Picture: Heron Fly-by by Philip Wood
Welcome to our new Planning page
Here we will give hints and tips on how to use the Planning System to greatest effect and influence future planning decisions.
Our Planning page focuses on how we can protect and enhance the Yare Valley “Strategic Green Infrastructure Corridor” from Whitlingham Country Park to the proposed Bowthorpe Lakes Country Park.
For an overall view and general guidance on Planning Procedure, and how best to respond to a Planning Application go to the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) at https://planninghelp.cpre.org.uk/ . A very useful site.
Using Planning Policy to support your case
Wherever possible it is helpful to support your case with reference to Planning Policy documents.
For the Yare Valley from the Whitlingham Country Park to Bawburgh, the planning policies of two District Councils, may be relevant to a particular planning application. On the left of the river going upstream South Norfolk District Council (SNDC) is the relevant authority. On the right, for the most part it is Norwich., otherwise SNDC (e.g. approaching Bawburgh).
Remember that no Policy is capable of protecting the Valley for all time. Policies are always subject to being changed or being over-ridden by Development Management Committees or by a Planning Inspector on appeal by developers. That is why we must always be alert to threats to our green space and respond with vigour.
Links to Policies
Maps in particular pages 162 and 163 for maps for policies DM 4.5 and DM 4.6
Policy Statements in particular Policy DM 6 on pp 57-58
Map. Select the Norwich South Sheet.
The key Policies for protecting the Yare Valley Green Infrastructure Corridor are:
Policy DM 4.5 Landscape Character and River Valleys
All development should respect, conserve and where possible, enhance the landscape character of its immediate and wider environment. Development proposals that would cause significant adverse impact on the distinctive landscape characteristics of an area will be refused. All development proposals will be expected to demonstrate how they have taken the following elements (from the 2001 South Norfolk Landscape Assessment as updated by the 2012 review) into account:
- The key characteristics, assets, sensitivities and vulnerabilities;
- The landscape strategy; and
- Development considerations.
Particular regard will be had to protecting the distinctive characteristics, special qualities and geographical extents of the identified Rural River Valleys and Valley Urban Fringe landscape character types.
Yare Valley character area
Within the Yare Valley character area, as defined on the Policies map, development will only be permitted where it would not damage the environmental quality, biodiversity or character of the area and where it is for:
- agriculture or forestry purposes; or
- facilities ancillary to outdoor sport and recreation or other uses appropriate to the purpose of this policy; or
- the limited extension of or alteration to existing buildings.
Other SNDC Policies that might be relevant
There are other policies of SNDC that can be relevant to applications in particular instances, and help support protection of the Valley. These are:
Policy DM 4.6 Landscape Setting of Norwich
All development proposals will not harm and where possible should enhance the landscape setting of Norwich with regard to the following considerations:
All development proposals within the Norwich Southern Bypass Landscape Protection Zone (NSBLPZ), as shown on the Policies Map, should have regard to protecting the openness of the Zone and, where possible, enhancing the landscape setting of the southern bypass, including the practice of wild flower planting and management regimes.
All development proposals located within the Key Views ‘cones’ shown on the Policies Map should ensure they do not obstruct the long-distance views to and from the City.
All development proposals within the visual zone of influence viewed from the identified Undeveloped Approaches to Norwich should reinforce and avoid undermining the rural character of the Undeveloped Approaches to Norwich.
All development proposals on the approaches to defined Gateways (shown on the Proposal Map) shall reinforce and avoid undermining the significance of these Gateways as the visual points of the landscape and townscape change marking the ‘arrival’ at and ‘departure’ from the city of Norwich.
Development which would significantly harm the NSBLPZ or the landscape setting of the Norwich urban area will not be permitted.
Policy DM 4.7 Strategic Gaps between settlements within the Norwich woodlands and traditional orchards and will serve Tree Preservation Orders where necessary.
The Council will presume in favour of the retention of ‘important’ hedgerows as defined by the Hedgerows Regulations 1997. The Council will safeguard and promote the appropriate management of protected and other significant trees and hedgerows, unless the need for, and benefits of, a development clearly outweigh their loss.
Policy DM 4.9 Incorporating landscape into design
Where appropriate, detailed development proposals must demonstrate a high quality of landscape design, implementation and management as an integral part of the new development.
The provision for new planted features (such as tree belts, hedgerows, wild flowers and specimen trees) is expected to form part of development proposals from their outset and should provide an appropriate landscape setting for the scheme.
‘Hard’ landscape features (such as paving, kerb stones, street furniture, boundary treatments etc) will reflect and where possible enhance locally distinctive character and styles where relevant; or innovative contemporary solutions reflecting local context and reinforcing or creating local distinctiveness and the setting of the development.
Landscape schemes will be required to respect the character and distinctiveness of the local landscape and should ensure that any land remodelling respects the local topographic character in terms of height, slope, angle and character. Landscape schemes should be clearly and properly specified.
Norwich Southern Bypass Landscape Protection Zone (NSBLPZ)
4.56 A Landscape Zone has been identified where there are high levels of visual accessibility to and from the road to a predominantly open rural area that plays an important part in making the landscape setting of Norwich. This Zone does not have a distinct or special landscape character in its own right.
4.57 The review undertaken by Chris Blandford Associates (CBA) has concluded that for the most part the boundaries of the originally defined Landscape Zone are robust, subject to the to removal of some areas, most notably around Easton and Costessey, that will in future make only a limited contribution to the landscape setting. This is as a result of past or permitted development or preferred strategic sites allocations determined in the Joint Core Strategy and South Norfolk Site Allocations. The amended Landscape Zone is identified on the Policies Map (see Map DM 4.6).
Some Planning Applications
UEA planning application to South Norfolk District Council 2018/1830
The Yare Valley Society objection letter to this application can be viewed here.
A joint letter from from YVS, Colney Parish and Cringleford Parish can be found here. See the news page for comment.
Is this an application to build car parking spaces on protected green space for a Rugby Club facility that does not exist and may never exist?
Sorry, what follows may seem complicated, but who said the planning process was simple!
The original 2016/0233 Rugby Club application to build a Clubhouse, sports facilities and car parks on the protected green space in the Valley was controversial, being a development within the supposedly protected green space of the Yare Valley Green Infrastructure Corridor. Those who cared about the Valley objected both locally and nationally.
The Development Management Committee of the South Norfolk District Council considered the Rugby Club facility as an integrated whole when it gave approval for the application, subject to a number of conditions. The first condition was for the development to be started within three years of approval. Part of the proposal included extending the UEA Sports Field car park adjacent to Colney Lane to meet the needs of parking for the new Rugby Club facility.
Doubts have arisen as to the Rugby Club’s ability to finance the new Club facility:
UEA in its 2018/1830 application admits: “Timescales regarding when the Rugby Club will be in a position to enter into a long lease for the land are currently unknown as negotiations between the Rugby Club and the developer purchasing its current facility at Beeston Hyrne are yet to conclude.”
In an EDP article on 17 August 2018 Andy Pott, the Chair of the Rugby Club, speaks of a potential situation “that massively reduces the proceeds we were anticipating from the sale of the land”.
The new planning application 2018/1830
The application is being made at a time of doubt about the future of the Rugby Club facility.
The application is for permission:
- To split the development into two phases:
Phase 1 Extending the car park on Colney Lane from 37 spaces to 111, (3 times original size).
Phase 2 The rest of the Rugby Club facility in the original approval of 2016/0233.
- To delay the requirement of meeting many of the conditions that were placed on the original approval.
What would be the consequences if approval of 2018/1830?
- Car parking, approved on the understanding it was for the Rugby Club facility, could be built without the Rugby Club facility being built.
- In the event of the Rugby Club facility not being built, the UEA will have significantly increased car parking in “protected” green space without the very close public scrutiny that would have been given to a “stand alone” planning application for car parking.
- The existing approval of 2016/0233 is subject to a three-year time on the start date from the date of approval. Failure to meet this deadline would mean a new planning application would have to be submitted with all that entails for the developers. Approval of 2018/1830 would enable the developer to claim that by starting the car park, the deadline had been met. A start could then be made on the Rugby Club facility “sometime” or never.
- The existing approval of 2016/0233 requires many pre-start conditions to be met. Approval of 2018/1830 will remove many of these pre-start conditions for phase 1. The meeting of the pre-start conditions for the rest of the development will be “sometime” or never.
- The building of the car park before uncertainty about the Rugby Club development is resolved will limit options for changes to the development should the funds available be “massively” reduced, e.g. option of a more modest clubhouse next to Colney Lane.
- It would allow the valley to become eroded by purposeless piecemeal development.
Do you want our green space gobbled up by parked cars?
What can you do?
The original application had 251 objectors and 157 supporters. It could easily swing the other way if we do not act. Please write, before 23 September, to South Norfolk District Council to object to this application: How will the “consequences” listed threaten your enjoyment of the Valley and how might it impact on the wildlife?
The YVS view is that South Norfolk District Council should stand by the conditions of the original approval, and refuse the application, to avoid possible unintended consequences of approval being granted.
More information about the application can be found at https://info.south-norfolk.gov.uk/online-applications/ then
search under 2018/1830
click on documents tab
pick on document date 16 Aug 2018, Section 73 Application Statement to begin your exploration of the documents.
click on symbol on RHS to open.
Other documents under the date 16 Aug 2018 provide additional information.
Thank you for taking an interest, and another thank you if you write in to object.
Application 2017/2794 Keswick Triangle development: where to find the plans. This application has now been approved with conditions.
Go to https://info.south-norfolk.gov.uk/online-applications/, search for 2017/2794. Click on the documents tab. Quickest to browse the document dates to reach the one you want. The relevant documents are:
731_03_020 REVH – Proposed Highway Modification Overview – dated 7 March 2018
201 – Context Plan – dated 7 December 2017
202 – Location Plan – dated 7 December 2017
731_03_027 REVA – Bus Rapid Transit Land Requirements – dated 7 December 2017
402 – Parameters Plan – Maximum Building Heights – dated 7 December 2017
2035_01 – Landscape Strategy Plan dated 7 December 2017
0351_00_401 – Illustrative Masterplan – dated 7 December 2017
Bartram Mowers Bluebell Road: Phase 2
New Planning Application 18/00265/F
Now that Phase 1 of the Bartram Mowers residential development is nearing completion, a separate application for further residential development has been submitted to Norwich City Council. Very roughly Phase 1 took up a third of the site and this application covers a further third of the site and is designated as Phase 2. No detailed planning application has been made for the final third of the site (Phase 3?).
Widespread concern about the impact on the Yare Valley of a development on the Bartram Mowers has, until fairly recently, enabled the City Council to successfully refuse Planning Applications for the site; but in 2014 the site was given outline approval for development by a Planning Inspector. Approval was given subject to a number of conditions. These had regard to the sensitivity of the location of the site in the Yare Valley Green Infrastructure Corridor. It subsequently appeared in the Local Plan, and the policy relating to the site can be found at https://www.norwich.gov.uk/info/20199/adopted_local_plan/1582/site_specific_allocations_in_the_remainder_of_the_city/42
A copy of the Masterplan referred to in the Policy above can be found here.
Norwich City Council has granted planning approval for the detailed plans of Phase 1. It has still to consider granting planning approval for the detailed plans of the remainder of the site. Bartram Mowers are now applying for approval of the next third of the site.
Responding to this application
Some things you might like to think about when responding to this application:
- Views from Bluebell Road. As can be seen from the construction of Phase 1, views of the valley from Bluebell road are being almost completely cut off by the development. Do you want this to continue with phase 2?
- Landscape impact. The Local Plan policy envisages “… in the region of 120 dwellings. This figure is based on an assumption that the site will be developed mainly at low densities to ensure that impact on the landscape is minimised”. Phase 1 was for 61 dwellings, proposed phase 2 is for 41 giving a total of 102 so far – with phase 3 yet to come. Is the impact on the landscape being “minimised”?
- Delivery of Public Open Space. The original development Masterplan envisaged two phases, but the present application is for a “new phase 2” which does not complete the development of the Bartram Mowers site. It leaves completion of development of the site to a further phase (or phases?). The Masterplan says “This phase [i.e. the original phase 2] will also deliver a further area of public open space to the west of the developed area as well as new links to and through the space.” What happens if the development beyond the “new Phase 2” never takes place? Should a condition of development for this “new Phase 2” be that the remaining area of land allocated to public open space be transferred prior to any occupation of the new “phase 2” dwellings?
No doubt you will have other thoughts about the suitability of the present proposals. Good luck with your comments.
Greater Norwich Local Plan
The consultation on the Greater Norwich Local Plan consultation ended on Thursday 22 March 2018.
Click on the following headings to see the responses made by the Yare Valley Society:
A big thank you to all who responded to help safeguard the Yare Valley for the future. The outcomes will be reported on our website once they become available.