Derbyshire - Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Are you thinking of challenging a planning application?

Su Sayer from CPRE National Office giving advice to one of our committee members Su Sayer from CPRE National Office giving advice to one of our committee members

We have put together some advice explaining when it would be appropriate for CPRE Derbyshire to raise an objection to a major development.

Planning Applications – when might it be appropriate for CPRE to raise an objection to ‘major’ developments?

1)  Identify application on the Local Authority Planning search facility.
2)  Open the site location map and proposed layout of the development
3)  Find the site on Google maps
4)  Use Google maps (inc Streetview function) to scrutinise the site location. 
Consider the following questions:
Is the site included in the (emerging) Local Plan? If so, then it is unlikely we would object since this should be objectively assessed (for better or worse) and therefore Plan-led.
Does the site fall within the Green Belt? If so, then is it a brownfield site or in some way compatible with the Green Belt function? If not, then in the majority of cases we would object.
Is the site within existing settlement limits?  Unless the site has some particularly significant value e.g. a historic open space, then suggest in most cases we would not object.
Does the site lie significantly outside of the settlement limit (i.e. open countryside)? Suggest that we would object to this in the majority of cases.
Is the site immediately adjacent to the existing settlement limit? If logical infill of a small gap within an irregular settlement boundary (e.g. partially enclosed by the existing settlement boundary on 2 or more sides) then this may make some sense and could be acceptable if the land itself is not considered to be of particularly high landscape quality / rural character.
Does it represent a new, obvious and significant extension beyond the settlement boundary? i.e. is it the first extension into a hitherto undeveloped area of open countryside and effectively setting a new precedent? (20 houses might not seem a lot, but is this paving the way for 200?).
How does it sit in relation to other nearby settlements and would the development effectively reduce the gaps between existing settlements, making the countryside between less viable and leading to coalescence? It may be that existing landscape quality is not that great, or not highly visible, but its loss could lead to a general urbanising effect and the loss of rural identity / character.
What is the scale of development? A large development in relation to a small settlement (e.g. village / hamlet) is likely to lead to the loss of rural character / identity, whereas a significantly smaller one may be acceptable.
What is the layout and design of the development and would this fit with the existing settlement layout or be significantly out of place? E.g. 10 five bedroom standard design houses bolted on to the edge of an old village built in local vernacular style.
What would be the impact upon local country lanes through increased traffic and would this impact upon the general tranquillity of the area? Some smaller, outlying settlements may only be reached via narrow country lanes and clearly any increase in traffic would have a more significant impact than a settlement which lies close to a major road.
How attractive is the local Landscape / countryside quality? This is inevitably subjective and the most difficult point to address. However, a good representation of the key features for which the area is known (e.g. tall hedgerows with mature boundary trees) means that any area has the potential to be considered good quality countryside, even if not necessarily the classic “chocolate box” landscape. It is useful to refer to both the Natural England “National Character Area” profiles for the area and especially the Derbyshire Landscape Character appraisal. It is generally possible to get a good feel for the area using this information, combined with Google Maps / Streetview, although clearly a site visit is always preferable if time permits.
It is also worth considering how visible the location is from adjacent roads, footpaths etc. Does the site lie on rising ground, is it likely to be prominent or overlooked? Suggest that publicly accessible viewpoints are more relevant than views from individual homes.

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