Local Plan Review: Preferred Approach 2016-2035

Ended on the 7 February 2019

Strategic Policies

(4) Design

5.1 The Chichester plan area is a desirable place in which to live with an outstanding historic environment and attractive villages in beautiful countryside close to the South Downs National Park (SDNP). The buildings, open spaces and landscape all contribute to the character of the area. There are a large number of listed buildings (buildings of special architectural or historic interest) and conservation areas (areas of architectural or historic interest) throughout the area as well as scheduled ancient monuments, and nationally recognised parks and gardens which are registered for special protection. In addition, non-designated assets and features help to shape the distinctiveness throughout the plan area both to the north and south of the SDNP. It all adds up to a rich heritage for people who live and work in the area, and also attracts many tourists and visitors.

5.2 The creation of high quality buildings and places is a fundamental consideration to the appearance of Chichester as well as the towns and villages and to quality of life. Design should therefore be considered throughout the evolution and assessment of proposals including through early discussions involving applicants, the local planning authority and the local community. New development can be striking but must respect or enhance local character and be appropriate to its context. Design and layout should take account of neighbouring buildings as well as the surrounding area. It is essential that design goes beyond the focus of the individual development and also takes account of sense of place, safety and security.

5.3 Government guidance (paragraph 130 of the NPPF) calls for permission to be refused for poor development that fails to take the opportunities available for improving the character and quality of an area and the way it functions, taking into account any local design standards or style guides in plans or supplementary planning documents. It requires a clear vision and design expectations to be set out and calls for effective engagement between applicants, communities, local planning authorities and other interests throughout the process. Policies are required to ensure that developments will function well and add to the overall quality of the area, be visually attractive, sympathetic to local character and history, establish or maintain a strong sense pf place, optimise the potential of the site to accommodate and sustain an appropriate amount and mix of development and support local facilities and transport networks, as well as creating places that are safe, inclusive and accessible promoting health and well-being.

5.4 Local input in any development is, of course, crucial and that is why town and village design statements are so important. Putting up new buildings alongside something much older can sometimes be contentious, so it is important to be aware of any local special features of particular merit and to relate any proposals to the context of the site. The design of new buildings should be woven into the fabric of the living and working community.

5.5 Policies are required to achieve high quality in new development and at the same time to protect and enhance existing historic character. Only high quality design that respects and enhances the special qualities of Chichester, our towns, villages and countryside will be acceptable. Future development must be fit for purpose for many years and designed to meet the changing circumstances and needs of everyone. This will be a key challenge for all new development. In addition, high quality design which retains and complements overall character will be required in the smaller rural villages. The close relationship between new development, existing features and open spaces will be a key consideration in all future proposals.

5.6 There is a growing recognition that design affects people's lives. Health can be a good example of this. Well-designed buildings with good use of open space, for example, can encourage healthy lifestyles with scope for walking, cycling, and other leisure pursuits that may help to prevent problems such as obesity. In addition, with an ageing population it is particularly important to accommodate the needs of an ageing population. Providing dwellings built to Lifetime Homes Standards, and in accessible locations, will help to achieve this. As the population ages the incidence of dementia is increasing, it is acknowledged that design principles which include creating familiar, legible, distinctive, accessible, comfortable and safe environments can improve the ability of people living with dementia to live well.

5.7 Parking provision in new housing developments may not always have been adequate or located conveniently for residents. Where poor on-street parking results, this may cause problems and detract from the overall character of the development.

5.8 Car parking spaces should therefore be an integral part of the layout and design of the new dwelling. Care is required to ensure that parking is convenient, easy to use and well located to overcome the problems arising from haphazard on-street parking. Spaces should be situated within the curtilage of individual plots, within garages or car ports either integral or set back from the road. Parking for flats should be located adjacent to the building where it can enjoy natural surveillance from the occupiers of nearby dwellings. Arrangements need to be made for the parking of cycles within individual residential curtilages where these exist or in communal facilities for apartments.

(32) Policy S20: Design

All proposals for new development will be required to be of high quality design that:

  1. responds positively to the site and its surroundings, cultural diversity and history, conserves and enhances historic character and reinforces local identity or establishes a distinct identity whilst not preventing innovative responses to context;
  1. creates a distinctive sense of place through high quality townscape and landscaping that physically and visually integrates with its surroundings;
  1. provides a clear and permeable structure of streets, routes and spaces that are legible and easy to navigate through because of the use of street typology, views, landmarks, public art and focal points;
  1. is well connected to provide safe and convenient ease of movement by all users, prioritising pedestrian and cycle movements both within the scheme and neighbouring areas and ensuring that the needs of vehicular traffic does not dominate at the expense of other modes of transport, or undermine the resulting quality of places;
  1. incorporates and/or links to high quality Green Infrastructure and landscaping to enhance biodiversity and meet recreational needs, including public rights of way;
  1. is built to last, functions well and is flexible to changing requirements of occupants and other circumstances;
  1. addresses the needs of all in society by incorporating mixed uses and facilities as appropriate with good access to public transport and a wide range of house types and tenures;
  1. is visually attractive and respects and where possible enhances the character of the surrounding area in terms of its scale, height, density, layout, massing, type, details, materials,
  1. provides a high standard of amenity for existing and future neighbours, occupiers and users of the development;
  1. creates safe communities and reduces the likelihood and fear of crime;
  1. secures a high quality public realm with well managed and maintained public areas that are overlooked to promote greater community safety, with clearly defined private spaces;
  1. ensures a sufficient level of well-integrated car and bicycle parking and external storage;
  1. is sustainable and resilient to climate change by taking into account landform, layout, building orientation, massing and landscaping to minimise energy consumption and mitigate water run-off and flood risks.

(5) Planning for Health and Wellbeing

5.9 The NPPF recognises that supporting healthy communities is fundamental to the social role of planning in delivering sustainable development. The planning process can influence the provision of new and improved facilities and opportunities to encourage healthy choices and active lifestyles, when creating new places and new development. Policies in the Local Plan Review enable and support healthy lifestyles for example, by including the provision of safe and accessible green infrastructure, sports facilities, local shops, and housing allocations which encourage walking and cycling.

5.10 Development should contribute to building healthy communities through the creation of an inclusive built and natural environment. Inclusive design means providing for all people regardless of age or ability. Healthy communities are ones which meet the needs of children and young people to develop, as well as being adaptable to the needs of an increasingly elderly population and those with dementia and other sensory or mobility impairments.

5.11 Policy S21 seeks to ensure that development considers local issues relating to health and wellbeing at an early stage in the planning process in order to positively improve outcomes for residents. However, health and wellbeing is not a standalone policy, it is influenced by a number of themes, including transport, open space, green infrastructure, housing, employment and environmental quality.

(11) Policy S21: Health and Wellbeing

All proposals for new development should improve and promote strong, vibrant and healthy communities. Measures that contribute to healthier communities and support health, social and cultural wellbeing, must be incorporated in a development where appropriate.

(1) Historic Environment

5.12 The importance of the historic environment to both Chichester and the plan area cannot be underestimated. The large number of "Heritage Assets", both designated and non-designated, that pervade throughout the area form a key irreplaceable resource. These include listed buildings, conservation areas, Scheduled Monuments, archaeological sites and Historic Parks and Gardens It is therefore important for such assets to be conserved in a manner appropriate to their significance to ensure their contribution can be enjoyed by both existing and future generations.

5.13 Where development proposals might affect a heritage asset the Council will identify and assess the particular significance of the heritage asset and seek to avoid or minimise any conflict between the conservation of the heritage asset and any aspect of the proposal. When considering new development in conservation areas and/or within the setting of heritage assets, opportunities should be sought to enhance or better reveal their significance.

5.14 In certain instances there may be benefits of a proposal for enabling development where this would secure the future conservation of a heritage asset. Where such potential arises it will be important to consider any conflict with other policies in the plan and the extent of the benefits to be accrued.

(15) Policy S22: Historic Environment

The Council will ensure the significance of heritage assets within the plan area is conserved or enhanced to ensure the long term protection and enjoyment of the historic environment by:

  1. Protecting and managing all heritage assets, archaeological sites and historic landscapes, designated and non-designated assets, and their setting in accordance with legislation and national policy;
  1. Understanding, identifying and respecting the significance of the assets;
  1. Undertaking further conservation area character appraisals and any related management plans;
  1. Taking account of heritage assets identified at risk or vulnerable to risk and taking a proactive approach to their improvement.

Where benefits may arise from a proposal for enabling development that would secure the future conservation of a heritage asset it will be important to consider whether any conflicts with other policies in the plan are outweighed by the benefits.

(40) Transport Infrastructure

5.15 Transport infrastructure includes roads, public transport facilities for bus and rail, ferry services, footpaths, cycleways and bridleways.

5.16 The plan area accommodates nationally important strategic transport corridors in the form of the Portsmouth-Brighton rail corridor and the A27 strategic road link between Havant and Eastbourne. Other infrastructure of more localised importance includes the A286 from the south of Chichester heading northwards towards Midhurst and the A259 which follows an alignment similar to the A27, albeit to the south before connecting Chichester to Bognor Regis. These roads are supported in the wider highway network by local roads designed to accommodate more localised traffic. There is an extensive public rights of way network across the plan area, and a number of cycle paths.

5.17 The Local Plan Review strategy for transport, access and communications aims to promote a more integrated and sustainable local transport network and to facilitate ease of access to local services and facilities supporting planned development and mitigating its cumulative impact on the highways network and other transport services.

5.18 The West Sussex Transport Plan (2011-2026) provides strategic direction for transport planning within the plan area, focusing on the objectives of promoting economic growth; tackling climate change; providing access to services, employment and housing; and improving safety, security and health. It identifies a number of key issues in the plan area and aims to address these. The strategy aims to tackle identified transport issues as and when funding becomes available. It seeks to ensure that all new development supports and contributes to the following: increasing use of sustainable modes of transport ('Smarter Choices'); improving the efficiency of local transport networks to improve journey times and air quality; improving safety for all road users; discouraging HGVs from using unsuitable roads; and improving accessibility between communities and larger towns within the plan area.

5.19 Road congestion is a major issue affecting parts of the plan area, particularly within Chichester City and the junctions on the A27 Chichester Bypass. The problems are most acute during peak travel periods, and this causes knock-on effects in terms of delays and diversion onto less suitable roads, and road safety issues. Congestion at the A27 junctions and the level crossings on the West Coastway railway line act as a barrier to movement around the city, and between the city and the Manhood Peninsula to the south. Transport movements and traffic congestion have a detrimental impact on air quality in the city, which has resulted in the designation of three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs).

5.20 The more rural parts of the plan area face different transport challenges. In particular, there is a high reliance on car travel to access key services and facilities, with limited public transport services.

5.21 Projected growth in road journeys from the existing population, together with new housing, employment and other development proposed over the Plan period (both within and outside of the plan area) will place additional pressure on the local road network which is already operating at or beyond its designed capacity in places. Without mitigation, this would lead to further congestion and increased queuing times around the A27 junctions and within Chichester City.

5.22 The A27 has trunk road status and falls under the responsibility of Highways England. Within the vicinity of Chichester City, the A27 has a poor safety record, with evidence suggesting that it is within the worst 10% of UK roads for casualties[14]. Furthermore, the A27 and many local roads are often significantly over capacity.

5.23 The potential for a major upgrade of the A27 within the vicinity of Chichester City utilising alignments running south of the city has previously been considered in some detail by Highways England. Further work has also been undertaken by this Council, in combination with West Sussex County Council and local communities to explore the potential for a new alignment for the A27 to the north of Chichester.

5.24 At a meeting of the Council in June 2018, it was resolved that in the event of a future opportunity to apply for central government funding for new road schemes becoming available, support is given to a northern alignment for the A27 as a preferred option, subject to securing the necessary environmental mitigation, with a southern route identified as a reasonable alternative.

5.25 At this time, there is insufficient detail and uncertainty on the proposed route to rely on a publicly funded solution in planning future development. It will also be necessary to coordinate Local Plan Review transport improvements with the eventual preferred Highways England scheme for the A27 bypass when this is known, both physically and in terms of funding.

5.26 To address this position, the Council will work with Highways England, the County Council and major development promoters to identify a coordinated package of transport measures that will mitigate projected traffic impacts resulting from new housing and other development over the Plan period. A central element of the strategy is a package of proposed improvements to the junctions on the A27 Chichester Bypass, aimed at improving traffic capacity, reducing congestion and queueing, and addressing road safety issues.

5.27 In addition, the County Council is expected to continue to support new development through a package of transport improvements which will continue to aim to reduce congestion and encourage people to use sustainable modes of travel such as walking, cycling and public transport. The District Council will shortly commence work on updating its local Cycling, Walking and Infrastructure Plan to help prioritise projects for delivery, particularly in Chichester City Centre. A key objective is to achieve a significant shift in travel behaviour aimed particularly at reducing car use for short distance journeys. Proposed measures are likely to include continuing to target investment in local transport infrastructure, focusing on delivery of improved and better integrated bus and train services, and improved pedestrian and cycling networks. Also likely to be included are measures to encourage behavioural change, such as easy-to-use journey planning tools, skills training and promotional activities. Parking policies for the city included in the Chichester District Car Park Strategy 2010-2020 will also play a role in managing growth in car use.

5.28 Improvements to transport infrastructure (including to the A27 Chichester Bypass), coupled with measures to control travel demand and promote sustainable modes of travel, are considered sufficient to accommodate the levels of development provided for in the Local Plan Review. New development proposed in the Local Plan Review will present opportunities to fund and/or deliver elements of the identified package of transport measures. The effectiveness of transport infrastructure measures in controlling traffic growth and congestion in and around Chichester City will need to be carefully monitored.

5.29 The Chichester District Car Park Strategy 2010-2020 also continues to play a role in managing growth in car use. The Car Park Strategy indicates that if spare capacity in the city's car parks falls below a specified level, the need to introduce Park and Ride should be considered. Should this situation arise, a review may be required in order to revise the transport strategy for the city and identify potential Park and Ride sites.

5.30 Apart from the cost of the package of improvements to the junctions of the A27, which will continue to be in part be funded from S106 and S278, it is intended that identified transport infrastructure improvements will be a key priority for Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding. The Council and its partners will also pursue opportunities to obtain funding from other sources where possible. Implementation of the junction improvements will be coordinated with the phasing and delivery of major development to address the requirements set out in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan.

5.31 The District Council has undertaken a transport assessment of the proposed development sites and strategic housing numbers set out in this Plan to understand the impacts on the highway network in the plan area and surrounding area. The study has identified that a number of highway improvements will be required to mitigate the impact of the development now planned in this Local Plan Review, particularly in relation to junction improvements on the A27 Chichester Bypass. In summary these are as follows:

A27 junction improvements:

Fishbourne roundabout (A259)

Stockbridge roundabout (A286)

Whyke roundabout (B2145)

Bognor Road/Vinnetrow Road roundabout (A259)

Oving traffic lights (B2144)

Portfield roundabout (A285)

Inner Chichester

Various small-scale junction improvements within city centre

Wider plan area

New road connecting Birdham Road to A27 Fishbourne roundabout

Small-scale junction improvements on Manhood Peninsula

Outside of plan area

Small-scale junction improvements on A259 in Arun District

5.32 These highway improvement schemes will replace those previously identified to mitigate the effects of the 2015 Local Plan, other than specific localised schemes identified at the development management stage to mitigate the impact of a specific proposal.

5.33 In terms of public transport the Council will be working with Network Rail, train operators and local stakeholders to facilitate improvements to the accessibility of railway stations. The Council also works closely with bus operators to improve their services in and through the plan area.

(194) Policy S23: Transport and Accessibility

The Council will work with Highways England, West Sussex County Council, other transport and service providers and developers to improve accessibility to key services and facilities and to provide an improved and better integrated transport network. This will include:

  • Ensuring that new development is well located and designed to minimise the need for travel, encourages the use of sustainable modes of travel as an alternative to the private car, and provides or contributes towards necessary transport infrastructure, including through travel plans;
  • Working with relevant providers to improve accessibility to key services and facilities and to ensure that new facilities are readily accessible by sustainable modes of travel; and
  • Planning to achieve timely delivery of transport infrastructure needed to support new housing, employment and other development identified in this Plan.

Integrated transport measures will be developed to mitigate the impact of planned
development on the highways network, improve highway safety and air quality, promote more sustainable travel patterns and encourage increased use of sustainable modes of travel, such as public transport, cycling and walking. This will include:

  • New road connecting Birdham Road to A27 Fishbourne roundabout (see Policy AL6) to be funded through S106/S278 by the developer of the Strategic Site Allocation – Land South West of Chichester (Apuldram and Donnington Parishes)
  • Provision for car sharing clubs
  • Provision for electric charging points
  • A coordinated package of improvements to junctions on the A27 Chichester Bypass, along with a new road between Birdham Road and the Fishbourne Roundabout south-west of Chichester and other small-scale junction improvements within the city and elsewhere. These will increase road capacity, reduce traffic congestion, improve safety and air quality, and improve access to Chichester City from surrounding areas;
  • Targeted investment to improve local transport infrastructure, focusing on delivery of improved and better integrated bus and train services, and improved pedestrian and cycling networks, including the public rights of way network; and
  • Measures to promote behavioural change in travel choices, such as easy-to-use journey planning tools, skills training and promotional activities. Travel plans will be developed as a means of coordinating these measures.

Funding for the A27 junction package of improvements will be funded in part by financial contributions from the Strategic Site Allocations and other locations where substantial housing is identified in the Local Plan Review but is not yet subject to planning permission. The Community Infrastructure Levy will be used to contribute towards the cost of improvements to the local road network. New development may also be required to deliver or contribute towards specific transport improvements directly related to the development.

Planned transport measures will involve consultation with all interested parties, including local residents and businesses.

(19) Countryside and Countryside Gaps

5.34 Settlement boundaries distinguish between built-up areas and areas of countryside. The settlement boundaries are identified on the policies map. They have all been reviewed as part of the Local Plan Review process unless this was done through a neighbourhood plan or the preparation of a subsequent Development Plan Document.

5.35 The methodology for determining the boundaries is set out in the Settlement Boundary Review Background Paper, which forms part of the Local Plan Review evidence base. Policy S24 sets a clear distinction between land within a settlement boundary and countryside. Within the settlement boundary, the principle of further development is established subject to other policies in this Plan.

5.36 Areas outside settlement boundaries are defined as 'countryside' which includes villages, hamlets, farms and other buildings as well as undeveloped open land. In order to protect the landscape, character, quality and tranquillity of the countryside it is essential to prevent inappropriate development. At the same time, it is necessary to provide for the social and economic needs of small rural communities, and enable those who manage, live and work in the countryside to continue to do so.

5.37 The plan area's countryside is an important and diminishing resource. It is
valued for many reasons, including agriculture and community food production, its landscape qualities including the special characteristics of Chichester Harbour and Pagham Harbour, the setting it provides for Chichester City and other towns and villages and the opportunities it provides for recreation and biodiversity. The Council is keen to protect the countryside in the plan area from the urbanising impacts of development which can arise from the impact of buildings, structures, lighting, traffic and other activities.

5.38 The Council also wants to find ways of enhancing the character and appearance of the countryside, the amenities and opportunities that it offers, and its biodiversity. However, there are dwellings and enterprises in these countryside areas, and particular needs arising from rural activities. To support a prosperous and diverse rural economy, some limited and carefully planned development may be acceptable to enable the countryside and local rural communities to evolve and thrive. Support is given to the local delivery of services and community facilities such as the retention of local shops, meeting places, sports venues, open space, cultural buildings, places of worship and pubs.

5.39 In parts of the countryside there is a shortage of sites suitable to meet local social, community and economic development needs. The Council will support the conversion of existing buildings and the re-use of previously developed sites for rural affordable housing, local community facilities and/or small scale employment generating uses which are accessible, well designed and well related to existing development and require a countryside location.

5.40 Where development is proposed in the countryside, the Council will seek the beneficial management of the countryside. This will include encouragement of proposals that enhance the woodlands and recreational links to and within this area.

5.41 The designation of the South Downs as a National Park recognised the special qualities of the landscape and recreational opportunities available. The Park represents a significant asset for the plan area in this regard and it will be important to ensure that connectivity between the areas are protected and enhanced, with new recreational opportunities explored further as they arise.

5.42 The countryside also performs an important role in providing a setting for the plan area's settlements. Maintaining the individual identities of communities is an important priority for the Council. The most obvious way of achieving this is keeping them physically separate from each other and areas outside of the plan area e.g. Emsworth to the west and the Coastal West Sussex Urban Belt to the east. Development over recent years has tended to cause some merging of settlements. The Council considers that designating areas between settlements as countryside gaps to be kept free of urbanising development may be an appropriate way of seeking to prevent further loss of local identity. A study of the potential for introduction of gaps between various settlements across the plan area is currently underway. Should the results of this study support the case for introducing such gaps, then this provision will be included within the next iteration of this Local Plan Review.

5.43 Parts of the countryside are underlain with mineral deposits. As the minerals planning authority, West Sussex County Council seeks to avoid the sterilisation of such resources by permanent development. Areas safeguarded because they contain minerals are identified by the County Council in the West Sussex Minerals Plan and the implications are further explained in the Draft Safeguarding Guidance. Areas where minerals safeguarding policies apply are shown on the Local Plan Review policies map.

(44) Policy S24: Countryside

Outside settlement boundaries as defined on the policies map, development will be permitted in the countryside provided that:

  1. It conserves and, where possible, enhances the key features and qualities of the rural and landscape character of the countryside setting;
  1. It is of an appropriate scale, siting and design that is unlikely to cause unacceptable harm to the appearance of the countryside; and
  1. It requires a countryside location or meets an essential local need, as provided for in Policies DM21 and DM22.

Defined settlement boundaries may be altered by a development plan document and/or a neighbourhood plan.

(1) The Coast

5.44 The plan area's coastline stretches from the Rivers Ems at Emsworth in the west to Pagham Harbour in the east, providing important habitats for wildlife, leisure and employment opportunities associated with the marine environment and an extensive public rights of way network which provides public access to the majority of the plan area's coastline. The landscape of the coastline is characterised by its relatively flat topography which, on occasion, serves to provide views from the water across to the South Downs National Park.

5.45 Significant areas of actively farmed arable land remain along the coast, punctuated by mature woodland and settlements such as Bosham, West Itchenor, West Wittering and East Wittering. There are also a number of marine related activities along the coast, including both commercial and recreational uses.

5.46 The importance of the landscape of Chichester Harbour, including its coastline has been recognised by its designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Most of the coastline is also designated as a Special Area of Conservation and a Ramsar site. There are also Sites of Special Scientific Interest along the coast.

5.47 The Council works closely with a number of organisations and authorities to effectively manage and promote the coastal environment and its waterways. This includes joint work with Havant Borough Council, Hampshire County Council, West Sussex County Council and Chichester Harbour Conservancy Authority in relation to Chichester Harbour. The Council has a similar working relationship with Arun District Council with regard to Pagham Harbour.

5.48 The Integrated Coastal Zone Management for the Manhood Peninsula is discussed in Chapter 4 of this Plan.

(13) Policy S25: The Coast

The Council will continue to work with partner organisations and authorities to protect and enhance the Plan's coastal areas in order to ensure they continue to provide an important recreational, economic and environmental resource. In particular the Council will support:

  • ongoing habitat protection/restoration/enhancement;
  • leisure/recreational uses, including water based activities;
  • marine employment uses, including those which require direct access to water; and
  • flood defence and adaptation to climate change

In supporting the above, the Council will be mindful of the consistency of proposals with other relevant statutory and non-statutory policies and documents of relevance, including the Chichester Harbour Conservancy Harbour Management Plan

(4) Natural Environment

5.49 Protecting and enhancing the natural environment of the plan area is a key objective of this Council. The natural environment provides social, environmental and economic benefits which, when appropriately managed, contribute towards long term sustainable growth. As described in paragraph 1.40, the plan area accommodates a number of international, national and local designations.

5.50 The natural environment is under significant pressure to accommodate a range of demands. This includes modern farming practices which have an influence on the evolving landscape and biodiversity of our countryside as well as development that more directly facilitates addressing housing needs and provides for economic growth.

5.51 In seeking to reconcile these demands on the natural environment, the Council will only support proposals that do not cause significant harm to the function of the natural environment. This includes ensuring the richness of the landscape and biodiversity of the area is not unduly compromised, with opportunities taken to enhance their value where appropriate.

5.52 The plan area has a good growing climate and both the agricultural and horticultural industries are important. Domestic food production is of strategic national importance. Emphasis is not just on increasing self-sufficiency but also taking advantage of the UK climate to produce more food for home and export markets.

5.53 Much of the undeveloped coastal plain of the plan area is high quality agricultural land which falls within Grades 1, 2 and 3a of the Agricultural Land Classification. In planning for the sustainable growth of the plan area, it is recognised that there may be occasions when the loss of such land is necessary.

(30) Policy S26: Natural Environment

The Council will continue to work with partner authorities and organisations to protect and enhance the natural environment of the Plan Area. In relation to development proposals this will include:

  • Ensuring that distinctive local landscape character and sensitivity is protected in accordance with Policy DM28.
  • Ensuring there is no adverse impact on the openness of views in and around the coast, designated environmental areas and the setting of the South Downs National Park. See Policies DM19, DM20 and DM28.
  • Protecting the biodiversity value of the site and its environment in accordance with Policy DM29; and
  • Considering the quality of the agricultural land, with the development of poorer quality agricultural land being preferred to the best and most versatile land.

(1) Flood Risk and Water Management

5.54 As a consequence of the rise in sea levels and storm surges, parts of the plan area will be at increased risk from coastal erosion, groundwater, fluvial and/or tidal flooding. Hard defences may not be possible to maintain in the long term, therefore development needs to be strongly restricted in areas at risk to flooding, whilst ensuring that existing towns and villages are protected by sustainable means that make space for water in suitable areas.

5.55 There are serious concerns about the impacts of flooding, both in respect of current properties at risk but also the long-term management of the area. These issues are therefore key factors in determining the scale and location of development. It is important that inappropriate development is avoided in areas currently at risk from flooding, or likely to be at risk as a result of climate change, or in areas where development is likely to increase flooding elsewhere.

5.56 Any development in the plan area must therefore have regard to flood and erosion risk, by way of location of specific measures, such as additional flood alleviation, which will protect people, properties and vulnerable habitats from flooding.

5.57 Any risk must be assessed by using the Environment Agency Flood maps and the Council's Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA). A Level 1 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment for the Chichester plan area has been carried out for the Local Plan Review that supersedes the previous SFRA (2008). The study has been undertaken in accordance with advice in the NPPF and its accompanying PPG.

5.58 Built development can lead to increased surface water run-off; therefore new development is encouraged to incorporate mitigation techniques in its design, such as permeable surfaces and Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS). Where appropriate, SuDS should be used as part of the linked green infrastructure network to provide multiple functions and benefits to landscape quality, recreation and biodiversity. This can be achieved through habitat creation, new open spaces and good design. SuDS should be designed to help cope with intense rainfall events and to overcome any deterioration in water quality status. In determining the suitability of SuDS for individual development sites, developers should seek advice from the Lead Local Flood Authority.

(22) Policy S27: Flood Risk Management

Flood Zones in the Chichester plan area are defined in accordance with Planning Practice Guidance and the Council's Strategic Flood Risk Assessment Level 1. In order to reduce the overall and local risk of flooding in the area:

  1. Development must be located, designed and laid out to ensure that it is safe, that the risk from flooding is minimised whilst not increasing the risk of flooding elsewhere, and that residual risks are safely managed. In locations identified as being at risk of flooding, planning permission will only be granted, or land allocated for development, where it can be demonstrated that:
    1. through a sequential approach, it is located in the lowest appropriate flood risk location in accordance with the NPPF and the Chichester Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA); and
    2. where sequential and exceptions tests have been undertaken and passed, any development that takes place where there is a risk of flooding incorporates flood mitigation measures into the design to minimise the risk to property and life both on and off site should flooding occur.
    3. it would not constrain the natural function of the flood plain, either by impeding flood flow or reducing storage capacity.
  1. Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) will be required on major developments (10 or more dwellings or equivalent) and encouraged for smaller schemes. A site-specific Flood Risk Assessment will be required for sites within or adjacent to areas at risk of surface water flooding as identified in the SFRA. There should be no increase in either the volume or rate of surface water runoff leaving the site.
  1. Proposed development on brownfield sites should reduce run off rates to match those on greenfield sites where feasible.
  1. Development should not result in any property or highway, on or off site, being at greater risk of flooding than the 1 in 100 year storm return period, including an allowance for climate change.

(2) Pollution

5.59 The Local Plan Review strategy seeks to protect and enhance the environment by improving pollution control measures in development throughout the plan area. This reflects the Plan Vision and environmental objectives, alongside promoting healthy lifestyles and improving quality of life.

5.60 Some forms of development can result in pollutants, but are necessary to meet the economic and social needs of the plan area. These may include industrial and commercial land uses and new transport routes. Developers must submit robust and appropriate evidenceto enable assessment whether there is a likely significant adverse effect on health and quality of life as a result of the development.Mitigation measures should be included in proposals where evidence suggests a likely significant adverse effect.

(30) Policy S28: Pollution

The Council will seek to ensure that development protects, and where possible, improves upon the amenities of existing and future residents, occupiers of buildings and the environment in general. Where development is likely to generate significant adverse impacts by reason of pollution, the Council will require that the impacts are minimised and/or mitigated to an acceptable level.

(4) Green infrastructure

5.61 Green infrastructure is a network of multi-functional green (and blue) spaces, both urban and rural, that delivers a wide range of environment and quality of life benefits for local communities. As a network it includes parks, open spaces, playing fields, woodlands, but also street trees, allotments and private gardens. It can also include streams, canals and other water bodies and features such as green roofs and walls.

5.62 New green infrastructure is to be provided as part of the development at selected Strategic Development Locations as shown on the Policies Map.

5.63 The benefit of these spaces for the economy, local people and wildlife is recognised as extending beyond the plan area boundary. Further detail is set out in Policy DM32 and supporting text.

(13)Policy S29: Green Infrastructure

The Council will seek to ensure development should reinforce and enhance the role of green infrastructure. In accordance with Policy DM32 the Council will seek to secure the long term sustainable growth of the plan area and beyond through partnership working.

(15) Strategic Wildlife Corridors

5.64 Wildlife corridors allow the movement of species between areas of habitat by linking wildlife sites and reducing the risk of small, isolated populations becoming unsustainable and dying out. Wildlife corridors are important features that should be protected, enhanced and created, to protect and promote biodiversity and to prevent fragmentation and isolation of species and habitats.

5.65 Strategic wildlife corridors are important for providing connectivity and passageways for wildlife through the landscape, often adjacent to urban areas and proposed development. They provide an essential function in allowing the movement of species, preventing isolation of populations and degradation of designated sites. They also function as green infrastructure.

5.66 In 2013 Chichester District Council, in partnership with Forest Research UK, undertook the Chichester District Green Infrastructure Mapping Project. This sought to identify and map the components of the local ecological networks in accordance with the NPPF. The results of this mapping work identified features such as hedgerows, treelines and woodland which are used as ecological corridors by species of bats and also ditches and rifes which are used by water voles. The ecological networks, in addition to high concentrations of species records and the location of priority habitats and designated sites, has enabled the Council to identify four strategic wildlife corridors which connect Chichester Harbour with the South Downs National Park (see Maps 5.1 and 5.2). These corridors do not stop at the plan area boundaries.

5.67 The Council will apply an additional layer of planning restraint to the countryside protection policies within these strategic wildlife corridors to ensure that connectivity between the South Downs National Park and the Chichester Harbour AONB is maintained in the long term. Within the corridors it will be necessary to demonstrate that no land outside the corridor is available for development and the development will not have an adverse impact on the integrity of the corridor.

5.68 The Council has published a Strategic Wildlife Corridors background paper, which should be read in conjunction with this policy, setting out the methodology used to inform the approach.

(72) Policy S30: Strategic Wildlife Corridors

Development proposals within, or in close proximity to, strategic wildlife corridors will be granted where it can be demonstrated that:

  1. There are no sequentially preferable sites available outside the wildlife corridor;
  2. The development will not have an adverse impact on the integrity and function of the wildlife corridor; and
  3. Development located in close proximity to strategic wildlife corridors protects and enhances its features and habitats.

Minor development within the strategic wildlife corridor will be acceptable where it does not undermine the connectivity and ecological value of the corridor.

(4) Wastewater

5.69 A Water Quality Assessment has been prepared to understand the potential environmental impacts of new housing growth, and the associated increases in wastewater production upon the water quality of receiving waters. A total of nine wastewater treatment works currently serve the plan area.

5.70 The assessment found that during the lifetime of the Local Plan Review, measures will need to be put in place at each WwTW and their associated catchments and sewer networks in order to tackle current and future water quality issues to support future housing growth. Measures include:

  • Upgrades to reduce phosphate concentrations;
  • Upgrades to increase physical capacity;
  • Upgrades and catchment measures to reduce nitrate concentrations; and
  • Upgrades to sewer networks.
5.71 A Water Quality Group has been established which comprises the District and County Councils, Environment Agency, Southern Water, Natural England and Chichester Harbour Conservancy. It works in partnership to address the specific constraints and implement proposed solutions so that the wastewater treatment requirements of future development can be fully supported within the plan area and beyond.

5.72 The Surface Water and Foul Drainage SPD provides guidance for applicants on how to address relevant water management issues in the context of the capacity of existing wastewater treatment infrastructure when considering any potential new development. The SPD is a material consideration when assessing planning applications.

(27) Policy S31: Wastewater Management and Water Quality

Proposals for development within the Plan Area should be able to demonstrate no adverse impact upon the quality of receiving waters. This may require mitigation measures to be agreed and delivered as part of the proposal.

All proposals for new development in the catchment should conform to the following water management measures:

  1. All new dwellings should achieve the higher building regulations water consumption standard of a maximum of 110 litres per person per day including external water use;
  1. No surface water from new development shall be discharged to the public foul or combined sewer system; and
  1. Where appropriate, development should contribute to the delivery of identified actions to deliver infiltration reduction across the catchment.

Planning permission will be granted for development where the provision of water infrastructure is not considered detrimental to the water environment, including existing abstractions, river flows, water quality, fisheries, amenity and nature conservation.

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