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Chapter 4 - Environment Strategy

MM/045

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MM/045

Policy SP21

Policy SP21 Development in the Countryside

Development in the countryside outside of the urban and village confines, as identified on the Policies Map and not otherwise allocated for development, will not be permitted unless there is a need for the development that overrides the need to protect the countryside and any adverse environmental effects can be avoided or fully mitigated subject to the provisions of other policies.

Development on non-allocated sites in the countryside will be permitted for either:

1) the growth and expansion of an existing rural business;
2) the development and diversification of agricultural and other land based rural businesses;
3) rural tourism and leisure development;
4) the retention and/or development of accessible local services and community facilities; or
5) the redevelopment of a brownfield site for a use that is compatible with its countryside setting and its surroundings.

Isolated homes sites in the countryside will not be permitted unless they fall within one of the exceptions identified in the National Planning Policy Framework.

All development proposals to which this policy applies should be of a form, scale and size which is compatible with, and respects the character of, the local area and the surrounding countryside and its defining characteristics. Any environmental impact should be avoided or appropriately mitigated.

To reflect NPPF and improve clarity and effectiveness

MM/046

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MM/046

New paragraph 4.12a

Policy SP22 sets out the policy approach in the Green Wedges. The Policy recognises that there may be circumstances where it is essential for development to be located in the Green Wedges, where there are no other suitable, available sites. This may include development to support agriculture, where agricultural units are located wholly or largely with the Green Wedges; or schemes to provide essential infrastructure. Applicants will need to demonstrate that it is essential for the proposed development to be within the Green Wedges, and in the case of agricultural development, to demonstrate that the development is required as part of the business plan for the unit.

To improve clarity and effectiveness.

MM/047

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MM/047

Policy SP22

Policy SP22 - Safeguarding the Identity of Thanet's Settlements

Within the Green Wedges new development (including changes of use) will only be permitted if it can be demonstrated that the development is

1) not detrimental or contrary to the following aims to:

  • ProtectSafeguard areas of open countryside in order to maintainbetween the towns from the extension of isolated groups of houses or other development. Ensure physical separation and avoid coalescence of the towns, retaining their individual character and distinctiveness (for example by the expansion of isolated groups of houses or other development).
  • Conserve, protect and enhance the essentially rural and unspoilt character, and distinctive landscape qualities of the countryside that separates the urban areas, for the enjoyment and amenity of those living in, and visiting, Thanet.
  • Increase access and usability without compromising the integrity of the Green Wedges. Or

Or is

2) essential to be located within the Green Wedges.

Open sports and recreational uses will be permitted subject to there being no overriding conflict with other policies, the wider objectives of this plan and the stated aims of this policy. If granted, any associated built development must be kept to a minimum, essential, small in scale and be necessary to support the open use. It should also be well related to adjacent urban edge and sensitively located to retain openness of the area.

Proposals for policy compliant development that include measures that will create or enhance wildlife habitats and biodiversity within the Green Wedges, or will improve the quality of the Green Wedges by providing high quality public amenity space will be supported.

To reflect NPPF and improve clarity and effectiveness and of the link between the two Policy criteria.

MM/048

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MM/048

Paragraph 4.33

4.33 Thanet boasts a wealth of natural features which contribute to the green infrastructure network, including internationally and nationally designated sites and associated species, a magnificent coastline, chalk cliffs, geological features, river and marshland systems and areas of open countryside with distinctive landscapes and views. It is important that these are maintained and enhanced, and better linked to provide a comprehensive Green Infrastructure network.

For clarity and effectiveness

MM/049

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MM/049

Paragraph 4.36

4.36 There are various Green Infrastructure projects being progressed by the Council and other organisations, and also a number of community projects. These include Dane Valley Woods, Westbrook Undercliffe Nature Park, Friends of Mocketts Wood, Montefiore Woodland and the Windmill Community Allotments. All large development sites will be expected to contribute to Thanet's Green Infrastructure by providing any of the following: in line with Policy SP24 which should include an appropriate mix, compatible with the surrounding landscape and habitats. The Government has recently published its 25 Year Environment Plan (2018) which seeks to connect people with the environment to improve health and wellbeing through the creation of new green infrastructure. At the local level further guidance on the provision of green infrastructure including provision of new rights of way and cyclepaths can be found in Kent Design.

  • Provision of space for walking/informal recreation/dog walking in new developments
  • Tree planting
  • Creation of urban green corridors
  • Provision of green roofs
  • Integration of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDs)
  • Planting of hedgerows
  • Creation of ponds
  • Creation of roadside verges
  • Provision of off-site enhancements
  • Other suitable planting schemes to provide biodiversity opportunities

For clarity and effectiveness

MM/050

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MM/050

Paragraph 4.37

New paragraph 4.37a

4.37. The Council seeks to continue increasing and enhancing Thanet's Green Infrastructure network, and will encourage new community Green Infrastructure projects by working with relevant organisations. The Council will produce a Green Infrastructure Strategy in consultation with relevant groups and organisations following adoption of the Plan. The Plan sets out the strategic approach to Green Infrastructure in policy SP24 which aims to deliver the strategic objectives by protecting, maintaining and enhancing biodiversity and the natural environment and creating a coherent network of Green Infrastructure. More detail will be added in the forthcoming Green Infrastructure Strategy. Provision of new infrastructure in new developments, particularly for informal recreation and dog walking can help to reduce the impact of visitor pressure on the nature conservation interest at the coast. It can also aid restoration of the landscape, improve biodiversity and improve connectivity between habitats or habitat features such as hedgerows.Good Green Infrastructure can have additional benefits to the wider ecosystem services including healthy water and nutrient cycles, improved air quality, managing flood risk and water pollution and minimising the effects of climate change. There are more direct benefits to local communities including the enjoyment of the natural environment and improved health and wellbeing.

4.37a Development proposals should consider the example list below which is not exhaustive, when considering the inclusion of green infrastructure within their proposals. Not all of these measures may be appropriate in all cases as they need to be applicable to the conditions of the site: 

  • create new wildlife and biodiversity habitats;
  • integrate Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDs);
  • plant hedgerows and trees;
  • provide green roofs;
  • create ponds;
  • create urban green corridors;
  • create roadside verges;
  • provide and manage new accessible open space including linear routes, for informal recreation/walking and dog walking and provide linkages between areas of open space;
  • provide private gardens and play space;
  • conserve and enhance the character of historic green spaces;
    provision of off-site enhancements;
  • contribute to the enhancement of Thanet's Biodiversity Opportunity Areas or the enhancement of the Green Wedges including the introduction of linear features such as native hedgerows and water bodies where appropriate;
  • reinforce and/or restore landscape character in line with the relevant landscape character assessment guidelines.
  • Planning new Green Infrastructure assets to maximise their provision of ecosystem services including, but not limited to, improved air quality, natural flood management and climate change adaptation where appropriate;
  • Other suitable planting schemes to provide biodiversity opportunities.

For clarity and effectiveness

MM/051

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MM/051

Policy

SP24

Policy SP24 - Green Infrastructure

All development proposals should, respect and where possible, safeguard Thanet's Green Infrastructure network and enhance it by integrating new multifunctional Green Infrastructure provision in the design of developments. Opportunities to improve Thanet's Green Infrastructure network by protecting and enhancing existing Green Infrastructure assets and the connections between them and providing new Green Infrastructure assets should be identified early in the design process for major developments, together with consideration of how they will be managed and maintained in the long term.

Development should make a positive contribution to Thanet's Green Infrastructure network by wherever possible and appropriate, by the incorporation, provision or fulfilment of those matters and objectives set out in paragraph. 4.37 above.

  • Creating new wildlife and biodiversity habitats
  • Providing and managing new accessible open space for informal recreation/walking and dog walking
  • Mitigating against the loss of an farmland bird habitats
  • Providing private gardens and play space;
  • Contributing towards the enhancement of Thanet's Biodiversity Opportunity Areas or the enhancement of the Green Wedges including the introduction of linear features such as native hedgerows
  • Reinforcing and/or restoring landscape character in line with the relevant landscape character assessment guidelines

Investment and developer contributions should be directed to improve and expand Green Infrastructure and provide connecting links where opportunities exist.

For clarity and effectiveness.

MM/052

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MM/052

Policy SP25

Policy SP25 Protection of the International and European Designated Sites

Sites of International Nature Conservation Importance will receive the highest level of protection.

Proposals likely to have a significant effect on an SPA, SAC or Ramsar site, either alone or in-combination, will be required to undergo appropriate assessment as per the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 20102017 (as may be amended). Where possible applicants should incorporate measures to avoid or mitigate any adverse impacts. Where, despite all possible avoidance and mitigation measures being put in place, a proposal is still shown to have an adverse effect on the integrity of an International site, planning permission will only be granted in exceptional circumstances, where there are no less ecologically damaging alternatives, there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest and damage can be fully compensated.

Where proposals are considered likely to have a significant effect on an International site, early consultation with Natural England, the Council and any other appropriate statutory consultees is recommended

To reflect latest Regulations.

MM/053

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MM/053

Paragraph 4.45

4.45 The zone of influence around a European designated site, is the geographical area within which people will travel to visit it. To keep it to a manageable extent a zone of influence is usually set so as to capture the majority of visits or visitors, rather than every single one. Within this zone, an impact on European sites interest can be identified and where any potential impacts need to be avoided or mitigation provided. The whole of the District falls within a 6km radius of the SPA boundary and evidence has shown the zone of influence for the site to extend further than this. therefore it is reasonable to include the whole of the District within a zone of influence and therefore to apply the mitigation approach set out in the SAMM strategy. Therefore residents from all new housing in Thanet have the potential to increase recreational pressure on the SPA and the mitigation approach set out in the SAMM strategy applies to the entire District.

To improve clarity and effectiveness.

MM/054

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MM/054

Policy SP26

Policy SP26 Strategic Access Management and Monitoring Plan (SAMM)

All proposals for new residential development will be required to comply with the Strategic Access Management and Monitoring Plan (SAMM) in order to mitigate against the in- combination effects of new development, through the pathway of recreational pressure on the Thanet Coast SPA and Ramsar site. A financial contribution based on the current tariff in table 8 and any subsequent amendments, is required in-perpetuity towards an in-perpetuity access management scheme.

Developments for other uses that would increase recreational activity causing disturbance to qualifying species will be assessed on a case by case basis under the Habitat Regulations and may be required to make full or partial contributions towards the SAMM Plan if appropriate.

To improve clarity.

MM/055

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MM/055

New paragraph 4.50a

4.50a The principle of net gain is set out in national planning policy. For the purposes of Policy SP27 it applies to all developments that result in a loss of, or degradation of habitats including buildings. Net gains in biodiversity can be delivered in a variety of ways ranging from avoiding the loss of high quality habitats, to on or off site habitat creation or enhancement, or a tariff system to invest in strategically important habitats.

For clarity and effectiveness and consistency with national planning policy.

MM/056

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MM/056

Policy SP27

Policy SP27- Biodiversity and Geodiversity Assets

Development proposals will, where appropriatepossible, be required to make a positive contribution to the conservation, enhancement and management of biodiversity and geodiversity assets resulting in a net gain for biodiversity assets through the following measures:

1) the restoration / enhancement of existing habitats,

2) the creation of wildlife habitats where appropriate, by including opportunities for increasing biodiversity in the design of new development

3) the creation of linkages between sites to create local and regional ecological networks,

4) the enhancement of significant features of nature conservation value on development sites,

5) protect and enhance valued soils,

6) mitigating against the loss of farmland bird habitats.

Sites should be assessed for the potential presence of biodiversity assets and protected species. On For sites where important biodiversity assets, including protected species and habitats including SPA functional land, or other notable species, may be present affected, an ecological assessment will be required to assess the impact of the proposed development on the relevant species or habitats. Planning permission will not be granted for development if it results in significant harm to biodiversity and geodiversity assets, which cannot be adequately mitigated or as a last resort compensated for, to the satisfaction of the appropriate authority.

For clarity and effectiveness and consistency with national planning policy.

MM/057

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MM/057

SP28 para 4.54

Insert Biodiversity Opportunity Areas map extract after paragraph 4.54

To provide clarity regarding the application of the Policy.

 

 

MM/058

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MM/058

New paragraph 4.63a

(moved from 4.71)

Allotment sites are a statutory requirement for the Council but are usually managed by town or parish councils. Allotments serve not only local residents by offering them a chance to grow their own fruit and vegetables but also by offering them physical activities, a healthy diet, and general well-being. Allotments can also be important for their contribution to biodiversity. The overall benefits of allotments include:

  • Providing a sustainable food supply
  • A healthy activity for people of all ages
  • Fostering community development and cohesiveness
  • Acting as an educational resource
  • Providing access to nature and wildlife and acting as a resource for biodiversity
  • Providing open spaces for local communities
  • Reducing carbon emissions through avoiding the long distance transport of food

For clarity and effectiveness

MM/059

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MM/059

Policy SP29

Policy SP29 - Protection of Open Space and Allotments

Proposals which would result in the loss of protected open space or allotments as shown on the policies map either through built development or a change of use will only be permitted if:

1) In relation to open space it is for an open recreation or tourism use and is of appropriate scale and design for its setting. Any related built development should be kept to the minimum necessary to support the open use, and be sensitively located, or
2) In relation to both open space and allotments there is a an overriding need for development that outweighs the need to protect the open space or allotment which cannot be located elsewhere. In this case provision of alternative open space or allotment of at least an equivalent size and quality must be provided in a suitable nearby location; or
3) an assessment has been undertaken which clearly shows that the open space or allotments are no longer required; and
4) In all cases, there would be no material harm to the contribution the protected open space makes to the visual or recreational amenity of the area.

New development that is permitted by virtue of this policy should make a positive contribution to the area in terms of siting, design, scale, use of materials and biodiversity.

For clarity and effectiveness

MM/060

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MM/060

Policy SP30

Policy SP30 - Local Green Space

The sites identified on the Policies Map will be protected as Local Green Space, and identified in paragraph 4.66, will be protected from development in accordance with the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework as Local Green Space. Development proposals that protect or enhance these spaces will be permitted. Proposals for built development on a Local Green Space will only be permitted in the following circumstances:-

1) the built form is minimal and essential to the operation of the Local Green Space;
2) the development represents a suitable extension to an existing structure
3) the development is an acceptable or reuse of an existing building on the site
4) the development is essential for public safety.

For consistency with national planning policy.

MM/061

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MM/061

Paragraph 4.69

4.69 Alternative natural and semi-natural open space on new developments. In addition It can also help to relieve some of the recreational pressure on the coast, although this is in addition to any mitigation that may be required through the SAMM.particularly that associated with the impact on protected species as highlighted in the Strategic Access Management and Monitoring Plan (SAMM)

Amended for clarity and effectiveness

MM/062

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MM/062

Paragraph 4.71

Delete as now moved to follow 4.63

Allotment sites are a statutory requirement for the Council but are usually managed by town or parish councils. Allotments serve not only local residents by offering them a chance to grow their own fruit and vegetables but also by offering them physical activities, a healthy diet, and general well-being. Allotments can also be important for their contribution to biodiversity. The overall benefits of allotments include:

Providing a sustainable food supply

A healthy activity for people of all ages

Fostering community development and cohesiveness

Acting as an educational resource

Providing access to nature and wildlife and acting as a resource for biodiversity

Providing open spaces for local communities

Reducing carbon emissions through avoiding the long distance transport of food

Requirements for allotments incorporated into an expanded Policy SP29, modified for clarity and effectiveness

MM/063

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MM/063

Policy SP31

Policy SP31 - Provision of Accessible Natural and Semi Natural Green Space, Parks, Gardens and Recreation Grounds

The Council will require suitably and conveniently located areas of usable amenity space, adequate to accommodate the demands for passive recreation generated by residential development. New greenspace provision should, where possible, be linked to existing greenspace, Green Wedges and/or the wider countryside and public rights of way network, away from the coast, to maximise its value. Such provision should seek to enhance the opportunities for biodiversity.

Sites of 50 dwellings or moreSites allocated as Strategic Housing Sites will be required to provide natural and semi natural green space and local parks, formal gardens, allotments and recreation grounds to meet the standards set out in Table 7Table 12. Natural and Semi-natural green space will be expected to improve the biodiversity potential of the area

The Council will expect appropriate arrangements for maintenance and management to be made. The responsibility for which will be vested in a particular individual, or, subject to commuted payment to meet such costs, in the district, town or parish council. Such arrangements will be secured by entering into a planning agreement.

Any areas of accessible natural and semi natural green space, parks, gardens and recreation grounds created by virtue of this policy will be protected from development by policy SP29- Protection of Open Spaces.

To provide clarity and effectiveness.

MM/064

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MM/064

Policy SP32

Delete Policy

Policy SP32 - Allotments

Allotments will be protected from development and their development will only be permitted if:

There is an overriding need for development that outweighs the need to protect the allotments which cannot be located elsewhere. In this case provision of alternative allotment space of at least an equivalent size and quality must be provided in a suitable nearby location to serve existing users.

There is no longer a demand for the allotments and they do not make a contribution to the visual amenity of the area.

Requirements for allotments incorporated into an expanded Policy SP29, modified for clarity and effectiveness.

Policy SP32 subsequently deleted to avoid repetition.

MM/065

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MM/065

Para 4.77

Paragraph 4.77

This objective of this policy is to ensure that new development is built to the highest attainable quality thereby improving the quality of life for residents and aiding investment and regeneration. More detail on the design considerations for good quality development is set out in policy QD01 and QD02.

To improve clarity and effectiveness and to reflect changes to SP33.

MM/066

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MM/066

Policy SP33

Policy SP33 - Quality Development

New development will be required to be of a high quality and inclusive design as set out in policies QD01 and QD02. Developers may be required to seek an independent Design Review for all major development proposals, and any proposals regardless of size in prominent locations or which are likely to have a significant visual impact.on sites with a prominent visual impact, of in significant locations, or as part of strategic allocations or which are of national significance.

For clarity and effectiveness

MM/067

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MM/067

Policy SP35

Policy SP35 - Climate Change

New development must take account of the need to respond to climate change:

1) adapting to climate change by minimising vulnerability and providing resilience to the impacts of climate change through the use of up to date technologies, efficient design and appropriate siting and positioning of buildings;

2) Mitigating against climate change by reducing emissions and energy demands through the use of up to date technologies;

3) Improving building resilience to climate change through the use of best available technology

3) 4)realise and make best use of available opportunities to reduce the impact of climate change on biodiversity and the natural environment by providing space for habitats and species to move through the landscape and for the operation of natural processes, particularly at the coast.

For clarity, effectiveness and to ensure consistency with national planning policy.