Section 7 Heritage and Landscape
Items of archaeological value which are finite, non-renewable resources must be protected and maintained. The Planning Authority will play its role in the protection of our archaeological heritage. The importance and value of the wider historic landscape and environment, including battlefields is also recognised.
Development in the vicinity of archaeological sites shall accord with the requirements of the Framework and Principles for the Protection of Archaeological Heritage (DAHGI, 1999) and shall be designed to have minimal impact on archaeological features. There is a presumption in favour of in-situ preservation of archaeological sites and monuments, and avoiding developmental impacts on archaeological heritage.
The following assessments will be used to inform the planning applications for development in the vicinity of archaeological sites:
- An Archaeological Impact Assessment and Method Statement, prepared by a licenced archaeologist, will be required to support development proposals that have the potential to impact on archaeological features.
- A Conservation Plan may be required for development in the vicinity of a site or monument, to ensure the on-going protection of the monument and its setting.
- A Visual Impact Assessment may be required for development proposals in the vicinity of upstanding remains.
In appropriate circumstances, the Planning Authority, if granting planning permission for a development, may impose conditions requiring the following:
- Professional licensed archaeological supervision of site excavations.
- The funding by the applicant of an archaeological assessment, monitoring, testing or excavation of the site and the submission of a report thereon prior to the commencement of development.
- The preservation of all or part of the archaeological remains on site.
7.2 Protected Structures
Structures or part of structures can be added to the Record of Protected Structures (RPS) if they are deemed of special architectural, archaeological, historical, cultural, artistic, scientific, social, and/or technical interest. The designation includes the exterior and interior of the structure, the land lying within its curtilage (boundary), any other structures and their exterior and interiors lying within that curtilage, plus all fixtures and features which form part of the interior or exterior of any of these structures. The effect of Protected Structure status is to seek to retain the special character, setting and features that make these structures significant.
Works that would materially affect the character of a Protected Structure require planning permission. A declaration can be sought from the Planning Authority to list the type of works that would not affect the character of a Protected Structure and do not require planning permission. These tend to be minor appropriate works such as repair and routine maintenance.
The Planning Authority will consider proposals for development or alterations to a Protected Structure based on the conservation principles set out in the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities, DAHG (2011). Development proposals for works to a Protected Structure or within the curtilage of a Protected Structure may require a method statement that describes the proposed works in appropriate detail.
An Architectural Heritage Impact Assessment will also be required in the case of applications for extensive or complex works that have the potential to have a significant impact on a Protected Structure. Assessments should be prepared by a suitably qualified conservation specialist in accordance with the requirements of the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities, DAHG (2011) and shall assess the likely effects of the proposed development on the special character of the Protected Structure and its setting.
For all works to a Protected Structure, the Planning Authority will seek to ensure that:
- Alterations and interventions do not detract from the significance or value of the structure,
- Original features of architectural and historic interest are retained and that new features are not presented as original or older features and are legible,
- Extensions are appropriately scaled, complement and are subsidiary to the main structure, and
- The special interest of the structure is not compromised when adhering to the requirements of Building Regulations. Regard should be had to the Advice Series on historic buildings published by the DEHLG.
The Planning Authority will consider proposals for the change of use or re-use of a Protected Structure based on the policies and objectives outlined in this Plan, but may operate a level of flexibility to help safeguard the on-going use and preservation of the structure.
In considering proposals to meet Part M accessibility requirements, regard should be had to the DAHG advice series ‘Access: Improving the Accessibility of Historic Buildings and Places’ 2011.
7.3 Architectural Conservation Areas
An Architectural Conservation Area (ACA) is a place, area, group of structures or townscape that is of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest or value, or contributes to the appreciation of Protected Structures.
The distinctive character of an ACA is generally formed from the architectural style and features of the building stock, its setting (whether natural or designed), and the legacy of its evolution over time including its original and current uses. The individual elements that combine to help create the special character of the place include building scales, heights, lines, mass and proportions, the palette of materials and finishes, decorative motifs and details, roofscapes and profiles, historic street furniture (e.g. original kerbstones, paving, post boxes, street lighting), boundary treatments, trees and planting schemes, designed landscapes, and public spaces.
Any works that would have a material effect on the special character of an ACA require planning permission and so the normal exemptions from planning will no longer apply where they are considered to impact on the unique or special features and elevations of an ACA.
All proposals for development within an ACA shall comply with the requirements of the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities, DAHG (2011) and shall seek to protect the historic character, existing amenities, visual setting and streetscape character of the ACA.
The scale of new structures should be appropriate to the general scale of buildings within the ACA. Where it is proposed to demolish a structure or part of a structure that contributes to the character of an ACA, the onus is on the applicant to justify demolition and redevelopment as opposed to rehabilitation, renovation and re-use.
All development works within ACAs should seek to limit, reduce and remove urban and visual clutter including building signage, traffic signage, bollards, utility boxes and other free standing installations.
In addition to the general requirements of this Plan, signage proposals within ACAs shall have regard to the requirements outlined in Chapter 12 of the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities, DAHG (2011).
7.4 Landscape and Biodiversity
7.4.1 Trees and Hedgerows
New developments shall be designed to incorporate, as far as practicable, the amenities offered by existing trees and hedgerow and new developments shall have regard to objectives in the Plan to protect and preserve trees and woodlands.
Arboriculture assessments carried out by an independent, qualified arborist shall be submitted as part of planning applications for sites that contain trees or other significant vegetation. The assessment shall contain a tree survey, implications assessment and method statement. The assessment will inform the proposed layout in relation to the retention of the maximum number of significant and good quality trees and hedgerows.
Tree and hedgerow protection shall be carried out in accordance with BS 5837 (2012) ‘Trees in Relation to Design, Demolition and Construction – Recommendations’.
The retention of existing planted site boundaries will be encouraged within new developments, particularly where it is considered that the existing boundary adds positively to the character/visual amenity of the area.
New developments should have regard to the location of new buildings/extensions relative to planted boundaries. Prior to construction, the applicant shall provide details of adequate measures on site to protect all planting/trees to be retained and this protection shall be maintained throughout the development during the construction period.
Where it proves necessary to remove trees to facilitate development, the Council will require the commensurate planting or replacement trees and other plant material. This will be implemented by way of condition.
7.4.2 Landscape Plans
Planning applications for multi-unit residential developments (single dwelling in rural areas on request) and commercial developments (1,000 m2 or as required by the Planning Authority including leisure and recreational facilities) should include a landscape design scheme prepared by a qualified Landscape Architect or other suitably competent landscape professional (as deemed appropriate by the Planning Authority). Smaller schemes may also require a landscape plan to be submitted.
The landscape scheme shall include a scaled landscape plan(s) - with cross-sections, where applicable - showing the layout and hard and soft treatment of all boundaries, features, external areas and green spaces. The proposals shall be accompanied by specifications for materials, workmanship and maintenance, together with proposed design details.
Hard landscape details are to include - where applicable - any proposed lighting, seating, kerbing, boundaries, edging, surfacing and water features. Soft landscape details are to include detailed planting plans and planting schedules, stating species/varieties, quantities, sizes and spacings. The landscape plan shall be accompanied by a timescale for its implementation, including a minimum 18-month landscape maintenance period and a defects liability clause.
7.4.3. Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment
In general, the visual impacts of most development will be assessed by the Council in the normal course of the assessment of the planning application. In some instances the Council may require an applicant to prepare a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment to assist in the assessment of a given development on the landscape due to either the scale, siting or design of the development or the sensitivity of the landscape.
Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) is a tool used to identify and assess the effects of change resulting from development on the landscape as an environmental resource and on people’s view and visual amenity. Proposals for significant development (e.g. renewable energy projects, telecommunications infrastructure and the extractive industry) should be accompanied by a LVIA which includes Zones of Theoretical Visibility (ZTV) which indicate the areas over which the proposed development may be seen. Representative assessment viewpoints should also be identified.
The Council may occasionally require the submission of Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment Reports for smaller developments than those mentioned above where there is a concern that a given proposal may have a significant negative impact on the landscape. LVIA may assist the planning authority in assessing the visual impact of the proposal and potential for mitigation and this may result in a more favourable outcome for a planning applicant.
Further detail on LVIA is included in Chapter 11 Landscape and Green Infrastructure.
7.4.4 Biodiversity Networks and Green Corridors
Areas of biodiversity value are not just confined to European Sites (the Natura 2000 network). Many of these sites are linked to the surrounding landscape by ecological networks and corridors. These are comprised of rivers, hedgerows, ponds, small woods, treelines and wetlands. The Planning Authority will continue to protect existing ecological networks and corridors and will make provision for new and enhanced connections.
Green corridors should not be calculated as part of the open space provision (unless they provided for functional open space) but should be incorporated into new developments as part of the green infrastructure, linking larger areas of open space with areas outside of the site.