Proposed Main Modifications Schedule

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Chapter 8: Green Belt, Coalescence and Settlements

MM103

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Section 8.3

Paragraph 8.3.1

Modification

8.3.1: In order to accommodate the growth required up to 2035 in a sustainable and controlled manner, proposed allocations in Green Belt have been identified as listed in Policy SP1, SE1 and Policy HA1. These are comprised of the North of Luton strategic allocation (c. 4000 3,100 homes, and 20ha employment land), Sundon Rail Freight Interchange (RFI) and a number of small and medium allocations to our inset Green Belt towns and villages (Policy HA1).

Justification

Consequential change to reflect changes to Policy SA1: North of Luton

MM104

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Section 8.6

Paragraphs 8.6.2, 8.6.4

Modification

8.6.2: 'Inset' Green Belt settlements are excluded from the Green Belt and are defined by the inner Green Belt boundary acts as a settlement envelope. This means that within these settlements normal planning policy and Policy SP7 applies. The remaining settlements are 'washed over' by the Green Belt designation meaning that only the replacement of buildings and limited infill development will be allowed.

8.6.3 Infill development can generally be defined as small-scale development for up to two dwellings in a small gap in an otherwise built up frontage, utilising a plot in a manner which should continue to complement the surrounding pattern and grain of development. There should be no adverse impact on the setting of the site, the character of the area, and surrounding properties and uses. High quality design principles will be applied and further detail is given in the Central Bedfordshire Design Guide.

8.6.4 Infill development of more than 2 dwellings will be acceptable only in circumstances where the developer can clearly demonstrate that such a development would be wholly in accordance with the surrounding character, pattern and grain of development, having regard to plot size, frontage length and dwelling size. Furthermore, it should be demonstrated and that the development would not have an unacceptable impact on the open character of the site and its immediate surroundings and the village within which the site is located

Insert new paragraph and heading for table after paragraph 8.6.4 as follows:

The table below sets out which settlements within the Green Bbelt are washed over or inset:

Table 8.1: Status of Central Bedfordshire Green Belt Settlements

Green Belt Settlements

Washed Over Settlements

Aspley Heath

Billington

Chalton

East Hyde

Eggington

Eversholt

Husborne Crawley

Kensworth

Milton Bryan

Ridgmont

Stanbridge

Steppingley

Streatley

Studham

Tebworth

Tilsworth

Totternhoe

Upper Sundon

Whipsnade

Wingfield

Woburn

Inset Settlements

Ampthill

Barton le Clay

Caddington

Dunstable

Eaton Bray

Flitwick

Harlington

Heath and Reach

Hockliffe

Houghton Regis

Leighton Linslade

Toddington

Slip End

Westoning

Inset and Washed Over Settlements*

Aspley Guise

*These are settlements that are washed over by the Green Belt except for certain areas of significant built development.

Justification

For clarity and effectiveness.

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Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

SP4

Modification

Policy SP4: Development

The Green Belt is shown on the policy maps and generally covers the southern and western parts of Central Bedfordshire, outside the main settlements.

The Council will work proactively with developers, and landowners to enhance the beneficial uses of the Green Belt.

Within the Green Belt there is a general presumption against inappropriate development. Development proposals within the Green Belt will be assessed in accordance with government guidance contained in the NPPF and NPPG.

Replacement buildings will be permitted provided that the building is in the same use, is on the same/ similar footprint to the original building, not materially larger, and does not have a greater impact on the openness and rural character of the Green Belt than the existing development.

Within this Plan’s washed-over Green Belt settlements applicants will be expected to pay particular attention to the quality and design of development proposed, to ensure that development respects and is sympathetic to the character and openness of the settlement and its surroundings.

The redevelopment of brownfield sites within the Green Belt will be acceptable as long as the redevelopment would not have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt or the purposes for including and within the Green Belt than the existing development.

Justification

For clarity and effectiveness.

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Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Section 8.8

Paragraphs 8.8.1, 8.8.2

Modification

8.8.1: The Council seeks to preserve the separate identities of neighbouring settlements or communities. Coalescence represents the physical or visual merging of these settlements or communities in ways that harm their character and identity. The Council will resist development, including residential, employment and commercial, development that which would compromise the open character of the countryside that lies between settlements,. This is especially relevant especially where the gaps between them are already relatively limited. It is acknowledged that in some cases, whilst neighbouring communities may still have separate characters or identities, the built-up areas of those settlements are already linked, as in the case of Clifton and Shefford. The Council will resist new development that would result in further coalescence and harm to the separate character or identity of settlements that have already merged. This is expressed policy SP5.growth in these areas that would harm the separate character of identity of the communities.

8.8.2: Some settlements include 'ends' where areas of built development are physically separated from the main core of the settlement but still remain part of its identity, such as with Aspley End in Shillington. Each of these 'ends' has their own character, and, in these locations, the Council will resist development that would result in the coalescence of these ends. In addition to the general control of coalescence, there is a need for more specific protection in locations that are of will be experiencing the strongest pressures for development. These pressures will be evident in around certain of the strategic growth locations in this plan, particularly potential new settlement proposals on the A1 corridor and in the Marston Vale.

Justification

To better explain the purpose behind countryside gaps and coalescence

To provide better clarity over what is meant by settlement 'ends'.

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Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Section 8.9

Paragraphs 8.9.1, 8.9.2

Modification

8.9.1 – A number of relatively sensitive and narrow gaps Important Countryside Gaps are areas of undeveloped countryside outside of the Green Belt, where there is a particular risk of coalescence and a potential loss of settlement identity as a result of development pressure have been identified (See Appendix 5 for locations). It is considered essential that the open nature of the countryside within these gaps is maintained in order to retain the character of these settlements and prevent the loss of their individual identity.

8.9.2 Whilst other policies in this Local Plan seek to prevent inappropriate development in the countryside generally and in the Green Belt, It is considered that in some instances, incremental built development, which may otherwise be appropriate to a rural area, would could also cause the separate identity of settlements to be eroded or lost entirely. Proposals for all new development will therefore be assessed against their potential to cause coalescence between existing settlements, between 'end's within a settlement and where development has the potential to cause coalescence as a result of cross boundary proposals. Four categories of Important Countryside Gap have therefore been determined. These are:

  • Land where development has the potential to cause coalescence between existing settlements;
  • Land where development has the potential to cause the coalescence of 'ends' within a settlement;
  • Land where development has the potential to cause coalescence between existing settlements and the identified locations for Future Growth (see section 7.9);
  • Land where development has the potential to cause coalescence as a result of strategic cross boundary proposals.

Justification

To improve plan clarity.

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Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy: SP5 Preventing Coalescence and Important Countryside Gaps

Modification

Policy SP5: Important Countryside Gaps and Preventing Coalescence and Important Countryside Gaps

New development in the countryside must avoid reducing open land that contributes to the form and character of existing settlements.

Within the areas defined as Important Countryside Gaps, new development will be permitted provided that it does not result in the physical or visual coalescence of settlements or settlement 'ends' and would not undermine the separate character, appearance and/or identity of settlements.

In considering applications for development outside Important Countryside Gaps, the Council will also have regard to maintaining the individual identity of towns, and villages and settlement 'ends'. Proposals will only be permitted where they would not and will resist any extensions to built up areas that might result in physical or visual coalescence, or, where it can be demonstrated that appropriate mitigation would prevent any harm arising from coalescence or to the character and appearance of the settlement. Coalescence between settlements

Within the areas defined as Important Countryside Gaps permission will be refused for unallocated development that would promote the visual or physical coalescence of nearby settlements.

Justification

Examination to improve plan clarity


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