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Chapter 3
CORE STRATEGIC AND GENERAL POLICIES
   
3.1 This chapter expresses the Local Plan Strategy through a set of Core Policies.  It also includes a number of general policies which are relevant to more than one type of land use. 
 
General Sustainable Development
3.2 Sustainable development is one of the core principles underpinning the planning system.  The Government set out four aims for sustainable development in its strategy ‘A Better Quality of Life – A Strategy for Sustainable Development in the UK’.  These have been carried forward into the ‘Sustainable Communities Plan’ and PPS1.  These aims include:
 
  • Social inclusion and cohesion;
  • Protection and enhancement of the environment;
  • Prudent use of natural resources; and
  • Sustainable economic development.
3.3 Government advice reflects a commitment to sustainable development and makes it clear that the environment should be considered throughout the Development Plan process.  Development Plans should, therefore, not just consider the familiar issues of landscape, nature conservation and the historic and built environment, but should also be concerned with environmental issues which are long term and irreversible, such as global warming and the consumption of non-renewable resources.  The Local Plan has an important role to play in achieving sustainable development through its influence in controlling and guiding land use patterns and protecting environmental assets.  The District’s main environmental assets, as referred to in Policy SG1, are described in greater detail in Chapter 2. 
3.4 The Plan seeks to balance demands for a finite quantity of land.  This is reflected in the strategy of concentrating most new development in the towns, of ensuring the full and effective use of unused, underused or derelict land and buildings within defined settlement limits, in the prevention of urban sprawl, in maintaining the quality of the countryside, in minimising the loss of the best and most versatile agricultural land to development and in minimising the need to travel.
3.5 The land and buildings within South Holland are a valuable resource.  In the towns, villages and in the open countryside the effective use of land and buildings is of great importance.  We want to preserve the quality of life within the District and to maintain a sustainable environment for residents and visitors to the District in the future.  The more effective the use of land and buildings in the District the less the loss of greenfield sites to development.
3.6 The major advantage in the reuse or redevelopment of disused and underused buildings is the benefit to the visual amenity of the surrounding area.  Such buildings are often in a poor state of repair and this can affect the townscape or landscape quality of the surrounding area, increasing potential for crime and vandalism.  In many cases the buildings are already serviced and their reuse can be considered a saving in infrastructure terms along with ongoing savings in materials.  We recognise however that often a contributing factor to buildings falling into disuse or disrepair is the removal of their original use.  In such cases support will be given for the conversion of buildings to be used in a different way in order to maximise existing investment, or for the redevelopment and reuse of land. 
 
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3.7 In addition we are also aware of the contribution that some such sites make, in their present condition, as nature conservation locations within the District.  Much derelict, disused and underused land supports a wide range of flora and fauna, developed over a period of years.  In such cases we will support the use of such sites for nature conservation purposes or for the provision of informal open space, perhaps as part of a wider development proposal, ensuring the protection of the nature conservation value of the site in the longer term.  This could include the promotion of habitat creation schemes as part of the proposal, which will contribute to wider biodiversity. We will encourage the use, reuse or redevelopment of derelict, disused and underused land and buildings within South Holland, where it does not prejudice the strategies and policies found elsewhere in this document.
3.8 This policy is a general sustainable development policy which reflects the District Council's commitment to these principles.
   
  Policy SG1- General Sustainable Development
  Planning permission for development will be granted where the Council is satisfied that the proposal is consistent with the principles of sustainable development, and where:
  1) the quality of life for residents is unimpaired or enhanced;
  2) reasonable measures have been taken to conserve energy and natural resources; and
  3) South Holland’s essential character and main environmental assets are not damaged.
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Distribution Of Development
3.9 The spatial framework and hierarchy of development of Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS8) is reflected in the emerging replacement Lincolnshire Structure Plan  which itself establishes in broad terms an approach to be undertaken within the District.  The Local Plan aims to apply and set this strategy into a South Holland context, applying local considerations and objectives.
3.10 The most significant way in which the Local Plan can deliver its aims and objectives is in influencing the location of new development.  The emphasis of the Plan is on directing new development towards the towns and villages of the District, increasing accessibility to services and facilities, maximising the use of brownfield land and protecting the countryside from unnecessary development, only allowing development which is essential in that location.
 
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3.11 The strategy of the Plan is based on major development being concentrated in Spalding, the main district centre, to reinforce its role as the major employment and service centre of South Holland, followed by development in the other towns.  The towns offer a balance between housing, jobs and services locally - so reducing the need to travel.  They had lost some of their vitality and viability because of changing social patterns, especially in shopping, but their survival and future prosperity is seen to be essential for the continued vitality of the rural areas of the district that they serve.  These towns are being invigorated, regenerated and developed as focal points, enhancing the role they play as service centres for the community, including a role as transport interchanges.
3.12 Within the towns and villages a sequential approach to identifying development needs has been established, seeking to promote ready access to services and the re-use of brownfield land. The sequential approach is set out in Policy S2 “Location of Development” in the emerging Structure Plan. The sequential approach has been used in the identification of sites allocated for various uses as part of the development strategy of this Plan and will be addressed in consideration of development proposals which come forward through the life of the Plan.
3.13 The Plan makes provision for land capable of delivering employment and housing development.  Other provisions have been made in relation to community infrastructure (related to housing development) and mixed-use developments (economy).  These allocations are covered in detail in their respective chapters of the Plan.  In the case of Spalding and Holbeach land is allocated as ‘urban extension’. This reflects the fact that the precise boundaries between the uses envisaged within those areas are not yet certain and will be identified through development briefs. In both cases the uses will comprise housing, community infrastructure and structural open space. The range of locations promoted by this Plan will provide an appropriate geographic coverage of the District relative to main centres of population and travel and transport routes.
3.14 Issues of accessibility to jobs, community and social facilities by a range of transport modes including public transport, walking and cycling are key elements of this local plan. Accessibility issues have been taken into account in identifying preferred areas and sites for significant new development, whilst acknowledging that there is expected to remain a considerable level of reliance on car usage for those who live and work in rural areas.
3.15 Residential developments should have good access by walking, cycling and public transport to a town centre and / or to local shops and facilities.  Where existing access by these means are inadequate the Local Planning Authority will consider proposals for their improvement (on site or off site) as part of an overall development proposal.
 
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3.16 The location of community and social facilities in accessible locations is vital in reducing social exclusion, including for those in rural areas without access to the private car.  Uses which have a wide catchment area should be in or adjacent to town centres.  Such proposals will be the subject of a sequential test for site selection.  All developments of more than immediate local significance must be accessible by a choice of transport modes including public transport.
3.17 ‘Defined Settlement Limits’ (which replace the ‘Development Boundaries’ set out in our previous Local Plan documents) have been placed around the towns and a number of the villages in order to identify locations where development is acceptable in principle. These limits have been tightly drawn to respect settlement character in terms of size and form.   These defined limits are based upon a careful assessment of the character and capacity of each town and village to receive further development within the context of the plan’s strategy.
3.18 The policies therefore allow for additional housing and employment development within the defined settlement limits of the towns of Spalding, Holbeach, Long Sutton, Crowland and Sutton Bridge and the main village of Donington.  Only limited housing is anticipated within the remaining villages with defined settlement limits.  The underlying strategy is one of continued restraint outside the main urban areas.
   
  Policy SG2 - Distribution of Development
  All proposals for development must be located having regard to sustainable development principles.  They should:
  1) adopt a sequential approach which gives priority to the use of previously developed land and buildings within defined settlement limits, then to greenfield land within defined settlement limits and finally to land adjacent to defined settlement limits;
  2) make efficient use of land;
  3) ensure that, wherever possible, development is served by a choice of transport modes including existing public transport or by improvements to public transport infrastructure linked directly to the development and the existing highway network; and
  4) ensure that the development is acceptable in terms of traffic generation and road safety in the surrounding area.
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Settlement Hierarchy
3.19 Emerging Structure Plan Policy S3 ‘Development in the Major Settlements’ defines Spalding as a main town with the other towns of Holbeach, Crowland, Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge identified as small towns.  Spalding offers the greatest range of facilities and services and is the most sustainable location for future major growth.  The other towns and the main village of Donington also contain a wide range of facilities and services to help meet the needs of their rural hinterlands.
 
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3.20 In addition to the broad strategic aims of the Plan we have established a hierarchy of settlements based on their scale and function. We have also had regard to the findings of our services and facilities study of the District’s settlements, which looked at accessibility and existing levels of provision, when identifying this settlement hierarchy.
   
Main Town – Spalding
3.21 The Plan aims to direct most new housing development to the main town of Spalding, which offers the greatest potential to meet our aims and objectives.  Spalding:
 
  • is the focus of the social and economic life of the community and will provide access to services and facilities to an increasing proportion of the District's population;
  • is located at the focus of communication routes, including the railway;
  • has existing major investment in infrastructure and buildings;
  • is the location of major sources of employment;
  • has the capacity to accept growth without unduly detracting from the rural character of the District.
3.22 Spalding also provides a very distinctive role as a sub-regional hub for the food processing, agricultural and horticultural sectors.
3.23 We aim to produce an Area Action Plan (AAP) for Spalding which will contain more detail and site specific policies and plans for the future expansion and development of the town.  Regard will be had in this document to the relationship of Spalding with its surrounding area, particularly with Pinchbeck and including consideration of policy options for the area of the current gap between the two settlements.
   
Area Centres
3.24 Area Centres are defined as the next tier in the settlement hierarchy.  They provide a range of services, local employment opportunities and act as a focal point for the rural areas.  These centres include the other towns of Holbeach, Crowland, Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge. The ‘Main Village’ of Donington has also been included within the Area Centres tier. Regard has been had to Donington’s size and role as a relatively free standing centre in the northern part of the District. It contains a range of shops and services including both a primary and secondary school and enjoys good communication links to Spalding, Boston and Grantham whilst also helping to serve the needs of surrounding smaller villages and its rural hinterland. The Plan allows for some significant future growth of the Area Centres.
 
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Group Centres
3.25 Group Centres are those villages which offer more localised services and facilities and act as a focal point for the rural communities.  A moderate level of growth in these settlements may prevent local services such as schools and shops from becoming unviable and help create more mixed and balanced communities.  All Group Centres are subject to defined settlement limits in order to control and regulate their growth.  Any development should be appropriate to the character of the settlement and the surrounding area whilst meeting identified local needs.  Existing services and facilities in these settlements could help serve not only the needs of the settlement itself but also the needs of any immediately surrounding rural settlements or groups of rural settlements and rural hinterland.
3.26 Group Centres are: Cowbit, Deeping St Nicholas, Fleet Hargate, Gedney Hill, Gosberton, Moulton, Moulton Chapel, Pinchbeck, Sutton St James, Weston and Whaplode.
3.27 When identifying Group Centres the Plan takes account of the findings of our settlement services and facilities survey and PPS7 which acknowledges the potential contribution that grouping of villages can make when helping to serve the needs of a number of other rural settlements through the sharing of facilities and services. We have had regard to their spatial distribution, existing level of services and function performed including providing services and facilities to other, nearby settlements. It should be noted that some of the rural settlements towards the periphery of the District rely on larger settlements outside South Holland for service and facility provision.
 
Other Rural Settlements
3.28 The District also contains numerous Other Rural Settlements.  These settlements generally do not have the services or ability to accommodate further growth.  They do not have defined settlement limits and are therefore treated as lying in the open countryside.  However, generally these settlements are well related to a Group Centre, an Area Centre, or the Main Town and will therefore still have access to a range of services.
  Other Rural Settlements are:
 
Fleet Church End Northgate, West Pinchbeck
Gedney Black Lion End Quadring
Gedney Church End Saracens Head, Holbeach Clough & Bank
Gedney Dawsmere Shepeau Stow
Gedney Drove End Surfleet
Gedney Dyke Surfleet Seas End
Gosberton Clough/ Risegate Sutton St Edmund
Holbeach Drove Throckenholt
Holbeach Hurn Tongue End
Holbeach St Johns Tydd Gote
Holbeach St Marks Tydd St Mary
Little Sutton Weston Hills- Austendyke
Lutton & Lutton Gowts Weston Hills- St Johns
Moulton Seas End Whaplode Drove
Nene Terrace Whaplode St Catherine
 
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Settlement Hierarchy
 
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  Policy SG3 - Settlement Hierarchy
  For the purposes of controlling and regulating development, and also to reflect the wider functions of settlements the following hierarchy will be applied:
  1) Main Town – Spalding
    Spalding is defined as the District’s principal urban settlement.  It will be the main location for new development.
  2) Area Centres
    The towns of Holbeach, Long Sutton, Sutton Bridge and Crowland and the main village of Donington are defined as Area Centres.  They will continue to provide for housing, employment and commercial development to support their roles as service centres for surrounding rural areas.
  3) Group Centres
    The villages of Cowbit, Deeping St Nicholas, Fleet Hargate, Gedney Hill, Gosberton, Moulton, Moulton Chapel, Pinchbeck, Sutton St James, Weston and Whaplode will act as local service centres for the surrounding rural area.  New development should support or improve their role as a focus for local social and economic activity, having regard to their role within clusters or groups of settlements.
  4) Other Rural Settlements
    In all other rural settlements (as shown on the proposals map) only a very limited amount of new development will be permitted and only in exceptional circumstances to meet demonstrated local needs and where the location of the development is well related to the built up area of the settlement.
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Agricultural Land And Development In The Countryside
3.29 It is important that the development of greenfield land, including the best and most versatile agricultural land is only allowed after all other opportunities to accommodate development on brownfield land and land within existing defined settlement limits has been assessed.
3.30 A Strategic Landscape Capacity Study was carried out for the District by John Campion Associates Ltd in 2003.  The study defined 3 character areas, namely:
 
  • Settled Fens;
  • Peaty Fens; and
  • The Wash Marshes.
3.31 The Study has been used in the preparation of SPG on Wind Energy (2003) and will be used in the decision making process.  Development proposals that could result in an unacceptable impact upon the landscape character of an area either individually or cumulatively will only be permitted where it can be demonstrated that the need for the development in that location outweighs its impact and where it can be demonstrated that no other site or solution exists to accommodate the proposed development.
3.32 The landscape of the District contributes to the quality of its environment and is integral to the quality of life for residents and the economy.  It is important it is protected and enhanced and that development proposals do not undermine its quality.  The Council will therefore aim to ensure that the landscape is safeguarded for its own sake and to protect its intrinsic character and wildlife.
 
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3.33 The District comprises almost exclusively grades 1 and 2 agricultural land which is important nationally and for the local economy.  The majority of economic activity in the district is either directly in agriculture or 'adding value' to agricultural produce in terms of processing, packaging and distribution.  Nevertheless the economies of the agricultural industry are changing and PPS7 recognises the increasing importance to farmers of diversification into non-agricultural activities in order to supplement their farming incomes.
3.34 Therefore, this Local Plan seeks to minimise the loss of agricultural land, whilst also realising that it is essential to encourage rural enterprise, including the diversification of farm businesses.  However, such diversification either individually or cumulatively should not lead to activity on such a scale as to prejudice town and village vitality, promote unacceptable increases in movements by motor vehicles or unacceptable impact on the character of the countryside.  However, we do recognise that whilst the retention or creation of new jobs in rural areas may increase traffic in some areas it may reduce the overall mileage the rural population need to travel to find local work.
3.35 It is also important to make mention of the concept of 'managed re-alignment' of sea defences to protect the area from flooding.  The House of Commons Committee on Agriculture has stated that the protection of high grade agricultural land should not be carried out at the expense of coastal sea defences. However, Government encourages a strategic approach for the appraisal of proposed flood defence schemes. All schemes must be technically sound, environmentally acceptable and economically justified. Essentially Government seeks sustainable, best value for money investment solutions having regard to the protection of such environmentally important areas as the Wash. Government also suggests that consideration be given to both advancing and retarding the defence line.
3.36 The spatial strategy of the Plan seeks to concentrate new development in the towns and, to a lesser extent, selected villages.  This strategy is concerned with protecting the countryside from sporadic development and avoiding the higher than average costs of infrastructure and service provision.  In accordance with central government policy and the Structure Plan there is a presumption against development in the countryside other than for specified activities requiring a rural location.
3.37 Virtually all of our countryside consists of land classified as the best and most versatile agricultural land, and as such forms a part of a nationally important resource, to be safeguarded.  The intensive cultivation of that land is of considerable importance to the local economy.  Therefore, whilst the loss of some such land from agricultural production will be inevitable in this district, such loss must be carefully controlled.  Prioritisation and phasing of development can help to retain land in agricultural production until it is actually required for building, but the development of high quality land in the countryside will only be permitted if there are no other suitable sites available.
 
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3.38 Development in the countryside is, therefore, allowed only in exceptional circumstances.   Some types of use are appropriate in the countryside, principally those that are essentially rural in character including agriculture and forestry. Wildlife habitat creation may also be appropriate, especially where new wetlands are created in conjunction with changes to engineered flood defences.
3.39 As well as agriculture it is recognised that the countryside is likely to have an increasingly important role for recreation.  Certain recreational facilities, such as golf courses, need extensive areas of land but generally preserve the openness of the countryside.  These are particularly appropriate on the fringes of built up areas where they are easily accessible.  Any building associated with these activities should be carefully located so that it is in sympathy with its rural setting.
3.40 Cemeteries are acceptable in the countryside, being large space users that are substantially open in character.  Nature conservation activities are also appropriate to the countryside.
3.41 Development required for public utilities, including telecommunications may be essential in rural locations.
3.42 Petrol filling stations and other roadside services can also be appropriate development in the countryside where there is a gap in existing provision which cannot be met within built up areas.
3.43 In terms of diversifying the rural economy it is considered important to allow for new uses in existing buildings particularly for commercial, industrial, tourist or recreational purposes although ancillary residential use may be also acceptable. Diversification opportunities on farms can also include farm shops, craft centres, Pick Your Own, food processing, picnic sites, farm trails, fishing, pony trekking, growing crops for industrial use, organic farming, wood coppicing and growing organic food, much of which can be carried on without the need for planning permission.  However, it is also important that development should not be unduly harmful to the rural character of its surroundings.
3.44 For the purposes of this Local Plan, 'countryside' or 'open countryside' means any location not included within defined settlement limits as shown on the proposals map.
   
  Policy SG4 - Development in the Countryside
  Planning permission will only be granted for development in the open countryside which is essential in the proposed location and cannot reasonably be accommodated within defined settlement limits.  Development proposals that would result in an unacceptable impact upon the landscape character of an area, either individually or cumulatively, will only be permitted where:
  1) the need for the development in that location outweighs its impact; and
  2) no other site or solution exists to accommodate the proposed development.
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  Policy SG5 - Non-Agricultural Development On Agricultural Land
  Planning Permission will only be granted for the development of the best and most versatile agricultural land (Grades 1, 2 and 3a) where:
  1) land of a lower agricultural grade is not available to accommodate the proposed development;
  2) available lower grade land has an environmental value recognised by a wildlife, landscape or historic designation that outweighs agricultural considerations;
  3) the development is proposed on land of the lowest possible grade.
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Community Infrastructure And Impact Assessment
3.45 Local Planning Authorities may seek the provision of, or contribution towards the provision of, community benefits deriving directly from development proposals in order to make them acceptable in land use terms.  Developers must necessarily accept the financial consequences of their development.
3.46 Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) enables local planning authorities to enter into legal agreements, sometimes called planning obligations, with developers and landowners.  Planning obligations can only be sought where they meet all the following tests:
 
  • necessary
  • relevant to planning
  • directly related to the development
  • fairly and reasonably related in scale to the proposed development
  • reasonable in all other respects.
3.47 Circular 05/2005 gives detailed advice on the form and content of planning obligations and it is stressed that such agreements must not be seen as 'purchasing planning permission'. 
 
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3.48 Examples of what we could seek the provision of, where appropriate to the development proposed, include:
 
  • affordable housing
  • educational facilities
  • highway improvements
  • public transport provision
  • community facilities
  • healthcare facilities
  • flood and sea defences
  • open space and / or recreational / leisure  facilities
  • the protection and enhancement of natural resources and biodiversity
  • archaeological and historic site interpretation
  • landscape improvements and public art
  • fire and rescue facilities
  • closed circuit television surveillance (CCTV).
3.49 We intend to build up a list of infrastructure needs and to prepare a Supplementary Planning Document on this subject.  However, in the meantime, development contributions will still be sought where necessary.  The onus is on the developer to assess the impact that the development will have, if permitted, on community infrastructure and to set out within their proposals how they intend such impact to be addressed. The amount of work required in preparing such an assessment will depend on the scale of development and degree of impact. We will prepare advice for developers on this. Developers are urged to contact our Development Control section at the earliest opportunity to discuss the necessary level of impact assessment for the development.
3.50 Some large and/or environmentally sensitive proposals also require submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).  Environmental assessment is mandatory for specific projects listed in Schedule 1 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment)(England and Wales) Regulations 1999.  Schedule 2 of the Regulations lists projects where environmental assessment is required if the particular development proposed is judged likely to have significant environmental effects by virtue of its size, nature and location.  This includes proposals for food processing.  Schedule 3 of the Regulations lists those aspects of the environment which may be significantly affected by a project and should be considered in assessing the need for environmental assessments for Schedule 2 projects.  We will pay particular attention to the potential adverse environmental effects a proposed development might have on vulnerable or sensitive sites, including direct and indirect effects on soil, air and water quality and on sensitive existing or proposed uses such as residential areas. [Further guidance on environmental statements is given in Circular 2/99 and the booklet "Environmental Assessment - A Guide to the Procedures" available on the Department for Communities and Local Government website].
 
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3.51 Development on any site in the District could give rise to infrastructure requirements to be addressed through contributions.  However, the Local Plan also identifies some specific sites for ‘Community Infrastructure’ provision in Spalding and Holbeach where major development is planned.  More details are in the supporting text to Policy HS3.  Through conditions and obligations, we will ensure that community infrastructure is delivered when it is needed, be that before or in parallel to phasing of the associated residential or employment development.
   
  Policy SG6 - Community Infrastructure and Impact Assessment
  Proposals for new development will be required to include measures to demonstrate how public infrastructure and services required to support the development will be delivered. The delivery of such services will be secured by planning conditions or legal agreements/ planning obligations.
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Energy Efficiency
3.52 The Council has a long history of promoting energy efficiency. It is recognised that in some instances, the benefits of energy efficiency will have to be balanced with other needs such as safety and amenity. Good preparation can, however, ensure that all aspects of urban design are successfully incorporated into a development.
3.53 A variety of energy related measures, many with little or no cost implications, can be incorporated into plans for development. The environmental arguments for reducing energy use and our dependence on fossil fuels are now widely accepted; in particular, the implications of climate change are increasingly apparent. There are also several other good reasons for reducing energy use in developments including:
 
  • saving money - the running costs of buildings can be significantly reduced thereby helping to alleviate fuel poverty and decreasing running costs for businesses.
  • improving the internal conditions of a building through natural daylight provision and ventilation.
  • raising the profile of a development and improving its public image.
  • improving the marketability of a development.
3.54 Development will be expected to make full use of energy conservation techniques, including: the siting, form, orientation and layout of buildings which maximize the benefits of heat recycling, solar energy, passive solar gain and the efficient use of natural light; and the use of planting to optimize the balance between summer shading and winter heat loss through exposure, and the use of energy from renewable resources where practicable.  The Plan has now taken account of the advice in PPS22.
 
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3.55 We will prepare a supplementary planning document setting out further guidance on this subject, as set out in the LDS.
   
  Policy SG7 - Energy Efficiency
  Development proposals will be encouraged where they are designed to provide maximum energy efficiency, through site layout and orientation, through the layout and design of individual buildings, including maximizing solar gain especially for residential buildings, and where they make full practical use of energy from renewable resources.
  All development with a floor space of 1000 sq. m. or more, or 10 or more residential units, will be required to demonstrate good practice in energy efficiency and to incorporate renewable energy production equipment to provide at least 10% of its predicted energy requirements.
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Water Efficiency
3.56 Fresh water is a valuable resource and most types of development give rise to an increase in demand for it. There are a number of measures that may be taken to reduce demand on supplies without compromising the end use. For example, greywater use, efficient fittings (such as toilet cisterns, taps and shower heads), dual plumbing, leakage detection equipment and rain harvesting. Developers will be expected to provide measures for water efficiency.
   
  Policy SG8 - Water Efficiency
  Planning permission will only be granted for development where its demand for water can be adequately met without detriment to existing users and the water environment. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate that every opportunity has been taken to include water efficiency and conservation measures in their proposals.
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Development And Flood Risk
3.57 Flood risk is a strategic issue within South Holland. The Environment Agency Flood Zone Map identifies much of the District as being at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea and the Council’s approach to flood risk follows the guidance contained in PPG/PPS25.
 
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3.58 The District Council’s Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) indicates the risk of flooding in the District when flood defences such as the Environment Agency and Internal Drainage Board maintained systems have been taken into account. The SFRA maps show which parts of the District are protected to the Government standards of 1 in 100 year event for non-tidal rivers and main drains, and 1 in 200 year event for sea defences and tidal rivers as identified in PPG25.
3.59 The study takes into account climate change over 50 years from the date of the study; the areas not protected to standard are expected to rise from 12% of the District in 2002 to 15% in 2052. Of the areas that have been identified as high risk (i.e., not protected to the above standards), only a small proportion is within built up areas. The remainder of the District is classified as being at low to medium risk of flooding.
3.60 The SFRA also identifies zones of potential rapid inundation behind raised defences.  Generally, the consequences of such a defence failing would be more severe within the zone than it would beyond it.
3.61 The District Council discourages new development in areas at high risk of flooding. It is aware, though, that some development may be necessary for ‘operational reasons’ in order to maintain service infrastructure.
3.62 Those proposing particular developments are responsible for:
 
  •  providing an assessment of whether any proposed development is likely to be affected by flooding and whether it will increase flood risk elsewhere and of the measures proposed to deal with these effects and risks;
  •  satisfying the Local Planning Authority that any flood risk to the development or additional risk arising from the proposal will be successfully managed with the minimum environmental effect, to ensure the safe development and secure future occupancy of the site; and
  •  covering the costs of alleviation or mitigation measures including their long term monitoring and management defined by ourselves in consultation with the appropriate bodies.
3.63 Measures to reduce the risk of flooding or consequences of flooding may include improving our flood defences on or off site and / or flood proofing the development through design, including for example, raising floor levels.
   
  Policy SG9 - Development and Flood Risk
  In areas of flood risk planning permission will only be granted where a flood risk assessment has been carried out and submitted to the Council. Proposals shall, where necessary, include details of measures designed to reduce the risk and consequences of flooding.
  For permission to be granted the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment and site specific assessment will need to demonstrate how the proposed development will be defended from flooding for its proposed life, taking into account proposed mitigation measures.
  Built development that would be at high risk of flooding, or which may be subject to rapid inundation, will not normally be permitted unless exceptionally required for operational reasons.
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Water Quality
3.64 Water is a valuable resource for a variety of domestic, commercial and industrial purposes, for farming, for recreation and for ecology.  Water features are also of landscape value, provide wildlife habitats and may provide navigable routes for transportation purposes.
3.65 A range of bodies and organisations have responsibilities or interests in ensuring the safeguarding of the water resource, resisting the unnecessary depletion and derogation of water supplies.  This helps to maintain the suitability and value of the water resource for the many uses to which it can be put.  The local planning authority has a part to play by considering the impact that proposed developments might have upon the quality of water and the water environment.
3.66 Development can adversely affect water quality:
 
  •  by discharging to watercourses with insufficient treatment
  •  by discharging to mains sewerage, package plants, cesspools and septic tanks which are of inadequate capacity or design
  •  by contamination through the process of leaching
  •  through certain physical alterations to features of the water environment.
3.67 Where appropriate developers will be expected to cover the costs of alleviation or mitigation measures including their long-term monitoring and management defined by ourselves in consultation with the appropriate bodies.
   
  Policy SG10 - Water Quality
  Development shall not degrade or threaten the quality of water and the water environment.  Planning permission will only be granted for development proposals that include whatever measures are necessary to ensure that both ground water and surface water resources (on-site and off-site) will be protected:
  1) from pollutants carried by surface water or waste water; and
  2) from the harmful effects which may arise from physical change to water features.
  Such measures must be able to achieve long term acceptable levels of performance.
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Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS)
3.68 Water discharged from developed land can significantly increase the risk of flooding during periods of precipitation. It can also affect water quality as polluting matter is flushed into a watercourse. Many existing systems are damaging the environment and are not, therefore, sustainable in the long term. Techniques to reduce these effects have been developed and are collectively referred to as Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS).
3.69 SUDS firstly seek to control the amount of runoff and then to deal with any surface water sensitively. There is a range of approaches that can be used to implement SUDS, these include roof water recycling and storage, filter strips and grass swales, porous and permeable pavements, infiltration devices such as soak-aways, and basins and ponds.
3.70 SUDS can be designed to improve amenity and biodiversity to built up areas.  For example, ponds and swales can be designed as a local feature for recreational purposes and provide valuable wildlife habitat.
3.71 When considering the use of SUDS the local soils and geology need to be a part of the consideration, as not all techniques are suitable everywhere. In order to make the most suitable selection, developers will need to be in close consultation with the District Council, the Environment Agency and Drainage Boards as necessary. The Council will need to be satisfied that the developer has made satisfactory arrangements for long-term maintenance of SUDS.
   
  Policy SG11 - Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS)
  Development generating surface water run-off, likely to result in increased flood risk, will be permitted provided that:
  1) The development’s surface water management system accords with sustainable development principles and has been designed as part of the development layout; and
  2) The system will effectively control and adequately mitigate or attenuate any adverse effects from surface water run-off on people, habitats of acknowledged importance and property; and
  3) Developers can ensure long term maintenance of the drainage systems, where necessary through planning obligations.
  Where this is not possible the developer will be required to implement an alternative method of surface water disposal that is to the Council’s satisfaction.
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Sewerage And Development
3.72 Effluent from any development including industrial and agricultural operations may pose a significant risk of pollution to surface and ground waters.  The most satisfactory, effective and thereby desirable way of dealing with such effluents is to discharge to the mains foul sewerage system where at all possible. Where the mains sewerage infrastructure is found to be insufficient, provision should be made to upgrade facilities to the appropriate standard.
3.73 However, we are a rural district in which not all areas are served by mains foul sewerage.  Other types of sewerage are sometimes employed, including package treatment plants and septic tanks.  Because of the low lying nature of the district and the consequent high water table the use of septic tanks as an alternative means of collecting, treating and disposing of sewage can cause problems and pose serious environmental health risks.  It is important to ensure that where there is no practicable alternative to the use of septic tanks they are adequate in design and capacity to serve the development proposed. Applications for non-mains drainage will need to be accompanied by an appropriate drainage assessment that demonstrates that the development will be in accordance with this policy and Circular 3/99 ‘Planning Requirement in Respect of the Use of Non-Mains Sewerage incorporating Septic Tanks in New Development’.
3.74 Implementation of this policy shall require close liaison with the Council's environmental services and building control functions as well as consultation where necessary with Anglian Water, the Environment Agency and Internal Drainage Boards.
   
  Policy SG12 - Sewerage and Development
  Proposals for development which would give rise to foul sewage discharge will only be granted planning permission if they include provision for its effective collection, treatment and disposal as follows:
  1) new development shall be served by mains foul sewers and sewage treatment works, wherever the opportunity exists;
  2) where it is impracticable to provide mains foul sewerage (and if there are no works programmed which would enable such connection) development shall normally be served by a package treatment plant;
  3) septic tanks will only be acceptable as an alternative to package treatment plants where:
    (i) only a single dwelling or small group of dwellings is proposed, and
    (ii) ground conditions (in terms of the structure and drainage of the soil) are proven by the applicant to achieve long term acceptable levels of performance, and
    (iii) the plot is of sufficient size to provide an adequate subsoil drainage system.
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Pollution And Contamination
3.75 The future occupiers and neighbours of proposed development should be protected from the harmful effects of pollution arising from the development itself or from previous activities on the site which resulted in contamination.  Implementation will require close liaison with the Council’s environmental services function and consultation where necessary with the Environment Agency.
   
  Policy SG13 - Pollution and Contamination
  Planning permission will only be permitted for development proposals which:
  1) do not cause unacceptable levels of pollution of the surrounding area by noise, light, toxic or offensive odour, airborne pollutants or by the release of waste products;
  2) provide, as necessary, appropriate treatment of land to clean up pollution and contamination.
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Design And Layout Of New Development
3.76 The Council is committed to the promotion of good design which respects the character of the area and maintains local distinctiveness.  The character of the built environment is derived from a combination of inter-related factors including the historic distribution of development, the historic layout and form of towns and villages, architectural styles and traditional local materials together with open spaces and landscaping.  In considering proposals for new development, the Council will require a high standard of design. The Council is supportive of Parish and Town Councils who wish to undertake Parish Plans and Village Design Statements. These can be useful documents which involve the local community in the planning process and help inform the future development of their village. They may be used in the preparation of Supplementary Planning Documents. A Strategic Landscape Capacity Study was carried out for the District in 2003. The quality of the landscape of the District is very important and needs to be safeguarded for its own sake. As such the Council will seek to ensure that new development will not result in an unacceptable impact on the character of the landscape.
 
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3.77 New development in settlements should respect their distinctive character including such factors as pattern and layout, plot sizes, distribution of open spaces and the gaps and views between buildings.  The proportions of a building and in particular height, scale and massing, together with the elevational treatment and materials all serve to relate the building to its surroundings.  Proposals which fail to take account of the character and context of the surrounding area could undermine the quality of the built environment and will not be permitted.
3.78 The design and layout of new development, especially large developments, should have regard to the need for it to be adequately served by public transport (particularly buses) and other transport options where the opportunity exists, and by service vehicles including refuse lorries and the emergency services.
3.79 New development should be designed to accommodate the needs of people with mobility difficulties and should include energy efficiency measures.  High quality, innovative design will be appropriate in some contexts but such proposals should in their space, height and bulk be sympathetic to the streetscape and wider townscape.  Modern interpretations of traditional design elements will be encouraged.
3.80 Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 requires all local authorities to examine their functions with due regard to their likely effect on crime and disorder and PPS1 ‘Delivering Sustainable Development’ stresses the need to plan for safe and sustainable communities.  New development should include measures to design out crime and to design in community safety.
   
  Policy SG14 - Design and Layout of New Development
  New development should be designed to ensure that it makes a positive contribution to the architectural and visual quality of its surroundings. It should normally respect the vernacular architecture of the area in which it is located although high quality contemporary design will be supported in appropriate contexts. In assessing the design and layout of new development the following matters will be taken into consideration:-
  1) local distinctiveness;
  2) the choice of materials;
  3) the historic pattern of development in the locality;
  4) the relationship of the development to the character, form and scale of existing buildings nearby;
  5) the scale, form and height of the proposed development;
  6) architectural detailing;
  7) the effect of the development on the amenity of nearby residents in terms of noise, smell, general disturbance, overlooking and loss of light;
  8) planting and measures to promote biodiversity;
  9) the layout of vehicular access, parking and manoeuvring facilities and the provision of facilities for cyclists and pedestrians;
  10) the needs of disabled persons;
  11) the use of sustainable materials and methods of construction;
  12) measures to reduce the potential for crime and disorder.
  Development that would have an adverse effect on the character and appearance of the locality, or which would prejudice the comprehensive development or redevelopment of an area, will not be permitted.
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New Development:  Facilities For Road Users, Pedestrians And Cyclists.
3.81 The layout of roads and footpaths within a new development, and the means of access onto the road and footpath network must meet safety and functional requirements.  We will be advised by the County Council as to whether proposals are satisfactory.  The "Lincolnshire Design Guide for Residential Areas" together with the recent County Council publication “Development Guide on the Transport and New Development Issues In Lincolnshire” will be used as a guide to what are appropriate standards.  Regard shall be had to the opportunities for the development to be served by public transport (particularly buses), to the requirements of cyclists and pedestrians, and to the needs of disabled people and people with a child in a pram or pushchair.
3.82 The design of roads and footpaths shall be complementary to the design of the buildings and landscape features of a development, and shall not detract from the established character of the wider area.
   
  Policy SG15 - New Development:  Facilities For Road Users, Pedestrians And Cyclists
  Proposals for development shall provide safe and convenient access to and within the site for motor vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, the less able-bodied and people with disabilities to accommodate the potential increase in movement generated by the proposal.  New and improved roads, cycleways and footpaths shall reflect through layout and design the anticipated nature of future traffic and the character of areas to be served.
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Parking Standards In New Development
3.83 Car parking is an important element of the transport system.  It is widely acknowledged that the availability of car parking has a significant influence on an individual's decision on whether or not to drive to their destination, even for locations well served by public transport.
3.84 Car parking standards for new developments are therefore an important tool in promoting sustainable travel and encouraging greater use of public transport, cycling and walking.  However, it must also be recognised that policies to limit parking at new developments can only be effective where alternative means of travel already exist or are introduced as part of the development.  Whilst this may be the case to some degree in the larger urban areas of the County, for many people living in the rural areas of Lincolnshire the car will remain the only feasible option for travel.
3.85 Previous car parking standards for Lincolnshire were set out in terms of the minimum number of spaces that must be provided for different types of development and, as such, no longer meet the requirements of Government guidance.  A review of the standards has therefore been carried out jointly by the County Council as highway authority and the 7 District Councils as local planning authorities.
3.86 These new standards set maximum levels of parking to be applied to new development and redevelopment sites and also to extensions to existing developments or where planning permission is sought for change of use.  They are intended to provide a consistent framework that can be applied across the County.  However, in some locations, such as the town centres of the larger urban areas where there is easy access to public transport, good facilities for walking and cycling and existing public car parking facilities, then a lower provision may be appropriate.  It is important, therefore, that prospective developers discuss their proposals at an early stage with us and with the County Council.
3.87 The standards in this document (see Appendix 2) attempt to cover the types of development which are most commonly the subject of planning applications in the county.  Where a development is proposed which does not feature in this document, then the highway authority or our Development Control section should be contacted.
3.88 The servicing requirements of a proposal will vary considerably depending upon the type of development, both in terms of the size and the number of vehicles delivering or removing goods from the site.  The onus will therefore be on applicants to demonstrate that any development proposals include adequate provision on site to allow for loading, unloading and turning of service vehicles without endangering road safety.  All such service provision should be clearly signed and marked to avoid these areas being used as additional parking.
3.89 These standards will be reviewed from time to time in the light of any subsequent changes to national and regional guidance.
 
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  Policy SG16 - Parking Standards in New Development
  Development proposals will be required to provide appropriate parking and servicing arrangements.
  Parking will be required in the form of residential or operational car and cycle spaces, which shall be provided in accordance with the maximum parking standards appended. Where appropriate, provision will be assessed as an average across the development rather than on a plot by plot basis.
  The precise level of provision will be determined by negotiation to reflect the proposed use, its location and potential for access by public transport.
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Protection Of Residential Amenity
3.90 New development can cause disturbance to existing nearby residents and result in a significant reduction in the quality of their residential amenity.  It is considered essential to protect existing residents from intrusive or disturbing development.
   
  Policy SG17 - Protection of Residential Amenity
  Planning permission will be granted for development which would not cause material harm to residential amenity.
  In considering proposals the following criteria will be taken into account:-
  1) the extent of any overlooking or loss of privacy;
  2) the extent of any overbearing or overshadowing effect;
  3) potential noise nuisance including that associated with vehicular activity;
  4) the levels of smell, emissions and pollutants.
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Landscaping Of New Development
3.91 Good quality landscaping can significantly improve the appearance of a development and increase the level of amenity that it offers including the maintenance and creation of wildlife habitats. It can also be effectively used to reduce the visual impact of the sometimes necessarily unsightly parts of developments. All too often landscaping has been largely ignored or added as an afterthought resulting in poor standards.
 
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3.92 The landscape on the fringes of the built-up areas of settlements is, in many cases, of strategic importance to the character of the area and to its perception and appreciation by residents and visitors. It is seen as a major asset and resource for the attraction of the District as a place to live and for attracting investment in economic development. Maintaining and improving that resource through landscaping of any new development in these areas is considered essential.
3.93 PPS 1 “Delivering Sustainable Development” clearly acknowledges the important contribution that landscaping can make to the creation of a high quality well designed environment.
   
  Policy SG18 - Landscaping of New Development
  Proposals for new development should, where appropriate, incorporate landscaping proposals as an integral part of their design and layout and a landscaping strategy will be required to support all major development proposals. Particular attention will be paid to:-
  1) the protection of any existing trees and hedgerows, and any other attractive landscape features;
  2) the provision of strategic tree planting of indigenous species to improve the setting of development within the wider landscape;
  3) the maintenance and establishment of wildlife habitats and corridors.
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Protection Of Open Spaces
3.94 Within the District’s settlements open spaces contribute to the amenity and quality of an area and often reflect the historic pattern of development.  Open spaces contribute to both visual and residential amenity of the settlement, and can also provide for informal play, sport and recreation.
3.95 It is important to maintain private as well as public open spaces within the District’s settlements.
   
  Policy SG19 - Protection of Open Spaces
  The amenity of open spaces within settlements will be assessed when proposals are received for their development. Where such open spaces make a valuable contribution to the character, appearance and historic development pattern of the settlement, development will not be permitted.
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Extensions And Alterations To Existing Buildings
3.96 Unsympathetic alterations and extensions to existing buildings can detract from their character and appearance and cumulatively erode the environmental quality of a neighbourhood.  An extension should be designed in sympathy with the host building in terms of scale, height, form, materials of construction and architectural detailing, and should pay regard to the wider context within which the building is set.
3.97 Unsatisfactory types of extension and alteration include large dormer windows which dominate roofscapes, flat roofed extensions to buildings with a pitched roof design, and sprawling extensions that ‘wrap around’ a building.
3.98 Particular attention will be paid to proposals to extend residential properties in the open countryside to ensure that they remain of a scale and appearance which is appropriate to their setting.  Special regard will also be paid to the continued protection of Local Heritage Interest Buildings.  We have begun identifying and compiling a list of such buildings.
3.99 The Council believes that a careful balance needs to be struck between the desire to extend buildings (and in particular dwellings) and the potential impact of an extension on the area and on the amenity of adjacent residents.  All development must be carefully controlled to protect and enhance quality or to maintain the openness of an area.
   
  Policy SG20 - Extensions and Alterations to Existing Buildings
  The extension and alteration of existing buildings will be permitted subject to the following criteria.
  In the case of extensions:-
  1) the scale, design and materials of construction of the extension would not adversely alter the appearance of the building, its visual and architectural relationship with adjoining development or the character of the area;
  2) the extension would not materially harm the amenity of adjacent residents by reason of overlooking, overshadowing or loss of light;
  3) the operational car parking needs of the development would continue to be met;
  4) in the case of extensions to buildings outside defined settlement limits, the extension would be subservient to the host property in terms of scale and would have no material impact on the appearance of the wider landscape.
  In the case of alterations:-
  5) the alteration would not detract from the character, appearance or historic significance of the building;
  6) the alteration would not harm the uniformity of a terraced frontage or otherwise harm the appearance of the local street scene.
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Extension Of Curtilages
3.100 The extension of residential or other curtilages in the rural landscape or on the edge of a settlement will often involve the change of use of agricultural land.  Such changes can have a visually harmful effect upon the character of the area.  This can alter the nature of the rural landscape by providing opportunities to introduce urban elements such as summerhouses, sheds, patios and manicured gardens.  The Council considers the sufficiency of the extent of a residential curtilage at the time it determines any new application for a replacement dwelling, barn conversion or agricultural worker’s dwelling, therefore any subsequent proposal to create additional curtilage is not likely to be considered favourably. 
3.101 In assessing applications for change of use, consideration needs to be given to the size and shape of the existing plot and how it relates to others in the locality.  The relationship of the site to the surrounding field patterns and landscape features will help to determine the impact that the change of use will have when moved in the wider landscape.  The existing field pattern is important in defining the landscape character of an area and may be of historical significance. 
3.102 Where a change of use is considered acceptable the Council needs to be satisfied that the proposed new boundary treatment and landscaping is appropriate to the area.  In some cases permitted development rights could be removed to enable the Council to control such development in the future.
   
  Policy SG21 - Extension of Curtilages
  The extension of residential or other curtilages beyond the defined development limits of settlements will only be permitted where there would be no harm to the setting, character and appearance of the settlement.
  In the case of residential and other uses outside defined settlement limits, the extension of curtilages will only be permitted where there would be no harm to the character, appearance and landscape quality of the area.
  Permitted development rights, including those for the erection of curtilage structures and means of enclosure, will normally be withdrawn. Special regard will also be had to landscaping and boundary treatment.
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Advertisements And Signage Generally
3.103 Advertising is a necessary part of the promotion of businesses.  Outdoor advertisements and signs are a significant area of the range of advertisement media available to businesses to promote themselves.  The functions performed by signs incorporate public awareness raising, providing directions or identifying individual business premises.
3.104 To be effective advertisements need to be clearly visible in their surroundings.  This need for visibility must however be balanced against the visual appearance of the sign within its setting and the need to prevent the over-domination of the area by the size or appearance of the signage.  We are committed to the upgrading of signage quality within the District in order to improve the visual amenity of the area and to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors.  The need for advertisements to promote individual businesses is acknowledged.  However it is considered that high quality advertisements are an asset to both business promotion and visual amenity, meeting the needs of both advertisers and the District Council.
3.105 An information leaflet 'Shop Fronts - Advertising' has been published providing some advice on the matters raised by this policy.
   
  Policy SG22- Advertisements and Signage Generally
  The District Council will grant express consent for advertisements which do not detract from the visual amenity of their setting or prejudice interests in public safety.  Express consent will be granted for signage that:
  1) is in keeping with the general character of the area in which it is situated through its scale, style, siting, design, materials and location;
  2) is not positioned above ground floor or fascia level on shops and offices;
  3) maintains the scale and integrity of the building on which it is situated and does not straddle the frontage of two buildings of differing scale and appearance;
  4) would not present a clutter or duplication in conjunction with any existing signs on the building;
  5) is constructed of materials appropriate to the character of the building/area where it is located;
  6) would not cause detriment to the amenity of the surrounding area by virtue of the proposed degree of illumination of the proposed signage, the duration of illumination or the intermittent nature of the illumination;
  7) would not prejudice highway safety.
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Advertisements Outside Defined Settlement Limits
3.106 Large parts of the District consist of open countryside and there are a number of primary transport corridors running through the District.  Uncontrolled advertising can seriously harm the visual character of the area and prejudice highway safety.  The open character of much of the landscape limits the potential for accommodating developments.
3.107 Advertisements should be sensitively designed in terms of their scale, colour, means of illumination and materials of construction and should be located within the curtilage of the premises to which they relate.  Advance directional advertisements in the open countryside are particularly intrusive and will not be permitted.  The use of official white on brown directional signs is the Council’s preferred approach for meeting the need for advance signage for tourist and other attractions.
   
  Policy SG23 - Advertisements Outside Defined Settlement Limits
  Outside defined settlement limits permission will be granted for the display of advertisements which are attached to or within the curtilage of premises to which they relate provided that they do not detract from the character and appearance of the rural setting by virtue of their scale, design, materials of construction and means of illumination.
  Other advertisements outside defined settlement limits including advance directional advertisements will not be permitted.
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