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CHAPTER 3: ENVIRONMENT

Introduction

3.1 Charnwood has a richly diverse built and natural environment, much valued by the local population. It incorporates extensive tracts of attractive countryside, most notably the Charnwood Forest area. Many of its villages remain largely unspoilt despite the fact that over the last 30 years the area has accommodated a significant amount of growth in the form of new houses, industry and roads.

3.2 Charnwood’s accessibility and natural attractions will continue to make it an attractive location for further development over the plan period. The broad strategy of the Plan is to seek to accommodate the need for further development whilst at the same time continuing to conserve and enhance the special environmental character of the area.

National and Strategic Policy

3.3 The plan-led planning system places an increased emphasis on environmental concerns and the role the development plan can play in protecting and enhancing the environment. PPG12 confirms that environmental concerns should weigh increasingly in the balance of planning considerations and that development plans should take on board newer environmental concerns, for example relating to energy conservation.

3.4 The main thrust of government guidance is to ensure that policies in development plans are grounded in the concept of sustainability - the concern to ensure that adequate provision is made to meet development needs in balance with the need to protect the natural and built environment for the benefit of future generations.

3.5 The strategy of the County Council’s Structure Plan embodies this new environmental emphasis; one of the plan’s key aims is the protection and enhancement of the best of Leicestershire’s environment.

The Charnwood Perspective

3.6 For the Borough, environmental concerns have been a central feature of its planning policies established in a number of local plans prepared for the Soar Valley, Wreake Valley and Loughborough. The Borough of Charnwood Local Plan seeks to build on this generally successful approach. For the environment the plan aims to:

i) pursue an overall strategy which ensures that development is sustainable and remains generally compatible in scale and character with its location and is adequately supported by existing or proposed services, amenities and infrastructure;

ii) conserve, protect and enhance those features of the natural, historic and built environment which are particularly valued by the community and introduce measures to safeguard against pollution and promote the conservation of energy;

iii) improve the quality of the environment through the achievement of defined standards in the design, layout and landscaping of all new development together with the promotion of selected enhancement schemes in areas in need of renewal, refurbishment or special attention;

iv) ensure the beneficial use of all vacant, derelict and underused land.

3.7 The following policies and proposals for the environment set out in the rest of this chapter address the following objectives:

i) to preserve and enhance Charnwood’s built and natural heritage including conservation areas, listed buildings, archaeological sites and historic parks and gardens;

ii) to ensure that new housing development proposed in the plan remains in keeping with its surroundings and creates living environments of character and identity that meets all the specified standards relating to residential amenity;

iii) to ensure high quality design and landscaping for all new industrial, warehouse, office and commercial buildings;

iv) to ensure that the display of advertisements is carefully controlled in the interests of local amenity and public safety, and that stricter controls are exercised in areas of special control;

v) to ensure that new developments take into account the access needs of all sectors of the community and the need to create a safe environment;

vi) to protect essential open spaces for recreation and amenity from development wherever possible;

vii) to protect important trees and areas of woodland from development;

viii) to encourage and initiate landscape improvements in areas of countryside, green wedge and local separation, and achieve sensitively designed urban edges for the Borough’s settlements;

ix) to maintain and improve the quality and quantity of features of scientific and ecological interest, including the protection and creation of new wildlife;

x) to establish a programme of environmental improvements throughout the Borough;

xi) to protect the quality and quantity of water resources;

xii) to minimise the detrimental effects of noise and other nuisances;

xiii) to promote energy conservation, the wider use of alternative and renewable energy resources and to facilitate more recycling of waste materials;

xiv) to ensure that new telecommunications developments, including the erection of satellite television dishes are sensitively located so as not to detract from the character and appearance of their immediate locality or the wider area.

Design

3.8 POLICY EV/1

The Borough Council will seek to ensure a high standard of design in all new developments. Planning permission will be granted for new development which:

i) respects and enhances the local environment including the scale, location, character, form and function of existing settlements and the open and undeveloped nature of the countryside;

ii) is of a design, layout, scale and mass compatible with the locality and any neighbouring buildings and spaces;

iii) utilises materials appropriate to the locality;

iv) provides positive and attractive built frontages to existing or proposed public spaces including roads, footpaths, waterways and areas of public open space;

v) safeguards important viewpoints, landmarks and skylines;

vi) uses the landform and existing features in and around the site, such as woodlands, trees, hedges, ponds, important buildings and structures imaginatively as the focus around which the new development is designed;

vii) safeguards the amenities of adjoining properties, particularly the privacy and light enjoyed by adjoining residential areas;

viii) meets the needs of all groups, including the disabled; and

ix) minimises the opportunity for crime to create a safe and secure environment.

3.9 PPG1 confirms that the appearance of proposed development and its relationship to its surroundings are material considerations in the determination of planning applications. Good design of buildings and the public spaces they define can make a positive contribution to the environment. The Borough Council will seek to ensure a high standard of design in all new developments. Within areas of distinctive or attractive character, such as Conservation Areas and Areas of Particularly Attractive Countryside, new development will be expected to respect and enhance the established urban form or the special character of the surrounding landscape. Where the traditional character of an area has been lost or diminished through inappropriate development or a key landmark site is involved, encouragement will be given to experiment, originality and initiative in the formulation of a design solution capable of achieving positive improvements to the locality. Specific guidance concerning matters of design is contained where appropriate within the relevant chapters. The Borough Council intends to produce local design guides to outline the key defining local characteristics for various parts of the Borough. These will be published as Supplementary Planning Guidance and will provide advice and guidance for applicants on design issues.

Archaeology

3.10 Charnwood is an area rich in history and as a result includes a large number of sites where some archaeological interest has been identified. These include scheduled ancient monuments, other sites of national importance and sites of more local interest. Remains include Roman Roads, historic bridges and evidence of early settlements. PPG16 emphasises that archaeological remains are a finite and non-renewable resource which contain irreplaceable information about our past and are part of our sense of national identity - valuable for their own sake and for their role in education, leisure and tourism. The Local Plan seeks to ensure that archaeological interests receive full consideration and assessment in the development process.

Nationally Important Archaeological Sites

3.11 POLICY EV/2

Planning permission will not be granted for development which would adversely affect a scheduled ancient monument or other nationally important archaeological site, or its setting.

3.12 PPG16 notes that archaeological remains identified and scheduled as being of national importance should normally be earmarked for preservation. In Charnwood there are currently some 20 Scheduled Ancient Monuments including Bradgate House and Park, Ulverscroft Priory and Hathern Village Cross. These Scheduled Ancient Monuments are shown on the Proposals Map. There may also be other important unscheduled remains which may also merit preservation. The Borough Council will liaise with English Heritage and Leicestershire County Heritage Service to identify those unscheduled but nationally important remains. A list of Scheduled Ancient Monuments is included in the Borough Council’s Supplementary Planning Guidance.

Archaeological Sites of County and Local Significance

3.13 POLICY EV/3

Planning permission for development affecting known archaeological sites of county or local significance, will be granted provided the archaeological interest can be preserved in situ. Where this is not feasible or justifiable, the excavation and recording of the remains under the supervision of a professionally qualified archaeologist prior to development of that part of the site affected by the remains will be required.

3.14 For sites registered on the Leicestershire Archaeological Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) the Borough Council will seek to preserve the archaeological interest is situ. Where it is concluded that preservation in situ is not justified the excavation and recording of the remains will be required. The Archaeological Sites and Monuments Record is maintained by Leicestershire County Heritage Service, and they should be consulted for up to date information on areas of archaeological interest in the Borough. A list of the currently identified sites is included in the Borough Council’s Supplementary Planning Guidance. This Guidance also identifies the location of ‘Archaeological Alert Areas ‘ (AAA’s). These contain most of the identified sites of archaeological interest in the Borough. They are likely to contain other currently unidentified sites. Where a development proposal is located within an ‘AAA’ the applicant will be required to arrange for the evaluation of archaeological interest before an application is determined.

3.15 Where the Council concludes that the excavation and recording of archaeological remains on a development site is appropriate, the Borough Council will seek to negotiate a legal agreement with the developer, or alternatively conditions will be included in any planning permission, to ensure that excavation and recording of the remains is carried out before development commences.

3.16 The potential conflict between the needs of archaeology and development can be significantly reduced if developers discuss their plans for development with the Borough Council at an early stage. Developers should also consult with Leicestershire County Heritage Service who hold the Sites and Monuments Record (SMR). If these discussions indicate that a known site of archaeological interest, or an area of archaeological potential may be affected, an archaeological assessment of the proposal will be required as part of the application. Where this assessment indicates that important remains may exist, the Borough Council will require an archaeological field evaluation be undertaken before the application is determined.

3.17 In considering applications which affect archaeological sites, the Borough Council will liaise with both English Heritage and Leicestershire County Heritage Service.

Listed Buildings

3.18 Part of the character and heritage of an area is its stock of buildings and structures of architectural or historic interest. Within Charnwood there are some 760 buildings and 200 structures such as walls and bridges that are listed as being of architectural or historic importance. The Borough Council is keen to ensure that wherever possible listed buildings and structures are retained and that development proposals involving or adjoining listed buildings are sympathetic to their character or setting. The Council operates a grants scheme for various eligible restoration works to Historic Buildings. For advice on the availability of such grants, the Council’s Conservation and Design Officer should be consulted.

Alterations or Extensions to Listed Buildings

3.19 POLICY EV/4

Planning permission for alterations or extensions to listed buildings, where required, will only be approved where the work is in keeping with the special architectural or historic interest of the building or its character or setting.

3.20 Where proposed alterations to a listed building require planning permission it is important to ensure that they are undertaken sensitively and do not harm the special character of the building or its setting.

The Setting of Listed Buildings

3.21 POLICY EV/5

Planning permission for development which would adversely affect the setting of a listed building will be refused. In granting planning permission for development near to a listed building the Borough Council will impose such conditions as it considers necessary to protect the building’s character and setting.

3.22 PPG15 emphasises the importance of preserving the setting of listed buildings, and notes that often the setting of building can include land some distance from it. The Borough Council will carefully consider the scale, form, siting and design of proposals close to listed buildings to ensure that their setting is not adversely affected by development proposals.

Change of Use of Listed Buildings

3.23 POLICY EV/6

Applications for the change of use of listed buildings to ensure their continued viability will be approved provided they are in keeping with the character, appearance and historic interest of the building. Applications must include full details of any proposed internal or external alterations to the building so that the effects on its character, appearance and setting can be fully assessed.

3.24 Often changes of use may provide the key to the preservation of a listed building. The Borough Council will consider sympathetically proposals which would enable historic buildings to be given a new lease of life.

Demolition of Listed Buildings

3.25 POLICY EV/7

Planning permission for development involving the demolition of the whole or substantially all of a listed building will only be granted where it can be demonstrated to the Council’s satisfaction that the condition of the building makes it impracticable to repair, renovate or adapt to a use which would ensure its retention.

3.26 PPG15 recognises that the destruction of listed buildings is very seldom necessary. Development proposals requiring planning permission which involve the demolition of the whole or substantially all of a listed building will only be granted where it is established that the building is impracticable to repair, cannot continue in its present use and there is no viable alternative use. Where the demolition of a listed building is proposed listed building consent will also be required.

Buildings of Local Historic or Architectural Interest

3.27 POLICY EV/8

Planning permission for development which would affect a building of local historic or architectural interest or its setting will be granted provided:

i) the appearance or character of the building and its setting are safeguarded; or

ii) the development would result in significant local community or environmental benefits.

3.28 The Borough Council has undertaken a survey of non-listed buildings of local historic or architectural interest in association with the Loughborough Civic Trust, and these are recorded in the Borough Council’s Supplementary Planning Guidance. These buildings are locally significant because of their architectural, historical or townscape value. Inclusion of buildings on the list does not award any legal protection and they do not enjoy the full protection of statutory listing. Where a building is of local historic or architectural interest, the impact of any development on the character of the building and its setting will be a material consideration in the determination of development proposals.

3.29 The local list will be kept under review and buildings may be added to, or deleted from it. Developers and interested parties should contact the Planning Department to ascertain the current status of buildings. Proposals that would adversely affect a building of local historic or architectural interest will need to demonstrate significant local community or environmental benefits which would outweigh the loss or damage to the buildings.

Historic Parks and Gardens

3.30 POLICY EV/9

Planning permission will not be granted for development which would have an adverse effect on the character or setting of the parks and gardens of historic or landscape significance as shown on the Proposals Map.

3.31 To date three parks and gardens within Charnwood have been identified by English Heritage as areas with significant historic or landscape interest: Bradgate Park; Prestwold Hall; and Garendon Park. In addition part of the gardens to Whatton House in North-West Leicestershire fall within Charnwood. The Plan seeks to protect these areas from unsympathetic development and, where opportunities arise, to encourage the reinstatement of these areas as historic landscapes for public use. Whilst agricultural and informal recreation uses will generally be appropriate within these areas, the introduction or intensification of development for other purposes will be resisted.

Development in Conservation Areas

3.32 POLICY EV/10

In determining planning applications for development in designated conservation areas the Council will preserve or enhance their special character or appearance by:

i) refusing permission for development involving the demolition of buildings unless it can be demonstrated that their condition is such that their repair, renovation or adaptation would be impracticable or that their removal or replacement would enhance the appearance or character of the area;

ii) requiring, where development would involve demolition, sufficient details of how the site will be treated, and of any scheme for redevelopment of the site, so that the effect of the proposal on the character of the conservation area can be properly assessed. Conditions may be imposed to ensure redevelopment commences as soon as practicable following demolition;

iii) requiring the retention of materials, features and details of unlisted buildings or structures which contribute to the character of the conservation area;

iv) requiring the height, size, design, roofscape, plot width, visual appearance and materials used in any new development (including alterations and extensions to existing buildings) to respect the character of the surrounding area and make a positive contribution to the general character of the conservation area;

v) requiring sufficient details of any proposal, including changes of use, so that the effect of the proposal on the character of the conservation area, both visually and in terms of any potential noise or other environmental intrusion, can be properly assessed. Detailed proposals may also be required on sensitive sites adjoining a conservation area. Alternatively design briefs will be prepared to guide development in the most sensitive locations;

vi) retaining the historic street pattern, traditional buildings lines, open spaces of special character (including gardens), other spaces of public value, important trees and water features, footways, footpaths and kerblines which contribute to the character of a conservation area; and

vii) encouraging the redesign or replacement of buildings, structures and features which are visually detrimental to the character of a conservation area.

3.33 Within Charnwood there are currently 36 designated conservation areas covering the majority of the historic centres of the main settlements. This policy establishes detailed criteria against which proposals for development within conservation areas can be fully assessed.

3.34 The Borough Council will liaise with the responsible agencies for the provision, retention and reinstatement of traditional paving materials, street furniture, lamp standards, brackets, bollards, railings, boundary walls, and telephone kiosks which help to form the character of a conservation area and extending their use where appropriate.

Enhancement of Conservation Areas

3.35 The Borough Council will prepare schemes for the enhancement of conservation areas and will encourage owners to improve their own land and buildings. In the determination of planning applications the Borough Council will have regard to the provisions of the Enhancement Scheme and will expect new development to be in keeping with any such scheme.

3.36 The Council intends to bid for a Heritage and Economic Regeneration Scheme (HERS) for Loughborough town centre to retain and enhance the most important individual properties and groups of buildings. Where appropriate proposals for the review of existing conservation areas, the designation of additional areas and further enhancement schemes will also be prepared.

Article 4 Directions

3.37 Permitted development rights allow certain categories of development to be undertaken without the need to obtain planning permission, and they should not be restricted without good reason. However, there may be exceptional circumstances where reliable evidence would indicate that permitted development could, if not carefully controlled, damage interests of acknowledged importance.

3.38 Where it is considered that permitted development poses a real threat to the intentions of established planning policy the Borough Council will, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State where necessary, invoke the provisions of Article 4 and 4(2) of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 to restrict permitted development taking place.

3.39 There are currently 4 areas covered by Article 4 Directions in the Borough, one covering The Green at Mountsorrel and three relating to individual farmholdings in the Charnwood Forest.

3.40 For certain permitted development rights affecting dwellings in conservation areas and some works to listed buildings, the Council may introduce Article 4(2) Directions without the need for the Secretary of State’s approval. In these cases proposals would be publicised and the Council would have regard to the views of local people.

Advertisements

3.41 POLICY EV/11

Express consent for the display of advertisements and signs will be approved unless the proposal would be either:

i) damaging to local amenities by reason of clutter, scale, siting, design or illumination; or

ii) dangerous to public safety through the introduction of signs likely to create a hazard by distracting or confusing road users.

3.42 Without proper control, advertisements may damage the character of the environment through the introduction of an unsightly clutter of signs unsympathetic to the scale, character and architecture of the locality. In some instances poorly designed and located signs may potentially cause a hazard to public safety by distracting or confusing road users. However, properly located and well designed advertising can add to the colour, interest and vitality of the street scene.

3.43 Under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992, all advertisements, other than certain excepted categories, require “express consent” before they can be lawfully displayed. The above policy seeks to ensure that advertisements requiring the express consent of the local planning authority are compatible with interests of local amenity and public safety.

3.44 The Borough Council will have particular regard to the need to protect and enhance the appearance of the main road entrances to settlements and will use its powers to control existing and proposed advertisements in these locations. Main approaches to settlements by road can play an important part in defining the image of a settlement. In particular unsightly and inappropriate advertising in these locations can have a substantial detrimental effect. Consent to display advertisements along the main road entrances to settlements in the Borough will be restricted to:

i) single signs of traditional construction denoting the location of public houses, petrol filling stations and other facilities convenient to travellers;

ii) advance warning signs (including signs for tourist features) only where they would not be detrimental to public safety and would not result in a proliferation of signs.

Advertisements Above First Floor Level

3.45 POLICY EV/12

Express consent will not be granted for the display of advertisements above the level of first floor window sills where they would be poorly related to the building or surrounding buildings by reason of their scale or design.

3.46 Advertisements should wherever possible be restricted to areas at or below first floor level. Signs located above this level can often appear unsightly and incongruous in relation to both the particular building and the surrounding street scene.

Advertisements on Listed Buildings or in Conservation Areas

3.47 POLICY EV/13

Express consent to display advertisements and signs within conservation areas or on or close to a listed building will only be granted where:

i) the design, scale and siting of the sign would preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area; and/or

ii) the proposal would not adversely effect the special architectural or historic interest of a listed building or its character or setting.

3.48 The Borough Council has a duty to pay special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of conservation areas and will apply more rigorous standards over the control of advertisements in these areas. An unnecessary proliferation of poorly designed and inappropriate signs can have a significant detrimental impact on the appearance of listed buildings and conservation areas.3.49 In particular, internally illuminated box fascia signs can often have a damaging effect on the character of conservation areas and will normally be inappropriate on listed buildings. The Borough Council will pay special attention to the likely impact of proposals for illuminated signage within conservation areas or on or close to listed buildings.

Areas of Special Control for Advertisements

3.50 Environmentally sensitive areas of the Borough are designated Areas of Special Control for Advertisements; these include most Conservation Areas and rural areas outside the main settlements. In these areas more stringent standards apply in respect of the size of advertisements limiting the scope for deemed consent. In determining applications for express consent in these areas the Council will be particularly concerned to ensure that advertisements remain compatible with the character and quality of the surrounding rural, or historic environment.

Advertisement Hoardings

3.51 POLICY EV/14

Express consent for the display of advertisement hoardings or posters will not be approved outside the limits to development, within smaller villages or in primarily residential areas.

In commercial and industrial areas, proposals for advertisement hoardings will be approved where the hoarding:

i) is in keeping with the scale, form and character of the building onto which it will be placed or surrounding buildings, and

ii) would not, by virtue of its size or siting, be seen as an overdominant feature in the streetscene.

3.52 Advertisement hoardings, because of their size and character, can have a significant impact on the character of an area. They will only be approved where they do not harm the character or appearance of the area or where as an interim measure they would be the only practical means of screening an unsightly building or area of land. Such advertising will usually be out of place in the countryside and many of the smaller villages in Charnwood.

Projecting Signs

3.53 POLICY EV/15

Express consent for projecting box signs will only be approved where the sign:

i) by reason of its size, bulk and method of illumination (if any) is in keeping with the character and appearance of the frontage onto which it would be placed and the wider streetscene;

ii) would not result in an impression of clutter in the streetscene bearing in mind the presence of existing projecting signs in the locality.

3.54 By their nature projecting signs can be particularly obtrusive in the street scene, especially where they are too large or bulky for the frontage onto which they are placed. Too many projecting signs in one location can also make the street scene appear cluttered. In considering proposals for projecting signs the Borough Council will take particular care to ensure that they are visually in keeping with the locality and do not give the impression of clutter.

Access for People with Disabilities

3.55 POLICY EV/16

Planning permission will not be granted for new buildings intended to be open to the public or to be used for employment or education unless the design and layout provides suitable access to and into the building for people with disabilities. Proposals for the change of use, alteration or extension of existing buildings for these purposes will also be required to provide for access by people with disabilities where reasonable and practical.

(See also in particular Policy TR/21)

3.56 The Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 and the relevant sections of the Disabled Persons Act 1981 incorporated into the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, require developers of specified types of buildings to provide suitable means of access, parking and toilet facilities to meet the needs of people with disabilities. The types of buildings to which the Act applies are buildings open to the public, places of employment and educational establishments.

3.57 The provisions of the Acts are largely enforced through Part M of the Building Regulations in so far as new development is concerned. PPG1 indicates that local planning authorities should take into account access issues in development plans and in determining planning applications. For new developments, or changes of use or alteration of existing buildings where there will be public access, the Borough Council will seek to ensure that through the design and layout, easy access to the building is provided for people with disabilities. The Borough Council will be flexible in its approach to access issues taking into account the circumstances of each case. Measures designed to assist people with disabilities will improve access for everyone, not least the elderly and infirm and people with young children.

Safety in New Development

3.58 POLICY EV/17

In the determination of planning applications the Borough Council will have regard to the need to make provision in the design and layout of new development for the purposes of creating a safer environment, particularly for women, children and the elderly.

(See also in particular Policy H/16)

3.59 PPG1 makes it clear that crime prevention is one of a number of social considerations to which regard must be given in development plans. The main source of Government advice on crime prevention is contained in Circular 5/94 “Planning Out Crime”. Through appropriate design, layout and landscaping of new development the opportunity for and the fear of crime can be substantially reduced.

Open Spaces of Special Character

3.60 POLICY EV/18

Planning permission will not be granted for development which would result in the loss of important areas of open land retained in public or private ownership which contribute to the character of a settlement either individually or as part of a wider network of open space.

3.61 A central feature of the plan’s sustainable strategy lies in ensuring that the “green” character of the Borough’s settlements is safeguarded and enhanced and not lost to “town cramming”. PPG17 emphasises the important contribution open space, both public and private, makes to the quality of urban life.

3.62 The character of settlements is a function of the interrelationship between buildings and the spaces they define. Very often, open spaces make a vital contribution to a settlement’s character. Important areas of open land can include:

  • spaces of historic importance within conservation areas or adjoining listed buildings;

  • spaces important in the streetscene;

  • spaces creating a feeling of spaciousness within an area;

  • spaces that provide a link to the countryside or provide a transition between the settlement and the countryside beyond;

  • private garden land which is an important feature in the streetscene or forms part of the transition between the settlement and the countryside.

3.63 Open spaces of special character are shown on the Proposals Map. Other areas of open land, including recreation land defined under Policy RT/7, and allotments defined under Policy RT/15, can often be important for their amenity as well as recreational value. For development proposals affecting these areas, the Borough Council will also consider whether the land functions as an open space of special character. There may also be circumstances where open land within a settlement that is not identified as an open space of special character on the Proposals Map is proposed for development. In these situations the Borough Council will, in determining the proposal, consider whether the land functions as an open space of special character to which this policy should apply.

Tree Preservation Orders

3.64 Part of Charnwood’s special character is its wooded landscaped - its most recognisable feature being the popular Charnwood Forest area. It is important that the existing stock of trees and areas of woodland are safeguarded where possible from the impact of new development. The Borough Council will make tree preservation orders to protect those trees, groups of trees or woodlands which make a significant contribution to the amenities of any area. In the determination of planning applications the Borough Council will take into account the need to protect where possible trees from felling, lopping, topping, pruning, changes to ground levels, root severance or soil compaction. Wherever possible services should not be run under tree crowns or through existing or proposed landscape areas in order to avoid damage to root systems.

Ancient Woodland

3.65 POLICY EV/19

The Borough Council will refuse development proposals which would result in the loss of, or damage to, areas of ancient woodland, directly or indirectly by felling, lopping, topping, pruning, changes to ground levels, root severance or soil compaction. Improved management of existing woodland will be encouraged wherever possible.

3.66 About half of Leicestershire’s woodland is ancient woodland and this is largely located in the Charnwood Forest area. The Council is particularly concerned to ensure that these areas of ancient woodland are protected from loss or damage. Areas of Ancient Woodland are listed in the Borough Council’s Supplementary Planning Guidance.

Landscaping in New Development

3.67 POLICY EV/20

Planning permission for new development will be granted where a high standard of appropriate landscaping is provided to the satisfaction of the Borough Council. Where a detailed landscaping scheme is submitted at the full planning application stage or in any reserved matters it should:

i) accurately identify planting areas and include details of plant species, their size and density, soil preparation and the location of existing and proposed services;

ii) clearly identify existing trees and hedgerows to be retained as part of the development and the measures proposed to safeguard these features during development;

iii) include details of structural planting and any proposed earth modelling on the periphery of the site, particularly where it adjoins areas of countryside, Green Wedge, local separation, Areas of Particularly Attractive Countryside, open space, principal transport corridors or areas where the physical separation of land uses requires reinforcement. In these sensitive locations provision should be made for the use of common locally native species. For within site landscaped areas, the use of common locally native species will be sought unless there is no such species suitable to fulfil the landscaping purpose required;

iv) specify planting to break up the outline of large buildings;

v) detail planting proposed for car parking and servicing areas;

vi) provide full details of proposals for future maintenance.

3.68 Without careful and sensitive landscaping new developments, however well designed, can present unacceptably intrusive features and fail to integrate successfully with their surroundings. High quality landscaping is particularly vital for sites on the edge of settlements or those adjoining significant green spaces or green links within settlements.

3.69 PPG1 recognises that landscaping is an integral part of good design. Where landscaping issues are considered at an early stage in the design process, the resulting quality and attractiveness of the development can be greatly improved. Landscaping snot only brings visual benefits but can also provide shelter from the wind and thereby reduce heat loss and provide energy savings. It can also provide important wildlife habitats. Detailed landscaping schemes will be expected for all new large housing, employment, commercial and recreational developments. For smaller scale developments in sensitive locations, proposed landscaping may also be an important consideration.

3.70 Specific landscaping requirements for allocated sites are detailed in the site specific policies contained in the Population and Housing and Employment and Business chapters of the Plan.

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