13.1 Implementation of the policies and proposals of this Plan will be achieved in a variety of ways. Where policies provide guidance for the determination of planning applications these will be implemented by the District Council through the development control process. Where the determination of applications falls to other agencies such as the County Council and the Secretary of State, the District Council will expect those agencies to have regard to the policies and proposals of this Plan in reaching their decisions.
13.2 The implementation of proposals in this Plan which relate to a particular development or action to be carried out by the District Council or other agency will be dependent on a number of factors including the availability of finance and the completion of statutory procedures. Wherever possible an indication of the status and timing of proposals is given in the main text of the plan.
13.3 The development process provides an opportunity for the Council to negotiate improvements to infrastructure and community facilities which may be needed to secure an acceptable balance of uses and form of development. This may include new or improved facilities related to the area, improvements to the local environment, and other benefits directly related to an individual development. The Council will have due regard to the provisions of Circular 1/97 on planning obligations in considering what requirements are appropriate in any individual case. Planning obligations should be fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the proposed development, and not sought to resolve existing deficiencies. A supplementary planning document will be prepared on the subject of planning agreements and obligations.
(Policy superseded 19 September 2011 by Core Strategy Policy CS11 Infrastructure, Services and Facilities.)
Developments will be expected to provide improvements to infrastructure and community facilities appropriate to the location, density, scale and nature of the development. Planning agreements will be sought in appropriate cases for developments to include:
(a) Safe pedestrian access, amenity space and open areas for the use of the public, including formal recreation space, together with commuted sums to cover ongoing maintenance;
(b) Community facilities including community premises, healthcare facilities, contribution (both land and/or finance) for the provision of educational facilities, children’s play space especially in open space deficiency areas, play equipment, crêches, public toilets and recycling facilities;
(c) Affordable housing to meet housing need;
(d) Access, public transport improvements, shoppers’ parking, provision for pedestrians and cyclists, and Green Travel Plans;
(e) Conservation and where appropriate enhancement of historic buildings, open space and the natural environment;
(f) Improvements to utility infrastructure.
13.4 As well as ensuring a high quality of development and a satisfactory new environment, it is important to ensure that the potential impact of proposals is fully assessed and the environment of the surrounding area protected. The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 1999 identify categories of major development, which require a statutory Environmental Impact Assessment. Other schemes may raise specific impact issues for example related to ecology, or traffic impact, in which case the Council will require appropriate impact studies to be submitted.
13.5 Development proposals must be considered in the light of the capacity of sewers and sewage treatment, and potential impact on surface water and waste-water discharge, and the quality of surface and groundwater.
The Environment Agency has identified parts of the District which are subject to risk of flooding, and advises as appropriate on proposals in these areas and on proposals which could have an impact on flood protection. The Health and Safety Executive advises on developments involving hazardous substances or processes.
13.6 The Environment Act 1995 requires local authorities to carry out air quality reviews to assess whether national air quality objectives will be met and to designate Air Quality Management Areas and draw up Action Plans if action is needed to improve air quality to meet these standards.
The National Air Quality Strategy sets levels and targets for various pollutants. Government guidance on Air Quality and Land Use Planning (1997) states that land use planning will form an important component of air quality management by local authorities, and that where proposals result in pollution the Council will need to consider this in relation to the likely effects on air quality generally and air quality management areas.
13.7 Noise, even in busy urban areas, can be a serious problem when certain activities or combinations of uses are inappropriately located in relation to other uses. Noise can take various forms and is difficult to assess as the disturbance and nuisance caused is not just reflected by measurement. Extended hours of operation, outdoor activities, the transmission of sound from within buildings, and the noise associated with traffic and parking can individually, or in combination, cause an unacceptable effect on the amenity of other uses, unless accompanied by suitable mitigation measures. the introduction of noise sensitive uses, particularly housing, in locations adjoining railway lines, heavily trafficked roads, or in close proximity to industrial areas needs to be considered with great care. There is a need not only to ensure that internal noise levels are acceptable but also that, when windows are open or when external areas are used, the standard of amenity is adequate. However, where residential uses are introduced into commercial areas such as town centres, or as part of mixed development schemes, standards relating to noise and disturbance that would apply to wholly housing areas would not be appropriate.
13.8 A number of sites have been occupied by industrial activities and utilities, which are likely to have resulted in some contamination of the land. Where these sites are cleared for redevelopment any pollutants will need to be capped or removed, and the Council will need to be satisfied that development can be safely built and occupied.
Where appropriate the Council will require the submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment in accordance with the requirements of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 1999. A transport, retail, pollution, noise or other impact study, and/or a design statement to accompany proposals will be required for development likely to have a significant effect on the surrounding area.
13.9 It is a key requirement of the plan, monitor and manage approach that information is collected on key indicators that will chart the progress of the implementation of the main proposals of the Plan and its success in achieving sustainability objectives. As the proposals and objectives of the Local Plan have been set within the strategic framework of the Structure Plan and Regional Planning Guidance, its monitoring procedures must also relate to this context. Monitoring procedures developed at these higher levels are therefore reflected in the approach and indicators adopted by the Local Plan, and there is specific correlation with the Indicators of Policy Performance contained within Chapter 18 of the Essex and Southend-on Sea Structure Plan. To this end the Council propose to monitor the following key indicators. Other measures may be added during the lifetime of the Plan, particularly in light of the review of Regional Planning Guidance and the procedures being established by the East of England Local Government Conference.
- number of completions per annum
- type of dwellings completed
- percentage of completions on previously developed land
- number of planning consents granted
- number of affordable homes completed
- take up of employment land
- number of jobs provided
- unemployment rates
- details of vacant industrial and commercial premises to include floorspace and rental levels
- number of vehicles using selected roads
- numbers of rail passengers
- number of cycle trips on selected roads/cycleways
- availability and frequency of public transport services
- usage of community transport
- loss of agricultural land to built development
- loss of Sites of Specific Scientific Interest and Local Nature Reserves
- numbers of Local Nature Reserves and Country Parks
- number of vacant units within town centre
- number and type of retail and service uses
- pedestrian flows at key locations
- number and type of car parking spaces
- number and type of facilities provided
- area of outdoor play space per population
A report will be produced annually on progress in implementing and monitoring this Plan.
(Policy expired 24 July 2008; monitoring will be undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. An Annual Monitoring Report will set out the principal characteristics of the District, assesses progress in preparing Local Development Documents, and monitor progress in housing, employment and other development.)
The Council will monitor the effectiveness of the Plan’s policies and proposals, and progress towards achieving the targets set on an annual basis.
13.10 Planning controls have been developed over the years to protect the environment, ensure that uses of land and buildings are carried out in the public interest and assist implementation of development plan policies. The activities that can be controlled by planning legislation are:-
- Building works
- Works to Listed Buildings
- The display of advertisements
- Changes of use of land and buildings
- Derelict land or buildings
- Work which does not comply with the conditions of a planning permission.
13.11 The Local Planning Authority’s decision whether to take enforcement action against breaches of planning control is discretionary and must always be well founded. Whether it is expedient for the Planning Authority to initiate formal action requires thorough assessment of the relevant factors in every case, having regard to the advice contained in Planning Policy Guidance Note No.18 (PPG18) and Circular 10/97. These indicate that enforcement action should only be taken when it is expedient to do so in the public interest. For example, action should not be taken simply as a punishment because development has taken place without express permission. If it is acceptable in all other respects and would have been granted, had an application been submitted, then no action should be taken.
13.12 The Council has agreed a customer’s guide as well as standards and procedures for its enforcement service. These are as follows:-
- The Council aims to acknowledge and investigate all written complaints, regarding breaches of planning control, in accordance with the following priorities/targets:
Damage to listed buildings/protected trees/significant unauthorised building works
Damage to designated and non-designated nature conservation sites, protected species and habitats
Investigate/site visit/response within one working day
Unauthorised uses/works causing significant impact/distress to neighbours/major breaches of planning policy
Complaints received via Members of Parliament or Councillors
Investigate/site visits/response within five working days
Minor breaches of control causing limited impact
Acknowledge complaint within three working days
Investigate/site visits/response within twenty working days
- Complaints received anonymously, or only by telephone may not always be investigated.
- Names and addresses of all complainants will be kept confidential.
- The Council will seek to keep complainants advised of what action is to be taken and key stages in the process.
- Use of delegated powers to progress minor or urgent cases.
- If a complainant remains dissatisfied with a decision taken at officer level not to pursue action on an identified breach, the matter will be referred to the appropriate Area Committee for consideration.
- Maintain a system of cross-checking plans received under Building Regulations for compliance with planning approvals and checking site layout/size/elevations of schemes being supervised by the Council’s Building Control Service.
- Monitor compliance/implementation/maintenance of landscaping conditions.
13.13 It is important for the Planning Authority to have a clear statement of enforcement policy, to provide a framework for taking action. The policy will be used in a way that balances the need to protect public interest and amenity, as well as promoting and implementing the adopted policies contained in this Plan.
The Council’s policy for dealing with breaches of planning control is as follows:
a) When considering any breach of planning control, the Council will consider whether it would unacceptably affect public amenity, or the existing use of land and buildings, or whether it would conflict with policies contained elsewhere in this plan and will take the appropriate action, including the service of an enforcement notice, a breach of condition notice, or a stop notice.
b) In assessing the need for enforcement action in any case, the Council will only take action if it concludes that permission would not have been granted, if an application had been submitted beforehand.
c) In deciding to take any enforcement action, the Council will ensure that the necessary action is commensurate with and directly related to the breach, and is not excessive in its requirements.
13.14 The Plan cannot possibly anticipate all the changes that are likely to occur between now and the end of the plan period in 2011. There will be a need for flexibility to accommodate unanticipated development, which is nevertheless in accordance with the policies and principles of this Plan. Under the new planning system, introduced by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, the Essex and Southend-on-Sea Structure Plan will be replaced by the East of England Plan, which is currently being prepared. The Council has published a Local Development Scheme which sets out its proposals for preparing development documents under the new system. These will review the provisions of this Plan and extend the plan period to 2021.