Local Plan to 2030 Regulation 19 - Publication June 2016

Comment ID ALP/1909
Document Section Local Plan to 2030 - Publication Draft TOPIC POLICIES SECTION A - HOUSING Development of Residential Gardens Content View all on this section
Respondent Mr and Mrs Jackson View all by this respondent
Response Date 10 Aug 2016
Do you consider this part of the document is Sound? No
On which grounds do you consider the document unsound? (if applicable)
Do you consider the Document is Legally Compliant? Yes

HOU10 This policy needs to be more robust otherwise it will fail to prevent completely inappropriate and unsustainable development as seen in allowed appeals. There is no description of different types of garden development e.g.infill, backland, tandem, or front garden development. There is no distinction made between them. They all have different impacts. Only one other policy is specifically referred to. This immediately weakens the strength of HOU10. Priority should be given to safeguarding the residential amenity of existing neighbours/residents in their homes, private open space and locality. All proposals for backland development should be judged in the first instance on this criterion.

5.85. The wording needs to be clearer.

In accordance with paras 9, 56,57 and 64 of the NPPF the following should be more comprehensively recognised:

1. New vehicle access into a backland or infill residential development can be problematic onto existing streets and can cause adverse affects on neighbouring properties which are difficult to mitigate, including noise, vibration and visual amenity. ABC must indicate that these access routes are located at an approximate distance from a neighbouring dwelling to avoid excessive disturbance or loss of privacy and visual disruption. Where habitable rooms and windows are closest to the access, to also allow for a greater separation distance.The likely frequency  of use by  vehicular traffic and the suitability of the access for service vehicles  and emergency services  should also be material considerations. 

2. The Homes and Communities Agency 'Urban Lessons- Housing Layout and Neighbourhood Quality -Jan 2014 advises that 'it is considered good practice to design a housing layout incorporating perimeter blocks which ensure that streets are fronted by the active facade of the homes and that private spaces and gardens are located securely facing other back gardens.'

Back to back gardens are considered an important amenity resource which contribute to the quality of residential amenity and character of the area and can contribute to ecological networks. This is often not the case in residential garden development particularly when plots are an irregular shape and can lead to totally inappropriate development to the detriment of existing residents.

3. The character, amenity and biodiversity value of long established residential gardens and green infrastructure can be damaged by removing large gardens which contain a significant number of trees. Their loss can have a noteworthy impact. Where existing trees are felled prior to  planning permission  for development being sought  ABC should consider requiring replacement planting as part of permission granted. 

4. Road networks and parking arrangements can also be adversely affected. This policy should be read with the preamble of TRA3(a)  as a number of new homes of more than 4 bedrooms are being allowed on garden land where parking provision both onsite and on street is problematic and no provision is made for  trade vehicle parking from home businesses. This is particularly relevant in backland development.

5. Detriment to the character of the street scene and heritage assets should be avoided. In particularly sensitive areas such as Conservation Areas residential garden development should be avoided/resisted. This policy should be read with ENV14. 

ABC should therefore guarantee that only the necessary, robust, sympathetic design solutions for development of gardens will be warranted to ensure such adverse, unsustainable affects are avoided. 

What changes do you suggest to make the document legally compliant or sound? Change Title to 'Sustainable Control of Residential Garden Development'
5.84 Insert:
a)Much of the character of the Borough's towns and villages is derived from private garden areas, particularly large mature gardens.
b) ....play an important role, providing private, tranquil, recreational space.

c) The Council attaches great weight to ensuring all these aspects are upheld and is keen to reflect the value it places on such areas in policy.

There is a presumption against development of residential gardens. Para 48 of the NPPF specifically excludes them from windfall sites and para 53 of the NPPF states that Councils should consider providing a policy framework to resist inappropriate development of residential gardens. Such an approach needs to be balanced against the objectives of sustainable development.In the first instance this is encouraging development of previously developed land. Recent Court rulings have supported the exemption of private residential gardens in built up areas from the defintion of previously developed land.
The uncontrolled loss of residential gardens can lead to piecemeal and inappropriate development being delivered and so should be resisted as this can individually or cumulatively harm the living conditions of neighbouring residents, erode character (including historic), openness and disrupt wildlife corridors.

New para
This policy must be read with parking, pedestrian, residential space standards, design , landscaping, conservation and environmental policies. Infilling and backland development and complete or partial redevelopment may be acceptable subject to meeting these policy requirements.

Policy HOU10
Development proposals involving the partial or complete redevelopment of residential garden land will be permitted provided the proposed development complies with the Council's relevant policies and does not result in significant harm to existing neighbours and the character of the area....
Move (e) to top position (a). Change to: The amenity and quality of living conditions including private open space
Priority will be given to protecting the amenity of adjoining residents from pollution (noise, air, light) traffic or any other general disturbance.
Any detrimental impact on neighbours from vehicular movement, light and noise will be a material consideration and resisted.

Access arrangements that cause significant disturbance or nuisance to these dwellings or cause safety problems to the existing road network will be resisted.

b. include 'and is subservient to the building line especially in Conservation Areas.
Do you consider it necessary to participate at the oral part of the examination? No
Does your representation relate to an omission site (a site that has not been included). For example a site for Housing, Employment, Travellers, or Local Green Spaces. No
Please supply details of the omission site.