When Does A Settlement Need Planning Permission Environmental Sciences

Essay add: 29-10-2015, 11:30   /   Views: 146

In this essay, the first issue to be discussed is whether the construction for a holiday retreat comprising 50 holiday home cabins and 50m high electricity generating turbine, and the demolition of grade II listed stone barn require planning permission or other consent. Second, the factors that the Planning Committee of 3R must take into account for granting or refusing the planning permission. Lastly, actions or measures should be taken by CRL in order to improve its chances.

Proposal which requires planning permission

The development of land is regulating by planning system. [] Thus, planning permission will be required for any development of land [] . 'Development' can be defined as the carrying out of building and engineering operations in, on or over the land [] . The construction of 50 cabins and the demolition of the stone barn are building operations under operational developments and the turbine is the engineering operation under the operational development.

The key factors in determining whether something is a building are the size, permanence and the physical attachment to the land. [] Unquestionably, the holiday home and the turbine can be constituted as a building because it is likely that their size will be huge, and they are not mobile in nature, thus they will be physical attached into the land.

'Engineering operation' has been defined as operations requiring the skills of an engineer. [] No doubt the construction of cabins and turbine require engineer expertise. Therefore, the constructions of 50 holiday home cabins and 50m turbine are developments and require planning permission.

Pertaining to the demolition of stone barn, section 55 (1A) TCPA 1990 [] includes demolition as a building operation. However, appendix A to Circular 10/95 [] states that the demolition of Listed Buildings is not 'development' and is subject to other controls; namely the Planning LBCA Act 1990. [] By virtue of Section 7 of the Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Act 1990, "no person shall execute or cause to be executed any works for the demolition of a listed building or for its alteration or extension in any manner which would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest, unless those works are authorised." Thus, it is clear that the demolition of the grade II listed stone barn must obtain a listed building consent.

Factors which the Planning Committee of 3R must take into account

By virtue of section 54A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, "Any determination under the Planning Acts regard is to be had to the development plan, the determination shall be made in accordance with the plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise." Therefore, the 1999 Structure Plan and 2004 Three Ridings Borough Plan are material consideration and determination must be made in accordance with the plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. [] In general, there is a presumption in favour of the development [] and it is rebuttable once there are material considerations which 'indicated otherwise' (for instances National Planning Policy: Planning Policy Statement (henceforth 'PPS') and Planning Policy Guidance (henceforth 'PPG') and considerations related to the development of land [] ). Besides, the concerns raised by those objectors to the development are of material important since community involvement is vitally important to planning and the achievement of sustainable development. [] 

First and foremost, the committee has to consider DS4 of the 1999 Structure plan which states that limited development will be allowed in existing villages if this meets local needs and contributes to sustaining the role of the settlement. Since Hoton is a village which is popular with tourists, the proposal to construct a holiday retreat is in line with DS4 because it will provide holiday accommodation for tourists and create a number of jobs for the local residents. On fact, CRL have indicated that they will source materials and contractors locally. Thus, it will be a material consideration. Moreover, PPS7 recognises that the provision of essential facilities for tourist is fundamental for the improvement of the tourism industry in rural areas. [] 

Given that the holiday retreat will be constructed in a former quarry, the Committee would have to consider DS5 and NAT 8. As stated by DS5, priority will be given to the reuse of previously developed land and NAT 8 seeks to improve land quality by measures including reclaiming currently derelict and contaminated land. In addition, PPS 1 sets out that planning should seek actively to bring vacant and underused previously developed land. [] Unquestionably, the plan by CRL will bring back into beneficial use to achieve the targets the Government has set for development on previously developed land.

Regarding to the design of the holiday retreat, SP1 states that development proposals should achieve a high standard of design. PPS1 stress that good design should be an integral part of the processes for ensuring successful, safe and inclusive villages, towns and cities. [] Therefore, the committee must take into account the sitting of the 50 holiday home cabins within the application site especially the design of the access to the site from the main road. It is of particular importance for the safety concerns as it is likely that drivers will be distracted by the 50m turbine which is close to a main road.

SP1 also states that the development should harnesses local heritage and the importance of the building styles and materials. Given that the site is near the grade II* Hoton church and also there is an ancient earthwork within the site, the committee must take into account as to whether this proposal would preserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area. Bearing in mind that Hoton is popular with tourists; the external appearance of the holiday retreat is a material consideration.

The Committee of 3R also need to consider the location of the application. EC6 stress that tourism development should be promoted in existing settlement and the application sites should be accessible by public transport. Application sites that are close to existing settlements and other services will generally be more sustainable as some local services may be accessed by means other than by car. [] Furthermore, DS6 requires suitable levels of development infrastructure is provided in relation to the proposals. Section 70 TCPA 1990 empowers the local authorities to impose planning condition as it thinks fit. Therefore, the committee may require CRL to enter into a planning obligation to provide 'physical infrastructure gain [] ' as planning contribution to the local government. [] To impose such conditions, two types of test must be satisfied. First, the legal test which laid down in Newbury District Council v SOSE [] where the conditions are: a) for a planning purpose [] ; and b) fairly and reasonable relate to the development [] ; and c) not grossly unreasonable [] . For the policy test [] , it must be a) necessary, b) relevant to planning, c) relevant to the development permitted, d) enforceable, e) precise and reasonable in all respects. A planning obligation will be validated provided it has fulfilled both the legal test and policy test. [] 

Concerning the stone barn, it is a listed building which has been defined as a building which has been included in a list compiled or approved by the Secretary of State. [] Clearly, the planning application will be affected by this issue. [] The committee should consider PPG 15 which require the local authority to preserve or to enhance any listed building or any features of special architectural or historical interest. [] Thus, this issue is of particular importance as any alteration or demolition could cause damage to the historic environment. [] Clearly, 3R must give careful scrutiny in this particular issue. The committee should consider the concern of English Heritage that there might have any archaeological remains within the application site in order to avoid irretrievable loss as stated in L15 and L24.

The fact that there is a wide tree belt which supports a rich variety of plants, insects and birds is of significance for all further development proposals. The committee must take into account ENV1 and ENV2 seeks to protect biodiversity and nature conservation from development likely to have an adverse effect. It must be borne in mind that the birds (Skylark, Yellowhammer and Marsh Harrier) are a protected species under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and also the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c) Regulations 1994. [] Both Skylark and Yellowhammer are also included in the Birds of Conservation Concern Red List (high conservation concern). [] Moreover, PPS9 states that development should have minimal impacts on biodiversity and enhance or conserve it wherever possible. [] It is also suggested the planning authorities to use planning conditions or obligation to achieve this aim when it is appropriate. [] Planning authorities should refuse permission where harm to the species or their habitats would result unless the need for, and benefits of, the development clearly outweigh that harm. [] ENV3 also stress the same point as PPS9. Thus, the committee may require CRL to enter into a planning obligation to provide 'environmental planning gain' [] as planning contribution to mitigate any adverse effect which is unavoidable. Again, it must satisfy the legal test and the policy test in order to impose a planning obligation.

The issue of renewable energy is an important material consideration for the committee. It must be born in mind that the electricity generated by the turbine will be supplied to the National Grid to satisfy the demand for electricity. The committee need to consider whether the adverse impact caused by the turbine is outweighed by their contribution in the light of Government policy in developing renewable energy sources. Moreover, PPS22 states that planning policies which constraints on the development of renewable energy technologies should not be imposed without reasonable justification. [] In addition, the committee must 'screen' the application in order to determine whether an Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) is required in the present case since the construction of turbine is falls under Annexe II of the Town and Country Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988. [] 

As regard to noise generated by the turbine, it is a matter of public concerns as well as private concerns in the present case. Anything which is of concern to public, or an individual, as a result of a development proposal is a material consideration. [] In addition, PPG 24 states the proposed plan should ensure the development is located in areas where noise will not be such an important consideration or have minimum impact. [] Furthermore, the committee may impose conditions on the CRL to introduce new technologies for the reduction of noise [] or to control the operating hours of the turbine. [] Indeed, 3R should require CRL to plant numerous trees around the turbine. Unquestionably, the planting of trees will also be encouraged since the turbine are likely to have an amenity or landscape effect which stated under PPS22, [] L15 and L24. Besides, PPS22 suggests that the 1997 report by ETSU for the Department of Trade and Industry should be used to assess and rate noise from wind energy development. [] Clearly, all these are the necessary material considerations. However, the concern that the noise from the turbine will disturb the horses is unlikely to be a material consideration because most planning is not concerned with private right; indeed the concern is not justifiable in the present case. [] 

Since the appeal site is one miles from the Evon March Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which is an important area for the winter feeding of migrating birds, the committee should consider the potential for harm to be caused to the nature conservation interests. The committee should remain alert to the potential environmental impacts irrespective of whether a formal Environmental Impact Assessment is required. [] ENV1, ENV2 and ENV3 are again relevant as they emphasise the importance of nature conservation and the protection of biodiversity. Since the application is near to the SSSI, it should be protected through the notification made by English Nature (EN) [] to the local authority. [] The EN could give protection to the buffer zones by way of management agreement. [] Moreover, the Birds Directive requires the members to maintain a sufficient diversity of habitats of all European species of birds. [] Besides, L15 and L24 clearly stated that development will only be approved if there is no significant adverse impact to nature conservation. This is in line with PPG9. [] Indeed, PPS 9 [] has empowered the 3R to use conditions and/or planning obligations to mitigate the harmful aspects of the development. Therefore, the committee might impose the condition to require the CRL to provide written scientific evidence regarding the impact towards the SSSI or require CRL enter into planning obligation to offer gains. These are the factors that committee needs to consider.

As CRL obtained planning permission on the same site for a smaller development of 40 cabins 6 years ago, it will be a material consideration for this application. In Spackman v Secretary of State for the Environment, [] it was held that the existence of a valid planning permission is a material matter for consideration in determining a further application for permission. If the local authority failed to do so, the refusal to grant permission for the application must be quashed. Similarly, in R. (on the application of Chisnell) v Richmond upon Thames LBC, [] in the planning process the previous history of a property, including previous decisions, was a material consideration on a subsequent application but the decision maker had a discretion to be exercised in their own judgment. A decision maker should realise the importance of consistency and should give reasons if they departed from the previous decision. Generally, lapsed planning permissions can be expected to be renewed. Nevertheless, it must be borne in mind that the current application (50cabins) is larger than the previous one (30 cabins) and there might be a change to planning policy.

As the application site lies within the floodplain of the Hoton Beck, it is suggested that the committee should also consider the advice from the Government as they would provide more information about flood due the change of climate globally. [] Other than that, the committee should also refer to PPS 25 [] and NAT2 where both have stated that the development should not be allowed without increasing the flood risk and it has been confirmed by the court. [] Perhaps, the committee should set out requirements for site-specific Flood Risk Assessments (FRAs) to be carried out by CRL. [] Besides, L24 states that satisfactory sewage treatment should be provided for the development. It is suggested that the committee may impose certain conditions 'as it think fits' [] to prevent flood. To impose such conditions, it must satisfy the legal test and the policy test as mentioned above.

The existence of the horseshoe bats and rare water beetles is an important material consideration. Horseshoe bats are a protected species under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and also the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c) Regulations 1994. [] On the other hand, rare water beetle is listed as Endangered (RDB1, the most threatened category) in the British Red Data Book; it also receives full protection under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. It is a priority species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. [] Again, PPS9 will be relevant as it requires development should have minimal impacts on biodiversity and enhance or conserve it wherever possible. [] 

Recommendations for CRL to improve its Chances of Obtaining Planning Permission

Pertaining to the flood issue, it will be beneficial if CRL obtain positive FRAs and has provided some protections to prevent the occurrence of floods. [] This includes lowering the sheet piling on the riverbank, lowering levels and setting back the line of development to create a riverside park. This will significantly improve flood flow at a pinch point in the floodplain. Indeed, CRL should try to argue that the LPA and Regional Planning Bodies should prepare some strategies to help to deliver sustainable development by appraising, managing and reducing the risks. [] 

As regards to the construction of 50m turbine, it is suggested that CRL should provide EIA together with the submission of the application. The assessment must include information on the direct and indirect effects of the development on residence, fauna, flaura, the environment, material assets and cultural heritage. It will be beneficial if CRL obtain positive EIA. If the EIA is bias, CRL can apply for judicial review in High Court. [] 

As the issues of nature conservation, wildlife protection and biodiversity weigh heavily against proposal, CRL should provide an environmental assessment about the potential environmental impacts of its proposal. If it can prove that the proposed development will not cause harmful effect to the environment, it will increase the chances to obtain the planning permission. Other than that, CRL may offer remedial measures to mitigate the negative effects caused by the proposal. Remedial measures which are modest in scope or easily achievable will hold the development to be treated as not having any significant effects on the environment. [] 

In relation to the Grade II listed Stone Barn, perhaps it should be converted into hotels or service accommodation instead of demolishing it. It is often a realistic proposition for ensuring the retention and maintenance of historic buildings. In fact, converting the stone barn into compatible use can bring life back to an otherwise wasted asset. At the same time, it will not materially alter the character or historic features of the building. [] PPS7 also recognises that proposals to convert existing rural buildings to provide hotel and other serviced accommodation should be acceptable as it is in line with the policy of re-use building. [] 

Since Hoton Parish Council does not have sufficient funds to build a community, it is suggested that CRL should offer a planning gain to support them. As long as it fulfils the requirement of legal test and policy test, he can do so. Similarly, CRL should provide funds to the Trustees of Hoton Church to support them to renovate the church. It is likely that this planning gain is relevant to the planning application because renovating the church will help to maintain the church; this will indirectly increase the tourism value of the church.

In relation to the issue of archaeological remains, it is suggested that CRL should take initiative to contact the County of Archaeological Officer to assess whether the application is contain any archaeological remains. If it is proven that archaeological remains is existed in the site, CRL should seek expert advice from either English Heritage or County Archaeological Officer to take mitigation measure whenever appropriate. By taking such approach, it is very likely that the concern will be dismissed.


It is likely that CRL application will seriously be affected by the existing natural conservations, SSSI, listed stone barn and the potential risk of flood. To increase the chances of obtaining the planning permission, CRL should provide more concrete evidence in supporting their application. Indeed, the conditions and suggestion from the planning committee should not be ignored.

Article name: When Does A Settlement Need Planning Permission Environmental Sciences essay, research paper, dissertation