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Chapter 6
CONSERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT
   
6.1 The environment chapter sets out policies for the protection and enhancement of the natural and historic environments.  The protection and enhancement of the most important and irreplaceable natural and cultural assets is an essential part of a sustainable planning framework for the District.
6.2 This chapter includes policies resisting the loss of irreplaceable environmental assets such as sites supporting protected habitats and species.  There is policy seeking to provide for renewable energy development whilst having regard to the negative impacts it can have.  The plan seeks to protect and enhance the countryside and its character, its fenland landscape and wildlife, agricultural, recreational and natural resource value.  This includes resisting the loss of irreplaceable environmental assets, such as sites supporting important habitats and species. We have undertaken a Strategic Landscape Capacity Study as an input to preparing supplementary planning guidance on Wind Energy. This provides a useful starting point for considering proposals for other developments with similar visual impact. We will further develop landscape policy in our LDF. The plan also seeks to protect and enhance the built heritage for historical, educational, tourism and aesthetic reasons.  This includes important buildings and related open spaces, historic gardens, scheduled monuments and archaeological sites, and their settings.
   
Conservation and Enhancement of the Natural Environment
6.3 In South Holland, as in most areas, the environment has been affected by the activities of mankind.  In the earliest times people settled on the islands within the fens and salt marshes and lived off the abundant wildlife.  The evidence of this past human activity is all around us within the landscape and these remains are an important link between the past and present day inhabitants of the District.  Successive drainage schemes have gradually reclaimed the fens and pushed the shoreline ever sea-wards.  Today the reclaimed areas form intensively cultivated and highly fertile agricultural land which is an important national resource.  The sea is held at bay behind defensive walls along the coast and tidal estuaries with a network of drains, sluices and pumping stations keeping the inland areas free from inundation.
6.4 South Holland District has areas rich in wildlife.  The Wash, bordering the District to the north east, is an SSSI of international importance, whilst the rivers and inland waterway network criss-crossing the area performing essential drainage are important havens for wildlife, particularly in an area which has few trees and hedgerows.
 
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Development and Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Sites of Local Nature Conservation Importance and Wildlife Corridors and Other Areas
6.5 It is an aim of this plan that a diversity of natural environments and landscapes, reflecting the character of the district are protected and enhanced.
6.6 The key to the conservation of wildlife through land use planning is the protection of the habitats on which it depends.  In an area such as ours, intensive agricultural practices as well as the need for land for urban and rural development need to be balanced against nature conservation and landscape interests.  Whilst we are keen to promote enjoyment of the District's environment and landscape through leisure, recreation and tourism, such activities could potentially harm those features which are there to be enjoyed.  It is therefore particularly important for us to control, as far as we are able, the effect that developments have on sites of nature conservation or landscape interest, including proposals in adjacent areas.  The most significant sites are statutorily designated, and shown on the proposals map.
 
  • The Wash carries the highest levels of designation, being both a Wetland of International Importance (a Ramsar site), and also a Special Protection Area for the conservation of the habitats of certain rare or vulnerable birds (SPA) and a European Marine Site.  It has also recently been confirmed as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) by the EU, and now carries the designation Site of Community Importance, and is also a proposed World Heritage Site.
  • There are three Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) within South Holland - The Wash, Surfleet Lows and a site at Cowbit Wash.  Two areas of the Wash - at Lutton Outmarsh and north east of the River Nene outfall - are also designated as National Nature Reserves (NNRs).  Such sites are important for their flora and fauna, geological or physiographical (landform) features.
  • The Vernatt’s Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in Spalding has been designated under Section 21 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.
6.7 The Sites of Local Nature Conservation Importance (SLNCIs) identified on the proposals map, are sites which are of acknowledged value and formally managed as nature reserves, whilst not being designated sites of international or national importance.
  The Council will seek to conserve or enhance the nature conservation value of all designated sites in the District. Proposals for development that would affect nature conservation sites with international designations will be considered against PPS9. Proposals for development which would affect any other designated site will be assessed in accordance with either Policy EN1 or EN1A, whichever is appropriate.
6.8 Other areas, though not specifically identified within the plan, may nevertheless be of value for nature conservation; these include:
 
  • hedgerows
  • drains and ditches
  • linear tree belts / shelter belts
  • small woodlands
  • the coastal margin
  • green lanes / roadside verges / railway lines (used and disused)
  • river corridors
  • ponds
  • networks or patterns of other locally important habitats.
  Together, such areas can provide 'stepping-stones' and 'corridors' for wildlife.
 
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6.9 In addition we are aware of our role in the protection of particular species through the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and related Conservation (Natural Habitats and c.)  Regulations 1994, and the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.  Also, some hedgerows are protected from removal by the Hedgerow Regulations 1997. Statutorily protected species are often located within sites which are designated for protection, although they may well be found elsewhere.  If it is either known or suspected that such species exist where they could be at threat from a proposed development, the applicant may be required to undertake a species / habitat survey. The need to ensure the protection of flora and fauna will be a material consideration in any planning decisions. The Council will have regard to the relevant policy in the Structure Plan.
6.10 Local wildlife areas often contribute significantly to the quality of local environments, providing variety and interest which we wish to preserve. Special habitats, wetlands, watercourses and roadside verges for instance, are particularly sensitive yet can offer great opportunities to enhance the setting of new developments.  We wish to see opportunities taken in new developments to protect and create areas of wildlife value.
6.11 The Wash Coastal Conservation Area was designated by Lincolnshire County Council, through the Lincolnshire Structure Plan 1981 and the Development on the Lincolnshire Coast Local Plan 1986.  Whilst much of the conservation area is covered by those international or national designations which are noted above, it additionally includes land which generally lies between the old and the more recent sea banks.  Within the conservation area as a whole, it is essential to safeguard the remaining natural character and interest of the coast. The Council will have regard to the relevant policy in the Structure Plan.
6.12 In considering all proposals for development in the District, we will have regard to the nature conservation interests of the site and its locality.  In the case of areas which are not afforded protection under the following policies, we may nevertheless seek the inclusion of measures within the proposals to protect or enhance nature conservation interests, and where necessary to minimise or compensate for any damage.  This may include, but only as a last resort, the rescue and transference of the valued flora and fauna to other suitable areas.
 
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6.13 Development in or likely to affect internationally or nationally designated sites or protected species will be subject to special scrutiny.  Where development is permitted, we will request the applicant to submit a statement of the special importance of the site together with an evaluation of the likely impacts of the proposed development upon such interests; and a statement of the compensation or mitigation measures proposed to avoid or minimise any adverse effects and, where practicable, to enhance or recreate habitat features on or off the site.  These statements must be prepared by a suitably qualified person or recognised authority on the subject.  Planning permission will be refused where the information submitted is not adequate to enable us to assess the likely impact of the development.  Agreed measures will be secured through the use of conditions or planning obligations.
6.14 Appropriate management of wildlife corridors and other areas of major importance for wild flora and fauna will be encouraged generally and particularly by the use of planning conditions and planning obligations with landowners and developers where appropriate.  Opportunities will be taken to maintain and enhance natural biodiversity to achieve the objectives of the Lincolnshire Biodiversity Action Plan and the Wash Local Biodiversity Action Plan and enhance the wider ecological value of the environment.
6.15 Where translocation of species is necessary, we will require developers to liaise with English Nature and will require developers to monitor the success of translocated species and carry out works as necessary to ensure the survival of species on the translocation site.
6.16 As part of large new development areas we shall seek the retention, creation or enhancement of habitat areas for wildlife and nature conservation, and the safeguarding of existing areas, where appropriate. 
6.17 The Wash Estuary Strategy Group, of which we are a member, has prepared a non-statutory management plan which has recently been reviewed. It provides a wide-ranging strategy, goals and series of objectives for those bodies (including ourselves) and individuals, with significant interests in the management and use of the Wash.  Through our involvement in that and other initiatives, in particular the local ‘CURLEW’ project, we will pursue the underlying aims of the Lincolnshire Biodiversity Action Plan and the Wash Local Biodiversity Action Plan.
6.18 Because of the dynamic nature of wildlife areas, it is felt important that protective designations  are  kept  under  review  within  the  statutory  and  policy context established in this plan.  We will, where we consider it necessary, seek the protection of further sites by statutory designation in accordance with prevailing guidelines.
 
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  Policy EN1 - Development and Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  Development proposals which will adversely affect the notified special interest features of a Site of Special Scientific Interest, as shown on the Proposals Map, will only be permitted where:
  1) it has been demonstrated that the benefit of the development to the community clearly outweighs the adverse effects on the nature conservation value of the site;
  2) the development has been designed to overcome, or at least minimise, the adverse impact on the nature conservation value of the site, and this impact is demonstrated to be the minimum that is required to allow the development to proceed; and
  3) there is no feasible alternative location for the development.
  Where development is permitted, planning conditions may be imposed and / or planning obligations sought to ensure the protection and enhancement of the site’s nature conservation interest and to provide appropriate compensatory measures.
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  Policy EN1A - Development and Sites of Local Biodiversity Interest
  Development and proposals which will adversely affect the nature conservation value of sites of local biodiversity interest, as shown on the Proposals Map, will only be permitted where:
  1) the value of the proposed development to the community outweighs the adverse effect on the value of the site for nature conservation; and
  2) the adverse impact on the nature conservation value of the site is reduced to the minimum that is required to allow the development to proceed.
  Where development is permitted, planning conditions may be imposed and / or planning obligations sought to ensure the protection and enhancement of the site’s nature conservation interest and to provide appropriate compensatory measures.
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  Policy EN2 - Wildlife Corridors and Other Areas
  Development will be permitted which does not directly or indirectly destroy or adversely impair the integrity of wildlife corridors and other areas such as: hedgerows; drains and ditches; linear tree belts etc which are of major importance for wild fauna and flora, including brownfield sites.  The District Council will, in co-operation with others, seek opportunities to consolidate and strengthen wildlife corridors.  Appropriate management of features will be sought by the imposition of conditions, by the use of planning obligations, and by concluding management agreements with landowners and developers.
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Renewable Energy
6.19 Government policy encourages the development of renewable energy sources where they have prospects of being both economically competitive and acceptable in terms of impact on the environment.  PPS22 “Renewable Energy” requires local plans to consider the contribution their area can make to meeting this need, taking into account specific environmental, conservation, social and economic factors.
6.20 The Government is actively seeking to develop renewable energy sources nationally. This policy seeks to balance the promotion of renewable energy with the need to protect the environment in accordance with PPS22.  A target has been set for 10% of UK electricity to be supplied by natural resources by 2010 and 20% by 2020.
  The Regional Spatial Strategy for the East Midlands, at policy 41, requires local authorities to adopt policies which are supportive of renewable energy developments where environmental, economic and social impacts can be addressed satisfactorily. Also, Appendix 6 to the Strategy sets out indicative targets for each renewable energy technology for each County area.
6.21 Renewable energy is generated by using resources that occur and reoccur naturally in the environment over a short period of time. This can include power generated from wind, the sun, energy crops, water, and photovoltaics. In this manner, energy can be created in a sustainable way without depleting the earth's natural resources.  The District Council acknowledges the overall environmental benefits of renewable energy. We will grant planning permission for the development of renewable energy schemes which contribute to the delivery of the indicative targets for renewable energy in the East Midlands, provided that it can be shown that such development would not harm interests of acknowledged importance in the local environment. Despite the benefits every care must be taken to protect the environment. Renewable energy generation often requires large structures and specific locational requirements to collect the energy. This may lead to potential conflict particularly in environmentally sensitive areas. Where the Council considers the proposal is likely to have a significant environmental impact, an environmental statement will be required.  We have published Supplementary Planning Guidance on wind energy to assist the consideration of proposals for wind turbines.
6.22 In considering the potential of the District and its environmental constraints the Council considers the following renewable energy technology to be appropriate in this area:
 
  • Onshore wind turbines - Development of wind turbines will be strictly controlled in accordance with current local plan policies and supplementary planning guidance.
  • Off shore wind turbines - Turbines will be located outside the District and proposals for on shore grid connections and associated infrastructure will be considered against current national guidance and local plan policies.
  • Energy Crops/Biomass - The predominance of agriculture in South Holland presents many opportunities for energy crops to be grown.  Further research is required into the suitability of different crops (e.g. straw, short rotation coppice) for fenland conditions.  Development would have to ensure that transporting crops to a conversion station would not result in a net environmental loss.  The growth of crops for bio fuels should also be investigated.
  • Photovoltaics (PV) - This is unlikely to be a source of commercial energy production.  However PV could contribute to the reduction of emissions when developed in individual buildings.  It would be encouraged by changes in the Building Regulations.
  • Solar Energy - As with PV, active and passive solar energy will not be commercial energy sources in the District.  Encouraging more development and exploitation in buildings would contribute to emissions reduction.
  • Anaerobic Digestion - There is a source of waste from the food industry as well as domestic sewage sludge and further research and/or a pilot scheme would be worthwhile.  Energy production from this source is likely to be on a small scale.
 
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6.23 The following sources are unlikely to prove viable within the District:
 
  • Marine Power – The Wash would not provide a viable source of energy from tidal barrage, tidal stream or wave power.  The infrastructure associated with such energy sources would not be appropriate in the Wash where the priority is to protect wildlife and habitats.
  • Wet Agricultural Waste – The lack of livestock, in particular cattle, in South Holland makes this an unreliable source and hence not viable.
  • Poultry Litter – Although the poultry industry is well established in South Holland, the supply of litter is not sufficient to make energy production viable.
  • Hydro Power – The Fenland geomorphology generally precludes energy from hydropower.  Although large quantities of water flow through the District at times it is difficult to see how energy could be harnessed without harming land drainage, flood protection and conservation.
  • Waste to Energy – The emissions and residues associated with the incineration of waste to produce energy are likely to be harmful and inappropriate in an area of large scale food production.  The supply of waste in South Holland is limited and will reduce as recycling takes place. There are potentially two sources of waste: municipal solid waste and industrial waste e.g. from vegetable processing.
6.24 Proposals for renewable energy schemes will be considered against this policy.  Small scale renewable energy schemes such as individual wind turbines or the use of solar power panels can also produce great benefits but will require similar consideration to larger schemes, including the cumulative effect of proposals. In general, applications for small scale schemes and the integration of renewable energy generation into new developments will be assessed against the provisions of this policy. Proposals for renewable energy schemes and developments which incorporate energy efficient layouts and designs will be supported and encouraged where these are in accordance with other policies of the Local Plan.
 
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6.25 It will also be important to pro-actively engage with the local community at the initial stages of an application for a renewable energy scheme, a key principle of PPS22. Greater community involvement in renewable energy projects and the promotion of small scale schemes through Community Strategies can help alleviate potential conflicts of interest and provide wider understanding.
6.26 The Council  will also, through its other functions consider issues such as reductions in waste, for example through the provision of recycling facilities, the reuse of construction materials, the promotion of more energy efficient buildings, the use of sustainable urban drainage systems, using recycled paper and promoting travel plans.
   
  Policy EN3 - Renewable Energy
  Proposals for the development of renewable energy schemes will be permitted in locations where environmental, economic and social impacts can be addressed satisfactorily.  In assessing proposals for renewable energy schemes, the Council will have particular regard to the following issues:
  1) The immediate and wider impact of the proposed development on the landscape.
  2) The need to protect features and areas of natural, cultural, historical and archaeological interest
  3) The measures that would be taken, both during and after construction, to minimise the impact of the development on local land use and residential amenity.
  4) The cumulative effect of proposals.
  Development proposals should demonstrate any environmental, economic and social benefits as well as how any environmental and social impacts have been minimised through careful consideration of location, scale, design and other measures.
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Conservation and Enhancement of the Historic Environment
6.27 The settlements of South Holland reflect the evolution of the District. The centres of many settlements contain fine examples of older buildings and historic street patterns demonstrating the social, religious, economic, political and physical circumstances which have shaped their development.  Spalding is the largest town in the District and has origins dating back to the eleventh century.  At one time home to a priory, the town grew in later years as a trading centre on the River Welland for the export of corn and coleseed.  Evidence of these activities can be found in the town.  The other older settlements of the District - Crowland, Holbeach, Long Sutton and Donington - evolved from the same period with the dual functions of religious centres and market towns.  A wide range of historic buildings and features have survived in the District, many of outstanding importance, including medieval structures such as Trinity Bridge in Crowland, Georgian town houses in Spalding and numerous fine parish churches.
 
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6.28 An attractive environment, both within the countryside and in built areas, can contribute positively to the quality of life of inhabitants.  We are firmly committed to preserving and enhancing the quality of the historic environment within South Holland, and will require that this firm foundation is built upon by new development.  The idea of our surroundings contributing to quality of life is seen as an important factor in attracting inward investment to South Holland.  This inward investment helps to stimulate growth and prosperity, maximising the future potential of the area. Conservation Area and other enhancement schemes in themselves can also be a catalyst to wider regeneration initiatives.
6.29 Whilst the strategy of the Local Plan is promotional in its broadest sense this is not at the expense of the District's environment or heritage.  Growth and development will provide a legacy for future generations and therefore considerations of sustainability are of the utmost importance.  The recognition of the quality of the existing environment within our District and the objectives of the Local Plan to conserve, enhance and extend this quality will ensure that future development of the District builds upon, rather than destroys, its unique characteristics and resources.
6.30 Many buildings within the District are statutorily recorded as ‘listed buildings’ and are subject to special planning controls.  These buildings make an important contribution to the character of the District but are equally important as individual buildings in their own right.  The Council aims to protect them from inappropriate alterations and unauthorised development. In addition many of our historic towns and villages are of such valuable character that parts of them have been designated as Conservation Areas.
6.31 We consider that the conservation areas and listed buildings in our District should be protected in order that the historic fabric of the area is retained for future generations to enjoy.  The preservation of the historic environment makes a positive contribution to the quality of life of the inhabitants and attracts visitors to the District.  The Council is committed to regularly reviewing the existing conservation areas, Local Heritage Buildings and Buildings at Risk lists and registers in order to designate or extend as appropriate.
6.32 In addition to listed buildings and conservation areas, the historic character of the district is also evident in non-listed historic buildings, and in areas designated as historic parks and gardens.  Historic parks and gardens are designated within a national register giving details of sites of historic interest and amenity value that are worthy of preservation in a national context. This register is compiled by English Heritage.  The effect of development on a registered historic park or garden or its setting is a material consideration in the determination of applications for planning permission.  In our district there is a single site that is designated within the national register of historic parks and gardens.  The site is Ayscoughfee Hall gardens in Spalding, surrounding the grade II* listed Ayscoughfee Hall (as shown on the proposals map) and is owned and maintained by ourselves.   We will have regard to the relevant policy in the Structure Plan.
 
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6.33 In order to safeguard the heritage of the District, specialist advice and assistance on changes to the character of listed buildings and conservation areas and relating to the upkeep of buildings will be provided.  Advice leaflets and guidance notes can be obtained from the Council Offices and applicants are urged to contact the Council at the earliest opportunity to discuss any proposals.
   
Listed Buildings
 
Development Affecting Listed Buildings
6.34 The listing of buildings of architectural or historic interest by the Department of Culture Media and Sport allows us to give greater planning protection to buildings that are part of the local and national heritage.  Buildings themselves are listed for a variety of reasons including their intrinsic historic or architectural interest, physical features, setting and contribution to the street scene or townscape.  We must consider carefully proposals for development which would affect such buildings. For example, we will consider the affect both of broad principles of the proposal and of detail, such as proposed installation of infrastructure plant and machinery.
6.35 The setting of a listed building, such as its gardens, grounds or general street scene, can be an essential component of its character.  It is important to consider the likely impacts of development within the proximity of a building.  Existing views should also not be diminished by new development but attempts should be made to complement or enhance them, thus helping to increase the appreciation of the building.
6.36 There are more than 500 listed buildings within South Holland which are an important link with the history and heritage of the district.  These buildings represent fine examples of their respective types within the national architectural stock and, as such, the preservation of these structures is of the greatest importance to us.  Types of listed buildings include houses, bridges and churches.
6.37 The importance of listed buildings to the national heritage demands that their preservation is the primary consideration and we will monitor the state of their repair and offer specialist advice and assistance on their upkeep to owners.    It is therefore important that owners and the Council work together to prevent any inappropriate development occurring.
6.38 English Heritage and ourselves have prepared an audit of Listed Buildings 'at risk' in order to work with their owners to prevent unnecessary loss of the historic fabric.  We hold powers under statute to act where an owner fails to maintain their building in a good state of repair that affects its preservation.  Buildings could be for example vacant, underused or have suffered severe structural deterioration and by identifying these buildings it can help implement priority areas for repair and to gain funding to secure their survival for future generations. Where new development is proposed near listed buildings, we will require full applications showing the proposed development with detailed plans.
 
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  Policy EN4 - Development Affecting Listed Buildings
  The District Council will protect listed buildings in order that the historic fabric of the area is retained. Planning permission for development affecting a listed building or its setting will only be granted where the proposal preserves or enhances the character and appearance of the building and its setting. The following criteria will be applied in determining proposals:
  1) The development should respect the character of the listed building in terms of size, form, positioning, scale, design, roofscape, materials, colour, fenestration, detailing and its setting in terms of materials, landscaping and street furniture.
  2) The development should ensure that important views and closures, including through views, and ancient street patterns are restored or maintained.
  3) The development should preserve features of special architectural or historic interest which the building may possess.
  4) The development should preserve or enhance the historic form and structural integrity of the building.
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Alteration, Extension And Change Of Use Of Listed Buildings
6.39 In order to ensure the upkeep and repair of listed buildings we recognise that it is a clear advantage if the building is in active use. Generally the best use for a listed building is that for which it was originally constructed. However, in some cases such a use is no longer practicable or compatible with the structure and form of the listed building.
6.40 We are mindful of the need to identify compatible and new uses for unused listed buildings in order to protect their fabric, interior and setting. We will therefore make sure that the integrity and historic value of the buildings is not harmed by any proposed new use.
6.41 Alterations and extensions affecting the character of listed buildings and their setting will be judged against the effect of works on the special interest of the building in question. The special interest of the listed building may comprise obvious visual features such as a decorated facade, plaster ceilings or a staircase. However, less obvious features of the building contributing to its special interest may also include the specific layout and form of the building and the archaeological or technological interest of the buildings structure and surfaces. Alteration in the context of listed building works may also refer to partial demolition of the structure.
 
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6.42 Many listed buildings can sustain sensitive alteration or extension. However the degree of change that each building can reasonably accommodate varies enormously and some buildings, particularly those with fine interiors, are highly sensitive to alteration. The cumulative effect of alterations is also a concern and we will seek to balance the special interest and character of the building against the proposed works. This is in order to achieve the best solution for both the applicant and for the historic character of the structure itself. We wish to see listed buildings occupied and will therefore attempt, via specialist advice and attention to detail, to work with the character and form of the existing building when assessing applications for alteration and extension work. There will also be an obligation on developers to ensure adequate recording of listed buildings prior to the commencement of approved works.
6.43 We will require applications for planning permission and / or listed building consent to be fully detailed and to give adequately detailed drawings of the existing building and proposed alteration or extensions.
6.44 Where buildings are listed as Grade I or Grade II* proposals for the alteration, extension and change of use must be referred to English Heritage. Neither English Heritage nor the District Council support or advocate the de-listing of buildings.
   
  Policy EN5 - Alteration, Extension And Change Of Use Of Listed Buildings
  Planning permission and/or listed building consent for the alteration, extension or change of use of a listed building will be granted where all of the following criteria are satisfied:
  1) That the proposed alterations, internally or externally, would not be detrimental to the special character or long term stability of the building.
  2) That the proposed alterations and / or extensions would be sympathetic in scale, form, construction, colour, design, materials and location with the existing building.
  3) That the original building has not been extended to such a degree that further extension works would harm the visual, historic or architectural merit of the building and the area in which it is located or its setting.
  4) That the proposed development does not involve the subdivision of the garden or grounds of the listed building which would threaten the future viability of, or in any way detract from, its setting.
  5) That the proposed change of use or sub-division of the listed building does not damage the fabric or special character of the building or its setting.
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Demolition Of Listed Buildings
6.45 The preservation and enhancement of the built heritage is one of our important functions. The listed buildings within our District are important not only to the historical record of the area but also to the heritage of the nation as they signify some of the finest examples of their types within the national architectural stock. The importance of listed buildings both nationally and locally means that permission to demolish listed buildings is only granted in the most exceptional circumstances.
6.46 We will, in accord with government guidance, thoroughly assess every application for demolition of listed buildings to ensure the overall objective of preservation of national heritage is achieved. We will actively promote the incorporation of listed buildings within redevelopment schemes wherever possible to ensure continuity in the built environment of the District. There may be exceptional circumstances where demolition is considered to be the only option for a building, perhaps because of danger to public safety or because it has been damaged beyond repair. We do not condone the demolition of listed buildings that have been the victims of severe neglect.
6.47 In cases of neglect or when the upkeep of a property has suffered when no viable use has been identified to ensure its upkeep, demolition may become an issue. In such cases account will be taken of the adequacy of efforts made by the owner to maintain such buildings and to retain them in use. The condition of the building, the cost of repair and maintenance in relation to its importance and to the value derived from its continued use will be considered. Often historic buildings offer a physical attractiveness and functionality of space which may rival modern alternatives. We will assess all routes pursued by the owner including the offer for sale of the unrestricted freehold of the building on the open market at a reasonable price. If Listed Building Consent is granted for the demolition of a listed building, there will be a requirement in the formal decision notice issued by the Council, for records of the building to be made by a suitably qualified person, prior to demolition.
6.48 Where demolition of a listed building is proposed, we will require a full planning application showing the proposed redevelopment of the site.
6.49 We will work together with owners but will use our statutory powers to prevent the loss of the historic heritage if necessary.
   
  Policy EN6 - Demolition Of Listed Buildings
  Planning permission for development involving the demolition of a listed building will only be granted in exceptional circumstances and only where all of the following criteria are met:
  1) The condition of the building and any associated repair and maintenance costs in relation to its importance preclude its use for the purpose for which it was designed or for any other reasonable alternative use.
  2) It is demonstrated that it is not practical to retain the building in its current, most recent or viable alternative use.
  3) The proposed development would bring substantial benefits to the community which outweigh the arguments in favour of the preservation of the listed building and it has been demonstrated that the existing building cannot be reused within a redevelopment scheme for the site.
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Conservation Areas
 
Development Affecting Conservation Areas
6.50 The designation of conservation areas allows us to give greater planning protection to areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. Conservation areas are designated because of their overall townscape quality. Good townscape comprises the quality of individual buildings, their visual appearance, the overall impression that they give viewed in the context of a group with their neighbours and a series of other factors. These additional factors include the historic layout of property plots and street shapes, open spaces, the types of uses within the area, materials used often reflecting local characteristics and vernacular architecture, scaling, detailing, quality of signage, street furniture, hard and soft landscaping, including trees and traffic and pedestrian flows within the area. Care needs to be taken, for example, in looking at the effect of proposed development both in terms of its broad principles and in terms of detail, such as the design and installation of infrastructure plant and machinery.
6.51 Conservation areas are generally centred on the historic core of the village or town and often contain many fine examples of historic building and townscape design and layout. To date, thirteen conservation areas have been designated in the District. These are:
 
  • Crowland
  • Donington
  • Fleet
  • Fleet Hargate
  • Gedney Dawsmere
  • Gosberton
  • Holbeach
  • Long Sutton
  • Moulton
  • Pinchbeck
  • Spalding
  • Tydd Gote
  • Tydd St Mary
6.53 They are marked on the inset maps as the areas in which particular policies will apply.
6.53 We have embarked on a programme of appraisals of all our conservation areas. This includes community involvement. Supplementary planning guidance has been published for the conservation areas of Crowland, Holbeach, Long Sutton, Donington and Gosberton. Supplementary planning guidance will be published for the remaining conservation areas. We will also determine from time to time whether any other parts of South Holland should be designated as conservation areas. This may result both in the designation of entirely new areas and/or changes to existing ones. For example, we are examining the appropriateness of conservation area designation for parts of Sutton Bridge.
 
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6.54 A number of residential properties within the conservation areas are also subject to Article 4 Directions, which remove the permitted development rights for works which would otherwise be classified as permitted development under the Town and Country (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. The use of Article 4 Directions prevents unsympathetic alterations or extensions which could materially affect the external appearance of the dwelling and may in turn have a detrimental effect on the character of the conservation area. The Council will seek to protect premises protected by Article 4 Directions from unsympathetic change.
6.55 In addition to protecting listed buildings the Council will ensure that other buildings and structures that do not merit national listing but are of particular local importance are protected. Government advice in PPG15 suggests that Local Planning Authorities draw up a local list of buildings to give protection to unlisted traditional buildings. We have begun identifying and compiling a list of such buildings. This process of selection will be an ongoing one and will be encouraged through community involvement and conservation area appraisals. The Council will periodically review this list and designate new buildings and structures as appropriate. Collectively their contribution to the local scene can be very significant due to the architectural, historic and visual merits the buildings provide. In considering applications the Council will take account of the contribution any building makes to the character or appearance of its surroundings against the proposed benefits to the community. Wherever possible the Council will expect traditional buildings and features to be retained and for their character to be preserved and enhanced.
6.56 Particular attention will also need to be applied in relation to applications for telecommunications development in order to minimise their impact on the amenity of the surrounding area and on the setting of listed buildings in accordance with Policy TC3.
6.57 We will implement this policy through our formal planning procedures, including the use of Article 4 Directions and will, where new development is proposed in the conservation areas or near listed buildings, require full applications showing the proposed development with detailed plans.
   
  Policy EN7 - Development Affecting Conservation Areas
  The District Council will protect the designated conservation areas in order that the historic fabric of the area is retained. Planning permission for development within or affecting the setting of a conservation area will only be granted where the proposal preserves or enhances the character and appearance of the area and its setting. Particular attention should be given to the following criteria in determining proposals:
  1) The size, form, positioning, scale, roofscape, detailing and design of proposals are sympathetic to the character of the area and compatible with adjacent buildings.
  2) Materials of construction should be appropriate to the area and sympathetic to adjacent buildings in terms of colour, texture, type and size.
  3) The siting of the proposal respects important views and closures, including through views, ancient street patterns and important spaces and preserves and protects existing trees and landscape which contribute to the character or appearance of the conservation area.
  4) The proposal should retain important architectural and historic features such as street furniture, street name plates and paving.
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Demolition Of Unlisted Buildings Within Conservation Areas
6.58 The preservation and enhancement of local heritage (including identified Local Heritage Interest Buildings) is one of our important functions. In preserving the historic fabric of the District there is a positive link between past times and the present day.
6.59 The demolition of buildings can often have a detrimental effect on the character and appearance of a conservation area leading to the loss of a sense of enclosure and an adverse impact on the setting of adjacent buildings. Redevelopment proposals in conservation areas may involve the demolition of buildings that have reached the end of their lives, are of little or no merit economically or historically or are wholly inappropriate in their location. In such cases demolition may be considered as an option. However demolition within conservation areas is not seen as an end in itself but rather as an opportunity to redevelop sites enhancing the quality of the wider conservation area. In such cases new buildings must reflect the broad indicators of townscape quality as indicated at the beginning of this section on Conservation Area Policies.
6.60 However the Council will not discourage replacement buildings of a modern or contemporary style. The purpose of a conservation area designation is not to restrict an area to a fixed point in history. Rather, the emphasis will generally be on the controlled and positive management of change. The requirement will be for buildings to be of high architectural calibre that are sympathetic in form, scale and rhythm with their neighbours and which do not detract from the visual appearance of the conservation area.
6.61 We will, where demolition of unlisted buildings is proposed in the conservation areas, require full applications showing the proposed development with detailed plans.
   
  Policy EN8 - Demolition Of Unlisted Buildings Within Conservation Areas
  The District Council will not grant conservation area consent for demolition of a building within a conservation area unless the following criteria are satisfied:
  1) In the case of a building making a positive contribution to the character of the conservation area, that:
    (i) the condition of the building and any associated repair and maintenance costs preclude its use for the purpose for which it was designed or for any other reasonable alternative use;
    (ii) extensive efforts have been made to retain the building in its current, most recent or viable alternative use; and
    (iii) the existing building cannot be reused as part of any comprehensive redevelopment scheme for the site in order to retain visual and physical continuity within the built environment.
  2) In the case of a building not making a positive contribution to the character of the conservation area, that the proposed alternative use of the site following demolition would not detract from the character and appearance of the conservation area.
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Shop Fronts In Conservation Areas Or On Listed Buildings
6.62 Shop fronts can enhance the visual amenity of an area if they are sensitively designed and detailed. Poor design of shop fronts, however, can erode the character of the buildings within which they are situated and the overall quality of the street scene. We consider that care is required in determination of applications for shop fronts because they are often subject to more visual attention than many other forms of development due to their constant use by the public and their close proximity to the highway. Particular care is required within conservation areas and on listed buildings to ensure that the character and integrity of these important settings is not eroded by the addition of poor quality shop fronts.
6.63 We also consider that high quality shop fronts are a means to enhance visual amenity and the quality of life. Within the historic town and village centres we need to preserve the individuality of the settlements by the blending of shop fronts with their setting, and the retention or appropriate restoration of historic and individual styles. Development proposals for works to shop fronts or fascias will be expected to show that they have been checked for the possible survival of old features. We are, however, also concerned with small individual shops and corner stores throughout the District which play a high profile role within their setting and are often a focus for the wider community. We have published information leaflets giving advice on matters raised by this policy: 'Shop Fronts - Design' and 'Shop Fronts - Security'.
 
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  Policy EN9 - Shop Fronts In Conservation Areas Or On Listed Buildings
  Planning permission for new or replacement shop fronts or alterations to shop fronts in conservation areas or on listed buildings will only be granted where they:
  1) are designed in size, scale, historical period, materials, detailing and visual appearance to be compatible with the building to which they would be fitted;
  2) preserve, restore or otherwise enhance the character of the street-scene within their immediate location.
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Advertisements And Signage Within Conservation Areas And On Or Near Listed Buildings
6.64 External signs and advertisements are important to the commercial life of an area and can make a contribution to its character or appearance. High quality signage is an asset to both business promotion and visual amenity, thereby meeting the needs of both advertisers and the community. Advertisements must not detract from the historic character of a conservation area or listed building or affect its setting. Applications for advertisement consent will be determined with reference to their effects on the amenity of the area and on public safety issues. Public safety must not be prejudiced by advertisements and must not distract drivers, obscure visibility or potentially be confused with existing traffic signs or signals. Permission for the display of advertising signs is referred to as "express consent".
6.65 Many of the District's conservation areas and listed buildings are in commercial areas where it is expected advertisements will be displayed. In these areas the Council accepts that in many cases signs and advertisements are appropriate and necessary to promote business within protected settings. Well designed signs and advertisements can actually make a positive contribution to a listed building or conservation area. However, the Council considers that in such protected locations signage must be of the highest quality. Where historic shop fronts exist, signage should conform with the fascia sizing and should be constructed of materials compatible with its location. Internally illuminated box or fascia signs are not considered appropriate in historic settings and we will require the removal of such inappropriate signage and its suitable replacement. Signage proposals illustrating 'letters only' illuminated fascia box signs may be appropriate within conservation areas provided that the box unit is recessed within the fascia of the building and that the non-lettered parts of the fascia remain un-illuminated. We have published an information leaflet: 'Shop Fronts - Advertising' providing some advice on the matters raised by this policy.
 
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  Policy EN10 - Adverts And Signage Within Conservation Areas And On Or Near Listed Buildings
  The District Council will grant express consent for signage that contributes to the quality of its historic setting in conservation areas and/or on or near listed buildings. Express consent will be granted, in appropriate circumstances, 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, colour and location;
  2) is constructed of materials appropriate to the character of the building/area where it is located;
  3) consists of a form of signage not featuring internally illuminated fascias or projecting box signs;
  4) is not positioned above the bottom of first floor window level on shops and offices. Signage for public houses may be placed at higher levels to retain their traditional appearance if such allocation is compatible with the scale and form of the building where it is attached;
  5) 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;
  6) would not present a clutter or duplication in conjunction with other signage on the building; and
  7) 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.
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Security Shutters
6.66 The use of external security shutters has increased in recent years and it has become evident that they can have a detrimental effect on the appearance of a building and the general street scene. They are generally unattractive, obscure window displays and produce a stark appearance which can add to the perceived fear of crime. The night time economy is an important component of the vitality and viability of the District's town centres and many visitors and residents use these areas outside normal shopping hours. The cumulative effect of external shutters can erode the character, ambience and appearance of these areas.
6.67 The effect of external shutters within conservation areas and on listed buildings is particularly severe and it is unlikely that they will be permitted. We have published an information leaflet "Shop Fronts: Security". Supplementary Planning Guidance will be produced that will give guidance on alternative means of achieving security needs.
 
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  Policy EN11 - Security Shutters
  The installation of external security shutters will only be permitted where they would not harm the character and appearance of the host building or of the area in which it is set.
  External roller shutters will not be acceptable on Listed Buildings or within Conservation Areas.
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Scheduled Monuments
6.68 Archaeological remains are a valuable resource in our understanding of the history of our District. They form a link between the settlement and activities of ancient occupants of the area and the modern character of South Holland. Archaeological sites explaining the history of the District include visible features such as standing stones and ruins in addition to sites of buried remains that may only be evident using special techniques.
6.69 Many sites of national importance within South Holland are designated as scheduled monuments and these are indicated on the proposals map. Not all sites of national significance are however designated as scheduled monuments and further sites may be given the protection of scheduling during the plan period. In such cases full information on any newly scheduled monuments will be held by ourselves for public inspection. We will preserve scheduled monuments, other nationally important sites and their settings as part of the District's identity, as part of the national heritage and for their role in education, leisure and tourism. We will work with our partners and individual landowners to create effective management or enhancement strategies as required. Where there are other sites established as being of regional or local importance, we will seek to apply similar protection. There may be opportunity to seek the preservation and interpretation of sites as part of development.
   
  Policy EN12 - Scheduled Monuments
  Development proposals that adversely affect scheduled monuments and other nationally, regionally and locally important archaeological sites or their settings will not be permitted.
 
 
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