading 6 – delivering a wide choice of high quality homes, such as paragraphs 47 and 50

Homes and Community Agency Standards

Regional

N/A

Local

Core Strategy (2010) policies CP2 – Inclusive Communities and CP6 – Managing Travel Demand

Borough Design Guide SPD (2012)


Policy TB08: Open Space, sport and recreational facilities standards for residential development

  1. Proposals for development that could lead to the loss of open space, sport or recreational facilities will need to be consistent with paragraph 74 of the National Planning Policy Framework.
  2. Open space; indoor or outdoor play; sport and recreational facilities should be provided on-site.
  3. Proposals for residential development will need to demonstrate how they meet the standards set out below.

Type~ Standards (ha per 1,000 population)
Parks and public gardens 1.1
Natural/semi natural green space (excluding Country Parks*) 2.84
Amenity greenspace 0.98
Provision for children young people (Neighbourhood Equipped Areas of Play; Local Equipped Areas of Play; Local Areas of Play) 0.25
Civic Space 0.01
Outdoor sports facilities 1.66
Cemeteries/Burial Grounds# 14.4 plots per 1,000 population
   
Type (indoor sports) Standards (sq m per 1,000 population)
Sports halls (4-bad court) including indoor bowls (2 rinks) and Health & Fitness gym (20 stations) 65.43
Swimming pool 8.26
Activity halls 41.31
   
*In line with the supporting text paragraph 4.49 (ii) to policy CP8 - Thames Basin Heath SPA of the Core Strategy, where Suitable Accessible Natural Greenspace (SANG) also meets the definition of natural greenspace it can also count towards this provision, i.e. at least 2.84ha/1,000 population of the SANG could also contribute towards the natural greenspace standard and vice versa.

~In respect of allotments, the requirement of 0.52 ha/1000 population as set out in Appendix 4 of the Core Strategy remains and will apply to all areas within the Borough including the Strategic Development Locations.

# Assumes a grave plot can accommodate 2.5 burials on average

3.33 Core Strategy Policy CP3 - General Principles of development requires development proposals to provide for a framework of open space.

3.34 New development can provide opportunities to provide, protect and enhance new and existing public open space (including cemeteries/burial grounds), indoor and outdoor play, sport and recreational facilities either through on site measures or by contributing to off-site facilities.

3.35 Whilst appendix 4 of the Core Strategy sets out a requirement for allotments, this only applied to principal settlements which are Earley; Shinfield (north of M4); Winnersh; Wokingham, and Woodley. In applying this standard borough wide the Council has had regard to existing waiting lists for allotments and to ensuring future needs are met. This will help the Council achieve some of its health, wellbeing and prevention responsibilities and Core Strategy spatial objectives G and M, which relate to the provision of non-housing development in appropriate locations and the provision of appropriate infrastructure, services and facilities.

3.36 The standards in Policy CC08: Safeguarding alignments of the Strategic Transport Network & Road Infrastructure have been set having regard to the evidence and approach set out in the Wokingham PPG17 Open space, Sport and Recreation Study Standards Paper (2012). The standards for cemeteries have been amended to reflect the Borough’s mortality rate rather than regional data to provide a locally derived figure.

3.37 Developments will be expected to provide public open space on site. In some cases, for example, small sites where the site cannot physically provide or appropriately accommodate open space, indoor or outdoor play or sport and recreational facilities on-site, the Council will seek a financial contribution to fund off-site provision. Applicants will need to demonstrate that the site cannot accommodate the types of open space listed in Policy CC08: Safeguarding alignments of the Strategic Transport Network & Road Infrastructure. Off-site contributions will either be pooled to enable the implementation of larger projects including the creation of additional open space, or will be used to improve the accessibility to, or quality of, open spaces, sport and recreation facilities, whatever is most appropriate in the locality. The delivery of open space, sport and recreation provision shall be consistent with the Open Space, Sport and Recreation Strategy (November 2013).


Policy Background

National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012), i.e. under heading 8 - Promoting healthy communities, paragraphs 73 and 74

Regional

South East Green Infrastructure Framework (July 2009)

Local

Core Strategy (2010) policy CP3 – General Principles for development; policy CP8 – Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area; Appendix 4 – Guidelines for the provision for Public Open Space associated with residential development

Wokingham PPG17 Open Space, Sport and Recreation Study Standards Paper (2012), KKP

Open Space, Sport and Recreation Strategy (November 2013)


Policy TB09: Residential accommodation for vulnerable groups

  1. The Council will in principle support proposals which provide for the following types of accommodation to provide for peoples’ needs over a lifetime:
    1. Extra care homes
    2. Dementia extra care units
    3. Enhanced sheltered schemes
    4. Proposals that allow the elderly and those with disabilities to remain in their own homes or purpose built accommodation.
  2. Applications for small group homes for vulnerable adults, children and young adults leaving care will be considered on a site-by site basis. The Council will have regard to the specific requirements of these groups, including the location of the development.

3.38 Core Strategy Policy CP2 - Inclusive Communities requires the provision of inclusive communities that provide for the long term needs of all members of the community. Therefore, the choice of accommodation could include dementia units, extra care housing, small group homes and accommodation for young people leaving care. 

3.39 Paragraph 2.33 of the Core Strategy recognises that children in the care of the Council tend to be placed within their family and friends network, or with foster carers. Where this is not possible the children will live in a small group homes. For young adults leaving care there may be the need for supported housing schemes.

3.40 The Council may need to find sites for further small group homes to meet the needs of vulnerable adults and children during the plan period. As of April 2012, no sites had been put forward for development to meet these needs. Proposals for these uses will be considered on a site by site basis as they come forward.

3.41 Paragraph 2.37 of the Core Strategy states the number of people over 85 years old will increase by 100% between 2006 and 2026. To ensure appropriate support is available to the elderly, the Council’s approach is to enable people to stay in their own homes (including extra care and supported housing) with the accessible care and support they need.

3.42 Paragraph 2.41 of the Core Strategy sets out requirements for extra care housing, enhanced sheltered housing and dementia units. The Council is currently undertaking an update of its Strategy for housing for older people in Wokingham. Proposals shall be consistent with the updated strategy in determining applications for these uses.


Policy Background

National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012), i.e. under heading 6 - Delivering a wide choice of high quality homes, paragraph 50

Regional

N/A

Local

Sustainable Community Strategy for Wokingham 2020

Core Strategy (2010) policies CP1 – Sustainable Development, CP2 – Inclusive communities, and CP3 – General Principles for development. Also the section relating to ‘Consistency with strategies for the borough’

Strategy for housing for older people in Wokingham


Policy TB10: Traveller Sites

  1. Planning permission may be granted for new gypsy and traveller pitches or travelling showpeople plots or extensions to existing sites where it can be demonstrated that:
    1. The site is located in the Borough’s existing settlements or is adjacent to an existing settlement either within or adjacent to the Borough
    2. Avoids impacting on the separate identity of settlements
    3. The site has access to a range of local services such as shops; health facilities including doctors, schools, and a range of amenities including play areas and other recreation facilities
    4. No significant barriers to development exists in terms of flooding, poor drainage, poor ground stability or proximity to other hazardous land or installations where conventional housing would not be suitable
    5. Unacceptable impacts on the character and appearance of the surrounding landscape will be minimised through the sensitive and appropriate design of the scheme
    6. The proposals will not result in an unacceptable loss of amenity of neighbouring land uses
    7. Mixed use proposals (which are sites that include a business use) will only be considered if appropriate to the locality and such uses will not result in an unacceptable loss of amenity
    8. The scheme avoids any adverse impacts on the Special Protection Area.

3.43 Policy TB10: Traveller Sites enhances Core Strategy policies CP1 – Sustainable Development; CP2 – Inclusive Communities; CP3 – General Principles for Development; CP6 – Managing Travel Demand; CP8 – Thames Basin Heath SPA and CP11 Proposals outside Development Limits (including countryside).

3.44 In line with the advice set out in Planning Policy for Traveller sites guidance (2012) the Gypsy and Travellers Guidance, opportunities to redevelop previously developed land or a vacant or derelict site should be considered.

3.45 The supporting text (paragraph 4.15) to policy CP2, Inclusive Communities of the Core Strategy, sets out the pitch requirement for gypsies and travellers to 2016, which was for 21 pitches.

3.46 To ensure that the Council has the most up to date information regarding meeting the local needs of the Gypsy and Traveller communities, the Council appointed consultants to undertake a further Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) of local demonstrable need and supply for the period 2012-2017 and from 2017-2027. This GTAA is consistent with guidance set out in the Planning Policy on Traveller sites (2012). The GTAA (2013) will form the basis for assessing need. 

3.47 The Council will continue to work with the Gypsy and Traveller communities regarding identifying sites which could be suitable for providing permanent pitches for Gypsy and Traveller requirements and which could provide a sites supply in line with the Planning Policy for Travellers sites guidance (2012) to meet the needs of travellers in the Borough. A Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan is being produced by the Council taking account of appropriate collaboration with other authorities.


Policy Background

National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012), i.e. under heading 6 - Delivering a wide choice of high quality homes, paragraph 50

Technical Guidance to the NPPF (2012)

Planning Policy for Traveller sites guidance (2012)

Regional

N/A

Local

Core Strategy policies CP1 – Sustainable Development; CP2 – Inclusive Communities; CP3 – General Principles for development; CP6 – Managing Travel Demand; CP8 – Thames Basin Heaths Special; CP11 – Proposals outside Development Limits (including countryside)

Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) (2013)

Economy

3.48 This section has policies on employment and retail uses.


Policy TB11: Core Employment Areas

Core Employment Areas are listed in Policy CP15- Employment Development of the Core Strategy and are defined on the Policies Map.

3.49 Employment policy for the Borough is set out in policy CP15 - Employment Development, and policy CP11 - Proposals Outside Development Limits (Including Countryside) of the Core Strategy.

3.50 The majority of employment growth will occur in the Core Employment Areas and on other identified employment sites. Employment development inside the development limits but outside the areas defined in Policy TB11: Core Employment Areas and Policy SAL08: Allocated Mixed Use Sites will be assessed against policy CP15 of the Core Strategy.

3.51 Further employment sites have been identified in line with policies CP15 - Employment Development, CP16 - Science Park, CP18 - Arborfield Garrison SDL and CP20 - North Wokingham SDL, and Policy SAL07: Sites within Development Limits allocated for employment/commercial development.


Policy Background

National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012), i.e. under heading 1 - Building a strong, competitive economy;

Regional

N/A

Local

Core Strategy (2010) policy CP11 – Proposals outside Development Limits (including countryside), policy CP15 - Employment Development, policy CP 16 – Science Park, policy CP18 – Arborfield Garrison Strategic Development Location and policy CP20 – North Wokingham Strategic Development Location


Policy TB12: Employment Skills Plan

Proposals for major development should be accompanied by an Employment and Skills plan to show how the proposal accords opportunities for training, apprenticeship or other vocational initiatives to develop local employability skills required by developers, contractors or end users of the proposal.

3.52 In line with the Council’s Economic Development Strategy (2010) to encourage the use of local labour and to ensure that local people have the skills and abilities to compete for local jobs, the Council will promote the use of an Employment and Skills Plan within major development proposals.

3.53 The Council will produce additional guidance which sets further detail on the scale and type of contribution expected from development, including the stages of development (construction, and where appropriate end user). The plan may cover apprenticeships; training initiatives such as pre-employment training; work experience, and work skills training. The Council may use S106 agreements or planning conditions to incorporate the Employment Skills Plan.


Policy Background

National

N/A

Regional

N/A

Local

Economic Development Strategy (2010)


Policy TB13: Science and Innovation Park

  1. The boundary of the University of Reading Science and Innovation Park is defined in policy SAL07.
  2. Planning permission for the development of the remainder of the Science Park will only be granted where it demonstrates that the proposals:
    1. Are only for purposes appropriate to the primary use of the site as a Science and Innovation Park, including research and development, laboratories and high tech uses together with ancillary and related uses and for no other purpose
    2. Maintain the visual separation between the Science and Innovation Park and the settlements of Shinfield (North of M4), Earley and Shinfield Village
    3. Provide high quality landscape
    4. Provide for high quality design appropriate to its location and setting
    5. Secure a programme of archaeological work.

3.54 Policy CP16 - Science Park of the Core Strategy states that a Science Park will be developed south of the M4 in Shinfield Parish.

3.55 Outline Planning Permission has been granted for the first phase of the Science and Innovation Park and full permission has been granted for the construction of the access road part (0/2009/1027). In the period to 2016, the first phase of a high quality campus of approximately 20,000 sq m gross should be developed which fully reflects the landscape characteristics of its site.

3.56 The legal agreement for the first phase of the Science Park includes a ‘gateway policy’ regarding occupancy. This ‘gateway policy ‘approach should apply to the remaining phases of the Science and Innovation Park.

3.57 The use of the site will be restricted to appropriate uses for a Science and Innovation Park such as research and development, laboratories and high tech uses together with provided that they do not undermine its key purpose. This is to ensure that the function of the Science and Innovation Park is not compromised.


Policy Background

National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012), i.e. under heading 1 - Building a strong, competitive economy; heading 4 - Promoting sustainable transport

Regional

N/A

Local

Core Strategy (2010) policy CP16 - Science Park

Planning Application 0/2009/1027


Policy TB14: Whiteknights Campus

  1. 1. The University of Reading is a national and international educational establishment of strategic importance which will continue to adapt and expand over the plan period. TheWhiteknights Campus as defined on the Policies Mapwill continue to be a focus for development associated with the University of Reading. Such development may include additional student, staff, teaching, research and enterprise accommodation, infrastructure and services, and sports and leisure facilities among other uses. There will also be improvements to access, including rationalisation of vehicle entrances and exits.
  2. 2. Development proposals will accord with the following criteria:
    1. They respect the historic landscape, open areas and listed buildings and their settings and the character of the area
    2. Areas of wildlife significance (including Local Wildlife Sites) and current or potential green infrastructure networks will be retained and enhanced
    3. The safety of those using the campus (including highway safety issues and designing out crime) will be maintained and enhanced;
    4. There are no significant detrimental impacts on neighbouring residential properties from the development, including from noise or parking; and
    5. The loss of undeveloped areas on the site will be weighed against the benefits of development to the wider community.

3.58 The University of Reading is a national and international educational establishment of strategic importance which will continue to adapt over the plan period. The University operates from a number of sites within Wokingham Borough, including Whiteknights Campus (circa 119 hectares) of which approximately one third lies within Reading Borough. The policy aims to ensure that the Whiteknights Campus continues to develop as the focus for the University of Reading and contributes to the area as a whole and the wider national interest.  This policy helps to achieve objective xiii of paragraph 2.68 of the Core Strategy in that it maintains and enhances the Borough’s knowledge and skills base.

3.59 The Whiteknights Campus has a number of issues which distinguish it from other parts of the Borough, and therefore necessitate a distinct approach. The University has around 17,500 students1, which is roughly equivalent in size to a town such as Thatcham or Marlow, and Whiteknights is the hub of university activity. Students, staff and visitors need to be supported by services, facilities and infrastructure. A separate policy is therefore required for the part of the Whiteknights campus that lies within the Borough.

3.60 There are a number of constraints and complexities affecting the site. Parts of the site have significant wildlife importance, and the area is a prominent part of the local landscape, adjoining part of the East Reading wooded ridgeline Major Landscape Feature, with large tracts of open space. A number of listed buildings are on site, and university uses have a potential effect on surrounding residential areas. In addition, approximately a third of the Campus is within Reading Borough, meaning that a consistent approach is required. Development proposals will be jointly considered by Reading Borough Council and Wokingham Borough Council.

3.61 In 2008, the University drew up a Whiteknights Campus Development Plan, which set out the University’s principles for future development of the site, including providing 1,297 additional bedspaces, waste and catering facilities and changes to the accesses and internal circulation. The Whiteknights Campus Development Plan does not form part of either Reading or Wokingham Borough’s Development Plan, but it outlines the changes that are proposed to occur on the site in the coming years, and has informed this policy. Much of the physical development proposed has already received planning permission, and it is therefore important that the policy looks beyond the current Whiteknights Campus Development Plan and is flexible to take account of other proposals as they come forward.

3.62 Proposals within the Whiteknights Campus Development Plan include rationalising the substantial number of vehicle access points around the campus. Given that growth is likely to occur on the campus, it is vital that access points are appropriately located. The Council is therefore supportive of this principle in the Whiteknights Campus Development Plan.


Policy Background

National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012), i.e. under heading 1 - Building a strong, competitive economy; heading 4 - Promoting sustainable transport

Regional

N/A

Local

Whiteknights Campus Development Plan (2008), University of Reading and Stride Treglown

Adopted Sites and Detailed Policies Document (October 2012), policy SA6: Whiteknights Campus, University of Reading (Reading Borough Council)

Retail Policies


Policy TB15: Major Town, and Small Town/ District Centre development

  1. The major town, small/ district centre boundaries as listed in policy CP13 – Town Centres and shopping of the Core Strategy are defined on the Policies Map.
  2. The primary and secondary shopping frontages and primary shopping areas are defined on the Policies Map and also listed in Appendix 6 of the MDD.
  3. Planning permission will only be granted for proposals for main town centre uses within Wokingham town centre or small town/district centres where they demonstrate that:
    1. They are of a scale and form that is compatible with the retail character of the centre and its role in the hierarchy of retail centres
    2. How it retains or increases the provision of Use Class A1 (Shops) in primary shopping frontages and the provision of Use Class A1 or A2 (Financial and professional services) or A3 (Restaurants and cafes) or A4 (Drinking establishments) or A5 hot food takeaways in secondary shopping frontages
    3. They contribute to the provision of day and evening/night-time uses and are compatible with other uses
    4. They enhance vitality and viability.
  4. The Council will also support the provision of office uses or self-contained dwellings in vacant or under used units above ground-floor town centre uses where a suitable/appropriate level of amenity for occupants can be provided. The Council will also support the provision of live-work units in appropriate locations.
  5. All proposals within Wokingham Town Centre shall be consistent with the Wokingham Town Centre Masterplan SPD.

3.63 Shinfield Road (North of M4) is designated as a district centre but is only partly located within the Borough. In defining the part of the centre boundary within the Borough, regard was had to the provisions of policy CS26: Network and Hierarchy of Centres of Reading Borough Council’s Core Strategy (2008) and Policy SA15 of their Adopted Sites and Detailed Policies Document (October 2012).

3.64 Setting primary and secondary frontages and policies helps to manage the mix of uses in order to retain an appropriate balance of retail and complementary town centre uses. Retailing is the primary function of centres and the main contributor to vitality and viability.

3.65 In order to enhance the vitality and viability of these centres, primary shopping frontages should comprise a higher proportion of A1 uses, whereas secondary frontages can offer a greater diversity of uses.

3.66 Proposals will also need to accord with Policy TB20: Service Arrangements and Deliveries for Employment and Retail Use. Proposals shall also be consistent with the Borough Design Guide SPD (2012).

3.67 Proposals in Wokingham town centre shall comply with policy CP14: Growth and Renaissance of Wokingham Town Centre in the Core Strategy and be consistent with the Wokingham Town Centre Masterplan SPD (2012), which provide a long-term vision for the future of Wokingham town centre.


Policy TB16: Development for Town Centre Uses

Sequential Test

  1. Proposals for retail uses including extensions of 500 sq m (gross) or above outside the primary shopping areas defined on the Policies Map or for all other main town centre uses outside the defined Wokingham major town centre or the small town/district centres or local centres will be required to satisfy the sequential test.

Retail Impact Test

  1. Proposals for retail and leisure uses, including extensions, of 500 sq m (gross) or above outside the defined Wokingham major town centre or the small town/district centres or local centres will be required to satisfy the retail impact test.

3.68 Core Strategy policy CP13 - Town Centres and shopping sets out the hierarchy of the Borough’s town and district centres. Core Strategy policy CP14 - Growth and renaissance of Wokingham Town Centre makes it clear that Wokingham is considered suitable for growth.

3.69 The Council’s Retail Study Refresh (2010) shows that large scale development, which serves a significant part of the Borough should be concentrated within Wokingham Town Centre.

3.70 District Centres in Arborfield Garrison, Lower Earley, Shinfield Road (N of M4), Twyford, Winnersh and Woodley should complement Wokingham Town Centre by providing for main and bulk convenience food shopping and a reasonable range of comparison shopping facilities and other services. Some forms of development may be more appropriate in Local Centres, if there are localised areas of deficiency. The key issues are the nature and scale of development.

3.71 A threshold of 500 sq m (gross) is set as being broadly the maximum allowance in such locations before the Borough’s retailing strategy is likely to be compromised.

3.72 Main town centre uses are as described in Annex 2: Glossary in the National Planning Policy Framework, which includes

  1. Retail
  2. Leisure and entertainment facilities
  3. Offices
  4. Arts, culture and tourism development.

3.73 Applicants shall undertake a sequential approach to ensure that proposals do not have a detrimental impact on the vitality and viability of Wokingham major town centre or the small town/district centres. A sequential test is not required for proposals for office development within Core Employment Areas or other employment sites identified in the MDD and is also not required where the proposal reflects the use of the site as set out in Policy SAL08: Allocated Mixed Use Sites or areas identified in policies CP18(3), CP19(3), CP20(2) or CP21(2) of the Core Strategy.

3.74 Applicants for retail proposals will need to demonstrate through the sequential test that sites firstly within primary shopping areas then elsewhere within the defined Wokingham major town centre or small town/district centres are not suitable or available. Only where this has demonstrated should less central sites be considered.

3.75 Applicants for other main town centre uses will need to demonstrate through the sequential test that sites firstly within the defined Wokingham major town centre or small town/district centres are not suitable or available. Only where this has been demonstrated should less central sites be considered.

3.76 There will then be a preference for edge of centre locations before out of centre locations are considered. Any sequential test will include the impact of need on appropriate centres outside the Borough.

3.77 For the purposes of main town centre uses, edge-of-centre and out-of-centre sites are as defined in the NPPF.

3.78 In assessing edge-of–centre and out-of-centre locations, preference will be given to locations which are accessible to the existing centre by means of pedestrian and cycle access; served by ‘good’ public transport services, as defined in the supporting text (paragraph 4.37) of CP6 - Managing Travel Demand of the Core Strategy, and are in close proximity to public transport interchanges. The Council considers that ‘well connected’ sites, as described in the NPPF, are those that are up to 300m along pedestrian routes.

3.79 Applicants shall demonstrate through the application of the sequential test why other sites are not practicable alternatives in terms of:

  1. Availability: that town centre sites, or buildings for conversion, are unavailable now and are unlikely to become available for development within a reasonable period of time, taking account of the guidance in paragraph 26 of the NPPF
  2. Suitability: that town centre sites are not suitable to accommodate the proposal, even when a degree of flexibility, such as format, scale, size, site layout and store configurations has been applied
  3. Viability: that the development would not be economically viable or achievable in relation to costs.

3.80 Where a Retail Impact Assessment is required, this should demonstrate that there would be no unacceptable impact on the vitality and/or viability of these centres either from the proposal or from the cumulative effect of proposals since 1 April 2006, including those with planning permission as well as those under construction or completed.


Policy Background for Policy TB15: Major Town, and Small Town/ District Centre development and Policy TB16: Development for Town Centre Uses
 
National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012), i.e. under heading 2 - Ensuring the vitality of town centres

Regional

N/A

Local

Wokingham

Core Strategy (2010) policy CP6 – Managing Travel Demand; CP13 – Town centres and shopping; CP14 – Growth and renaissance of Wokingham Town Centre

Wokingham Borough Retail Study Refresh (2010), Nathaniel, Lichfield and Partners

Borough Design Guide SPD (2012)

Wokingham Town Centre Masterplan SPD (2010)

Bracknell

Bracknell Forest’s Adopted Site Allocations Local Plan (July 2013)

Reading

Reading Borough Council’s Core Strategy (2008), policy CS26: Network and Hierarchy of Centres

Adopted Sites and Detailed Policies Document (October 2012) policy SA15: District and Local Centres


Policy TB17: Local Centres and Neighbourhood and Village Shops

  1. Local Centres, which are part of the hierarchy of retail centres as set out in policy CP13 – Town centres and shopping in the Core Strategy, are defined on the Policies Map and are listed below:

Crowthorne (Pinewood) Crowthorne Station, Dukes Ride
Greenwood Road
Earley Maiden Place
Silverdale Road
Shepherds Hill (also partly in Woodley)
Finchampstead North California Crossroads
Shinfield Basingstoke Road near the junction of Beech Hill Road, Spencers Wood
School Green, Shinfield (to be extended into the Strategic Development Location)
Three Mile Cross
Wargrave Wargrave High Street
Wokingham Ashridge Road
Clifton Road/Emmbrook Road (to be extended into the Strategic Development Location)
Bean Oak Road
Rances Lane
Woosehill Centre
Woosehill Lane
Woodley Brecon Road
Coppice Road
Loddon Vale
Shepherds Hill (also partly in Earley)

  1. Proposals that retain and enhance the provision of day-to-day shopping facilities in Local Centres, neighbourhood and village shops will be supported.
  2. Use Class A1 (Shops), whether within Local Centres or in individual neighbourhood or village shops, shall be retained unless it can be demonstrated that:
    1. Alternative day-to-day shopping facilities are available within reasonable walking distance from the existing retail use
    2. The existing retail use is no longer viable.

3.81 The Local Centre at Dukes Ride is only partly located within the Borough. In defining the part of the centre boundary within the Borough, regard was had to Policy SA13: Policies Map Changes of Bracknell Forest’s Site Allocations Local Plan (July 2013) (see Map 53 in Appendix 8 of Bracknell Forest’s Local Plan).

3.82 Policy CP13 – Town centres and shopping of the Core Strategy required subsequent Development Plan Documents, i.e. the MDD to define Local Centres. Local centres usually comprise a small group of retail units and can provide an important focal point in residential areas. Neighbourhood and village shops are not included within the retail hierarchy but play an important role in the provision of shopping facilities.

3.83 Day-to-day shopping facilities include post offices, newsagents, convenience stores selling food items, pharmacies and petrol stations.

3.84 For the purposes of this policy, the reasonable walking distance is a maximum of 300 metres along pedestrian routes.

3.85 A change of use may be acceptable in principle where it can be clearly demonstrated that the existing use is no longer viable. In demonstrating that an existing use is not viable, applicants must produce evidence that genuine and sustained efforts to promote, improve and market the facility at a reasonable value have been undertaken.

Policy Background

National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012), i.e. under heading 3 -Supporting a prosperous rural economy; heading 4 - Promoting sustainable transport, such as paragraph 38; heading 8 -Promoting healthy communities, such as paragraph 70

Regional

N/A

Local

Core Strategy (2010) policy CP13 – Town centres and shopping

Bracknell Forest’s Adopted Site Allocations Local Plan (July 2013)

Borough Design Guide SPD (2012)


Policy TB18: Garden Centres and other small rural units outside Development Limits

Planning permission for proposals for the establishment or expansion of retail development outside development limits may be permitted where they demonstrate that:

  1. The proposal is connected to or adjacent to the primary holding
  2. The proposal is economically related to the primary holding and is ancillary to the primary existing use
  3. There would be no adverse impact on the vitality or viability of retail centres, neighbourhood or village shops within the locality

3.86 Policy CP11 - Proposals outside Development Limits (including countryside) of the Core Strategy seeks to maintain the quality of the environment and restrict development outside Development Limits. Policy CP11 recognises that some retail development may be appropriate outside development limits.

3.87 Appropriate forms of retail uses in the countryside can help support the rural economy. Appropriate forms of retailing in the countryside are those required to support the primary agriculture or forestry holding or use. Goods or produce should either have been produced on site or sourced from within the locality. Applicants shall demonstrate how the proposal meets this requirement.

3.88 Garden centre retailing has grown considerably within the Borough. The range of goods, services and facilities on offer at garden centres has diversified to include those not directly related to the primary purpose of garden centres. While uses that remain ancillary to the primary business of the site as a garden centre may be acceptable, it is important to ensure that the main garden centre use remains and that a separate commercial use is not established on site.

3.89 The most appropriate method of demonstrating that there would be no adverse impact on retail centres or shops is through a retail impact assessment as set out in Policy TB16: Development for Town Centre Uses.


Policy Background

National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012), i.e. under heading 2 - Ensuring the vitality of town centres; heading 3 - Supporting a prosperous rural economy, and heading 4 - Promoting sustainable transport

Regional

N/A

Local

Core Strategy (2010) policy CP11 - Proposals outside Development Limits (including countryside)


Policy TB19: Outdoor advertising

The Council will only permit outdoor advertisements where they demonstrate:

  1. There is no adverse impact upon highway safety
  2. There is no harmful impact on the amenity of the adjoining land uses
  3. There is no harmful impact on the character or appearance of the area.

3.90 Advertisements and signs are important to the commercial activities of shops and businesses both within the built and rural environments. The Council will support well designed signs and advertisements which are in keeping with the scale and character of buildings on which they are displayed and which do not lead to a detrimental impact on the quality of visual amenities, particularly around architectural heritage and on the natural environment.  Signage and advertisements should not cause adverse impacts on highway safety.


Policy Background

National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012), i.e. under heading 7- Requiring good design, such as paragraph 67 and heading 11 - Conserving and enhancing the natural environment, such as paragraph 125

The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007

Regional

N/A

Local

Core Strategy (2010) policy CP3 - General Principles of the Core Strategy

Wokingham Town Centre Masterplan SPD (2010)

Borough Design Guide (2012)


Policy TB20: Service Arrangements and Deliveries for Employment and Retail Use

  1. Planning permission will only be granted for commercial development proposals throughout the Borough that demonstrate:
    1. There is no harmful impact on the amenity of adjoining land uses in terms of noise, fumes and disturbance
    2. There is no significant impact on highway safety
    3. There is no significant adverse visual impact
    4. There is no significant adverse environmental impact
  2. The boundary for the service road provision in Wokingham Town Centre is defined on the Policies Map.

3.91 Policy CP3 - General Principles of the Core Strategy requires developments to be of an appropriate scale of activity which will not cause detriment to the amenity of adjoining land uses.

3.92 Service arrangements, including night time deliveries and collections, can have a detrimental impact on the amenity of adjoining uses and on the highway network, including highway safety and congestion. Whilst the Council recognises the need for deliveries to employment and retail uses it will seek to restrict movements which could cause a detrimental impact on the amenity of adjoining uses, including residential. This will be through the use of planning conditions.

3.93 In the case of new or extended development, the Council will require the access for delivery vehicles to minimise any impact of noise. This may be by providing an access which enables vehicles to turn and leave the site without having to reverse onto a public highway or through limiting times and days when deliveries can be made.

3.94 To help minimise the impact of service deliveries including night time deliveries, applicants shall submit a Delivery Management Plan that demonstrates how the following have been considered:

  1. The provision of covered or enclosed loading/unloading areas to minimise noise impact
  2. Installations of measures for mitigating noise
  3. Installation of measures for mitigating odour from fumes
  4. Installation of measures to manage litter and refuse
  5. Levels of lighting, which do not cause detrimental impact on adjoining land uses
  6. The sharing of servicing arrangements.

3.95 The Council will use planning conditions to secure this.

3.96 The Council will also have regard to the Department for Transport guidance on night time deliveries and will continue to seek advice from the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and the Noise Abatement Society (NAS) regarding their on-going work to reconcile the need for night time deliveries and the importance of minimising the impact of noise and air quality on neighbouring uses.

3.97 Policy CP14 – Growth and Renaissance of Wokingham Town Centre of the Core Strategy provides for the long term growth and rejuvenation of Wokingham Town Centre. Within this context, the service road (as set out in (as set out in Appendix 3) will provide rear service and emergency access to premises in the Peach Street quarter of the town centre. The road should help to reduce and ease traffic flows and result in an improvement to the town centre environment. Proposals shall also be consistent with the Wokingham Town Centre Masterplan SPD (2010), particularly section 12.3.


Policy Background

National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012), i.e. under heading 4 - Promoting sustainable transport, such as paragraph 35; heading 11 - Conserving and enhancing the natural environment, such as paragraphs 123 and 125

Department for Transport guidance (2011) Quiet Deliveries Demonstration Scheme

Regional

N/A

Local

Core Strategy (2010) policy CP3 - General Principles of the Core Strategy

Wokingham Town Centre Masterplan SPD (2010)

Landscape and Nature Conservation

3.98 This section sets out the Council’s approach to retaining and enhancing the landscape and natural environment, including Sites of Urban Landscape Value.


Policy TB21: Landscape Character

  1. Proposals must demonstrate how they have addressed the requirements of the Council’s Landscape Character Assessment, including the landscape quality; landscape strategy; landscape sensitivity and key issues.
  2. Proposals shall retain or enhance the condition, character and features that contribute to the landscape.

3.99 The supporting text (paragraph 4.19) to policy CP3 - General Principles of the Core Strategy states that proposals should take account of the Council’s current Landscape Character Assessment.

3.100 The Landscape Character Assessment provides guidance on the intrinsic characteristics of landscape character areas. It details how landscapes should be conserved and managed and the degree, i.e. sensitivity, to which landscape areas can accommodate development. Applicants shall use the Landscape Character Assessment to identify important landscape features that should be protected or enhanced through development proposals. This should be incorporated as part of a landscape and visual impact study as detailed in paragraph 2.19 of this Plan.

3.101 Proposals shall also be consistent with the Borough Design Guide SPD (2012) which provides further information on landscape.


Policy Background

National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012) i.e. under heading 4 - Promoting Sustainable Transport , such as paragraphs 29 and 30; under heading 8 - Promoting healthy communities, such as paragraph 75, and  heading 11 Conserving and enhancing the natural environment, such as paragraph 109 and 113

Regional

South East Green Infrastructure Framework (July 2009)

Berkshire Habitat Action Plan 2007

Biodiversity Strategy for the Loddon Catchment (2003)

Blackwater Valley Countryside Strategy (2011-15)

Thames Waterway Plan (2006-2011)

Thames River Basin River Management Plan (2009)

Local

Core Strategy (2010) policies CP1 - Sustainable Development and CP3 – General Principles

Landscape Character Assessment (2004)

Strategic Development Locations SPDs (2011)

Borough Design Guide SPD (2012)

Sustainable Design Construction SPD (2010)

Wokingham Borough Biodiversity Action Plan (2003-2012)

Emerging Wokingham Borough Biodiversity Action Plan (2012-2024)

Wokingham Borough Rights of Way Improvement Plan (2009)


Policy TB22: Sites of Urban Landscape Value

  1. Sites of Urban Landscape Value are defined on the Policies Map.
  2. Planning Permission will only be granted for development proposals within or affecting Sites of Urban Landscape Value where they demonstrate that they;
    1. Retain and enhance the special landscape features and qualities that make the site valuable to the character, townscape and urban form
    2. Minimise the visual impact of the development site on the Sites of Urban Landscape Value
    3. Protect, manage and enhance the sites’ capacity for informal recreation

3.102 There are open and undeveloped areas within settlements, which provide an important contribution to local character and amenity. These areas are known as Sites of Urban Landscape Value (SULVs) and are found in:

  1. Bulmershe, Woodley
  2. South Lake, Woodley
  3. Maiden Erlegh Lake, Earley
  4. Joel Park, Wokingham.

3.103 In line with the supporting text (paragraph 4.19) of policy CP3 - General Principles for development of the Core Strategy, the Council has reviewed SULVs as previously defined by the WDLP. This review has considered the assessments made to support the WDLP and to take into account recent planning decisions affecting the SULVs.

3.104 The SULVs form part of the setting and identity of the settlements of Earley, Wokingham and Woodley. They are primarily open spaces interspersed with, and bounded by, mature trees. They also include individual landscape features such as ponds, woodlands and hedgerows. Their role as informal open areas and green spaces along with their recreational and biodiversity roles in a built-up context should be retained or enhanced.

3.105 The treed nature of the SULVs gives a softer and semi-rural fringe, which results in some of the built-up areas being barely discernible at both close and distant views. The policy seeks to ensure that the openness and visual benefits of the SULVs are retained and enhanced and their important features protected.

3.106 Development proposals within or affecting SULVs shall respect the special local character and the important landscape, wildlife and recreational amenity of the SULVs. Consideration shall also be given to views within, into and from the SULVs. Proposals should be of a high standard of design that is in character with and integrated into the landscape to minimise any visual impact. Applicants should submit a Landscape and Visual Assessment to demonstrate this.

Bulmershe, Woodley

3.107 The combination of playing fields, open space with associated tree cover, woodland and allotments provides an open and undeveloped space between the settlements of Earley and Woodley. The character of this SULV is greatly enhanced by the presence of a strong tree and shrub screen on the rear boundaries of and within the gardens of properties on the east side of Pitts Lane and Church Road as well as the mature woodland within High Wood to the south.

South Lake, Woodley

3.108 The lake of South Lake is considered an important landscape feature within this SULV as it dominates the site with mature trees surrounding the margins of the lake. The SULV has a distinctly urban character as the well-used footpaths are never far from the adjacent residential area, although these views are often limited by intervening trees. The mature vegetation within the site and mix of tree species provides a parkland type character and creates some seclusion from the adjacent urban area.

Maiden Erlegh Lake, Earley

3.109 This SULV is within the residential settlement of Earley and consists of a lake within a wooded setting. The extensive woodland is visually significant locally and provides a wooded backdrop to the surrounding properties and the adjacent playing fields. The residential properties do not exert a high urban influence over the SULV due to the high woodland cover and restrictions to various parts of the site for ecological reasons, leaving parts of the site feeling secluded and natural.

Joel Park, Wokingham

3.110 This SULV is of a semi-rural character and is dominated by mature trees and vegetation especially within Joel Park itself which has high ecological value. The SULV has two distinct areas which are Joel Park and the land around St Paul’s Church and are separated by Reading Road. St Paul’s Church is prominently sited on high ground with its spire forming a focal point in distant views, from either direction along Reading Road, and which makes an important visual contribution to the wider SULV in long views from the north. The open setting of the SULV separates the Church from the surrounding built up areas and is a key element in its visual significance.


Policy Background

National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012), i.e. Under Heading 8 promoting healthy communities , such as paragraph 69; under heading 11 - Conserving and enhancing the natural environment, such as paragraph 109 and 113

Regional

N/A

Local

Core Strategy (2010) policy CP3 – General Principles


Policy TB23: Biodiversity and Development

  1. Sites of national or international importance are shown and sites of local importance are defined on the Policies Map.
  2. Planning permission for development proposals will only be granted where they comply with policy CP7 – Biodiversity of the Core Strategy and also demonstrate how they:
    1. Provide opportunities, including through design, layout and landscaping to incorporate new biodiversity features or enhance existing
    2. Provide appropriate buffer zones between development proposals and designated sites as well as habitats and species of principle importance for nature conservation
    3. Ensure that all existing and new developments are ecologically permeable through the protection of existing and the provision of new continuous wildlife corridors, which shall be integrated and linked to the wider green infrastructure network.

3.111 Policy TB23: Biodiversity and Development enhances policy CP7 – Biodiversity of the Core Strategy. Policy CP7 refers to habitats or species of principle importance in England for nature conservation and designated sites are set out below.

A) Sites of national or international importance

  1. Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and,
  2. Adjacent to the Borough, the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (TBH SPA).

B) Sites of local importance

  1. Local Nature Reserves (LNR), as designated in consultation with Natural England, and as listed in Appendix 7
  2. Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) (these were previously known as Wildlife Heritage Sites)
  3. Local Geological Sites as set out in Appendix 8
  4. Ancient Woodlands (not shown on the Policies Map)

3.112 Additional sites may be allocated during the plan period. Local Wildlife Sites are non-statutory sites of significant value for the conservation of wildlife. These sites represent local character and distinctiveness and have an important role to play in meeting local and national targets for biodiversity conservation.

3.113 There are five Local Geological Sites, which are non-statutory sites of local geological importance that have been surveyed and assessed against a national set of qualifying criteria, as set by Natural England.

3.114 Development proposals can provide opportunities to create or improve areas of habitat on site; management of habitats; landscaping for biodiversity, and wildlife.

3.115 Wildlife corridors are an important part of the network of nature conservation sites and include a range of habitats such as hedgerows, grass verges, waterways, their margins and floodplains. They are also important in providing a link to the wider countryside from built-up areas. When designing new habitats and biodiversity features, consideration should be given to the use of native species as well as the adaptability to the likely effects of climate change. Policy CC03: Green Infrastructure, Trees and Landscaping

3.116 Where the nature and location of a development is such that nature conservation impacts may be significant, further ecological surveys and report may be required prior to determination. Potential impacts on as yet unrecorded biodiversity resources must be considered in the report. In addition, indirect effects may affect biodiversity sites some distance from the development proposals and this impact should also be considered. The survey and report should be prepared by a suitably qualified or experienced ecologist and include:

  1. existing biodiversity interests and how the development is expected to impact on these
  2. recommendations for mitigation to minimise harm
  3. whether compensatory measures are also required and the timing of compensatory measures to ensure that compensation is in place before any accepted damage to biodiversity interests takes place
  4. how the development will deliver an overall gain for biodiversity
  5. consideration of existing or potential wildlife corridors on site and links from these to the wider ecological networks including those identified in the Green Infrastructure network
  6. A monitoring and management plan drawn up for the biodiversity interests of the development site to ensure the long term future management.

Policy Background

National

Circular 06/05: Biodiversity and Geological Conservation – Statutory obligations and their impact within the planning system

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012), i.e. under heading 11 Conserving and enhancing the natural environment, such as paragraphs 109 and 113, 114 and 117; heading 13 - Facilitating the sustainable use of minerals, such as paragraph 143 

Natural England – Local Geological Sites

Regional

South East Plan (2009) Policy NRM6 - Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area

Berkshire Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP)

Berkshire Habitat Action Plan 2007

Biodiversity Strategy for the Loddon Catchment (2003)

Local

Core Strategy (2010) policies CP3 – General Principles for development and CP7 – Biodiversity

Replacement Minerals Local Plan for Berkshire (incorporating the alterations adopted in December 1997 and May 2001)

Wokingham Borough Biodiversity Action Plan (2003-2012)

Emerging Wokingham Borough Biodiversity Action Plan (2012-2024)

Heritage

3.117 The Borough contains a number of designated heritage assets, including Grade I, II* and II Listed Buildings; Scheduled Monuments; Historic Parks and Gardens; Conservation Areas, and locally designated assets which are known as Buildings of Traditional Local Character and Areas of Special Character. The National Heritage List for England (NHLE) is the official database which provides access to up to date information on all nationally designated heritage assets (listed buildings; Scheduled Monuments: Historic Parks and Gardens). The List can be accessed from the English Heritage website at www.english-heritage.org.uk/list.


Policy TB24: Designated Heritage Assets (Listed Buildings, Historic Parks and Gardens, Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Conservation Areas)

  1. Historic Parks and Gardens, Scheduled Monuments and Conservation Areas are shown on the Policies Map.
  2. The Borough Council will conserve and seek the enhancement of designated heritage assets in the Borough and their settings by:
    1. Requiring works to or affecting heritage assets or their setting to demonstrate that the proposals would at least conserve and, where possible enhance the important character and special architectural or historic interest of the building, Conservation Area, monument or park and garden including its setting and views.
    2. Supporting development proposals or other initiatives that will conserve and, where possible, enhance the local character, setting, management and historic significance of designated heritage assets, with particular support for initiatives that would improve any assets that are recognised as being in poor condition or at risk.
  3. Proposals for building works shall retain or incorporate existing features or details of historic or architectural significance or design quality into the scheme.

3.118 Proposals within or affecting the setting of Listed Buildings, Historic Parks and Gardens, Scheduled Monuments or Conservation Areas shall pay special attention to:

  1. Conserving original architectural features such as windows, doors, chimney stacks, walls and gates
  2. The scale, proportions, design and materials of new proposals in relation to the existing heritage asset
  3. Retaining original or historic garden or landscape features.

3.119 Keeping historic buildings in good repair, and, where possible in their existing use, is the key to their preservation. If a building is being allowed to deteriorate then the Council may take action to secure its repair. This could be either through the use of Urgent Works/Repairs Notices as set out in the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas Act) 1990 and the powers of maintenance under Building Act (1984) or the use of a Section 215 Notice under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended). In taking forward any action, the Council will also have regard to the advice set out in English Heritage’s ‘Stopping the Rot’ guidance to make effective use of these powers.

3.120 The Council is also responsible for maintaining a programme of Conservation Area appraisals and reviews for the Conservation Areas within the Borough, under Part II of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

3.121 Development proposals shall include sufficient information to convey the exact nature of the proposals and their impact on the significance of the existing building, including survey drawings and plans, elevations and sections.

3.122 Features such as signs, tiling, glazing and shop fronts shall be retained or incorporated. Lighting, signing and advertisements, including fascias should not detract from the architectural or historic quality of the Conservation Area.

3.123 Proposals for development within or affecting the character of the Wokingham Town Centre Conservation Area shall be consistent with the Wokingham Town Centre Masterplan SPD (2010) and emerging Public Realm Strategy, which set out design criteria.


Policy TB25: Archaeology

  1. Areas of high archaeological potential are shown on the Policies Map.
  2. In areas of high archaeological potential, applicants will need to provide a detailed assessment of the impact on archaeological remains.
  3. Where development is likely to affect an area of high archaeological potential or an area which is likely to contain archaeological remains, the presumption is that appropriate measures shall be taken to protect remains by preservation in situ. Where this is not practical, applicants shall provide for excavation, recording and archiving of the remains.

3.124 The Council will consult with Berkshire Archaeology and with developers and their heritage consultants to ensure that the appropriate level of archaeological evaluation and appropriate measures to protect and preserve remains are undertaken. This will be accessed on a site by site basis and the level of preservation will be appropriate to the significance of the remains.

3.125 Where remains cannot remain in-situ, the Council will require developers to record the significance of the remains and to make this publicly accessible by depositing the evidence with the relevant Historic Environment Record (Berkshire Archaeology) and by the deposit of remains or archives in local museums. The cost of recording and depositing remains will lie with the developer.


Policy TB26: Buildings of Traditional Local Character and Areas of Special Character

  1. Areas of Special Character are shown on the Policies Map.
  2. Planning permission will only be granted for proposals to or affecting Buildings of Traditional Local Character and Areas of Special Character where they demonstrate that they retain and enhance the traditional, historical, local and special character of the building or area and its setting.
  3. Proposals that involve the demolition of a Building of Traditional Local Character will require strong justification.

3.126 There are areas or groups of buildings where there is a consistent period or character reflecting the areas past but where a Conservation Area designation may not be justified. These are known as Areas of Special Character.

3.127 There are also some buildings which, whilst not meeting the standards for statutory listing, are nonetheless of considerable local importance to the Borough’s built heritage. These are Buildings of Traditional Local Character, where the preference is to retain the original use.

3.128 Where development affecting either an Area of Special Character or a Building of Traditional Local Character is proposed, this should protect the architectural integrity of the building and its setting or the special character of the area.  Special regard should be given to the historical context, outbuildings, scale, form, massing and materials together with retaining key architectural features or detailing which contribute to the character of the building or the area.


Policy Background for Policy TB24: Designated Heritage Assets (Listed Buildings, Historic Parks and Gardens, Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Conservation Areas), Policy TB25: Archaeology, Policy TB26: Buildings of Traditional Local Character and Areas of Special Character

National

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012) i.e. under heading 12 - Conserving and enhancing the historic environment, such as paragraphs 128, 132 – 134, 136 and 155

Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas Act) 1990

Building Act (1984)

Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended)

National Heritage List for England, English Heritage

Stopping the Rot (2011), English Heritage

Regional

N/A

Local

Berkshire Historic Environment Record

Core Strategy (2010) policy CP3 – General Principles for Development

Wokingham Town Centre Masterplan SPD (2010)

Emerging Public Realm Strategy

Borough Design Guide SPD (2012)



1www.reading.ac.uk


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