Proposed Main Modifications Schedule

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Chapter 15: Environmental Enhancement

MM153

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Section 15.2

Paragraph 15.2.9

Modification

Insert new paragraph after 15.2.8 as follows:

15.2.9: The Council will review existing GI Plans in order to produce an authority wide GI Strategy. The aim of this strategy will be to provide evidence for a net gain in GI to deliver an appropriate quality and quantity of natural green space. This is in order to meet identified local needs, as part of a wider open space provision and to plan positively to remedy any deficiencies.

Justification

To improve plan clarity.

MM154

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy EE1

Modification

Policy EE1: Green Infrastructure

All major development proposals must demonstrate a net gain in green infrastructure; linking, enhancing and extending existing green infrastructure assets, and creating new ones. The Council will be supportive of applications that have regard for green infrastructure plans, identifying existing green infrastructure assets (both natural and historic), and opportunities for enhancing the green infrastructure network.

Where possible, high quality, multifunctional green infrastructure will be integrated within developments, incorporating sustainable urban drainage systems and enhancing biodiversity, the historic environment, landscape character, the rights of way network and design quality, and making provision for the ongoing and effective management of this green infrastructure.

Existing green infrastructure of strategic importance, as identified in relevant Green Infrastructure Plans the Bedfordshire, and Mid and South Bedfordshire GI plans will should be protected from development.

Development proposals should also take account of Green Wheel and Greenway plans and Parish Green Infrastructure Plans, Neighbourhood Plans and consider how identified assets can be protected and enhanced, and for aspirations to be delivered by development.

Development that adversely affects identified strategic green infrastructure assets, or adversely affects the future implementation of identified strategic or significant green infrastructure projects will not be permitted. Any unavoidable loss of green infrastructure should be adequately mitigated.

Justification

To ensure that the policy is justified and effective.

MM155

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy EE2

Modification

Policy EE2: Enhancing Biodiversity

The Council will work with developers to conserve habitats, species and sites, delivering enhancement and creation of ecological networks.Development proposals should will be permitted where they provide a net gain in biodiversity through enhancement and creation of ecological networks the conservation, restoration, enhancement and creation of ecological networks of habitats, species and sites (both statutory and non-statutory) of international, national and local importance.

Development proposals will be permitted where they avoid negative impacts on biodiversity and geodiversity. Where this is not possible, proposals must mitigate unavoidable impacts and, as a last resort, compensate for residual impacts; delivering a net gain in biodiversity by:

  • incorporating and enhancing existing and creating new biodiversity features within their design; and
  • maximising opportunities to enhance and create links between ecological networks and habitats of principal importance. Links should be created both on-site and, where possible, with nearby features.
  • Biodiversity within a development needs to be managed, monitored and maintained.

Development proposals within, or in close proximity to, an ecological corridor should enhance the functionality and connectivity of the corridor.

Development that would impact on the strategic ecological network causing fragmentation or otherwise prejudice its effectiveness will not be permitted.

Justification

For clarity and consistency with national policy

MM156

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Section 15.4

Paragraph 15.4.7

Modification

Insert new paragraph after 15.4.6:

15.4.7:Developments that are likely to have an adverse effect, either alone or in-combination, on European designated sites must satisfy the requirements of the Habitats Regulations, determining site specific impacts and avoiding or mitigating against impacts where identified. Mitigation may involve providing or contributing towards a combination of the following measures:

  1. i. Access and visitor management measures within the SAC;
  2. ii. Improvement of existing greenspace and recreational routes;
  3. iii. Provision of alternative natural greenspace and recreational routes;
  4. iv. Monitoring of the impacts of new development on European designated sites to inform the necessary mitigation requirements and future refinement of any mitigation measures.
  5. v. other potential mitigation measures to address air pollution impacts e.g. emission reduction measures, on the management measures.

Justification

For clarity and consistency with national policy

MM157

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy EE3

Modification

Policy EE3: Nature Conservation

Important habitats and sites of geological and geomorphological interest will be protected, maintained and enhanced.

Up to date, comprehensive ecological surveys undertaken in accordance with industry guidelines and standards will be required to support and inform development proposals that would affect sites for nature conservation, protected species, or species and of habitats of principal importance demonstrating development will deliver a net gain.

The Council will ensure that: Development proposals will be permitted where:

  1. they do not have an adverse effect, either alone or in-combination, on European designated sites, unless they satisfy the requirements of the Habitats Regulations*; and
  2. development which they will not adversely affect SSSIs, and NNRs and Roadside Nature Reserves; and would not be considered sustainable development and will be refused.
  3. development would not be permitted that would adversely affect they are designed to prevent any adverse impact on:
  • County Wildlife Sites,
  • Local Nature Reserves,
  • Local Geological or Geomorphological Sites,
  • Protected species, or;
  • Species and habitats of principal importance.

The assessment of adverse impacts will apply to potentially damaging development proposals that may affect the designated area. It will include the consideration of adverse cumulative effects with other existing or proposed development. Adverse impacts, such as disturbance through increased recreational pressure can result from new development and require mitigation to prevent detrimental impacts to the ecological resource.

*Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992

Justification

To provide plan clarity and following discussion at the Hearings (to include European Designated Sites).

MM158

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy EE4

Modification

Policy EE4: Trees, woodlands and hedgerows

Protection of existing trees, woodlands and hedgerows:

Development proposals will be permitted where:

  • development that would They do not adversely affect ancient woodland, and aged and veteran trees will not be permitted.
  • Woodlands, including semi- natural woodlands, planted ancient woodland sites, traditional orchards, hedgerows, and specimen trees found outside woodlands are will be protected and buffered from development.
  • Existing hedgerows and trees should be are incorporated to enhance developments,. The development should be designed to are integrated them within the public realm, and are within a suitable landscape setting to ensure longevity. Hedgerows and treed boundaries should be reinforced, safeguarded within green corridors and extended where possible where there is scope to create linkages.
  • Any removal of trees or hedgerows to accommodate development must be is justified, and should be lost assets are replaced within the development site with appropriate planting of suitable species of equivalent scale and character, and providing equivalent canopy cover and habitat connectivity.
  • The Council will seek to safeguard protected trees from loss or detrimental major surgery. Any protected tree that is unavoidably removed must be replaced by a tree or trees suitable for the location.

Developers will be expected to include new planting in developments., and the Council expects that: Proposals will be permitted where:

  • New developments are designed to include significant tree features, as part of residential areas, commercial and employment sites, streets and car parks.
  • The layout of developments (including residential areas, roads, parking areas, and open spaces) is designed to provide sufficient space to enable these trees to thrive, including adequate root protection areas and canopy clearance zones.
  • Landscaping schemes will take account of local landscape character, and should consider climate change, ease of maintenance and ecological enhancement. They should include the use of ornamental non-native species where appropriate. Care must be taken to avoid the introduction of Invasive Non- Native Species species into planting schemes.
  • New tree planting is designed within a green corridor of appropriate scale, as part of the site's public realm, transport network and green infrastructure, to improve ecological connectivity, enhance local character and create a sense of place, and mitigate and adapt to climate change.
  • Any development that forms a rural edge will include an effective landscape edge consisting of native tree and hedgerow planting consistent with the local landscape character.

Justification

For clarity and effectiveness.

MM159

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy EE5

Modification

Move Policy EE5: Landscape Character and Value to after para 15.7.6 and amend as follows:

Policy EE5: Landscape Character and Value

In order to safeguard intrinsic character, scenic beauty and perceptual qualities of the landscape such as tranquillity, all development proposals will need to have regard to the key characteristics and sensitivities of the site and its setting, as set out in the Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment.

All major development proposals will be required to demonstrate how they incorporate landscape enhancement, in accordance with the guidelines in the LCA, the Central Bedfordshire Design Guide and other relevant documents for specific areas. This includes e.g. the Chilterns AONB, Forest of Marston Vale andor the Greensand Ridge Nature Improvement Area. Landscape and visual appraisal will be expected to support planning applications and, to include the assessment of local landscape character and views.

All Ddevelopment will be required to respect, retain and enhance the character and distinctiveness of the local landscape, by;through;h (for example)

  • reflecting the local character and distinctiveness in terms of the scale and pattern of the surrounding landscape and existing settlement form; and
  • integrating on-site mitigation sympathetic to local character in scale with the landscape setting as well as the scale of the development.

 The Council recognises the importance of valued landscapes. Proposals that have an unacceptable adverse impact on valued landscapes will be refused.

Justification

To improve plan clarity.

MM160

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Section 15.7

Paragraphs 15.7.1 – 15.7.6

Modification

15.7 Tranquillity

15.7.1 Tranquillity is associated with audible and visual peace and is a significant asset in urban and rural areas. Tranquillity is not necessarily limited to remote areas, and can be comparative to location, character of space and surrounds. It ca be found in many areas, from large scale tracts of open space landscape to small urban parks, garden oases and informal urban open space with a hint of wildness.

15.7.2 Tranquillity can be significantly impacted on by intrusive movements, sights and sounds including those from transport, power lines and lighting. It is a quality that is hard to re-instate once lost. Undeveloped horizons are becoming increasingly scarce as are natural soundscapes and dark skies at night.

15.7.3 Tranquillity can support health and well being and be a key contributor to quality of life. Therefore ensuring tranquil spaces are available and accessible is vital. Tranquillity is also an important component in the enjoyment of other features, including biodiversity, landscape, and heritage assets.

15.7.4 The NPPF states that planning policies and decisions should identify and protect areas of tranquillity which have remained relatively undisturbed by noise and are prized for their recreational and amenity value for this reason.

15.7.5 Developments should consider how they would affect tranquillity, using existing tools such as Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment, Health Impact Assessment and ecological surveys to assess visual, noise and biodiversity impacts (e.g. on bats and invertebrates) respectively.

15.7.6 The Environmental Framework summaries the local evidence base relating to tranquillity, including mapped information. Developers should use this local information to assess the impacts of their development on tranquillity, and to demonstrate how tranquil areas have been designed into their developments, for example through layout, screening, materials and habitat or open space creation. Further guidance will be produced in due course.

Justification

Consequential MM as a result of deleting Policy EE6

MM161

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy EE6

Modification

Policy EE6: Tranquillity

The Council will:

  • Ensure that areas of high tranquillity at both strategic and community scales are protected, and that development that harms their recreational and amenity value is not permitted.
  • Require planning applications for both major residential and commercial developments to demonstrate how they have assessed the potential impact of their proposals on areas of high tranquillity, including visual intrusion, impact on biodiversity, lighting and noise. Such applications will be required to demonstrate how negative impacts have been avoided and any harmful impacts are adequately mitigated.
  • Require planning applications for new residential development of 100 dwellings or more to provide new or enhanced areas of tranquillity as part of proposals.
  • Seek opportunities to enhance tranquillity of landscapes and townscapes, including removal of, or appropriate mitigation of, visually intrusive features, sources of disruptive noise and lighting.

Justification

For clarity and effectiveness

MM162

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Section 15.8, Paragraph 15.8.3

Modification

15.8.3: The Chilterns Conservation Board has produced a management plan for the AONB which provides a framework within which local authorities, government and the Board itself operate. A Chilterns Buildng Design Guide has also been published and the Council expects any development proposals to take this fully into account. The Council will continue to support the management plan and provide protection against inappropriate development. This may, depending on the nature and scale of the proposals, include development outside of the AONB boundary which might threaten its unique qualities, for instance by harming views to and from the AONB and/or adding to noise and light pollution. It is also expected that developers will remain aware and proposals will have regard to any future guidance produced by the Chilterns Conservation Board.

Justification

To improve plan clarity and following discussion at the Hearings (Move reference to CCB guidance to supporting text).

MM163

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy EE7

Modification

Policy EE7: The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a nationally designated landscape and as such permission for major developments in the Chilterns AONB will be refused unless exceptional circumstances prevail as defined by national planning policy.

Planning permission for any proposal within the AONB, or affecting the setting or appreciation of the AONB, will be restricted to proposals that:

  • conserve and enhance the Chiltern AONB's special qualities, distinctive character, tranquillity and remoteness in accordance with national planning policy and the overall purpose of the AONB designation;
  • are appropriate to the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the area or are desirable for its understanding and enjoyment;
  • meet the aims of the statutory Chilterns AONB Management Plan, making practical and financial contributions towards management plan delivery as appropriate;
  • Comply with the Chilterns Building Design Guide and technical notes by being of high quality design which respects the natural beauty of the Chilterns, its traditional built character and reinforces the sense of place and local character;

  • avoid adverse impacts from individual proposals (including their cumulative effects), unless these can be satisfactorily mitigated.

Developments in the Chilterns AONB and its setting should respond to the landscape character (having considered all the relevant landscape character assessments) and be informed by landscape and visual impact assessment to understand the impacts of the proposed development on landscape character, and what options for mitigating negative impacts are possible.

Justification

To improve plan clarity and following discussion at the Hearings (Move reference to CCB guidance to supporting text).

MM164

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy EE8

Modification

Policy EE8: Greensand Ridge Nature Improvement Area

Development proposals within the Greensand Ridge Nature Improvement Area (NIA) should will be permitted where they would:

  • Demonstrate how a net gain in biodiversity will be delivered, including specifically identifying how gains in the quality and connectivity of ecological networks within and linking to the development will be delivered.
  • Enhance wildlife networks and increase ecological connectivity through buffering, extending and linking characteristic habitats (as listed above) both within and adjacent to developments.
  • Demonstrate how provision is made for species recovery and resilience.
  • Respect the topography and landscape of the NIA and be designed in such a way that it minimises visual impacts and protects local amenity.
  • Provide opportunities for people to access and experience the NIA in a way that is sympathetic and sustainable towards existing habitats.

Justification

To improve plan clarity

MM165

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Section 15.10, Paragraphs 15.10.1 – 15.10.8

Modification

Insert new paragraph before 15.10.1 as follows:

15.10.1: The Council is a founding partner in the 40-year vision to create the Forest of Marston Vale across 61 square miles between Bedford and Milton Keynes, as one of England's Community Forests, which together form the country's largest environmental regeneration initiative. The National Planning Policy Framework provides specific support for community forests such as the Forest of Marston Vale, noting that Forest Plans may be a material consideration in preparing development plans and in deciding planning applications.

15.10.12: The Forest of Marston Vale is one of 12 nationally designated community forests created in the 1990s, as part of a national programme to regenerate degraded landscapes near large urban populations through tree planting. It covers approximately some 61 square miles and extends into Bedford Borough in the north and to the M1 in the south. It is a strategic and regionally important environmentally led regeneration initiative providing social, economic and environmental benefits. Working with local communities, government and businesses, the 40-year vision is to deliver environmental regeneration that brings forward social and economic regeneration of the area, whilst providing major landscape, recreation, biodiversity and quality of life benefits. The aim of the Forest of Marston Vale is to achieve 30% tree coverage in the Marston Vale.

15.10.23: The primary aim purpose of community forests is to increase tree canopy cover from 3% to 30% by 2031, which will require the planting of around 4,000 hectares of new woodland. In the last 21 years, there has been an increase of woodland cover from 3.6% to 10.6% over the whole forest area, approximately 1,141 hectares of new tree woodland. Lead in the regeneration of once degraded industrial landscapes, which, in the case of the Forest of Marston Vale means addressing the effects of the brick making industry. The creation of the Forest is guided by the Forest Plan which sets out aims and objectives as well as principles and proposals to 2031. More information about the Forest of Marston Vale can be found in the Environmental Framework.

15.10. 34: In order to help the delivery of the line with the overall target of increasing tree canopy cover to 30%, developments within the Forest of Marston Vale will be expected to provide new tree canopy cover on the development site. The Council expects that a range of opportunities for tree and woodland planting throughout development sites within the Forest area are explored through the design process. This can be in the form of establishing woodland, to individual trees and hedgerows.

Insert new paragraphs after 15.10.4

15.10.5: Through delivering this increase in woodland cover and landscape change, a wide range of associated benefits and objectives will be delivered. The new wooded landscape will transform perceptions of the once-degraded area, encouraging inward investment and economic prosperity, providing an attractive location in which to live and work and a revitalised area which local communities can be proud of having helped to create through extensive community engagement. Recreation and leisure opportunities will be increased through the creation of new accessible woodlands, other green infrastructure and access routes. Increased woodland cover will help mitigate the impacts of climate change by providing a local, sustainable source of biomass for use as fuel, as well as through carbon sequestration. With around 4,000 hectares of new woodland, plus other environmental improvements, the area will deliver significant biodiversity benefits, creating a landscape richer in wildlife, as well as this new well-wooded landscape stimulating the development of a woodland economy and associated job creation.

15.10.6: The creation of the Forest of Marston Vale is guided by the Forest Plan, a non-statutory plan produced through very extensive consultation. The Forest Plan is the key reference for creating the Forest of Marston Vale, setting out the vision, objectives and broad proposals for the 61 square mile area. The Forest of Marston Vale Trust is the independent registered charity dedicated to the environmental regeneration and delivery of green infrastructure throughout the Marston Vale, in accordance with the Forest Plan.

15.10.58: New design guidance for development within the Forest of Marston Vale will be produced jointly with Bedford Borough Council, and adopted as a forming a common Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)., used by both Councils to inform Development proposals, delivering 30% on site tree canopy cover, should refer to this guidance on development and woodland creation in the Forest of Marston Vale. Should 30% tree canopy cover not be possible on proposal sites, this will need to be demonstrated by robust evidence and agreed by the Council. Where the Council accepts onsite provision cannot be made, provision will have to be made in accordance with the SPD, which will provide advice on alternative options.

Justification

For clarity and effectiveness

MM166

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy EE9

Modification

Policy EE9: Forest of Marston Vale

Central Bedfordshire Council will continue to support the creation of the Forest of Marston Vale to deliver the environmentally led regeneration of the area. Developments for new buildings proposals within the Forest of Marston Vale will be required to need to:

  1. demonstrate how they will deliver 30% tree canopy cover, within the public realm, across their development site. This can be achieved through by a combination of retaining and protecting existing trees, woodlands and hedgerows within development sites, and the on-site planting of new trees, woodlands and hedgerows. within development sites;
  2. contribute to the environmentally led regeneration of the Forest of Marston Vale, in line with the aims of the Forest Plan; and
  3. demonstrate how their proposals are consistent with design guidance for development within the Forest of Marston Vale.

Only where robust evidence agreed by the Council can demonstrate that 30% tree canopy cover cannot be delivered within the public realm on site, will alternative delivery mechanisms be considered.

Justification

For clarity and effectiveness

MM167

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy EE10

Modification

Policy EE10: The Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Park

Development on the route of the Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway Park will be expected to deliver the section of the Waterway Park within the development boundary, incorporating a waterway channel and 'towpath' for non-motorised users within a multifunctional green corridor.

Development should be designed to relate positively to the Waterway Park, and should be designed to complement adjacent areas and sites along the route of the Waterway Park.

Development that would adversely affect the implementation of the Waterway Park (as identified on the Adopted Policies Map), or that does not provide accommodation for the Waterway and associated infrastructure will not be permitted.

Justification

For clarity and effectiveness

MM168

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Section 15.11, Paragraph 15.11.1

Modification

15.11.1: The Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway Park is a strategic project to link the main UK waterway network with the Fens Waterways of East Anglian. This will be done throughby linking Bedford to Milton Keynes with a new waterway that is set within a multifunctional parkland corridor. The indicative route of the waterway is illustrated on the policies map and is safeguarded by Policy EE10. It will provide an attractive location for businesses and a potential setting for housing growth, as well as a major tourism destination, an attractive green space destination, an ecologically rich corridor and a space for creation and healthy living. More detail about the Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway Park is set out in the Environmental Framework. Further guidance will also be set out in the Forest of Marston Vale SPD.

Justification

To improve plan clarity and following discussion at the Hearings (clarify route is safeguarded).

MM169

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Section 15.12, Paragraphs 15.12.2

Modification

15.12.2: Each waterside location needs to be considered individually, with no single design approach being appropriate in all locations. However, dDevelopment proposals and regeneration schemes and surface water plans for sites in close proximity to the waterways need to be designed to enhance the waterside area. Additional engagement with the internal Drainage Board should be sought at an early stage.

Justification

For clarity and effectiveness

MM170

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy EE11

Modification

Policy EE11: The River and Waterway Network

Proposals for Ddevelopment adjacent near to the river and waterway network should will be permitted where they:

  1. support the protection seek to protect, conserveation and enhancement of the waterways' heritage, built environment, landscape character and biodiversity, including the protection of flood areas, where appropriate;
  2. promote the water and towpath/riverside paths as part of the green infrastructure and open space network and encourageing their use as a tourism destination and for leisure, recreation and healthy outdoor activity; and
  3. promote the use of the waterway and towpath/riverside paths for sustainable transport and recreational routes for walking and cycling, and where appropriate, provide and protect new tow and riverside paths.
  4. promote the waterway as a catalyst for urban regeneration and in support of waterway related enterprise

Justification

For clarity and effectiveness

MM171

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy EE12

Modification

Policy EE12: Public Rights of Way

Development should protect, enhance and promote the public rights of way network.

Development proposals for sites that include affect any public right of way are considered to be any development proposals that includes a right of way within the site, or any are for major development proposal adjacent to an existing right of way,. such development proposals will be required to need to submit a Rrights of Wway Sscheme that demonstrates how the development will protect, enhance and promote the public rights of way network. This must include, with where necessary, improvements to help restore and re-connect rights of way.it, inline with the Council's 'Public Rights of way -Standards and Guidance for Development' guidance.

Where developments would increase the pressure on the rights of way network, contributions may be sought through planning obligations for measures to protect and enhance the rights of way network,including the delivery of additional routes and improvements to existing public paths both on-site and off-site.

Justification

For clarity and effectiveness

MM172

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Section 15.14, Paragraphs 15.14.1, 15.14.5, 15.14.6, 15.14.21, 15.14.22, 15.14.23, 15.14.24

Modification

15.14.1: The NPPF identifies how the planning system can support the creation of healthy, inclusive communities by through the provision of social, recreational and cultural facilities such as shared open spaces, community facilities and sports venues. It highlights the needs for local authorities to undertake robust needs assessments to support policy for the provision and protection of leisure, sporting and recreational facilities. It also highlights that existing open space, sports and recreational land and buildings, including playing fields, should not be built on, unless clear criteria are met:

  • An assessment has been undertaken which has clearly shown the open space, buildings or land to be surplus to requirements; or
  • The loss resulting from the proposed development would be replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality in a suitable location; or
  • The development is for alternative sports and recreational provision, the needs for which clearly outweigh the loss.

15.14.2 Local authorities have a critical role in ensuring new developments the delivery of sport, recreation and physical activity facilities and opportunities to support and promote physical activity, increase wellbeing and tackle the causes of ill health. , and in ensuring more people from every background regularly take part in sport and physical activity. Central Bedfordshire Council will support the health of its residents by enabling them to be physically active through the provision of a range of leisure and sports facilities and green open spaces. A key part of this role is in protecting existing open spaces, and ensuring that new developments provide appropriate levels of open space for recreation and sport and the supporting facilities

15.14.3 To ensure the appropriate delivery of leisure, sport and recreation facilities, Central Bedfordshire Council worked with partner organisations to produce the three facility chapters which comprise the Leisure Strategy. The Strategy encompasses the provision of indoor and outdoor sport, recreation and open space facilities to support and promote physical activity, increase wellbeing and tackle the causes of ill health.

15.14.4 To ensure that the Leisure Strategy plans appropriately for future leisure needs it will be updated to take account of the scale and spatial distribution of growth currently being planned. In addition. With regards to indoor sports provision, the impact and future needs arising from the Council's significant recent investment in its leisure centres will also be assessed.

15.14.3: The Council recognises that sport and physical activities should be available to all, but that each person has different needs which may be addressed in different ways. To ensure the appropriate delivery of leisure, sport and recreation facilities to meet the needs of our residents, Central Bedfordshire Council engaged with residents and partner organisations to produce the three facility chapters which comprise the Leisure Strategy SPD:

  • Chapter 1: Leisure Facilities Strategy - covers indoor sports facilities such as leisure centres. More detail about the Indoor Sport and Leisure Facilities Strategy is provided in Section 17.4 of this Plan.
  • Chapter 2: Recreational Open Space Strategy - defines local standards for the provision of nine types of open spaces; and
  • Chapter 3: Playing Pitch Strategy - sets standards and facility requirements for outdoor sports pitches, courts and greens.

15.14.4: These chapters provide the policy guidance and evidence to identify the quantitative and qualitative requirements for indoor sports and leisure centre facilities; nine types of outdoor sports facilities; and nine types of recreational space. These typologies were developed during the creation of the Strategy to reflect the character of facilities in Central Bedfordshire and will assist in providing The Leisure Strategy supports national policy through the assessment and delivery of facilities which provide equality of provision, enhance the local environment, increase people's wellbeing and create a fitter and healthier population and enhance the local environment.

Chapter 2: the Recreational Open Space Strategy defines local standards for the provision of various types of open spaces, Chapter 3: Playing Pitch Strategy sets a space standard and facility requirements for outdoor sports pitches, courts and greens and Chapter 1: the Leisure Facilities Strategy covers indoor sports facilities such as leisure centres. More detail about the Leisure Strategy is provided in the Environmental Framework.

15.14.5 To support the delivery of the Leisure Strategy at the local level, the Leisure Strategy GIS layer (database of maps) maps all recreation and open space sites, and this is shown on the Policies Maps. and a A pParish sSchedule for each settlement lists existing leisure sites and identifies local facility needs. Chapter 3 is additionally also supported by the Outdoor Sport Priority Project List which details the current projects identified to address specific sporting needs. Both provide details of projects towards which contributions may be sought in lieu of on-site facility provision.

15.14.8 15.14.6

15.14.95.14.7

15.14.10 15.14.8

15.14.1115.14.9 The Council aims to ensure that open spaces are available within a short walking distance from peoples' homes and form 'stepping stones' on routes to key destinations such as schools and community facilities. Attractive open spaces complement and improve the quality of new development. The Council will support the provision of new spaces of different characters and at a variety of scales and characters including:

  • from f Formal parks and squares, village 'community' greens and sports and recreation open spaces;
  • to tTranquil natural areas hosting habitats and wildlife or offering adventure and play; and
  • to sSmall, characterful spaces providing breathing spaces within higher density urban settings.

15.14.1215.14.10 Providing a range of spaces and formal and informal activity opportunities informal which are accessible to all increases interest and participation in recreation, be it active or passive. Accommodating a range of activities within an open space encourages a varietyies of people to visit and share spaces providing vital community cohesion and enjoyment.

15.14.1315.14.11 The Leisure Strategy Chapter 2: Recreational Open Space Strategy assesses the nine typologies of open space most commonly found in Central Bedfordshire. Consideration should be given to the Recreational Open Space Strategy and individual Parish Schedules which and details the provision requirements to deliver both local and strategic open spaces. The Council's open space standards are summarised in the table below., and details can be found in the Recreational Open Space Strategy and individual parish schedules.

15.14.1415.14.12 The Chapter 2 typology of open spaces includes Countryside Recreation Sites and Informal Recreation Sites, which are also important for biodiversity. Indeed f For many sites, such as nature reserves, ecological benefits are the primary purpose of the site, with recreation a potential added benefit. The Leisure Strategy therefore considers at the level of recreational benefit in relation to the ecological sensitivity of the site, enabling the standards below to set out sufficient provision of open spaces, including natural areas, for people to use and enjoy without putting undue pressure on open space sites with sensitive environmental interests.

15.14.1613 To assist developers, the Council has developed a The Central Bedfordshire Design Guide, which includes information provides guidance on how open spaces should be designed as part of development proposals; and Children's Play Area Guidance identifies requirements for formal play areas. Developers should refer have regard to this guidance as they work up and submit their proposals.

15.14.1714 The detailed facilities assessment of current and future needs for outdoor playing pitches, courts and greens is contained in Chapter 3: the Playing Pitch Strategy. This supports the provision of accessible and locally appropriate sporting facilities and opportunities which also helps tackle physical inactivity as one of the primary causes of ill health.

15.14.1815 The Council will support the delivery of new, and the enhancement of existing outdoor sporting facilities to provide a varied range of sporting facilities and opportunities for its Central Bedfordshire's growing population. The Council will assess the needs generated by a development for each sport using the data in Chapter 3: Playing Pitch Strategy and the Outdoor Sport Priority Projects List.

15.14.1916 For major larger developments, the provision of sports facilities may be sought on the development site in line with local or strategic sporting needs. Proposals will be considered on a case-by-case basis, with reference to the Playing Pitch Strategy and the Outdoor Sport Priority Projects List. Where facilities are provided on-site, they must be designed and constructed in accordance with Sport England and National Governing Bodies for Sport (NGB) design guidance.

15.14.2017 New sports facilities are to should be sited in accessible locations to encourage use but should be located away from residential properties to minimise disturbance to residents. New pitches are to should be supported by changing/pavilion facilities, car parking and other ancillary facilities in accordance with Sport England and the respective NGB requirements and local circumstances.

15.14.2118 Where outdoor pitch facilities such as football facilities and rugby are required, the Council will seek the delivery of multi-pitch sites which facilitate progression through the age groups from children to adult, and support 'community' clubs which are sustainable in sporting and financial terms. All facilities are to should be supported by changing facilities and parking and should be are sited in locations which are accessible and minimise disturbance to residents. All facilities are to be supported by changing facilities and parking. On-site outdoor sport facilities or contributions would not be sought from care home developments. For retirement developments where there is a mix of independent living accommodation and care beds, a contribution may be sought toward relevant types of outdoor sports facilities from the independent element only.

15.14.2219 Where possible all new sports facilities will be sited in locations which allow the facility to expand as the club grows and/or to accommodate additional demand from further additional housing growth.

15.14.2320 For smaller developments where on-site sports facilities are not appropriate, the Council will seek planning obligations contributions toward sporting projects identified in the Outdoor Sport Priority Project List. The List has been developed in conjunction with Sport England, National Governing Bodies for Sport and local clubs and is based on the facility needs identified in the Strategy and through ongoing consultation.

15.14.2421 Contributions sought for sports projects will be calculated using the Sport England Playing Pitch Calculator (or any subsequent method) which utilises the data from Chapter 3 of the Leisure Strategy: the Playing Pitch Strategy to derive a locally based calculation. Sport England has developed the calculator to provide a sound method of calculating planning obligations, and this will be used by the Council to identify the level of contribution required from new development. Policy HQ4 of this Plan addresses the protection and provision of indoor sport and leisure facilities in relation to new development

Insert new paragraph 15.14.2522

15.14.2522 The Council will protect existing open spaces and outdoor sport facilities from development and support the Sport England Exceptions Policy. In accordance with the NPPF, where facilities are lost to alternative uses, replacement provision should be equal or better in terms of quantity or quality and should be in a suitable location. This should be accessible and within a similar catchment to the original facility. Contributions could also be provided for the re-provision of a facility, where land has been secured which is suitable and available. Policy HQ4 of this Plan addresses the protection and provision of indoor sport and leisure facilities in relation to new development

Justification

To improve plan clarity.

MM173

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy EE13

Modification

Policy EE13: Outdoor sport, leisure and open space

Central Bedfordshire Council will protect open spaces and outdoor sports facilities from development. Redevelopment of these sites for other purposes will only be appropriate in exceptional situations, in line with NPPF requirements.

Where they are lost to development, equal or better replacement provision within a reasonable proximity of the original facility must be delivered by the developer, or a contribution provided to the council to re-provide the facility.

Proposals for residential development will be permitted where they provide appropriate on-site facilities or contributions towards the provision of open space and outdoor sports facilities, in line with the following criteria.

On new residential developments, the Council will;:

  • rRequire the provision of open spaces and outdoor sports facilities in accordance with the Leisure Strategy standards (or more up to date evidence) and facility requirements.
  • Require on-site open space facilities and outdoor sports facilities must be designed in at an early stage to be an integral part of the development and incorporated into the design of the development at an early stage.

Open Spaces

  • Require the provision of on-site developments to provide open spaces and outdoor sports facilities on site unless up-to-date evidence demonstrates alternative provision is more appropriate this is demonstrably inappropriate or impossible.
  • Require Oon-site open spaces must to be designed to complement proposals for green infrastructure, landscaping, heritage the historic environment, ecological enhancement, and climate change adaptation. Potential recreational damage to Habitats of Principal i Importance and ecologically sensitive sites should be avoided through good design.
  • WRequire contributions towards the provision, enhancement and/or extension of open spaces identified within the Leisure Strategy and the Parish Schedules, where here the a development does not provide provision of open spaces and outdoor sports facilities is not on the development site. , the developer will be required to contribute through planning obligations to projects for the provision, enhancement and / or extension of existing facilities in accordance with the Leisure Strategy requirements.

Outdoor sport

  • Require the provision of on-site outdoor sports facilities on larger developments, (over 300 dwellings) as defined by Policy HQ9: Larger Sites, in accordance with the Leisure Strategy standards and facility requirements, unless up-to-date evidence demonstrates alternative provision is more appropriate
  • Require smaller developments (under 300 dwellings) where on-site provision of outdoor sports facilities is not required, to contribute towards the provision, enhancement and/or extension of existing facilities in accordance with the Leisure Strategy and Parish Schedules.
  • Require outdoor sports facilities which are to be delivered by the developer must be to be designed and constructed in accordance with Sport England Facility Guidance, together with the facility guidance of the relevant National Governing Body for Sport (NGB).

Management and maintenance

Where new Oopen spaces and outdoor sports facilities are being delivered, the developer must provide a management scheme which details the future ownership, management and maintenance of the site. Where the asset is to be adopted by the Local Authority or Town/Parish Council, commuted sums will be paid for maintenance of the facility.

Redevelopment of open spaces and outdoor sports facilities for other purposes will only be permitted where:

  • An assessment has been undertaken which has clearly shown the open space, buildings or land to be surplus to requirements; or
  • The facilities would be replaced by equivalent or better provision, in terms of quantity and quality, in a suitable, accessible location, within a similar catchment to the original facility, where possible; or a contribution provided for the re-provision of the facility, where land has been secured that is suitable and available for that provision; or
  • The development is for alternative sports and recreational provision, the need for which clearly outweigh the loss.

In considering the loss of facilities to development, the Council will support the Sport England Exceptions Policy.

New outdoor sport, leisure and open space facilities

Proposals for new outdoor sport, leisure and open space facilities within settlement envelopes will be supported where they comply with other relevant policies within the Plan.

For sites directly adjacent to the settlement envelopes, proposals for new outdoor sport, leisure and open space facilities will be permitted where:

  • A need for the proposed facility be identified; and
  • It can be demonstrated that no land is available within the settlement envelope.

Justification

To improve plan clarity and following discussion at the Hearings (policy re-drafted to reflect Inspectors comments).

MM174

Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy EE14

Modification

Policy EE14: Applications for Minerals and Waste Development Restoration

The Council will require all proposals for non-permanent minerals or waste development to include the high quality restoration of the site within a reasonable timescale. Opportunities for habitat creation should be considered and, where practical and desirable, provided in all restoration proposals. The MPA / WPA will support after uses which accord with the policies of the development plan.

All proposals for minerals and waste development will, where relevant:

  • Include the high quality progressive reclamation and aftercare of the site;
  • Be limited to the duration of the main operation;
  • Be carried out in a manner which will preserve the long term agricultural quality of the land at the same or higher Agricultural Land Classification Grade as that preceding the development; or
  • Where it can be shown that no known suitable alternative site of lesser agricultural value is available, and that the loss of 'best and most versatile' agricultural land is reduced as far as practicable and is clearly outweighed by other planning benefits of the proposal;
  • Include an assessment of ground stability conditions before and after completion of all site activities and demonstrate that there will not be any unacceptable adverse impacts;
  • Include an assessment of the impact on aviation safety and demonstrate that there will not be an unacceptable adverse impact.
  • be accompanied by Ecological Impact Assessment, including consideration of hydrogeological impacts.
  • pay due regard to the historic environment, particularly in relation to the setting of any heritage assets (whether designated or non-designated) affected by the development proposals.

Justification

For clarity and effectiveness


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