Northampton Local Plan 1997

CHAPTER 2 : ENVIRONMENT

LANDSCAPE AND OPEN SPACE INTRODUCTION

2.1.           Northampton is located  in the middle of the County with the town centre elevated above the confluence of the two upper reaches of the River Nene. The topography underlying the landscape does not afford many distant views of the town except from the M1 motorway and from the high ground to the north and west. The valley of the River Nene is the most important natural feature of the landscape in Northampton.

 

2.2.           The main channel of the River Nene flows from west to east in a broad flood plain through the town. By Carlsberg brewery it is joined  by the Brampton arm which flows from the north through Kingsthorpe and St James. Traditionally the flood plain of the valley has remained free from development and the meadows have been used for grazing thus retaining an open green corridor through the town from west to east and from the centre to the north. The Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal also occupies the edge of the valley providing an important feature in the landscape.

 

2.3.           On both sides of the river, the land rises gently to reach a height of about 100 metres. South of the river there is  a defined ridge line, seen from the town centre, which extends from Hunsbury Hill  through Hardingstone to Great Houghton in the east. To the north, the higher ground at Boughton Green, Moulton Park, Parklands and Spinney Hill has been concealed for the most part by development, as it has at Duston and Dallington to the west.

 

2.4.           Within this setting, Northampton has developed into a predominantly urban area.  It has been renowned for many years for the quality and abundance of its parks and open spaces although the latter have come under increasing pressure for development  during the 1980s. The expansion of Northampton to the  east and south provided significant additional  areas of public open spaces.

 

2.5.           Important areas of woodland at Billing Arbours and Lings Wood have been retained as landscape features and the landscape potential of streams and lakes has been realised with associated amenity areas to create the structured urban landscape which now exists within the town. This has enhanced the reputation of Northampton and has resulted in an environment of a quality that is valued and which the Council is anxious to protect and enhance.

 

2.6.           The Council will seek to maintain and enhance the landscape of Northampton.

POLICY e1 : landscape & open space

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL NOT BE GRANTED FOR DEVELOPMENT WHICH BY REASON OF ITS SITING, DESIGN AND LAYOUT IS LIKELY TO BE DETRIMENTAL TO THE CHARACTER AND STRUCTURE OF THE LANDSCAPE.

POLICY E1 REPLACED BY JOINT CORE STRATEGY POLICIES BN2 & BN5 WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE JOINT CORE STRATEGY LOCAL PLAN (PART 1) ADOPTED - DECEMBER 2014.

 

RIVERSIDE LANDSCAPE

 

2.7.           The main channel of the River Nene changes discernibly from a wide stream at Kislingbury to the broad slow moving river through Midsummer and Barnes Meadows within the town. The river is visible  from many vantage points and there is public  access along most of its length through Northampton. The scenery alongside it changes from the unspoiled rural charm of the upper reaches in the Brampton Valley and the Upton area to the urban industrial frontages at South Bridge.

 

2.8.           Other than at Beckett's Park, only comparatively minor projects have been carried out to improve the amenity and landscape potential of the river. Until the construction of the Washland scheme the river used to flood a large part of the valley several times each year. With better control of the water levels there is now an opportunity to develop areas alongside the river and create facilities and open space with public access that would be greatly beneficial to the amenity of the town.

 

2.9.           The following policy therefore applies to land alongside the River Nene in order to ensure that further development is consistent  with the principles of nature conservation and allows for public access to the river frontage. In safeguarding a bankside margin free from development, the width of the frontage strip should be measured from the top edge of the river bank.

 

2.10.         The Council will seek to improve the visual character of the riverside and enhance the landscape along the River Nene including the Brampton Arm and the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal, securing and improving public facilities where appropriate, having regard to the landscape character.

 

2.11.         Floodplains fulfil an important role in controlling the flow rates of river systems, absorbing peak run off and releasing  it slowly. Over development of floodplains can increase the risk of flooding downstream, and it is obviously also at risk itself. Proposals for development which reduces the storage capacity  of the floodplain, impedes drainage or increases run off need to be assessed carefully, in consultation with the Environment Agency to ensure that any detrimental effects are avoided. However in some circumstances compensatory works may be acceptable. The Borough Council will have regard to the guidance contained in DoE Circular 30/92 in determining applications.

POLICY E2 : RIVERSIDE LANDSCAPE

PLANNING PERMISSION FOR DEVELOPMENT ALONGSIDE THE RIVER NENE (INCLUDING THE BRAMPTON AND NORTHAMPTON ARMS) WILL NOT BE GRANTED UNLESS IT IS COMPATIBLE WITH EXISTING IMPORTANT WILDLIFE HABITATS AND INCLUDES A LANDSCAPED AND ACCESSIBLE FRONTAGE TO THE RIVER, ON AVERAGE 12 METRES WIDE, TO PROVIDE FOR RECREATION OR WATERSIDE ACTIVITIES.

POLICY E2 REPLACED BY JOINT CORE STRATEGY POLICY BN8 WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE JOINT CORE STRATEGY LOCAL PLAN (PART 1) ADOPTED - DECEMBER 2014.

 

WATER ENVIRONMENT

2.14.         Associated with the river are the lakes and lagoons in the valley, which are almost all the result of earlier mineral workings. Many are now used for recreational purposes as at Delapre where paths have been made around the lake and the combination of water, open space and trees create an attractive park.

 

2.15.         The continuing growth of the town will create the need  for additional water areas to be formed, partly due to mineral extraction but also to deal with the control of surface water run off from development areas. It is important that these are designed to enhance the surrounding landscape and provide a habitat for wildlife.

POLICY E4 : WATER ENVIRONMENT

PLANNING PERMISSION FOR THE FORMATION OF NEW WATER AREAS WILL NOT BE GRANTED UNLESS THEIR MARGINS AND SURROUNDS ARE DESIGNED, CONTOURED AND PLANTED WITH INDIGENOUS SPECIES TO CREATE ATTRACTIVE FEATURES IN THE LANDSCAPE.

POLICY E4 REPLACED BY JOINT CORE STRATEGY POLICIES BN1 BN4 BN7 & BN8 WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE JOINT CORE STRATEGY LOCAL PLAN (PART 1) ADOPTED - DECEMBER 2014.

 

GREENSPACE 

2.17.         The term "greenspace" is a description of open space areas within Northampton which make an important contribution to the quality of urban life.  Whilst large public open spaces provide an environment for active pleasure, personal enjoyment and quiet reflection, equally there are many other open spaces not always accessible and sometimes quite small in area. Within the built-up areas of the town these might be the only areas of green space within a short walk or even sight of a house or place of work and therefore be important to a local environment. 

2.18.         The term "greenspace" should not be confused with Green Belt which is designed to contain the outward spread of urban development. Greenspaces in an urban area often include open space used for existing public and private recreation, for school and college playing fields and for allotments.  Specific policies apply to these areas which seek to guard against inappropriate development (policies L1, L2, L24 respectively). 

Greenspace designation applies to those areas considered important to conserve which are not already subject to these policies. 

2.19.         Such areas may include land used for agriculture, land once designated for road building and now no longer required, land used for burial and cremation, river valley flood plain and the grounds of large institutions. Such areas may form natural links with open countryside, open space within the river valley, linear corridors of open space, green "spaces" around development or "islands" of open space in the urban area. However this does not mean that any development in an area subject to this policy will not be permitted. The essential test will be whether or not proposals are considered to have a detrimental effect on the function of the overall area subject to the policy. Thus for example proposals for development in the "Brampton Valley" site would be examined against their impact upon the Valley as a whole and not simply upon the development site proposed. In all cases this is open space which forms a valuable contribution  to the amenity and character of a locality and in certain cases the whole town. Therefore it is important to restrict development which would prejudice the existing function of such areas. These different functions of Greenspace are reflected in Appendix 2 which contains lists and plans of all sites subject to policy E6 by the principal function they perform. 

2.20.         The Council will seek to protect and enhance Greenspace areas identified on the Proposals Map. 

POLICY E6 : GREENSPACE

IN GREENSPACE AREAS PLANNING PERMISSION WILL ONLY BE GRANTED WHERE THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT WOULD NOT UNACCEPTABLY PREJUDICE THE FUNCTION OF THE AREAS AS LISTED AND IDENTIFIED IN APPENDIX 2.

 

POLICY E6 REPLACED BY JOINT CORE STRATEGY POLICIES BN1 BN5 BN8 & RC2 WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE JOINT CORE STRATEGY LOCAL PLAN (PART 1) ADOPTED - DECEMBER 2014.

 

SKYLINE DEVELOPMENT 

2.21.         The  topography of Northampton is another important feature which has influenced the growth of the town. The areas of major expansion in the east and south have both been developed in the context of the major characteristics of the landscape. The southern skyline from Hardingstone to Great Houghton and Delapre Park to Hunsbury Hill appears remarkably free from development. Elsewhere, Lings Wood, Moulton Park and St Crispin Hospital remain important features from various viewpoints. Already, high bay warehouse development at Moulton Park has protruded above the skyline. It is important that the skylines around the town are safeguarded to ensure that these important elements of the landscape are retained. For any development to be considered appropriate, it should be low rise and should seek to maintain and enhance existing landscape features. At St Crispin/Berrywood, the mix and variety of existing buildings and natural features creates an attractive skyline character which is worthy of retention. Between Great Houghton and Hardingstone, the skyline provides a strong feature within which Brackmills employment area is contained. Hunsbury Hill forms a bold and prominent feature on the south and western side of Northampton. The Moulton Park area forms the highest ground in Northampton and this skyline is prominent from a distance to the north.

POLICY E7 : SKYLINE DEVELOPMENT

WHEN CONSIDERING, IN THE CONTEXT OF POLICY E1, THE IMPACT OF PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT UPON THE LANDSCAPE, SPECIAL IMPORTANCE WILL BE ATTACHED TO ITS EFFECT UPON THE SKYLINE OF THE FOLLOWING AREAS:

BETWEEN GREAT HOUGHTON AND HARDINGSTONE (AS SEEN FROM THE NENE VALLEY TO THE NORTH)

HUNSBURY HILL (AS SEEN FROM THE NENE VALLEY TO THE NORTH AND WEST);

ST CRISPIN  / BERRYWOOD (AS SEEN FROM THE WEST BEYOND THE TOWN'S EXISTING BOUNDARY)

MOULTON PARK AREA (AS SEEN FROM THE NORTH BEYOND THE TOWN'S EXISTING BOUNDARY).

Policy E7 : INTERACTIVE MAPPING JCS

LANDSCAPE ENHANCEMENT

2.22. Improvement will be a long term process dependent on a series of measures which include monitoring and ensuring that development proposals are only permitted by the Council if they maintain or enhance the appearance of the local landscape. Projects implemented by the Council itself will in general be required to improve the local landscape.

2.23. The Council seeks to enhance the landscape of Northampton by:

a) paying due regard to the needs of landscape conservation in the management of its own landholdings

b) continuing to make tree preservation orders where trees are important features of the landscape or street scene and where the loss of trees and woodlands would seriously detract from the landscape and character of Northampton.

 

LOCALLY IMPORTANT LANDSCAPE AREAS 

2.24.         None  of the Areas of Special Landscape Value as designated in the Northamptonshire Structure Plan fall within Northampton, although the Harlestone Firs/Brampton Valley Area adjoins the town boundary. Nevertheless, there are several areas within the town which make an important contribution to its local character and appearance. These are valued by residents and as such their long term protection is important. For development to be considered appropriate within locally important landscape areas in must be capable of being integrated with existing development and should protect and enhance existing landscape features such that the impact on development will be minimised. Appendix 28 at the end of the document, provides a brief description of the landscape characteristics which make each area listed in policy E9 a locally important landscape.

POLICY E9 : LOCALLY IMPORTANT LANDSCAPE AREAS

WHEN CONSIDERING, IN THE CONTEXT OF POLICY  E1, THE IMPACT OF PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT UPON THE LANDSCAPE, SPECIAL IMPORTANCE WILL BE ATTACHED TO ITS EFFECT UPON THE CHARACTER, AS DESCRIBED IN APPENDIX  28, OF THE LOCALLY IMPORTANT LANDSCAPE AREAS LISTED BELOW: 

ABINGTON PARK;  BECKETT'S  PARK;  BRACKMILLS - GREAT HOUGHTON; COLLINGTREE PARK; DALLINGTON PARK; DELAPRE PARK; EASTFIELD PARK; KINGSTHORPE GOLF COURSE; KINGSTHORPE PARK; MANFIELD HOSPITAL GROUNDS; FORMER NORTHAMPTON GOLF COURSE (BRADLAUGH FIELDS); THE RACECOURSE; ST ANDREWS HOSPITAL GROUNDS; ST CRISPIN HOSPITAL GROUNDS; UPTON  PARK; VICTORIA  PARK; WOOTTON HALL PARK.

POLICY E9 : INTERACTIVE MAPPING JCS

HEDGEROWS, TREES AND WOODLAND 

2.25.         It is also important to ensure that further extensive tree planting takes place, although not at the expense of existing important wildlife habitats. Already, opportunity has arisen to create a major new area of woodland in association with development of the third phase of the business area at Brackmills to provide major screening and landscaping. This will extend between Hardingstone and Great Houghton and follow the hillside around the development, will improve the existing landscape and provide potential for recreation.

POLICY E10 : HEDGEROWS, TREES AND WOODLAND   

IN  ASSOCIATION WITH THE THIRD PHASE OF DEVELOPMENT AT BRACKMILLS, THE PLANTING OF NEW INDIGENOUS WOODLAND WILL BE REQUIRED BETWEEN GREAT HOUGHTON AND HARDINGSTONE ALONG THE FRINGES OF THE BRACKMILLS BUSINESS AREA WITH DUE REGARD TO ESTABLISHED WILDLIFE CONSERVATION VALUE.

POLICY E10 REPLACED BY JOINT CORE STRATEGY POLICY BN3 WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE JOINT CORE STRATEGY LOCAL PLAN (PART 1) ADOPTED - DECEMBER 2014.

 

HEDGEROWS, TREES AND WOODLAND

2.26. Northampton does not contain extensive areas of trees and woodland, but Lings Wood, Billing Arbours, Delapre Woods and Berrywood are all significant  areas of woodland within the Borough. Therefore it is vital to ensure that these and other woodlands are safeguarded. In the countryside and built up areas, established hedgerows, trees and woodland make an important contribution to the quality of the environment and will have taken many years to develop. They form a valuable habitat for wildlife and may represent important landscape features beyond their immediate vicinity. Their removal is likely to have an adverse effect on the appearance of the locality, and sometimes on a wider area. There is no justification for removing such natural features on the basis that they might be replaced or reinstated as part of the development since new planting takes many years to establish. The retention of these existing natural features is desirable for their landscape value and for the softening and screening of new development. Retention also provides continuity and maturity in the appearance of the locality, aids the appearance of new development and may act as a temporary wildlife refuge across the construction period.

POLICY E11 : hEDGEROWS, TREES AND WOODLAND

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL NOT BE GRANTED FOR DEVELOPMENT WHICH WOULD INVOLVE THE DESTRUCTION OF, OR SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE TO, TREES, HEDGEROWS OR WOODLAND OF SIGNIFICANT VALUE IN TERMS OF THE ENVIRONMENT OR ITS ENJOYMENT BY THE PUBLIC, UNLESS THE FEATURES INVOLVED ARE ALREADY IRRETRIEVABLY DAMAGED BY OLD AGE OR DISEASE AND REPLACEMENT IS INTENDED.

POLICY E11 REPLACED BY JOINT CORE STRATEGY POLICIES BN3 & BN5 WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE JOINT CORE STRATEGY LOCAL PLAN (PART 1) ADOPTED - DECEMBER 2014.

 

 

HEDGEROWS, TREES AND WOODLAND

2.27. In considering proposals for new development it is necessary to be able to properly assess their likely impact on existing hedgerows, trees and woodland. Many factors are relevant and details may be requested from developers on such matters as proposed ground levels, the siting of contractors' temporary roadways, land drainage and evidence that the relationship between proposed structures, soil characteristics and roots has been given proper consideration. The following is the minimum information that should accompany planning applications for sites that have hedgerows, trees or woodland.

2.28. Planning applications relating to sites where there are any hedgerows, trees or woodland must include:

a) an accurate site survey drawing at a scale of not less than 1:500 showing the location and branch spread of all hedgerows, trees and woodland on the site, spot heights of ground levels and the approximate location and spread of trees on adjacent land; and

b) details of proposed measures for the physical protection of hedgerows, trees and woodland during the construction period.

2.29. In considering  planning applications for new development on sites which have hedgerows, trees or woodland it will be necessary to ensure that the relationship between the proposed development and all hedgerows, trees and woodland selected for retention is such that they can survive the construction period and occupation of the development without detriment to their appearance, health and safety. In addition to the more obvious factors such as the proximity of buildings and alignment of roads, due consideration must be given to the position of the underground infrastructure in relation to root systems and the effect on the development of the gradually increasing size of immature trees. 

2.30. Equally, the juxtaposition of new development and existing hedgerows, trees  or woodland can result in occupiers of the development wishing to remove them on the grounds that they feel the use and enjoyment of the development is prejudiced.  It is recognised that in large development areas not all trees and hedgerows can be retained and regard must be paid to the size and nature of the area concerned. Potential conflict of this sort should be resolved before planning permission is granted in order that the hedgerows, trees or woodland may survive long term.

POLICY E12 : HEDGEROWS,TREES AND WOODLANDS

PLANNING PERMISSION FOR DEVELOPMENT ON SITES WHICH INCLUDE EXISTING HEDGEROWS, TREES OR WOODLAND OF SIGNIFICANT ENVIRONMENTAL VALUE WILL NOT BE GRANTED UNLESS ADEQUATE PROVISION IS MADE TO INCORPORATE SUCH FEATURES WITHIN THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT DETRIMENT TO THEIR VALUE OR TO THE DEVELOPMENT PROPOSED.

POLICY E12 REPLACED BY JOINT CORE STRATEGY POLICIES BN3 & BN5 WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE JOINT CORE STRATEGY LOCAL PLAN (PART 1) ADOPTED - DECEMBER 2014.

 

HEDGEROWS, TREES AND WOODLAND

2.31. The planting of trees and shrubs is sometimes seen as an afterthought to be applied to those parts of a development site not required for other purposes, rather than as an integral component of the development proposals. Properly designed landscaping provides the setting for the development and
helps it to fit in the locality. The relationship between the proposed structures and services and the likely spread of the branches and roots of the proposed trees and shrubs requires careful consideration, and the tree and shrub species should be chosen for their suitability to the proposed setting, soil characteristics and mature size.

2.32. Planning applications will normally be expected to include proposals for the landscaping of development sites. Details shall include the location, species, planting size and density of the proposed plant materials. Proposed locations shall be chosen having regard to the characteristics of the locality, site and
development and the proximity of structures and underground infrastructure.

2.33. The making of tree preservation orders to protect healthy trees and woodland whose removal would have a significant impact on the environment and its enjoyment by the public will continue to have a high priority, particularly on actual or potential development sites.

2.34. The Council will protect by the making of tree preservation orders, those trees and woodlands whose loss would have a significant impact on the amenity of the environment, particularly in areas where development is contemplated.

2.35. Tree preservation orders prohibit the damage, destruction, removal or pruning of trees (including their roots) without the prior permission of the Council, and such permission will only be granted where the proposed work is justified by good arboricultural or amenity reasons. Work carried out without permission or in contravention of the terms of a permission may result in a prosecution.

2.36. Permission will only be granted for the pruning or removal of any tree protected by a tree preservation order if there are good arboricultural or amenity reasons for doing so.

CORRIDORS OF TRAVEL 

2.37.         First impressions of a town are usually gained when travelling through it by road or rail. As such, the landscape is important and it is this "passing" impression which can lead to significant decisions regarding investment and development. It is vital therefore that proposed development alongside and as viewed from principal corridors of travel contributes in a favourable way to the image of Northampton. For this reason development which would be detrimental to the environment alongside such corridors of travel is not appropriate.

2.38.         The Council will seek to maintain and enhance the landscape alongside the motorway, the principal roads and main railway lines.

POLICY E14 : CORRIDORS OF TRAVEL

WHEN CONSIDERING, IN THE CONTEXT OF POLICY E1, THE IMPACT OF PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT UPON THE LANDSCAPE, SPECIAL IMPORTANCE WILL BE ATTACHED TO ITS EFFECT UPON THE LANDSCAPE/TOWNSCAPE ALONGSIDE THE PRINCIPAL CORRIDORS OF TRAVEL IDENTIFIED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP. DEVELOPMENT ADJOINING SUCH CORRIDORS WILL BE EXPECTED TO BE OF A STANDARD OF DESIGN APPROPRIATE TO A SITE SEEN BY MANY VISITORS TO THE TOWN.

POLICY E14 REPLACED BY JOINT CORE STRATEGY POLICIES BN1 & C3 WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE JOINT CORE STRATEGY LOCAL PLAN (PART 1) ADOPTED - DECEMBER 2014.

 

FARM LAND AND BUILDINGS

2.39. Agriculture is a comparatively limited activity within Northampton Borough and proposed development areas are expected to reduce the area of farm land further. The need to conserve remaining agricultural land of good quality is however acknowledged. The safeguarding of the best and most versatile land has
been a long standing national policy and is reflected in policy ENV13 of the Northamptonshire Structure Plan. It is important that outside proposed development areas, the best quality agricultural land is safeguarded and retained.

2.40. Although Northampton is an urban area, several working farm units are contained within the Plan area. Extensive areas are proposed for development as identified in the Housing and Business sections of the Plan. It is necessary to allow for future development of farm land and buildings outside areas already
identified in the Plan in the context of maintaining the environment of these areas.

NATURE CONSERVATION INTRODUCTION

2.41. The 1990 Department of the Environment White Paper, "This Common Inheritance", emphasizes the need for planning to find the right balance between conservation and development. The value of a rich, diverse and healthy environment is inestimable. It provides pleasure to those who live in, work in, or visit an area, as well as contributing to the emotional well being of individuals and communities. Natural components of the environment contribute to play, recreation and education, as well as providing the opportunity for a direct, practical involvement in conservation. The value of wildlife for its own sake must also be recognised. There is public concern over the effects of development on plant and animal communities together with the loss and destruction of their habitats. An increasingly environmentally aware and caring community will expect all due consideration to be given to their protection. 

2.42. In accordance with Planning Policy Guidance Note 9 "Nature Conservation", published in 1994, the Council considers that nature conservation can be a significant material consideration in determining many planning applications. Where planning permission is granted, features and areas of acknowledged nature conservation value need to be safeguarded.

POLICY E17 : NATURE CONSERVATION

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL NOT BE GRANTED FOR DEVELOPMENT UNLESS FEATURES AND AREAS OF ACKNOWLEDGED NATURE CONSERVATION VALUE WITHIN THE SITE ARE SAFEGUARDED OR CAN BE ADEQUATELY ACCOMMODATED.

POLICY E17 REPLACED BY JOINT CORE STRATEGY POLICIES BN2 BN3 & BN5

WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE JOINT CORE STRATEGY LOCAL PLAN (PART 1) ADOPTED - DECEMBER 2014.

 

SITES OF ACKNOWLEDGED  NATURE CONSERVATION VALUE 

2.43. There are no declared Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the town although English Nature has indicated that the redundant arm of the River Nene at Barnes Meadow is on their schedule of potential SSSIs. The only sites with a statutory designation are the five Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) at Lings Wood, Barnes Meadow, Kingsthorpe and Bradlaugh Fields (Kingsthorpe Scrub Field and Hills and Holes). 

2.44. However, it  is also important  to identify other sites which have a significant nature conservation interest in order to ensure their protection. In 1990 a survey of the town was undertaken by Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust and a schedule of these sites was compiled. They are referred to as Sites of Acknowledged Nature Conservation Value and are identified on the Proposals Map. 

2.45. No such survey has been done to identify sites of geological or geomorphological importance and this also tends to reflect the situation nationally. In 1990 English Nature launched the RIGS initiative (Regionally Important Geological/Geomorphological Sites) whereby any geological or geomorphological sites, excluding SSSIs, are identified. They are analogous to their biological counterparts, the Sites of Nature Conservation Value, and should be afforded the same protection.

2.46. Development beyond the boundary of any Site of Nature Conservation Value, including SSSI and LNR, can have serious repercussions within the site. Such indirect impact may result from alteration to water tables, from water pollution some distance from the site or other disturbances.

POLICY E18 : SITES OF ACKNOWLEDGED NATURE CONSERVATION VALUE

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL NOT BE GRANTED FOR DEVELOPMENT WHICH WOULD HAVE A SIGNIFICANT ADVERSE EFFECT UPON THE NATURE CONSERVATION VALUE OF ACTUAL OR IMMINENT SITES OF SPECIAL SCIENTIFIC INTEREST, LOCAL NATURE RESERVES, OR PROPOSED REGIONALLY IMPORTANT GEOLOGICAL/GEOMORPHOLOGICAL SITES. WHERE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT IS LIKELY TO LEAD TO LOSS OR DAMAGE, IN NATURE CONSERVATION TERMS, TO THOSE SITES OF ACKNOWLEDGED NATURE CONSERVATION VALUE IDENTIFIED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP, THE EXTENT AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THAT LOSS OR DAMAGE WILL BE A MATERIAL CONSIDERATION IN DETERMINING ANY PLANNING APPLICATION.

POLICY E18 REPLACED BY JOINT CORE STRATEGY POLICIES BN2 & BN4

WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE JOINT CORE STRATEGY LOCAL PLAN (PART 1) ADOPTED - DECEMBER 2014.

 

 

2.47. The Council will actively promote the designation of local nature reserves both on its own land and by agreement with private landowners where appropriate.

IMPLEMENTING DEVELOPMENT 

2.61. Direct public sector resources to bring about development are limited and it is anticipated that the private sector will implement many of the Local Plan's development proposals. Developers will have a role to play in providing works associated with their projects such as infrastructure improvements, environmental enhancements and in meeting community needs arising from their schemes.

 2.62. Central Government guidance is contained in Department of the Environment Circular 1/97 on the benefits which may reasonably be sought in connection with the grant of planning permission, and Appendix 1 to the Local Plan draws together the various items which developers may be expected to provide. In most cases these will be achieved by agreements under the Town and Country Planning legislation. The requirements imposed under Policy E19 will be in compliance with advice given in Circular 1/97 in that they must relate directly to the development concerned and be reasonably related in scale and kind to the proposed development.

POLICY E19 : IMPLEMENTING DEVELOPMENT

PLANNING PERMISSION FOR RESIDENTIAL, BUSINESS OR COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS WILL ONLY BE GRANTED WHERE ANY ADVERSE EFFECT OR IMPACT OF THE DEVELOPMENT IS  ALLOWED FOR OR MITIGATED AND WHERE THE INFRASTRUCTURE, SERVICES AND AMENITIES MADE NECESSARY BY THE DEVELOPMENT ARE IN EXISTENCE OR WILL BE PROVIDED BY THE DEVELOPER OR OTHER AGENCY.

POLICY E19 REPLACED BY JOINT CORE STRATEGY POLICIES INF1 & INF2

WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE JOINT CORE STRATEGY LOCAL PLAN (PART 1) ADOPTED - DECEMBER 2014.

 

NEW DEVELOPMENT 

2.63.         The Council places great importance upon the quality of design of new development; the design, materials and layout of new development whether it be a small extension or a large scheme should be compatible with the character of the neighbouring property and of the surrounding area. In some cases this means that it will be required to be of a similar style whilst on other sites innovative design will be acceptable.

2.64.         In the design, siting and layout of new development there is often insufficient regard paid to its environmental effect. This causes the Council much additional and often unnecessary work which could be avoided by ensuring that design will have regard to the physical and environmental effects upon the neighbourhood.

POLICY E20 :  NEW DEVELOPMENT (Design)

PLANNING PERMISSION FOR NEW DEVELOPMENT WILL BE GRANTED SUBJECT TO: 

A)   THE DESIGN OF ANY NEW BUILDING OR EXTENSION ADEQUATELY REFLECTING THE CHARACTER OF ITS SURROUNDINGS IN TERMS OF LAYOUT, SITING, FORM, SCALE AND USE OF APPROPRIATE MATERIALS 

B)   THE DEVELOPMENT BEING DESIGNED, LOCATED AND USED IN A MANNER WHICH ENSURES ADEQUATE STANDARDS OF PRIVACY, DAYLIGHT AND SUNLIGHT.

 

POLICY E20 : INTERACTIVE MAPPING JCS

CONSERVATION AREAS 

2.85.          It is an essential task of planning to ensure that the historic core of our towns and the charm and character of villages is not lost. Designation as a conservation area extends planning control in order to give a greater degree of protection to the best parts of the built environment. 

2.86.         Maintenance and enhancement of the character and attractiveness of conservation areas is  a prime objective. This is achieved by carefully controlling the design of new development, controlling demolition, protecting existing trees and implementing enhancement schemes. The town currently has sixteen conservation areas which vary enormously in character from former villages to the parts of the town centre. These are at:- 

All  Saints; Barrack Road; Collingtree; Dallington; Derngate; Duston; Great Billing; Great Houghton; Hardingstone; Holy Sepulchre; Kingsley Road (with Article 4 Direction); Kingsthorpe; Kingsthorpe (High Street/Manor Road); St Giles; Weston Favell; Wootton.

2.87.         The preservation of buildings of architectural significance is important, but equally new development should be beneficial to the overall environment. Where development is proposed which would enhance the appearance of the street and improve the quality of environment this should be encouraged. 

2.88.         New development should make a positive contribution to the enhancement of the character of a conservation area. This could be achieved by new development which respects and harmonises with the existing buildings. Insensitively designed buildings and alterations to streets can be obtrusive and detrimental to the character of conservation areas. The form of new development must therefore be of a high quality and complement its setting. 

2.89.         In considering the merits of planning applications within a conservation area, account is taken of sympathetic design and detailing, choice of traditional materials and method of construction, quality of landscaping, protection of existing trees, appropriate lighting and highway detailing.

POLICY E26 : CONSERVATION AREAS

PLANNING PERMISSION FOR DEVELOPMENT, OR EXPRESS CONSENT FOR ADVERTISEMENTS, IN CONSERVATION AREAS WILL BE GRANTED SO LONG AS THE DEVELOPMENT: 

A)   PRESERVES OR ENHANCES THE CHARACTER AND APPEARANCE OF THOSE AREAS 

B)   DOES NOT INCLUDE THE DEMOLITION OF ANY BUILDING OR BUILDINGS WHICH MAKE A SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO THE CHARACTER OR APPEARANCE OF THE AREA, AND ARE CAPABLE OF APPROPRIATE ALTERNATIVE USE.

 

POLICY E26 : INTERACTIVE MAPPING JCS

 

 

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS 

2.98.         The environment and the quality of life it offers is an important consideration to residents and visitors alike but it is also important in improving the image and strengthening confidence in the town. A programme of improvement works including resurfacing, lighting, cleaning and landscaping has been implemented in the town centre. This can greatly improve the quality of the environment. The Council intends to apply this comprehensive approach to enhancement and improvement to other parts of the town to assist regeneration and develop civic pride. 

2.99.         Environmental  improvements can take many forms, from the redevelopment of vacant sites to the upgrading of facades, but all can have a significant impact on the attraction of the town. It is important to recognise that a high standard of design and detailing is essential and that areas, particularly the town centre, be well managed and maintained. 

2.100.       In the past few years the Council has completed many improvement schemes through its own urban enhancement programme. Encouragement and design guidance has also been provided to developers in carrying out redevelopment schemes. It must be recognised that both public and private sector involvement can play a key role in improving the face of the town.

2.101.       Derelict or vacant sites and buildings mar the character and appearance of the town. The effects of this can be reduced and the Council has taken steps to ensure this, or has encouraged owners to reduce the extent of dereliction. Such measures not only provide environmental benefits in removing eyesores, but also help to bring forward better use of these sites. 

2.102.       The Council will support proposals which secure the re-use or re-development of redundant, derelict or vacant land providing that they accord with other policies of the plan, in order to limit the amount of derelict and vacant land in the Borough. 

2.103.       The pedestrianisation of Abington Street and Fish Street has transformed the character and vitality of the central shopping area. It is now an attractive area and this has been beneficial to the residents of the town, to the business community and also encouraged tourism. The aim of removing traffic from a substantial part of the town centre by creating areas of pedestrian priority is critical to the future programme of environmental improvement. 

2.104.       The Council will prepare a programme of environmental improvements involving pedestrian priority for the following areas in the town centre under the urban enhancement programme:

All Saints Church area (including Mercers Row, George Row and Wood Hill); Guildhall Road;

St Giles Square;

The Historic Alleyways; Drapery;

Abington Street (central part) and part Wellington Street. 

2.105.       Vacant upper floors have become an environmental problem particularly in the town centre resulting in deteriorating fabric and appearance. In the past, living over the shop was a common use of upper floors which helped to retain life in the town after business hours.

POLICY E28 : USE OF UPPER FLOOR SHOPS AND OTHER COMMERCIAL VALUE

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL BE GRANTED FOR RESIDENTIAL OR OTHER APPROPRIATE USES OF VACANT OR UNDER-USED UPPER FLOORS OF SHOPS OR OTHER COMMERCIAL PREMISES WHERE THIS WOULD RETAIN OR ENHANCE THE EXISTING CHARACTER OF THE TOWNSCAPE.

POLICY E28 : INTERACTIVE MAPPING JCS

ART IN PUBLIC SPACES 

2.106.       The Council is keen to see the provision of works of art in public spaces. The aim is to make development more interesting and to improve the quality of the environment. Works of art in public spaces such as sculptures, murals, water features, and lighting displays, can make a considerable impact and add to the visual interest of the town. 

2.107.       "Percent for Art" is a method by which a proportion of the cost of projects is devoted for commissions to artists including painters, sculptors, photographers, textile artists and designers of glass. No single percentage is specified although at least one per cent is the norm for Percent for Art schemes in Europe. Many local authorities have already adopted voluntary Percent for Art policies as part of the planning system in order to improve the quality of the environment by using the talents of artists and craftspeople.

2.108.       The Council will in appropriate cases, encourage the provision of new works of art as part of major development. In determining an application for planning permission the Council will have regard to the contribution made by any such works to the appearance of the scheme and to the amenities of the area. Where a proposed development forms part of a larger scheme, developers will be encouraged to consider making their voluntary contribution to the commissioning of a single work of art. 

SHOPPING ENVIRONMENT 

2.109.       The shopping environment is usually the focal centre and major attraction of any town and Northampton is no exception. Many features contribute to the shopping environment including the diversity and design of shop fronts, layout and surfacing of streets, street furniture, signs and planting schemes. All these need to be managed, co-ordinated and continually monitored to ensure that the shopping environment, particularly that of the town centre, continues to appeal to the local population and to the many shoppers and visitors from outside Northampton.

2.110.       In determining applications for retail development, whether in local centres, district centres or the town centre the provision of a good shopping environment is paramount. Where appropriate this will  be expected to include pedestrian only areas, convenient access to car parking and public transport, sheltered seating, places to eat and drink, public toilets, ease of access for disabled people and the infirm and proposals for the management and maintenance  of such facilities.

2.111.       Planning proposals for retail development will be expected to demonstrate an acceptable shopping environment. In assessing this the Council will have regard to the ambience to be created including ease of access and movement, levels of comfort and convenience, visual benefits, facilities and security. 

2.112.       A significant influence on the shopping environment is the design of shop fronts. They may augment the character of a building and create a positive and substantial contribution to the townscape which enhances the shopping environment. When considering applications for new shop fronts or alterations to existing ones, it is necessary to assess the impact of the proposal on both the character of the building and the locality. Proposals should clearly show that these factors have been taken into account and reflected in the new design. 

2.113.       The Council has been successful in bringing about substantial improvements in the design of new shop fronts and advertisements by negotiations with the applicants. It is intended that this approach be continued, and therefore the Council will produce a guide for shop front designs with advice upon suitable materials, lighting and colour, including advice relating to listed buildings and buildings within conservation areas.

POLICY E29 : SHOPPING ENVIRONMENT

PLANNING PERMISSION FOR NEW OR REPLACEMENT SHOP FRONTS WILL BE GRANTED WHERE: 

A)   THE QUALITY OF DESIGN COMPLEMENTS THE CHARACTER OF THE BUILDING AND ITS LOCALITY 

B)   THE QUALITY AND USE OF MATERIALS COMPLEMENTS THE TOWNSCAPE 

C)   THE PROPOSAL DOES NOT DETRACT FROM THE CHARACTER AND APPEARANCE OF THE STREET SCENE 

D)   PROVISION HAS BEEN MADE FOR AN ADVERTISEMENT AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE OVERALL DESIGN 

E)   THE PROPOSAL WOULD NOT INVOLVE THE REMOVAL OF AN HISTORIC SHOP FRONT.

 

POlicy e29 : INTERACTIVE MAPPING JCS

SHOP FRONT SECURITY 

2.114.       It is recognised that the need to deter crime and vandalism in shopping areas has made the installation of external security shutters commonplace. Such installations are likely to constitute development requiring planning permission. However, ill-considered design of fittings can harm the visual quality of premises, both during and after business hours. When a high proportion of premises has external protection, even if the fittings are of relatively good design, the combined effect is to create a hostile environment and detract from the appearance of the street scene. Consequently, external security protection should be used as an exceptional response to a demonstrable problem rather than the rule. Its provision is likely  to be particularly inappropriate on listed buildings and in conservation areas whose character the Council are required to preserve or enhance.

POLICY E30 : SHOP FRONT, EXTERNAL SECURITY PROTECTION

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL BE GRANTED FOR EXTERNAL SECURITY PROTECTION TO NEW AND EXISTING SHOP FRONTS WHERE THE FITTINGS: 

A)   ALLOW VISIBILITY INTO THE PREMISES WHERE THEY ARE FITTED 

B)   ARE COLOUR COATED, PREFERABLY IN A FACTORY-APPLIED COLOUR IN KEEPING WITH THE SHOP FRONT 

C)   ARE DESIGNED TO BE AS UNOBTRUSIVE AS POSSIBLE DURING BUSINESS HOURS 

D)   WILL NOT HAVE AN ADVERSE EFFECT ON THE CHARACTER OR APPEARANCE OF A LISTED BUILDING OR CONSERVATION AREA.

POLICY E30 : INTERACTIVE MAPPING JCS

ADVERTISEMENTS

2.120. Areas which are distinctive in character such as groups of listed buildings and conservation areas need to be protected from unduly prominent  signs and illumination which are out of keeping. The Council  is keen to restore the historic architectural character of areas such as the Market Square. Considerable efforts have already been made to protect and enhance the character of these areas by carefully considering the impact of advertisements.

 2.121. The Council will investigate and subsequently propose to the Secretary of State that orders are made, defining appropriate parts of the town centre as "Areas of Special Control of Advertisements". Areas for consideration will be those where there are important architectural, archaeological, historical or visual characteristics and where a stricter degree of control is essential to preclude the display of advertisements which would otherwise be permitted.

 

POLICY E35 : ADVERTISEMENT, IN CONSERVATION AREA

EXPRESS CONSENT WILL NOT BE GRANTED FOR INTERNALLY ILLUMINATED SIGNS ON LISTED BUILDINGS AND BUILDINGS IN CONSERVATION AREAS WHERE THEY SIGNIFICANTLY DETRACT FROM THE VISUAL AMENITY OF THE AREA.

 

POLICY E35 : INTERACTIVE MAPPING JCS

 

ADVERTISEMENT HOARDINGS

2.122. Advertisement hoardings play an important role in the advertising business and have a significant visual impact. They can be obtrusive but they can also be used effectively to screen sites. Whilst some hoardings may become accepted as part of the street scene, all too often commercially attractive locations are not acceptable in relation to visual amenity. It has been the policy of the Council to seek their removal in inappropriate locations and to encourage their provision on sites where they have a positive role by screening derelict or vacant sites. It is also important to consider the visual aspect of their rear elevation.

POLICY E36 : Advertisement hoardings

EXPRESS CONSENT WILL BE GRANTED FOR ADVERTISEMENT HOARDINGS WHERE THEY MAKE A SUBSTANTIAL POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION TO THE ENVIRONMENT BY SCREENING DERELICT OR VACANT SITES OR BY HELPING TO ADD APPROPRIATE COLOUR AND INTEREST TO A DRAB AREA. THOSE CONSIDERED TO BE DETRIMENTAL TO THE AMENITY OF THE AREA BY REASON OF NUMBER, SIZE AND APPEARANCE, WILL BE REFUSED CONSENT.

POLICY E36 : INTERACTIVE MAPPING JCS

ARCHAEOLOGY AND HISTORIC LANDSCAPES.

2.132.       Development proposals should not adversely affect the character or setting of an important historic landscape or visible ancient monument. Such sites can often have a significant amenity and educational value in understanding the past, especially where visible remains survive. Planning applications which affect the character or setting of such a site will need to be accompanied by sufficient information to determine the visual and amenity impact of the development, including details of any proposed mitigation.

 

POLICY  E38 : HISTORIC LANDSCAPES

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL NOT BE GRANTED FOR DEVELOPMENT WHICH WOULD ADVERSELY AFFECT THE CHARACTER OR SETTING OF A NATIONALLY IMPORTANT ANCIENT MONUMENT (WHETHER SCHEDULED OR NOT), IMPORTANT HISTORIC LANDSCAPE OR THE SITE OF THE BATTLE OF NORTHAMPTON.

POLICY E38 REPLACED BY JOINT CORE STRATEGY POLICY BN5 

WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE JOINT CORE STRATEGY LOCAL PLAN (PART 1) ADOPTED - DECEMBER 2014.

 

RENEWABLE ENERGY 

2.133. There is increasing interest in the development of facilities to generate energy from non-fossil based sources in response to the growing awareness of the need to develop sustainable sources. The Council has already approved one proposal to develop a power generating facility from waste products and in view of the increasing development of renewable energy sources it is necessary to outline a policy under which future proposals will be assessed.

POLICY E39 : RENEWABLE ENERGY

PLANNING PERMISSION FOR DEVELOPMENT INVOLVING RENEWABLE ENERGY INSTALLATIONS (DESIGNED TO GENERATE ENERGY FROM THE SUN, WIND, WATER OR WASTE MATERIALS) WILL BE GRANTED WHERE: 

A)   THE DESIGN AND APPEARANCE OF THE INSTALLATION WILL NOT CAUSE UNDUE DETRIMENT TO THE AMENITY OF THE LOCALITY; 

B)   ANY NOISE AND DISTURBANCE CREATED BY THE PROPOSAL ARE CONSIDERED ACCEPTABLE IN RELATION TO SURROUNDING LAND USES; 

C)   THE PROPOSAL DOES NOT ADVERSELY AFFECT IMPORTANT VIEWS OR SKYLINES OR THE CHARACTER OF THE SURROUNDING AREA.

POLICY E39 REPLACED BY JOINT CORE STRATEGY POLICIES S10 & S11

WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE JOINT CORE STRATEGY LOCAL PLAN (PART 1) ADOPTED - DECEMBER 2014.

 

POLICY E40 : CRIME & VANDALISM

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL NOT BE GRANTED FOR DEVELOPMENT UNLESS ITS DESIGN, LAYOUT AND LANDSCAPING PAY ADEQUATE REGARD TO THE NEED TO DETER CRIME AND VANDALISM.

POLICY E40 REPLACED BY JOINT CORE STRATEGY POLICY S10

WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE JOINT CORE STRATEGY LOCAL PLAN (PART 1) ADOPTED - DECEMBER 2014.