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Object

Proposed Submission Development and Site Allocations (DaSA) Local Plan

Representation ID: 24349

Received: 07/12/2018

Respondent: Welbeck Land LLP

Agent: Strutt & Parker LLP

Representation:

We do not agree with the Assessment of Site Policy Options (ASPO) set out in the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) for Fairlight Cove, nor the justification provided by the Council for the part of the Site which is proposed for allocation in Policy FAC2.

The SA relies on the Landscape Assessment background paper (hereon referred to as LAWF). Our own review of this document by Allen Pyke Associates (attached) finds it has flaws and there are some contradictions between it and the Council's SA scoring.

It is unclear how the assessment of site FC2a of 'potentially significant adverse effects' under criteria 15 has been made. Mitigation should be taken into account and the score should be a (tick) or '~'.

There are additional SA Objectives which we do not agree with. Criteria 6, 7 and 12 should be positive for FC2a. The scoring for criteria 15 does not make sense.

Overall, the assessment of FC2a should be more positive than FC2 due to the shop and large area of open space. The harm attributed to the impact the proposal would have on the AONB is overly strict, and not justified by the evidence.

Attachments included.

Full text:

letter from Emma Challenger, Strutt & Parker:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Rother District Council DaSA Publication Stage (Regulation 19) Consultation
Comments in relation to Policy FAC2: Land at Waites Lane, Fairlight Cove

Strutt & Parker's Planning Department are instructed to respond to the DaSA Publication Stage (Regulation 19) consultation on behalf of Welbeck Strategic Land III in respect of its interest in Land South of Pett Level Road, Fairlight Cove (referred to as sites FC2 and FC2a in the Sustainability Appraisal).

Our representations support the allocation of land for (predominantly) residential development in Policy FAC2, but we do not support the area of land being allocated, nor do we support the proposed capacity for the site.

Namely, we do not agree with the Assessment of Site Policy Options (ASPO) set out in Sustainability Appraisal Volume 3 for Fairlight Cove (pp 111-113), which is used to justify the allocated area, nor do we consider the background document entitled Landscape Assessment of Wakeham's Farm, Fairlight Cove to have properly considered the development potential for the western part of area FC2a. The evidence is flawed and has resulted in an inaccurate assessment of the site. We submit our own evidence to justify this objection, including: a report by landscape consultants Allen Pyke Associates (ref. 2763-RE-04); a Highway Boundary plan by transport consultants Pell Frischmann (drawing no. 101466-T-003); and an Illustrative Landscape Masterplan of sites FC2 and FC2a combined (drawing no. 2763-LA-03).

We also submit a Sketch Layout (drawing no. SK12) prepared by ECE Architecture for the area allocated in Policy FAC2. This is based on technical background work and includes a policy-compliant mix of dwellings (40% affordable). To make efficient use of land, the drawing shows that 45 dwellings could be achieved instead of the estimated 30 dwellings in area FC2 of Policy FAC2.
As it stands, we do not consider the allocated area of Policy FAC2 to be justified by the evidence, nor is it consistent with the NPPF 2018 in relation to making effective use of land and achieving well-designed places.

Background

Strutt & Parker submitted a planning application for Land South of Pett Level Road ('the Site') in October 2018, which is due to be determined in February 2019. The Site measures 12.75ha overall.

The application was made in outline form (including details of access) for development of up to 150 dwellings (including 40% affordable), a new mini-supermarket (372sqm), and a new doctor's surgery, together with the provision of around half of the Site for public open space. The proposal includes both sites FC2 and FC2a, but only the western and central parts of the Site are proposed for built development. These areas were identified following detailed assessment of views towards the Site and the impact that development could have on the AONB. The western part of the Site (i.e. site FC2) was noted as having high capacity for development. The central part of the Site was assessed as having moderate capacity for development, with a recommendation for a lower density development than the western part. The remaining, eastern part of the site was not considered to be capable of accommodating any built development and was therefore proposed for AONB-appropriate uses, which promote recreation and biodiversity gain.

The drawing below is taken from the accompanying Allen Pyke report and shows the proposed developable area as areas A and B:

(http://www.rother.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=31150)

This work led the Project Team to develop an illustrative masterplan which included residential development on areas A and B, and public open space on Area C. The locations for the proposed doctor's surgery and mini-supermarket have also been given careful thought - the doctor's surgery is adjacent to the open space and allotments in order to promote health and wellbeing; and the mini-supermarket has been located behind existing screening from the Poplar trees along Pett Level Road, and in a location that will provide easy access for the entire community.
The proposal was subject to a detailed Landscape Visual Impact Assessment by Allen Pyke, of which key points have been extracted and inserted into their report (which accompanies these representations).

We have also enclosed the Illustrative Landscape Masterplan from the submitted planning application to show how a larger development would provide a sensible rounding off of the settlement boundary, whilst providing significant community benefits that could not otherwise be achieved in area FC2 alone. Importantly, a larger development would only have a localised harm on the AONB, which could be mitigated through appropriate landscaping.

To be clear, it is Area B which is in contention. The following section discusses the Council's justification for the allocation of Area A in the DaSA, and the reasons why Area B has not been allocated.

Proposed Site Allocation Boundary

The justification provided by the Council for the part of the Site which is proposed for allocation in Policy FAC2 is set out in the Sustainability Appraisal Volume 3 for Fairlight Cove (pp 111-113). The Site is assessed in two parts - FC2 (which corresponds to Area A above), and FC2a (which corresponds to Area B and Area C). There is no separate assessment of Area B, however FC2a has been assessed on the basis of the proposed planning application for the Site (i.e. the developable area comprising Area A and Area B only), which is helpful. Site FC2 has been assessed on the basis of it including solely residential development, as well as it including: residential development, a doctor's surgery and open space.

We have discussed the provision of a doctor's surgery with Dr Craig Namvar, who would be the person delivering it. Dr Namvar runs the Hastings Old Town Surgery and Guestling surgery, and has confirmed that he would support the provision of a new surgery on FC2 or FC2a, but notes the additional benefits to patients provided by the extensive area of open space and allotments which could be provided adjacent to the surgery on FC2a. Therefore, whilst a surgery could potentially be provided on either site, it should be assessed as being more beneficial if provided alongside the public open space offered on FC2a.

The provision of open space on FC2 (as noted in Policy FAC2) cannot, however, be supported as something that would be substantial enough in size to benefit the occupiers of the new dwellings, and it would certainly not benefit the wider community due to its limited size, location on the site, and lack of parking. What would be achieved would be more akin to a wide landscape buffer with limited recreational value (particularly along the eastern boundary), and the benefits of this should be assessed against the need to make effective use of land. This is discussed further in the next section but, for the purposes of assessing FC2 in the Sustainability Appraisal, we afford limited weight to the provision of open space. The open space provided on FC2a would, in contrast, provide recreational benefits for the entire village, along with the added provision of allotments (which FC2 could not provide).

Of additional consideration when reviewing the ASPO on page 112 of the Sustainability Appraisal, is the reliance on the Landscape Assessment of Wakeham's Farm, Fairlight Cove background paper (hereon referred to as LAWF) when assessing the impact of FC2a on the AONB under SA Objective 15. This has been reviewed by Allen Pyke in their accompanying report, which makes the following observations [Please note that the LAWF refers to areas FC2 and FC2a as Area B1 and Area B2 respectively, but we will not use those references here in order to avoid potential confusion]:

1. There is no description of the type or amount of development considered by the LAWF in determining capacity at each landscape character area. This means that capacity should only be considered as a starting point and cannot be used to determine the acceptability (or not) of a specific development. Incorrect assumptions have been made about the density of development, and it has not been considered how adjustments made to this, including building heights, could mitigate the visual impact. The LAWF is not akin to an LVIA, which assesses the landscape and visual effects of a specific development. The stated aim of the LAWF is to assess capacity to accommodate varying scales of development, however it is unclear what scale of development has been considered. This is fine if the intention of the report is to be broad brush, but not if it is to be relied upon when making decisions about whether or not to allocate land.

2. The LAWF considers new planting as potential mitigation measures, but fails to consider embedded mitigation measures which may be incorporated into a proposed development, such as consideration of landscape features within the layout; good design; appropriateness of materials; and so on.

3. Area FC2a is assessed as a whole developable area. The LAWF does not distinguish between Area B and Area C identified above. The views that are assessed focus on the impact of Area C, and there is no specific mention of the western part of FC2a. This suggests that views of the site are focused on Area C, which we agree with. However, the entire FC2a has been assessed on this basis, resulting in a conclusion that the area is of 'high visual sensitivity', resulting in a low to none capacity for development. This contrasts quite significantly with the assessment for Area A, with only a gappy hedge separating the two, and it would therefore be more accurate to acknowledge a gradual transition between the west of the site and the more open countryside to the east.

It is important to note that the LAWF was produced before our planning application was submitted, and that it does not assess the proposed development on FC2a in the same way that Allen Pyke's LVIA does. This is important because the LAWF has been used as a background document to the DaSA, to justify the exclusion of FC2a from the allocated area in Policy FAC2. It is fine for the LAWF to be broad brush, but not if it is to be relied upon when making decisions about whether or not to allocate land.

The ASPO table for Fairlight Cove, which presumably relies on the LAWF in its assessment of criteria 15 'Protect and enhance the high quality natural and built environment', indicates a 'x' under site FC2a. This is the most negative score that could be achieved, indicating 'potentially significant adverse effects'. We are not clear how this assessment has been made - if it is based on the LAWF, then the corresponding score for the site should be a '(x)', which means that the site 'appears to conflict with the objective on balance and may result in minor adverse effects'. There are other sites in the LAWF which have received a worse score than FC2a, which suggests that FC2a should not be awarded the worst score in the Sustainability Appraisal. This would seem to be a sensible starting point for the ASPO, although we do not agree with the score given to the site in the LAWF and we therefore dispute whether the site should be awarded a negative score at all under criteria 15 in the ASPO.

The appraisal for FC2a (referred to as Area B2) in Appendix 3 of the LAWF contains amber colours for the following categories: 'physical character'; 'natural character'; 'perceptual experience and qualities'; and 'historic character'. Generally, this means that the site does not make special contribution to these qualities of the AONB, and these would therefore not be reasons to exclude the site from allocation.

The 'settlement setting, form and edge' category was awarded a red colour, which generally means that this quality is particularly sensitive. The assessment for FC2a states that the southern boundary of the site is distinctive because it is characterised by large wooded plots, and that the wooded edge forms a very well defined and soft transition from the built up area to the wider AONB. We do not dispute this, but the assessment assumes that the entire site would be developed and that the wooded ghyll would no longer be visible. This is not the case if the site is developed as per our current planning application. The assessment for site FC2 has a yellow colour in contrast, which is because the western boundary of the site, where it joins the settlement edge, is not considered to be particularly distinctive. Extending the developable area beyond FC2, partly into FC2a, would also not impact on this settlement edge. Had the LAWF considered a reduced developable area within FC2a, along with embedded mitigation, the resulting score for 'Settlement setting, form and edge' would likely have been more positive.

The only other category awarded a red colour for site FC2a is 'visual character'. Allen Pyke critiques this in their report (paragraph 2.18), noting that the LAWF does not acknowledge the varying levels of visibility within the site. The eastern and northern part of FC2a are elevated and more prominent from public viewpoints to the east and from Hastings Country Park. The southern part of the area, adjacent to the watercourse, is largely obscured by topography and intervening vegetation and buildings. The LAWF refers to the site as being very open, with a lack of vegetation to break up views across the area, but they have not considered the existing hedgerows in the western part of FC2a which break up views. Allen Pyke consider the western part of FC2a to be more enclosed and cluttered than the more open, eastern part, resulting in it having a greater capacity for development (subject to appropriate mitigation).

For the above reasons, we do not agree with the score of 'x' for criteria 15 in the ASPO. In terms of impact on the settlement edge, the proposed development of Area A and Area B would not impact on views of the wooded ghyll to the south of the site. Development on FC2a (within Area B only) would have no worse impact on the settlement edge formed by properties along Waites Lane, than the development of FC2 only. In terms of visual character, the development of FC2a (again, within Area B only) would not adversely effects views across the AONB - subject to mitigation measures, including sensitive design, density, and landscaping. We believe that mitigation should be taken into account in the ASPO, and that the score for criteria 15 should be awarded a '(tick)' or a '~' to ensure consistency with the assessment for FC2.

There are additional SA Objectives which we do not agree with. Criteria 6, which refers to sustaining economic growth and competitiveness, has been assessed neutrally for both FC2 and FC2a, but we consider the provision of a new mini-supermarket on FC2a to justify a more positive assessment here.

Criteria 7 refers to improving accessibility to services and facilities for all ages across the District, but no consideration appears to have been given to the provision of a shop on FC2a and how this would benefit both existing and new communities. There would be a continuous footway from the village centre to the new shop, which would provide access to all age groups. The extensive area of public open space would also be available for the existing community to use, with the potential for dedicated paths for wheelchairs to be provided. We believe that there is justification here also for a more positive assessment of FC2a under criteria 7.
Criteria 12 (minimising flood risk) has been awarded a (x) for both sites FC2 and FC2a, but in both cases the development of the site would enable surface water to be collected and drained in a controlled way to ensure off-site flooding does not occur. The village currently suffers from flooding, and the development of FC2a would be able to improve this.

Criteria 15 refers to protecting and enhancing biodiversity. Through the normal determination of planning applications, ecological surveys would ensure that species are adequately protected during the construction phase, and some biodiversity gain would be expected afterwards. However, taking into account the low ecological value agricultural land within the site, and the extensive area of open space being proposed in FC2a, it is surprising that a neutral score has been provided. If providing ponds, wildflower meadows, and new trees/shrubs does not enhance the natural environment, we question what does. We are unclear why FC2a has been awarded the worst score in this criteria, whist FC2 has been awarded the best score.

When taking into account the economic benefits of the development proposed for FC2a, the environmental and recreational benefits of the proposed public open space, and the minimal harm caused to the AONB, the assessment of FC2a should be more positive than as assessed by the Council. In our view, there are no insurmountable reasons why FC2a should not be allocated along with FC2 for 150 dwellings, a GP surgery, shop and public open space, in the form proposed in our planning application. In fact, when assessing the sustainability objectives, the offering of a shop and extensive area of open space should, overall, result in a more positive assessment that FC2.

Also of concern when considering the proposed area for allocation, is the access road. We have sought advice from transport consultants Pell Frischmann, who have prepared a drawing (no. 101466-T-003) which shows the design of a junction if it were to be restricted to the allocation boundary (edged red). Such an access would not technically be feasible due to the angle of the junction at the point it meets Pett Level Road, which would not achieve the required sight lines. Furthermore, an access junction in that location would require the removal of trees which are considered to be important to the character of Pett Level Road. The drawing shows in grey the location of the access junction designed for the planning application, which is located in a gap within the tree line, and which successfully achieves required sight lines. An access coming into the site in that location would require a large bend into the site, resulting in a larger site area. This drawing has been superimposed onto the accompanying Sketch Layout (drawing no. SK12 by ECE Architecture), showing the area required to be included within a site allocation if safe access is to be achieved.

Such a long access with no frontage development would not only raise viability concerns for a housebuilder, but would appear as an incongruous feature in the countryside. It would also not comply with the LAWF, which recommends that the road is kept as short as possible so that it does not detract from the quality or character of the AONB (part (d) under the 'Mitigation' section on page 17).

Policy FAC2 proposes a tree lined avenue along this access road, but Allen Pyke note in their report that this is not a feature that is associated with the High Weald AONB, where most rural roads are lined by hedges and occasional mature trees or skirt edges of woodland. A tree-lined avenue would not be an appropriate solution for the site, and the intrusion of the road into the central part of the field would arguably cause some harm to that part of the site, such that the resulting contribution it would make to the qualities and character of the AONB should be questioned. If the character of this part of the site is to be affected by the development of FC2 because of the new access road and resulting landscaping either side (in whatever form), we would argue that the presence of housing would not add significantly to that harmful impact. Furthermore, for reasons of viability, good design, and safety (through natural surveillance), there is a strong case for the site allocation to include housing either side of the access road. If it is the agricultural field that is desirable in views from Pett Level Road, to have a residential road running through the central/northern field would prevent viable agricultural activities from continuing in this area. The use of the adjacent land in this area therefore needs to be considered, as does its impact on the landscape.

Proposed Site Capacity

Policy FAC2, in its current form, proposes to allocate site FC2 for approximately 30 dwellings, of which 40% are affordable. We support the 40% affordable requirement, but the number of dwellings that can be achieved on the site has only been guestimated. A masterplan has not, to date, been prepared for the site, and we think that this is an important exercise to do in order to establish site capacity. We have therefore commissioned this work, and enclose a Sketch Layout (drawing no. SK12) for the Council's consideration.

The Sketch Layout shows the footprint of a GP surgery, to the specification required by Dr. Namvar, along with 16 parking spaces. This requires a smaller area than shown on Figure 50 (Policy FAC2 Detail Map), which frees up more land for housing.

The Sketch Layout also shows the area required for a SuDS attenuation pond along the southern boundary, which has been based on surface water drainage calculations. This area could be enjoyed by the new residents, both in outlook and recreation (although the recreational benefits would be limited when compared with what could be offered on a larger site allocation). This would accord with recommendation (b) in the LAWF under the heading of 'Mitigation' (page 17).
The drawing incudes generous landscaped buffers along the western, northern and eastern site boundaries, to mitigate the visual impact of the development from adjacent properties, and from the wider landscape. The eastern landscape buffer is of a sufficient depth to reinforce the existing treed hedgerow, as recommended in the LAWF (part (a) under 'Mitigation'). There is no benefit in having additional planting beyond what is shown on the drawing - to provide additional trees could tantamount to the planting of 'woodland', which the LAWF recognises as being inappropriate for the site.

Once the location and size of the GP surgery, landscaping and SuDS have been established, what is left is the developable area for housing. ECE Architects have used a policy-compliant mix, including a large proportion of detached bungalows, to establish how many dwellings could satisfactorily be achieved on the site. The resulting Sketch Layout shows capacity for 45 dwellings at a reasonably low density of 21 dwellings per hectare. To go below this density would not make effective use of the land and would therefore not comply with the NPPF. A lower density within the same developable area would inevitably result in dwellings on larger plots, which in turn would make them more expensive to buy. This would defeat the point of providing a mix of dwellings (with the aim of achieving a balanced community) as required by the NPPF.

Notwithstanding our view that the access into the site would cause problems in terms of visual impact, safety, design and viability, Policy FAC2 in its current form proposes underdevelopment of the site and an approximate capacity of 45 dwellings would be more appropriate.

Other Matters

Policy FAC2 requires at least 50% of the dwellings to comprise appropriately-designed, age restricted housing for older persons. It is assumed that this applies to the overall number of dwellings provided, and would therefore apply to the affordable and market dwellings. This needs to be clarified in the policy wording. Whilst we support the provision of dwellings which have been designed specifically to address a need for housing for older persons in the District, we question the deliverability and viability of imposing age restrictions on those units. We explored this option for the current planning application, and could find no examples of sites which include age restricted units without a level of extra care being provided. Properties with age restrictions are usually within retirement villages or flatted schemes in urban areas, where older persons can live together and enjoy communal facilities as well as benefiting from a level of care. This cannot be provided on the site, and restricting properties to a certain age group would only serve to devalue the property, resulting in viability problems for the developer. To group the age restricted dwellings together equally would not be desirable as it would conflict with the overall aim of achieving mixed and balanced communities.

To address this problem, our planning application provides around 50% of the overall mix as dwellings suitable for older persons - for those wishing to downsize (through the provision of 1-bed or 2-bed ground floor apartments) as well as a large proportion of bungalows. Furthermore, all dwellings are proposed to be built to Part M4(2) adaptable homes standards, with a proportion of Part M4(3) wheelchair units. A similar approach could be used in the wording of the policy, instead of requiring dwellings to specifically be age restricted.

The provision of the doctor's surgery could only be viable if it is provided as a serviced plot. This should be reflected in the wording of the policy, which is currently ambiguous. The local GP who would deliver the surgery has sufficient funds to do so, and the development proceeds would be better spent on delivering the required 40% affordable housing requirement, which might otherwise suffer following viability testing.

Conclusions

The LAWF and ASPO for site FC2a should be reviewed in light of the above information and evidence provided by Allen Pyke Associates. As it stands, we do not consider there to be proper justification for the exclusion of FC2a from the allocated area. The approach taken in the LAWF is not tantamount to an LVIA and therefore cannot be used in the consideration of FC2a in the ASPO, where our proposal is assessed in more detail. Furthermore, we do not agree with the ASPO because it does not give due credit to the social and economic benefits of the proposed shop and extensive area of public open space. The harm attributed to the impact the proposal would have on the AONB is overly strict, and not justified by the evidence, and, along with a more positive assessment of the social and economic impacts of the scheme, FC2a should in fact score better overall than FC2 (in either of the two scenarios presented).

We propose that the site allocation in Policy FAC2 is amended to include FC2 and all of FC2a, with the developable area reduced to the western and central/northern parts of the Site. The eastern/southern parts should be designated as public open space for the entire community's benefit, to be maintained in perpetuity. A GP surgery and shop should also be included.

The wording of the policy should also be amended to reflect:

* a more appropriate site density;
* provision of older persons' accommodation but not age restricted;
* a serviced plot for a new doctor's surgery;
* a serviced plot for a shop at the site's entrance;
* public open space in the eastern part of the site;
* vehicular access located in the gap between trees on Pett Level Road; and
* buildings overlooking the access road to ensure effective use of land and natural surveillance.

Parts (v), (vii), (viii) and (ix) of Policy FAC2 are supported.

We are currently concerned that there are significant flaws in the proposed allocation for Land East of Waites Lane and we trust that our representations will be taken into account. Given that our planning application is a fundamental piece of evidence to the site allocation, and currently remains undetermined, we consider it important that we participate in the relevant hearing sessions.

We look forward to reviewing your Authority's response to these representations in due course.

Allen Pyke report:

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1. The report has been prepared by Allen Pyke Associates, a registered practice of the Landscape Institute and member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, on behalf of Welbeck Land.

1.2. The purpose of this document is to review the findings of the Landscape Assessment of Wakeham's Farm, Fairlight Cove (LAWF, May 2018), which forms part of the evidence base for the emerging Development and Site Allocations Local Plan (DaSA), published for consultation by Rother District Council in October 2018. The DaSA implements the development strategy and core policies set out in the adopted Core Strategy (adopted September 2014), and allocates sites for specific uses, such as housing.

1.3. An outline planning application for up to 150 residential units, mini-supermarket and GP surgery together with associated open space and infrastructure was submitted by Welbeck Strategic Land in October 2018 (ref:RR/2018/2726/P), hereafter referred to as 'the Welbeck planning application'. The site is located on greenfield land on the northeast edge of Fairlight Cove, and is part of the High Weald AONB. The application site has been assessed by the LAWF for the DaSA and as a result, part of the site has been identified as a suitable location for approximately 30 dwellings and new doctor's surgery in the draft Plan. The allocation is set out in Policy FAC2: Land east of Waites Lane, Fairlight Cove. The remainder of the application site was not allocated, but we do not believe this has been adequately justified.

(The Policy allocation plan is given below: http://www.rother.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=31153)

3. REVIEW OF THE LAWF

Scope and Limitations

2.1. The stated aim of the LAWF is to 'define the relative capacity of the landscape of the site area (refer to Map 3 Site Context at the rear of this document) to accommodate varying scales of development. The assessment will have regard to the scope for mitigation of potential development without detracting from the existing intrinsic character of the landscape'.

2.2. To inform the LAWF the study included:

a) Detailed analysis of the landscape character and visual baseline of the site and surrounding area.

b) An assessment of the landscape sensitivity and capacity of the area to accommodate change.

c) Opportunities will be identified for mitigation which would provide landscape enhancement.

2.3. The landscape capacity varies according to the type and nature of change being proposed. The type and amount change is crucial to determining the capacity. For example, a site may be capable of accommodating a small change to part of the area, but would not be able to accommodate the same type of change over a larger portion of its area. There is no description of the type or amount of development considered by the LAWF in determining capacity of each landscape character area. This means that the capacity should only be considered a starting point and cannot be used to determinate the acceptability (or not) of a specific proposed development.

2.4. The methodology given in the LAWF is in accordance with the latest version of Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (GLVIA3). This guidance also formed the basis for the methodology applied for the Landscape and Visual chapter of the Environmental Statement prepared for the Welbeck planning application. Although there are some variations in the definition of evaluation criteria.

2.5. Landscape capacity is determined using a formula which combines landscape character sensitivity, visual sensitivity and landscape value to give a score of high, medium, low or none. The score is not a reflection of the scale of potential development but an indication of whether or not any development would be acceptable. This means proposed development in an area with high capacity is more likely to be approved than in an area of low capacity, but is not guaranteed approval. Conversely, proposed development in an area of low capacity should not automatically be assumed to be unacceptable, but would be expected to require greater mitigation than the same development in an area of high capacity.

2.6. The LAWF does not assess a specific proposal and must therefore be considered at a high level only. The assessment of effects on landscape and visual effect of a specific development is considered by Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) and which may draw different conclusions as to the acceptability of development within an area.

2.7. The following outline mitigation measures are considered by the LAWF:

* Retention and management of existing significant landscape features.
* New woodland planting to link with existing
* New tree belts to link with existing
* Creation of multifunctional green networks as planting, open space or recreational corridors.

2.8. This list is not comprehensive and fails to acknowledge embedded mitigation measures which may be incorporated into a proposed development, such as consideration of landscape factors with the layout, good design, appropriateness of materials and so on.

Review of Landscape Capacity of Area B

2.9. The LAWF refers to published Landscape Character Assessments at national, county and local level. These character areas were also reviewed in the Environmental Statement for the Welbeck planning application.

2.10. A detailed analysis by the LAWF of the landscape character and visual baseline identified five local character areas (Areas A-E). The area covered by the Welbeck planning application is identified as Area B. This area is sub-divided into Areas B1 and B2.

2.11. The site (Area B) comprises two arable fields. The west field (Area B1) is rectangular in shape. The west and north boundaries are defined by rear garden boundary treatments of properties on Waites Lane and Pett Level Road respectively. Its south boundary is formed by a ghyll stream and woodland which form the garden boundary of adjacent properties.

2.12. The east field (Area B2) is approximately four times larger than the west. It is triangular in shape and framed by Pett Level Road to the north and the watercourse to the south. There are two incomplete hedges in the northern part the field, which is used to grow small areas of different crops and for agricultural storage. The land becomes more open to the east. An overhead power line supported by timber poles runs along the south edge of the site and there is a water monitor station enclosed by a timber post and rail fence adjacent to the watercourse. These detracting elements are not identified in the sensitivity description of Areas B1 or B2.

2.13. The description of Settlement setting, form and edge and Historic character for Areas B1 and B2 are very similar, however the assessment of sensitivity is notably higher for Area B2 than for Area B1. This is not justified and raises the overall sensitivity of B2 to medium to high, resulting in a low to none capacity. With the exception of Visual Character, where B2 is more visible and open than
B1 and therefore more sensitive, the two areas are broadly similar in terms of other assessment criterion. The boundary between Areas B1 and B2 is defined by an existing gappy hedgerow, however it would be more accurate to acknowledge a gradual transition between the west edge of the site which is adjacent to the settlement boundary and the more open countryside to the east.

2.14. The LAWF assesses Area B1 as being of low to medium landscape and visual sensitivity and medium to high value, resulting in a medium capacity. In paragraph 4.3.2 it is suggested that Area B1 has capacity for 'some well-designed, high quality development of an appropriate density and scale'. This finding is consistent with our conclusions.

2.15. Area B2 is assessed by the LAWF as being of high value, and medium to high character sensitivity and high visual sensitivity, resulting in a low to no landscape capacity. The Environmental Statement also concluded that the site (Area B1 and B2 combined) was of high landscape and visual sensitivity and that the proposed development would have a temporary adverse effect on landscape character and visual amenity, but that these adverse effects could be successfully mitigated through the sensitive arrangement of proposed dwellings and retention of openness to the east. This implies that there is some capacity for well-designed development of an appropriate density and scale within Area B2 as well.

2.16. The LAWF states that due to the 'historically open in character [of Area B2] it would not be appropriate to introduce large scale woodland to screen or mitigate any proposed development. Proposals for landscape mitigation would not be effective in screening potential development from the very sensitive elevated viewpoints in the surrounding AONB'. We agree that the introduction of large scale woodland would not be appropriate in Area B2 and that views towards new development from some public viewpoints to the east could not be completely screened. Successful mitigation is not solely based on not being able to see the development, and other methods may be employed to ensure a new development fits well within its setting and can, in some cases, positively contribute to the landscape character, including restricting the developable area and providing open space within more sensitive parts of the site.

2.17. The stated aim of the LAWF is to assess capacity to accommodate varying scales of development, however it is not clear what scale of development has been considered.

2.18. The LAWF assesses the visual sensitivity of Area B2, but does not acknowledge the varying levels of visibility and character within the area. Given the detailed, local, level of the LAWF, this might have been expected. The eastern and northern part of Area B2, are elevated and more prominent from public viewpoints to the east and from Hastings Country Park. The southern part of the area, adjacent to the watercourse is largely obscured by topography and intervening vegetation and buildings. The western part of Area B2, is partially enclosed by existing hedgerows (which are not given any value in the LAWF) and views are diminished by distance. Furthermore, the character of the western part of Area B2 is more enclosed and cluttered than the more open, eastern part. We would argue that the western part of Area B2 is less sensitive than the eastern part and has greater capacity for development, subject to appropriate mitigation.

2.19. The scale of development proposed by the Welbeck planning application was informed by an assessment of landscape character and visual sensitivity and, as a result of the findings, developable area was limited to only around half of the whole site area (i.e Area B1 and the western part of Area B2). The findings are illustrated by 2763-AS-01 Figure 1-3 in Appendix A at the rear of this document. The scheme proposals seek to create a large area of open space with some tree planting to the east, which will maintain a sense of separation between the development and most sensitive local landscape character area (Area E), but does not seek to block views of the proposed new buildings, which will be well designed and appropriate to the local vernacular. The LAWF acknowledges that existing properties on the edge of settlement are visible in views from the west. The introduction of new properties which address the open space in a more positive manner would be beneficial to these views in the long term.

Recommended Mitigation

2.20. The LAWF concludes that, of the local character areas identified, only Areas B1 and D (which is already developed and is an established part of Fairlight Cove) have medium capacity for development. Areas A, B2, C and E were identified as low or low to none. The report recommends the following for development in B1:

a) the treed hedgerow which clearly defines and separates Area B1 from Area B2 could be reinforced with native woodland planting of trees and understory shrubs. This would clearly define the new village edge and create a defensible built up area boundary. This would not detract from the character of the local area and it would reinforce the transition from built up area to countryside.

Comment: The existing hedge would benefit from being gapped up to improve structure, however it would not be considered appropriate to widen this feature into a semi-woodland. The hedge is an historic field boundary (as noted by the LAWF) and should not be significantly changed. As noted by the LAWF, when considering Area B2, the introduction of large scale woodland would not be appropriate as it would detract from the openness of the area.

b) A landscape buffer should be provided between the ghyll stream on the southern boundary of the site and any potential development. This should be open in character and could incorporate public open space in association with SUDS features.

Comment: We support this recommendation.

c) A density of development which is in keeping with the existing built up areas and similar sized gardens. High quality design for buildings, access roads and open spaces which would reflect the High Weald local vernacular.

Comment: A high quality scheme is supported but to provide similar sized gardens and large detached dwellings to reflect adjoining areas would not make efficient use of the land and would not provide a mixed and balanced community.

d) An access arising from Pett Level Road which would not detract from the quality or character of the High Weald Landscape. This would need to be as short as possible depending on highway safety requirements for the junction with Pett Level Road.

Comment: Access from Pett Level Road would require a route through part of Area B2. The introduction of a road with no development on either side could appear out of character and be a detracting element within Area B2. Due to highway safety requirements, it would not be possible for the road to be constructed as indicated by the Policy FAC2 Detail Map if it were to serve only the western field. A longer route and wider angled junction off Pett Level Road would be required, meaning the road would extend beyond the boundary of the allocated area.

e) An avenue of tree planting along both sides of the site access road.

Comment: A treelined avenue would be an incongruous element within the landscape which comprises of mainly hedgerow vegetation. There are no tree lined avenues outside of settlement boundaries within the vicinity and this is not a feature associated with the High Weald AONB, where most rural roads are lined by hedges and occasional mature trees or skirt the edge of woodland. The road would be the only vehicular and pedestrian route into the new development but would not be overlooked (unless some appropriate development is allowed in B2). Treatment to the sides of the road must ensure there is good visibility and safety for all users, while not appearing too intrusive on the adjacent landscape.

f) Tree planting in public areas within the development to break up the overall mass of the development.

Comment: We support this recommendation.

4. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS FROM LVIA

3.1. The Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment prepared by Allen Pyke Associates made the following conclusions in relation to the landscape and visual sensitivity of the site (Areas B1 and B2) and the susceptibility to change:

* The East Sussex County Landscape Assessment locates the site in the High Wealden Coast Character Area. The site makes a small portion of the rural character adjacent to the Fairlight Cove settlement edge, which is described by the ESCLA as being modern and suburban.

* The site falls within the High Weald AONB but forms an insignificant part of the overall designation. While the site was assessed as being part of a high value landscape, its position on the edge of Fairlight detracts from the character which is not tranquil or remote. The position of the site reduces its sensitivity and the LVIA found that it has some potential to accommodate change without substantial harm to the landscape character surrounding the site and provide an attractive and appropriate transition between the AONB and newly extended settlement boundary.

* The site is visible from a small number of publically accessible locations and from some private residential properties surrounding the site boundary. The effects on views from private properties were considered and it was concluded that, while there would be an adverse effect on a small number of private individuals, the properties would not become unattractive places to live and there would be no detriment to public interest as a result of changes to private views.

* Restricting the proposed development area to the west part of the site (i.e. Area B1 and western part of Area B2) considering the orientation of properties, provision open space would mitigate the most significant adverse effects on visual amenity around the development and over time would contribute positively to views and integration of the site into the urban setting.

* Opportunities to mitigate effects on visual amenity and landscape character, maintain and enhance landscape character and to protect important views are present. Restriction of development in the most sensitive part of the site would significantly reduce the impact on landscape character and visual amenity and offer opportunities for recreation and to increase wildlife benefits.

3.2. The LVIA concluded that the site has capacity to accommodate a larger developable area than that identified by the draft Local Plan policy. With careful design and management a proposed development within the site could create an attractive transition between the suburban edge of Fairlight Cove and the wider countryside and a lasting settlement edge.

4. CONCLUSIONS

4.1. The LAWF follows the latest guidance for assessment for landscape character and landscape capacity assessments. The LAWF seeks to define the relative capacity of the landscape of the site area to accommodate varying scales of development, however due to the limitations of the scope of the assessment, only a conclusion as to whether any development is appropriate can be reached. There is no consideration of varying scales of development within the site, which is essential given resulting varying impacts.

4.2. The assessment divided the study area into five local character areas, one of which (Area B) was further sub-divided. Area B comprises the application area of the Welbeck planning application. The division of this area into two character areas appears arbitrary based on an existing hedgeline and does not properly reflect the gradual transition between the two areas. The LAWF found that Area B1, the western field had medium capacity and that B2 has low to no capacity. As a result Area B1 has been allocated in the DaSA for up to only 30 dwellings and a GP surgery and no development is allocated in Area B2. We contest these conclusions.

4.3. The mitigation measures recommended by the LAWF to ensure development of Area B1 would be acceptable are limited in scope and are not considered appropriate in some cases, particularly in relation to the treatment of the access road and wide landscape buffer along the eastern boundary. It is acknowledged that the scope of the LAWF does not require comprehensive or fully resolved mitigation measures to be provided, but this is important when assessing the site's potential for housing development.

4.4. Area B2 was assessed as having low or no capacity by the LAWF as it would not be possible to screen a development within this area. This is felt to be an oversimplification as it does not fully consider the scope for embedded mitigation, such as restricting the extent of the development area and providing good principles design to create an appropriate edge to the development.

4.5. The LVIA carried out by Allen Pyke Associates found that the site had capacity for a larger developable area than that given in the draft Local Plan policy. An appropriate development would consider the changing sensitivity of the site with medium density development proposed in the least sensitive areas to the west, reducing to low density in the east, where a greater sensitivity has been identified. The most sensitive part of the site, i.e. the eastern part of Area B2, would remain undeveloped and become public open space. The provision of open space would be improve access to the countryside, in line with aspirations of the AONB and would not be harmful to public views.

4.6. It is considered that development which is appropriate in scale and sensitive to views and the character of the AONB could be accommodated in both Areas B1 and B2 where suitable embedded mitigation measures are implemented.

APPENDIX A

Allen Pyke Report
(http://www.rother.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=32471)

MAP 3 Site Context from LAWF(http://www.rother.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=31148

2763-AS-01: Figure 1 Landscape Attributes - Opportunities and Constraints (http://www.rother.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=31149

Figure 2 Landscape Capacity (http://www.rother.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=31150

Figure 3 Initial Landscape Concept (http://www.rother.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=31151

Landscape Masterplan from the Welbeck planning application (http://www.rother.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=31147)

Western Field Only - Sk12
(http://www.rother.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=32472)

Indicative Access Drawing
(http://www.rother.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=32473)

Object

Proposed Submission Development and Site Allocations (DaSA) Local Plan

Representation ID: 24353

Received: 07/12/2018

Respondent: John Jempson & Son Ltd

Agent: MDA Associates

Representation:

John Jempson & Son Ltd are bringing forward redevelopment proposals for all three of their major sites in Rye. To allow the consolidation of their business onto one site at Harbour Road all three sites MUST come forward together and be economically viable if all the existing employment is to be maintained. In order to accommodate this relocation, their site on Harbour Road needs to be expanded as shown on the attached plan. This will not have a significant impact on the surrounding environmental designations.

The Sustainability Appraisal of Site RH6 assumes that the whole site is "greenfield". This is not the case and therefore the poor scores shown does not accurately reflect the position.

A reassessment should be made of Site RH6 based on the attached plan which shows the existing employment site and some expansion land. This is needed for the relocation and consolidation of Jempson business from Rye town centre, thereby facilitating the much needed re-development of their existing employment sites for housing and maintaining the existing local jobs.

Amendment

Review the SA for Site RH6 based upon the revised site area as shown attached. (map attached: www.rother.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=31160)

Full text:

John Jempson & Son Ltd are bringing forward re-development proposals for all three of their major sites in Rye that together will provide much needed new housing and modern employment facilities. However to allow the consolidation of their business onto one site at Harbour Road it is necessary that all three sites MUST come forward together and be economically viable if all the existing employment is to be maintained. In order to accommodate this relocation of their business and tenants from Rye town centre, their site on Harbour Road,
as shown on Figure 56, needs to be expanded as shown on the attached plan. This can happen without having a significant impact on the surrounding environmental designations.

The Sustainability Appraisal of Site RH6 (p133) assumes that all of the site is a "greenfield" site. This is not the case and therefore the poor scores shown in the assessment for employment uses does not accurately reflect the position.

A reassessment should be made of Site RH6 based on the attached site plan which shows the existing employment site and some expansion land. This is needed for the relocation and consolidation of Jempson business from Rye town centre to this site, thereby facilitating the much needed re-development of their existing employment sites for housing and maintaining the existing local jobs.

Amendment

Review the SA for Site RH6 based upon the revised site area as shown attached. (map attached: www.rother.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=31160)

Object

Proposed Submission Development and Site Allocations (DaSA) Local Plan

Representation ID: 24404

Received: 07/12/2018

Respondent: Beaulieu Homes (Southern) Ltd

Agent: Bell Cornwell

Representation:

We have also assessed the Council's Sustainability Appraisal. This includes summaries of the assessments of site options and proposed policies including, as Appendix 4, an assessment of the site policy options. This table appraises two options for the former Sidley Sports and Social Club - purely housing and purely playing pitches. The SA does not appear accurate or objective in regard to its appraisal of the site, with the playing pitch option scoring higher than the provision of housing. There are several unsubstantiated instances (SA objectives 2 and 9) where the provision of housing has a cross, rather than a tick, despite more positive scoring being given to other sites for housing.

No mixed use is appraised for the site, this would have been a 'reasonable alternative' to explore further, given the owner's aspirations for the site and the planning application history. The SA is therefore flawed in this regard, as it does not assess and compare all of the realistic reasonable alternatives for the site.

Given our conclusions, our assessment is that in regard to the Sustainability Appraisal, this is not legally compliant.

Full text:

07 December 2018

Dear Sirs,

Representations to the Rather District Council Development and Site Allocations Local Plan: Proposed Submission (Regulation 19)

We represent our client, Beaulieu Homes Southern Limited. Our client has been the owner of the former Sidley Sports Ground, Glover Lane, Bexhill since 2015 and is currently appealing a refusal against the redevelopment of the site for a mixed use including both housing and the re-provision of sports facilities for the community.

We have a number of submissions to this important, regulatory consultation on the Rother Site Allocations Local Plan, and focus these representations around the tests of soundness and legal compliance, as is necessary at this stage of the process.

We structure our representations as follows:

Background information on the recent history of the Sidley Sports Ground and the technical work that has been carried out to confirm its deliverability.

Comments on the Council's processes including their approach to meeting housing need, and the need for additional housing to be added to the Plan for flexibility.

Comments on the evidence base, including the Playing Pitch Strategy and the Feasibility Study that was carried out to inform the Council's future policy on the former Sidley Sports Ground.

Advice to the Council about an appropriate and justified policy direction on the former Sidley Sports
Ground.

Background

The former Sidley Sports Ground has been in the ownership of our client since 2015. This was the ground of Sidley Sports and Social Club and was previously home to Sidley United Football Club and Sidley Cricket Club. The club was privately owned and run, rather than in any community use. The site has been vacant since 2013 when Sidley Sports and Social Club (a Private Members Club) went into administration as it was not financially viable. The pitch was also of very poor quality, meaning that matches were called off due to the pitch being waterlogged. Since the Private Members Club went into administration, there have been ongoing issues of vandalism and security on the site, which have led to security fencing being erected.

Our client's most recent application at the site was in outline form, with all matters reserved for
subsequent approval. The application was for the change of use and development of part of the existing Sidley Sports Ground to residential development for up to 54 dwellings, together with the provision of a replacement sports pitch which is level and properly drained, with laid out car parking and space for a future club house and changing rooms. Whilst the site is in outline form, it was accompanied by indicative layout plans to give information about how the site could be delivered and to show that what was proposed by the application was deliverable on site. However, there is considerable flexibility to respond to other evidenced requirements through any reserved matters applications.

The site is proposed to be accessed off Glovers Lane. The application was informed and supported by technical reports and studies.

The application was refused in mid-2018 and in response to this refusal, we have lodged an appeal on behalf of our client.

Housing Numbers

The Development and Site Allocations Local Plan is being prepared as a 'daughter document' to the adopted Rother Core Strategy and the approach to the Plan is that of a 'filling in the gaps' left by the Core Strategy than anything more fundamental. Whilst this is one approach to the production of Local plan documents it is not the most positive one. It would have been a more pro-active approach to prepare a comprehensive Local Plan, starting from scratch and using an up to date assessment of housing need. The emerging Plan just seeks to deliver the housing requirement set out in the Core Strategy. This sets out that the housing development target for the District as a whole is for at least 5,700 new homes to be built over the plan period, which runs from 2011-2028. The majority of these (approximately 3, 100) are to be at Bexhill. Assuming that the emerging Plan has the same time period means that it does not even cover a ten-year period and will be swiftly out of date.

In terms of the number, this is based on the Council's Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) update from 2013. Whilst this identified an objectively assessed housing need for Rother District of 6,180 dwellings to 2028, the Council chose to reduce this, citing environmental factors and that this number would, in any case be a boost to what was being provided previously.

In any case, this number is now out of date. The Council should be seeking to boost supply in response to the Government's new method for calculating housing need. The published information for Rother shows a housing need of 469 per annum between 2016 to 2026, based on the application of the proposed formula. The NPPF sets out the Government's dear objective of significantly boosting the supply of homes (para 59) and goes on to set out in paragraph 60 that the standard method for calculating need should be used unless there are 'exceptional circumstances'. The fact that Rother are not using this information is a potential issue of soundness in terms of the consistency of the emerging plan with the NPPF. To avoid this issue, the Council should add some flexibility into the housing supply to demonstrate a willingness to proactively boost supply. This should include revising the proposed allocation BEX11 (Land at Sidley Sport and Social Club, Bexhill) to reflect its potential as a mixed-use site including residential development of up to 54 dwellings, plus sports provision.

On this matter our view is that policy OVE1 (Housing Supply and Delivery) is unsound as it is not positively prepared or consistent with national policy.

Approach towards Bexhlll

The Council seeks to focus development in Bexhill, setting a requirement of 3,100 dwellings to be built in the settlement between 2011 to 2028. We support the focus of growth to Bexhill, as a highly sustainable settlement. The emerging Plan allocates development to the town, both within the town and on the edge of town, specifically three linked sites to the north of the town. However, there is scope to increase the housing provision in the Plan, as we have set out above, and one way in which to do this is to focus on sustainable opportunities within the existing settlement, such as our client's site at the former Sidley Sport and Social Club in the town. This site lies within the existing built-up area and is surrounded by medium density residential development, with good accessibility to services and facilities. Additional development in this location would avoid impacts on the protected landscape of the High Weald AONB, which covers substantial parts of the District, whilst providing much needed housing.

The Council sets out that there is a need to safeguard existing sports facilities in Bexhill, stating, in paragraph 9.14 of the Plan that opportunities for new playing pitches within Bexhill are limited due to the availability of land and the topography of the town. Policy BEX10 for Northeye provides an opportunity to provide new playing field provision alongside the redevelopment of the site; however, there is scope for additional opportunities for new pitch provision to take place as part of other site allocations on the edge of Bexhill. For example, we note that policy BEX4 allocates land at the former high school site and Drill Hall, Down Road, Bexhill, for a mixed use development creating a 'leisure destination'. The policy is currently top level and there appears to be scope to use this facility as a mechanism for the provision of additional high-quality sports pitches.

We have assessed that chapter 9 of the Plan is unsound: the approach towards Bexhill is insufficiently positive as it does not provide enough housing, it is not also effective as parts of the chapter are not deliverable (specifically BEX11).

Affordable Housing

Policy DH61 sets out the proposed approach to the provision of affordable housing. We support the principle of the policy, however to make an effective contribution to addressing the housing needs of the District, the overall number of housing allocations should be increased, in order to enable the delivery of affordable housing.

In terms of our client's site, criterion (i) of the policy applies, whereby 30% on site affordable housing must be provided on schemes of 15 or more dwellings (subject to viability). The allocation of the former Sidley sports and social club for mixed use would contribute to meeting the high requirements for affordable housing in the District by the provision of a greater than required by policy number of affordable homes.

Sustainability Appraisal

We have also assessed the Council's Sustainability Appraisal. This includes summaries of the assessments of site options and proposed policies including, as Appendix 4, an assessment of the site policy options. This table appraises two options for the former Sidley Sports and Social Club - purely housing and purely playing pitches. The SA does not appear accurate or objective in regard to its appraisal of the site, with the playing pitch option scoring higher than the provision of housing. There are several unsubstantiated instances (SA objectives 2 and 9) where the provision of housing has a cross, rather than a tick, despite more positive scoring being given to other sites for housing.

No mixed use is appraised for the site, this would have been a 'reasonable alternative' to explore further, given the owner's aspirations for the site and the planning application history. The SA is therefore flawed in this regard, as it does not assess and compare all of the realistic reasonable alternatives for the site.

Given our conclusions, our assessment is that in regard to the Sustainability Appraisal, this is not legally compliant.

Evidence Base Issues

The District Council has published a range of evidence-based studies which support the emerging Plan. Those most relevant to our client's site at Sidley are the Open Spaces, Sport and Recreation Strategy, which is very dated, published in 2006/7 and the Rother and Hastings Playing Pitch Strategy from 2016.

The Open Spaces, Sport and Recreation Strategy concludes with a quantity standard which for the Bexhill, Battle and Rye area is 2.97 hectares of outdoor sports facilities per 1,000 population. The study also concluded that the Council should plan for additional pitches in the Bexhill area. This is something that could be done through the review of the Plan, by allocating a site/sites for the provision of any additional sporting facilities that are required. This would be a justified and effective approach which responds to the evidence base.

The Playing Pitch Strategy (PPS) recommends that the Sidley Sports and Social Club site should be protected with any development leading to the replacement of facilities to at least the same or improved level of quality and facility mix. The PPS is somewhat misleading stating that the site provided 'a high quality of football provision for local residents'. This is factually incorrect, given the ongoing quality issues that were experienced in regard to the football pitch in relation to drainage and car parking. The ground did not meet the requirements for a step 7 football club (the level that Sidley United play at).

Additionally, the club was always privately owned rather than being a community facility. Our client, the site owner, offered the new facilities to Sidley United, for free. Whilst this offer made by our client was turned down by the club as it was considered unviable, our client is open to resuming discussions at any point. We note from the press (our source of local information given the lack of any engagement from the Council) that several football clubs would be interesting in using the site and our client is happy to work proactively as appropriate, with interested parties.

The PPS also confirms that the current ancillary facility (with regard to competitive football) is not fit for purpose and that if the site comes back into use for football then a new ancillary facility including changing rooms and a social area would be required. Our client responded to these points through the planning application and there is plenty of scope to work with the necessary agencies to ensure that the site is delivered in accordance with the outcomes of the PPS and to meet the requirements of the football club.

The PPS scores the cricket pitch at the former Sports and Social Club site relatively poorly; scores are given for five elements of provision, only two of which are relevant to the site (outfield and changing/pavilion). The cricket pitch scores 63.3% in these two areas, giving it an overall rating of 'standard'. Given that the site had been vacant for three years at the time that the PPS was carried out, it is difficult to have much faith in the justification or effectiveness of this assessment.

Table 5 of the PPS sets out the pitch quality information in regard to football, giving a pitch score and an ancillary score. The Sidley Sports and Social Club site scores very badly, with 38.57% for the pitch and 7.69% for ancillary facilities. This gives an overall score of 'poor'.

We assess that the summary below from the PPS is also inaccurate in terms of the site being a 'previously good facility'. Given the evidence about the quality of the football pitch which is publicly available on Sidley Football Club's website, this cannot be substantiated. The ground was not fit for purpose and did not meet the minimum grading requirements of a step 7 football club.

Sidley Sports and Social Club (Gullivers): Located in the heart of Sidley, this previously good facility has currently fallen into disuse and is in a very poor condition. Until recently; the ground was home to both Sidley Cricket Club and Sldley Football Club, but financial mismanagement resulted in its sale forcing both clubs to source alternative facilities outside of Rother. The pavilion facilities and stands have suffered from arson and vandalism.

In summary, therefore, we have assessed that the PPS is internally inconsistent and does not form a sound evidence base for the Local Plan.

Sidley Sports Ground Feasibility Study

A feasibility study (prepared by 4global in partnership with LK2 Consulting) was commissioned by the Council to inform the future of the former Sidley Sports Ground. Unfortunately, our client, despite being the owner of the site and being keen to work collaboratively with the Council, was not invited to engage in the study, despite being listed as one of the 'key stakeholders' identified at paragraph 1.2 of the study. The study is evidently flawed from the outset without the engagement of the owner, who would have had a meaningful input, and there is no reference within the study to the fact that the site is not for sale.

We were not even aware of the study until the emerging site allocation document was made public. Whilst we requested a copy of the study, this was not made available to us until it was published on the Council's website. The aim of the study is to 'ascertain the future use of the site' and sets out various options for the future of the site. 3 of the options involve various levels of residential development, however, these options were not shortlisted. The reason given is that '...releasing the land for housing is not compliant with the planning policy designation afforded to the site'. However, this statement is flawed - planning policy should be informed by the evidence base, para 31 of the NPPF sets out that "The preparation (our emphasis) and review of all policies should be underpinned by relevant and up to date evidence". The study infers that a decision was already made about the use of the site, specifically regarding the potential for residential development, before the study was carried out. This is an unsound approach in terms of not being a justified strategy - it is also inconsistent with national policy.

The study sets out (based on the information from the PPS )that there is a requirement for 2 additional full-sized 3G pitches in Rather, with at least one of these being located in Bexhill. This could be located on our client's site, as demonstrated by the scheme currently at appeal. Alternatively, and as we have set out, there is scope for the emerging Plan to identify a new site for any facilities identified within the PPS, either as part of one of the other proposed allocations in the Plan (as set out within Policy BEX10) or as a separate allocation elsewhere in the Bexhill area.

The study usefully confirms that the former Sidley Sports and Social Club site cannot meet the minimum requirements of a dual use cricket and football site, information which renders part of the recent refusal on the site factually erroneous.
Whilst the study includes options for funding, these are only options at the moment and this does not give any certainty at all regarding delivery. There is no analysis of the potential of providing a scheme that is part residential and part sports uses, despite the scope for this to provide a deliverable scheme. As we have set out above, the proposal that is currently being appealed will ensure the delivery of sporting facilities at the site.

Policy BEX 11

The emerging Plan proposes to allocate the former Sidley Sports and Social Club for playing pitches (with one pitch proposed) plus ancillary 'hub' space and open space. This is considered (by the Council) to be the most viable use of the site, allegedly based on the outcomes of a feasibility study (despite the feasibility study setting out that there was already planning policy in place for the site). This completely contradicts the reasons for refusal for our client's planning application which refused the application on the basis that it did not re-provide both a full sized adult football pitch and a full sized adult cricket pitch.

Unfortunately, our client has been excluded from participating either in the Feasibility Study, or in the preparation of the policy, despite a willingness to work collaboratively with the Council. We were not even aware of the study until the emerging site allocations local plan was placed in the public domain.

However, the Council has been engaging with local sports clubs regarding the future of the site. We consider this surprising, given our client's ownership of the site and casts doubts over the Councils approach to the preparation of the Plan. Engagement with the owner of the site would have been an obvious step towards producing an effective and justified strategy and policy towards the future of the site.

In its current form, we therefore consider that policy BEX11 is unsound in terms of paragraph 35 of the NPPF, specifically in regard to the 'effective' test of soundness, given that there is no evidence that the policy is deliverable. Whilst the Feasibility Study sets out options for future funding, none of these are guaranteed, and therefore the policy fails the tests of soundness in regard to justification, effectiveness and consistency with national policy.

However, we are keen to work with the Council to address this through some minor modifications to the policy which will enable our client to successfully deliver the site, in line with the principles that the Council has set out.

We suggest these modifications below, using the traditional strikethrough to show proposed deletions and underlining to show proposed additions to the policy text:

Policy BEX11

The former Sidley Sports and Social Club, Glovers Lane, as shown on the Policies Map, is allocated for playing pitches for up to 54 dwellings a playing pitch for formal sport and appropriate ancillary uses.

Proposals will be permitted where:


(i) up to 54 dwellings are provided on site including an appropriate mix of size ad types of private and affordable housing.
(ii) One full size 3G Artificial Grass Pitch (AGP) for formal sport is provided, alongside associated ancillary uses and parking facilities
(iii) Provision is made for the protection and enhancement of site's boundaries in order to enhance biodiversity and improve the relationship with neighbouring residential properties, as indicated on the Detail Map. Provision should include the translocation of reptiles and appropriate protection or mitigation for light-sensitive species in accordance with a lighting design strategy and species activity surveys;

(iv) A Community Use Agreement accompanies the application to ensure community access to the facility. The Agreement shall include details of pricing policy, hours of use, access by non-school users, management responsibilities and include a mechanism for review;

(v) Highway access is provided from Buckholt Lane, via Glovers Lane, alongside any offsite highway works to make the development acceptable in highway terms;

(vi) Linkages to the wider transport infrastructure that supports local accessibility for both cyclist and pedestrians are incorporated, including connections to the proposed Bexhill Cycle Network; and

(vii) Sustainable drainage (SuDS) is provided in accordance with Policy DENS.

Conclusion

We welcome the opportunity to comment at this key stage of the Local Plan process; however, our view is that a more positive approach is needed by the Council.

We have identified that the Plan does not take a sufficiently positive approach to allocating housing and is out of step with Government policy in this regard as it does not seek to use the Government's new method (which should be used unless there are exceptional circumstances).

Our client has an available and highly sustainable site which is available for mixed use development, including up to 54 homes. The site is in the hands of a willing developer and would go some significant way towards delivering the Council's aspirations for the former Sidley Sports and Social Club in Bexhill.

We have set out within these representations that we have concerns regarding the evidence base that underpins the emerging Plan, and that the Sustainability Appraisal is also flawed as it has not assessed obvious and realistic reasonable alternatives in regard to our client's sites.

In terms of the evidence base, there has been a specific feasibility study to assess the future of the former Sidley Sports and Social Club. Rather astonishingly, our client, the owner of the site has been excluded from participating in the study, despite a willingness to work collaboratively in this regard.

Given our client's key role in delivering the site, we have suggested some amendments to Policy BEX11 to ensure its deliverability.

We hope that these comments are useful. We are happy to work with the Council on the elements of unsoundness in the Plan that affect our client's site.
We confirm that we wish to appear at the Local Plan Examination in this regard.

Support

Proposed Submission Development and Site Allocations (DaSA) Local Plan

Representation ID: 24415

Received: 07/12/2018

Respondent: East Sussex County Council

Representation:

Alterations to the Sustainability Appraisal are noted, and references to Commercial & Industrial Waste and Construction, Demolition and Excavation Waste are appreciated.

Full text:

East Sussex County Council Representations on the Proposed Submission Rother Development and Site Allocations (DaSA) Local Plan

The County Council wish to make the following representations which seek modifications to make certain aspects of the Proposed Submission DaSA Local Plan sound. We also have some other comments and observations which relate to certain points that we raised at the draft consultation stage.

Minerals and Waste Planning

The comments below are made by East Sussex County Council in our role as the relevant Minerals and Waste Planning Authority for the plan area.

Soundness - Policy DEN3: Strategic Gaps

As identified in our previous comments on the Options and Preferred Options DaSA, Pebsham Household Waste Recycling Centre and Waste Transfer Station, which is a strategic safeguarded waste site, and the Pebsham Waste Water Treatment Works are located within the Bexhill and Hastings/St Leonards Strategic Gap (Policy DEN3), but are not within the Combe Valley Countryside park (Policy HAS1).

The East Sussex, South Downs and Brighton & Hove Waste and Minerals Plan (WMP), adopted 2013, sets out the strategy for waste management within East Sussex, Brighton & Hove and the South Downs National Park. Policy WMP22 of the WMP supports proposals for increasing capacity within the boundaries of an existing waste management site and making the most efficient use of existing waste sites. This was a consideration in the identification of sites under the Waste and Minerals Sites Plan (2017).

The Council recognises the importance of retaining strategic gaps as set out in Policy DEN3. However, it is concerned that the stipulation that development may only occur within the strategic gap under exceptional circumstances undermines the ability of the WMP to make most efficient use of waste sites as supported by adopted Policy WMP22 of the WMP. This creates ambiguity between the two policies, and the Council therefore believes that Policy DEN3 is currently unsound on the grounds that it is not effective. 2

To resolve this soundness issue the County Council requests that the following text is inserted into the supporting text after paragraph 6.18:

"This Plan recognises that there are strategic waste facilities within the Gap. Proposals for the intensification of these facilities within their existing boundaries, as enabled by the Waste and Minerals Plan, are supported in principle and do not have to demonstrate exceptional circumstances, provided that the openness of the Gap is maintained."

Requested Minor Modifications

Reference is made to the Waste and Minerals Plan and the Waste and Minerals Sites Plan in section 1 which is appreciated. However, there is no mention of the safeguarding of minerals sites, wharves and railheads within the Rother Local Plan area, as identified in policies SP8 and SP9 of the Sites Plan and policies WMP14 and WMP15 of the Waste and Minerals Plan as previously suggested in the County Council's response to the Options and Preferred Options DaSA. It is requested that reference to these policies or to the safeguarding of mineral sites is made.

Presently, safeguarded waste and minerals sites do not appear to be referenced on the Rother Local Policies Map. It is requested that either the safeguarded minerals sites within the Rother Local Plan area are included in this Policies Map, or that reference to the Waste and Minerals Policies Map is made on the Rother Policies Map as required by article 9 of the Town and County Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (as amended).

Paragraph 10.3 of the supporting text for policy HAS1 which concerns the Combe Valley Countryside Park refers to the continued use of land within the locality for waste collection, and states that such operations must be contained and should not conflict with the aims and objectives of the Combe Valley Countryside Park. This should refer to 'waste management' rather than waste collection.

Policy DEN3 states that development in a Strategic Gap will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances. Further clarity could be provided on what constitutes 'exceptional circumstances'.

Other Comments

The reference to the National Planning Policy for Waste in paragraph 1.22 is welcomed.

In section 2, the inclusion of policy DHG7 External Residential Areas item (iii) Waste and Recycling is welcomed.

With regards to policy RHA2: Harbour Road Employment Area, Rye Harbour, the comments made by the County Council in response to the Options and Preferred Options DaSA have been taken into account. Paragraph 11.204 and policy RHA2 (vi) include text which requires proposals that could affect the wharf to demonstrate that capacity for landing, processing, handling and storage of minerals is safeguarded. This is strongly supported. Recognition of the waste management operation at Rye Oil is also appreciated.

Alterations to the Sustainability Appraisal are noted, and references to Commercial & Industrial Waste and Construction, Demolition and Excavation Waste are appreciated.

Alterations to the Sustainability Appraisal are noted, and references to Commercial & Industrial Waste and Construction, Demolition and Excavation Waste are appreciated.

Highway Authority

ESCC Cycling and Walking Strategy

Although the Cycling and Walking Strategy is briefly mentioned in the introduction section on page 13 we would request that a minor modification is made by adding the following text in the opening pages of the Bexhill site allocations chapter (pages 113-115) and the opening pages of the Hastings Fringes chapter (pages 175-178):

ESCC are in the process of developing a County wide Cycling & Walking Strategy, which will aim to deliver cycling and walking infrastructure on key corridors of movement between residential areas (including new developments) and key trip attractors, including education, employment, retail and leisure activities'.

Proposed site allocations

The County Council, in our role as the relevant Highway Authority for the plan area, have worked closely with Rother District Council in the production of the DaSA Local Plan and provided input at the Options and Preferred Options stage. For this reason, we do not wish to oppose the principle of the proposed allocations. However, we do seek some minor modifications to certain policies, and also wish to raise a soundness concern over one particular policy (BEX10). Despite this, we have set out below how we consider this soundness issue can be addressed by way of a modification to the policy in question.

It is recognised that a number of the proposed allocations have been, or are subject to planning applications that the Highway Authority has provided comment on (i.e. BEX1, BEX2, BEX7 and BEX9). In light of our involvement and our stated positions on the applications for these sites, alongside the evidence supporting the plan, we do not wish to object and raise concerns over the soundness of those particular proposed allocations.

BEX3: (Land at North Bexhill -Infrastructure) and sub-policies BEX3a, BEX3b, BEX3c

Policy BEX3c imposes a traffic calming requirement (criteria iii b) but Policy BEX3b doesn't. This does not suggest consistency across the three sites/sub-policies of BEX3 - as all traffic and most non-vehicular movement from the 3 sites reaches the proximity of Mayo Lane.

We therefore request that minor modifications are made to Policy BEX3 and BEX3c:
-that the policy criteria of Policy BEX3c (iii) (b) regarding traffic management is deleted from BEX3c and is instead written into the shared infrastructure policy (Policy BEX3).

BEX4: Land at Former High School Site and Drill Hall, Down Road, Bexhill
We agree with policy text in point (v) regarding the transport assessment.

We recommend that there should be a masterplan/design brief as the uses are specific and sustainable transport/connectivity should be a key feature.

The main impact of this development from a highways perspective will be on the trunk road.
BEX10: Land at Northeye (Former UAE Technical Training Project)

From a transport perspective, we do not consider that the proposed allocation is in a sustainable location and a development on this site could be reliant on access to and from to be primarily made by private car. This is primarily the case due to the sites detachment from the main settlement of Bexhill (as recognised in paragraph 9.107 of the plan) and that few amenities, community facilities and employment opportunities exist within a reasonable walking distance of the site. However, the County Council recognises the overarching development strategy set out in the Local Plan 'Core Strategy' 2014 and the fact that the site is partly brownfield. Given this we do not wish to object to the principal of the proposed allocation. Instead, we wish to ensure that any development in pursuant of this allocation is able to take full advantage of, as well as make improvements to sustainable transport measures in the locality, as well as seeking to implement measures that minimise the risk of travel by private car.

We therefore request that there is a modification to the policy that requires a Travel Plan to be submitted and approved by us for any planning application on the site. The Travel Plan will need to demonstrate how opportunities for walking and cycling can be fully utilised (there are existing cycle lanes either side of the A259), as well as other sustainable transport measures (e.g. possible car club, measures that encourage journeys to be made by bike and bus, etc).

We also request that an amendment is made to criteria vii) of the policy. It is not just the bus stops we would wish to see improved, we would also want to see improvements which aid the accessibility of the bus stops - i.e. widening of footways and an improved crossing point on the A259.

It is considered that such modifications are required to the policy in order for it to be effective and consistent with national policy (in reference to the tests of soundness).
FAC1: Land at Former Market Garden, Fairlight Cove

The supporting text for the policy notes that the access to the site will be on roads that are unadopted and privately maintained. It is highly unlikely that this road could be brought up to an adoptable standard. Although the County Council does not wish to oppose the proposed allocation, we would ask that reference is made within either the supporting text, or the policy itself, that consideration will need to be given to creating safe pedestrian routes to and from the site, which is particularly important given the lack of footway on the unadopted highway.

WES4: Land between Moor Lane and the A28, Westfield

The indicative parking area for the proposed allotments is located opposite a 4 way junction. Therefore it will be important to fully consider highway safety at planning application stage. It would be hazardous for vehicles to reverse out of the site into the main road and therefore the parking area should be designed in a way that removes the need to reverse out. It is suggested that reference is made to this requirement in paragraph 11.237 of the supporting text to the policy.

Ecology

Energy from biomass (Paragraph 2.17)
It should be noted that because Ancient woodland requires ongoing management it does have some potential as a source for biomass energy.

Policy DHG2: Rural Exception Sites

We request the following minor modification: That biodiversity is added to Point (vi) of the policy i.e. to state that 'the development does not significantly harm biodiversity'.
Locally designated sites (Paragraph 6.3.4)

We request the following minor modification:

Delete the reference to 'East Sussex County Council' in this paragraph. This is because the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre is the main contact for information on locally designated sites (the Sussex Local Wildlife Site Initiative and the Sussex Geodiversity Partnership are both hosted by the Record Centre).

Biodiversity and Green Space (Page 60)

We request that a minor modification is made:

Mention should be made of Habitats and Species of Principal Importance, as listed under Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. The S41 lists are used to guide decision-makers, including local authorities, in implementing their duty under Section 40 of the Act to have regard to the conservation of biodiversity in England, when carrying out their normal functions. S41 habitats within Rother include woodland, maritime cliff and slopes, hedgerows and lowland meadows, and s41 species include hedgehog, common toad, house sparrow, brown-banded carder bee and pennyroyal.

Biodiversity opportunities in development: Paragraph 6.43

We request that the following minor modifications are made (additional words in italics and underlined) to paragraph 6.43 on page 84:

Ecological surveys and reports will be required to be submitted with planning applications for major development or where the development may impact on any designated sites, priority habitat of protected or notable species.

Housing allocation policy detail maps:

Policy detail maps show indicative layouts, but these may need to be adapted depending on the ecological constraints and opportunities. Site masterplans for allocated sites should be informed by an Ecological Constraints and Opportunities Plan (in line with BS42020:2013).


Lead Local Flood Authority

The Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) recognises that the Local Plan 'Core Strategy' was supported by a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) and that the DaSA sets out non-strategic policies within the overarching development strategy for the district. Recognising the content of paragraph 156 of the NPPF, it is not a requirement for the DaSA to be supported by an up-to-date version of the SFRA. Nevertheless, the LLFA would wish to place on record that when Rother District Council review their Core Strategy, it will be required to be supported by an up-to-date version of the SFRA. This is particularly paramount given that since the 2008 version has been produced, a significant amount of evidence has been collated by the LLFA on local flood risk matters in the district.

The LLFA notes that the DaSA has been informed by site assessments and a number of background evidence studies. This has included surface water flooding information and flood zone mapping provided by the Environment Agency.

In light of the above, the LLFA does not wish to challenge the soundness of the DaSA and oppose the principle of the proposed allocations. However, we would request that the plan acknowledges that in avoiding areas of flood risk and ensuring that appropriate drainage proposals are delivered on the allocated sites (in the form of SuDS) that the quantums of growth set within each proposed policy allocation may need to be compromised in some instances. This is considered essential given that the LLFA has yet to see detailed masterplanning that identifies the potential land-take for whatever the appropriate drainage method will eventually be implemented. We would therefore suggest that the terms "approximately" or "circa" are used prior to the stated amount of residential development allocated to the site in question.

The County Council is aware that Rother District Council intends to formally submit the DaSA Local Plan to the Secretary of State in January 2019. The County Council supports this course of action as we consider that the matters raised in this representation can be suitably addressed and resolved during the Examination in Public into the DaSA Local Plan.

Should you require any further information on these points please do not hesitate to contact myself.

Object

Proposed Submission Development and Site Allocations (DaSA) Local Plan

Representation ID: 24440

Received: 07/12/2018

Respondent: Persimmon Homes Ltd

Agent: Savills

Representation:

The consideration of the North Bexhill site as one entity does not allow for a clear independent assessment of land north and south of the NBAR.

Land north of the NBAR is identified as Area 'D'. In Option 5, residential development is proposed. It has six negative scores but only Objective 15 has 'potentially significant adverse effects'.

This score appears erroneous. When considering Objective 15 specifically, the SA finds minor adverse effects with Option 2 (Areas 'A', 'B', 'C', and 'D)', however when Areas 'B' and 'C' are removed, this rises to potential significant effects. Option 5 should therefore register the same score as Option 4.

It is acknowledged that development on greenfield land will negatively impact the natural environment, however, had the inclusion of Area 'D' under Option 5 been scored correctly, it is shown that its inclusion for development with Area 'A' would not have a materially harming impact.

Therefore, the inclusion of Area 'D' for development would not register any greater a material impact on the natural environment than land with a draft allocation under BEX3a, BEX3b, or BEX3c. Accordingly the land should be taken forward as an allocation.

Please see attached full representation for further information.

Full text:

Appendix 4 of the Sustainability Appraisal sets out the assessment of the site allocation options, the sections below review the SA of the North Bexhill site.

In the sustainability appraisal, land to the north of Bexhill was considered as one site with a variety of development options. The consideration of the site as one entity is in keeping with how the site has been viewed in the SHLAA, however it does not allow for a clear independent assessment of the land to the north and south of the NBAR, as the sites are considered in conjunction with others.

Page 70 sets out how the broader north Bexhill site has been examined, with the various connotations and combinations that have been explored. The areas relevant to this representation are to the east of the wider site, and fall within parcels 'A' and 'D'. Page 78 sets out how the various site options were considered and shows the scores that they achieved.

The land to the south of the NBAR is identified as part of a conglomeration of 3 sites in the policy options plan, all termed as Area 'A'. Area 'A' appears in every option provided, and each option is identified as having at least 7 positive scores and two 'no effect' scores of the 16 elements assessed.

The most relevant Option considered is Option 4, which considers solely the Area 'A' sites. Whilst this does not examine the site that has been identified in the DaSA as BEX3c on its own, it does provide an examination that is not affected by the other defined Areas. Option 4 identifies seven positive scores, three 'no effect' scores and six negative scores. Of the six negative scores, all are deemed to only have 'minor adverse effects'.

Given the inclusion of land to the south of the NBAR within the DaSA as a site allocation, it is therefore interpreted that receiving similar scores would also justify sites with a similar score being included as draft allocations.

The site to the north of the NBAR is identified as being Area 'D' in the policy options plan. It is only included in three options - Option 2, Option 3 and Option 5. In Options 2 and 3, business development on Area 'D' is proposed, whilst in Option 5, residential development is proposed.

Given that the proposed masterplan for the site includes residential development to the north of the NBAR, it is prudent to examine the outcomes of Option 5 of the sustainability Appraisal. Option 5 includes both Area 'A' and Area 'D', and assesses the sustainability of these two areas together. As with the assessment of Option 4, Option 5 shows a positive score against seven of the sustainability criteria with three criteria being deemed to be of 'no effect'. Of the six negative scores, five are deemed to have only 'minor adverse effects'. Sustainability Objective 15 (to protect and enhance the high quality natural built environment) is deemed to register a score of 'potentially significant adverse effects' when Area 'D' is included in Option 5.

This inclusion of this 'potentially significant adverse effect' appears erroneous. When considering SA Objective 15 specifically, (Protect and enhance the high quality natural and built environment) the SA finds that with Option 2 (which includes Areas 'A', 'B', 'C', and 'D)', there may be minor adverse effects, however when Areas 'B' and 'C' are removed, and only Areas 'A' and 'D' considered under Option 5, this rises to potential significant effects. For less development to fail to protect and enhance the high quality of the natural and built environment appears to therefore be an erroneous score. Option 5 should therefore register the same score when considered against the sustainability appraisal and result in a score that matches that achieved by Option 4.

It is acknowledged that development on greenfield land will result in a negative impact on the natural environment, however, had the inclusion of Area 'D' under Option 5 been scored correctly, It can be seen that the inclusion of Area 'D' for development has not had a materially harming impact when considered alongside the development of Area 'A'.

In light of this, the inclusion of Area 'D' for development would not register any more of a material impact on the natural environment than the inclusion of land that has already been given a draft allocation in the DaSA under BEX3a, BEX3b, or BEX3c. Accordingly the land assessed under Area 'D' should be taken forward as an allocation in accordance with the comments made in section 7 of this representation.

Please see attached full representation for further information.

Highway Access report:
http://www.rother.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=31171

Preston Farm Hall Representations report
http://www.rother.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=31172

Support

Proposed Submission Development and Site Allocations (DaSA) Local Plan

Representation ID: 24542

Received: 06/12/2018

Respondent: Natural England

Representation:

Sustainability Appraisal (SA)

Natural England do not have any specific additional comments to make on the Sustainability Appraisal.

Full text:


Rother District Council Proposed Submission Development and Site Allocations Local Plan (DaSA)

Thank you for your consultation on the above dated 26 October 2018 which was received by Natural England on the same date.

Natural England is a non-departmental public body. Our statutory purpose is to ensure the natural environment is conserved, enhanced, and managed for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby contributing to sustainable development.
Natural England has reviewed the Proposed DaSA and accompanying appendices together with the Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) and Sustainability Appraisal (SA). Our comments on these documents are provided below, which I hope you find useful.

Overarching comment regarding soundness

Natural England welcomes the approach taken by your authority to consult with Natural England at various stages in the preparation of the DaSA. Generally, it appears that the majority of our comments/concerns have been addressed in this version of the plan, and we are pleased that our engagement has resulted in a plan that responds effectively to issues relating to the natural environment.

With reference to soundness, we offer the following advice:

Policy RHA2: Harbour Road Employment Area

Part of this allocation is within Rye Harbour SSSI (overlying saltmarsh by Rye Harbour Road). Development in this area would result in direct loss of SSSI features. We therefore advise that this area is not suitable for development as part of the Employment Area. As proposed, the policy is inconsistent with national policy to protect designated sites (namely para 175 (b) and see also paras 170, 172, 174) and with local plan policy (DEN4). On this basis we object to the allocation as currently proposed, and advise that the boundary is amended to exclude the SSSI.

Policy WES1: Land at Westfield Down, Westfield

We are concerned that development of this area could have an adverse effect on the landscape character of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Our concern particularly relates to the potential introduction of flood lighting which may be associated with the sports pitch(es). An assessment of the potential impacts of developing this allocated site does not appear to have been completed. As proposed, we advise that this allocation is not justified as it does not provide sufficient evidence to support its inclusion in the Local Plan with regard to impacts on the AONB, considered against reasonable alternatives. Pending further information, it is our advice that this policy may be found to be inconsistent with national policy with regard to conserving landscape and scenic beauty within a nationally protected landscape (Paragraphs 170 & 172, NPPF 2018).

With reference to paragraph 172 of the NPPF, it is for the decision maker to decide if a proposal constitutes major development. If this allocation does constitute major development, the allocation should be assessed against the three tests (NPPF para 172), including clear and reasonable justification if exceptional circumstances and public benefit are to be demonstrated, in accordance with national policy and policies DEN1 and DEN2 of the proposed Local Plan. If it cannot be proven that these criteria are met, we advise this allocation is not pursued. If this allocation is not considered to be major development, we would advise that the policy includes wording requiring early consideration of impacts (such as, but not limited to, floodlighting) to ensure impacts to the AONB can be avoided, and the allocation does not conflict with other policies within this local plan (namely DEN1 and DEN2).

Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA)

Natural England generally concurs with the conclusions drawn in the HRA which state that no adverse effects on the integrity on the Pevensey Levels SAC/Ramsar and Dungeness Romney Marsh and Rye Bay SPA/Ramsar are expected to result from development provided by the Rother DaSA Local Plan, alone or in combination with other plans and projects. We agree that adequate mitigation strategies as identified in Tables 5 and 6 of the HRA are in place to ensure there will be no adverse effects with the exception of the following:

RHA1: Land at the Stonework Cottages, Rye Harbour

We advise that as currently proposed, the policy refers to groundwater impacts but does not include reference to other impact pathways and the importance of including adequate protection measures/surface water management. Without adequate surface water protection measures, we consider there remains a significant possibility of impacts to surface water quality, which could have an adverse effect on the integrity of the Dungeness Romney Marsh and Rye Bay SPA/Ramsar. We do not currently agree with the conclusion of no adverse effect on integrity for this policy. Please see our comments for this policy at Appendix A.

Natural England confirms that in accordance with section 5.1.2. of the HRA, project-level HRA will be necessary.

Sustainability Appraisal (SA)

Natural England do not have any specific additional comments to make on the Sustainability Appraisal.

Other comments

Further comments regarding policy wording is provided at Appendix A. We have recommended some wording amendments to improve policy with regard to the protection and enhancement of the natural environment.

I hope that these comments are useful. We would be happy to discuss our comments further should the need arise but in the meantime if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us. For queries relating to the specific advice in this letter please contact amy.kitching@naturalengland.org.uk. For any new consultations, or to provide further information on this consultation, please send your correspondences to consultations@naturalengland.org.uk.

Appendix A text - amended wording:
Rother District Council Proposed Submission Development and Site Allocations Local Plan (DaSA)

Thank you for your consultation on the above dated 26 October 2018 which was received by Natural England on the same date.

Natural England is a non-departmental public body. Our statutory purpose is to ensure the natural environment is conserved, enhanced, and managed for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby contributing to sustainable development.
Natural England has reviewed the Proposed DaSA and accompanying appendices together with the Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) and Sustainability Appraisal (SA). Our comments on these documents are provided below, which I hope you find useful.

Overarching comment regarding soundness
Natural England welcomes the approach taken by your authority to consult with Natural England at various stages in the preparation of the DaSA. Generally, it appears that the majority of our comments/concerns have been addressed in this version of the plan, and we are pleased that our engagement has resulted in a plan that responds effectively to issues relating to the natural environment.

With reference to soundness, we offer the following advice:

Policy RHA2: Harbour Road Employment Area

Part of this allocation is within Rye Harbour SSSI (overlying saltmarsh by Rye Harbour Road). Development in this area would result in direct loss of SSSI features. We therefore advise that this area is not suitable for development as part of the Employment Area. As proposed, the policy is inconsistent with national policy to protect designated sites (namely para 175 (b) and see also paras 170, 172, 174) and with local plan policy (DEN4). On this basis we object to the allocation as currently proposed, and advise that the boundary is amended to exclude the SSSI.

Policy WES1: Land at Westfield Down, Westfield

We are concerned that development of this area could have an adverse effect on the landscape character of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Our concern particularly relates to the potential introduction of flood lighting which may be associated with the sports pitch(es). An assessment of the potential impacts of developing this allocated site does not appear to have been completed. As proposed, we advise that this allocation is not justified as it does not provide sufficient evidence to support its inclusion in the Local Plan with regard to impacts on the AONB, considered against reasonable alternatives. Pending further information, it is our advice that this policy may be found to be inconsistent with national policy with regard to conserving landscape and scenic beauty within a nationally protected landscape (Paragraphs 170 & 172, NPPF 2018).

With reference to paragraph 172 of the NPPF, it is for the decision maker to decide if a proposal constitutes major development. If this allocation does constitute major development, the allocation should be assessed against the three tests (NPPF para 172), including clear and reasonable justification if exceptional circumstances and public benefit are to be demonstrated, in accordance with national policy and policies DEN1 and DEN2 of the proposed Local Plan. If it cannot be proven that these criteria are met, we advise this allocation is not pursued. If this allocation is not considered to be major development, we would advise that the policy includes wording requiring early consideration of impacts (such as, but not limited to, floodlighting) to ensure impacts to the AONB can be avoided, and the allocation does not conflict with other policies within this local plan (namely DEN1 and DEN2).

Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA)
Natural England generally concurs with the conclusions drawn in the HRA which state that no adverse effects on the integrity on the Pevensey Levels SAC/Ramsar and Dungeness Romney Marsh and Rye Bay SPA/Ramsar are expected to result from development provided by the Rother DaSA Local Plan, alone or in combination with other plans and projects. We agree that adequate mitigation strategies as identified in Tables 5 and 6 of the HRA are in place to ensure there will be no adverse effects with the exception of the following:

RHA1: Land at the Stonework Cottages, Rye Harbour

We advise that as currently proposed, the policy refers to groundwater impacts but does not include reference to other impact pathways and the importance of including adequate protection measures/surface water management. Without adequate surface water protection measures, we consider there remains a significant possibility of impacts to surface water quality, which could have an adverse effect on the integrity of the Dungeness Romney Marsh and Rye Bay SPA/Ramsar. We do not currently agree with the conclusion of no adverse effect on integrity for this policy. Please see our comments for this policy at Appendix A.

Natural England confirms that in accordance with section 5.1.2. of the HRA, project-level HRA will be necessary.

Sustainability Appraisal (SA)

Natural England do not have any specific additional comments to make on the Sustainability Appraisal.

Other comments

Further comments regarding policy wording is provided at Appendix A. We have recommended some wording amendments to improve policy with regard to the protection and enhancement of the natural environment.

I hope that these comments are useful. We would be happy to discuss our comments further should the need arise but in the meantime if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us. For queries relating to the specific advice in this letter please contact amy.kitching@naturalengland.org.uk. For any new consultations, or to provide further information on this consultation, please send your correspondences to consultations@naturalengland.org.uk.

Appendix A text - amended wording:
http://www.rother.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=31182

Appendix A - General advice on policy, including recommended amendments to policy wording

Natural England provides the following comments on policies and/or suggested amendments to policy wording. The comments/amendments should not be treated as formal objections, but are provided where we think policy wording could benefit from clarification, or where more robust wording is needed to secure protection and enhancement of the natural environment.

Policy DEN2: The High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

All development within or affecting the setting of the High Weald AONB shall conserve and seek to enhance its landscape and scenic beauty, having particular regard to the impacts on its character components, as set out in the High Weald AONB Management Plan. Development within the High Weald AONB should be small-scale, in keeping with the landscape and settlement pattern; major development will be inappropriate except in exceptional circumstances.

Policy DEC2: Holiday Sites

All proposals for camping, caravan and purpose-built holiday accommodation must
(i) safeguard intrinsic and distinctive landscape character and amenities, paying particular regard to the conservation of the High Weald AONB in accordance with the High Weald AONB Management Plan and undeveloped coastline, and be supported by landscaping proposals appropriate to the local landscape character;
(ii) conserve or and enhance sensitive habitats and species;

Policy DEN5: Sustainable Drainage

In addition to points in section (iv), we recommend that SuDS are linked up wherever possible to achieve greater benefits for water management and wildlife, to contribute to green infrastructure and support robust ecological networks.

Policy HAS1: Combe Valley Countryside Park

Within the Countryside Park area, proposals will only be acceptable where they:
(ii) provide for the proper conservation and, where appropriate, management of the Site of Special Scientific Interest and the Local Wildlife Site within it and creates net gains to biodiversity within the Park, where practicable;

Policy HAS3: Land north of A265, Ivyhouse Lane, Hastings

The detail map for this allocation shows the site to lie within the AONB. Although the existing site is developed, the policy wording should recognise the location of this site within the designated landscape, as opposed to its setting (when compared with wording of Policy HAS2 which is within the setting of the AONB).

Policy HAS4: Rock Lane Urban Fringe Management Area

The supporting text recognises that this site lies within the AONB, however it is important that this is also reflected in the wording of the policy. You may wish to consider clarifying the aims of the allocation (to provide multifunctional greenspace) in order to prevent applications for inappropriate development in this area.

Policy PEA1: Land south of Main Street, Peasmarsh

Land south of Main Street, as shown on the Policies Map, is allocated for residential development and amenity open space including a retained traditional orchard and children's play area. Proposals will be permitted where:
(vi) other existing ecological and High Weald AONB character features are retained and enhanced, including historic field boundaries, boundary hedgerows, existing trees and existing pond (delete the words: "as far as reasonably practicable").

Policy RHA1: Land at Stoneworks Cottages, Rye Harbour

This allocation site lies adjacent to the Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay SSSI, SPA and Ramsar site, which is sensitive to water quality impacts. In order to protect the designated sites, proposals must consider all potential pathways for hydrological impacts upon the adjacent designated sites (not just groundwater). A comprehensive approach must be undertaken in order to mitigate any potential adverse impacts, which in this case is likely to require the inclusion of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS).