3. Natural & Built Environment


Snapshot Of The Natural And Built Environment

The Borough has a predominantly rural character, despite being surrounded by major urban areas. It has a rich, but little known heritage, and contains some extensive country estates, the largest being the Merevale and Packington Estates. 


There are two major valleys, both containing rivers and canals. Former gravel extraction in the River Tame valley has enabled the establishment of the successful Kingsbury Water Park. 


Guidelines for landscape character assessments have been developed by the County Council and the Countryside Commission (now the Countryside Agency). The previous Local Plan designated most of the Borough as Forest of Arden, but this designation is now superseded by the decision to locate the National Forest in the East Midlands. 


Following the decline of coalmining in the Borough, much regeneration work has been successfully completed, although a lot is still needed.

National Context

National guidance contains relevant advice including the following: 


PPS1: Delivering Sustainable Development (2005)

  • Outlines key principles for the delivery of sustainable development
  • Outlines need for high quality and inclusive design
  • Requires protection and enhancement of the environment 

PPG2: Green Belts (January 1995)

  • States the intention of Green Belt policy, including its contribution to sustainable development objectives 

PPS7: Sustainable Development in Rural Areas (2004)

  • Advises on achieving good quality development and respecting the character of the countryside
  • Clarifies policy on the re-use of rural buildings 

PPG8: Telecommunications (August 2001)

  • Updates guidance to reflect developments in telecommunications technology
  • Outlines changes to permitted development rights that apply to telecommunications 

PPS9: Nature Conservation (2005)

  • Sets out the Government’s objectives for nature conservation, and the framework for safeguarding our natural heritage under national and international law
  • Advises on the treatment of nature conservation issues in development plans
  • Emphasises the importance of both designated sites and undesignated areas for nature conservation 

PPS10: Planning For Sustainable Waste Management (July 2005)

  • Identifies key planning objectives for waste management
  • Outlines approach that should be used in identifying sites for waste management facilities and determining planning applications 

PPG14: Development on Unstable Land (April 1990)

  • Aims to ensure that land is not sterilised unnecessarily and that constraints are taken into account in considering new developments
  • Includes an Annex on Subsidence and Planning 

PPG15: Planning for the Historic Environment (September 1994)

  • Explains the statutory role played by the planning system in the protection of the historic environment
  • Contains guidance on Conservation Areas, Listed Buildings and control procedures 

PPG16: Archaeology and Planning (November 1990)

  • Gives advice on the handling of archaeological remains and discoveries under the development plan and control systems
  • Provides an Annex on Legislative Arrangements 

PPG17: Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation (July 2002)

  • Gives guidance on assessing needs and opportunities for maintaining an adequate supply of open space
  • Advises planning obligations should be used as a means to remedy local deficiencies 

PPS22: Renewable Energy (2004)

  • States that local planning authorities should include renewable energy policies in their plans
  • Outlines the locational considerations for the siting of renewable energy projects 

PPS23: Planning and Pollution Control (2004)

  • Deals with contaminated land, air quality and water quality
  • Reiterates commitment to the use of the Precautionary Principle
  • Lists matters for consideration when determining applications for potentially polluting developments 

PPG24: Planning and Noise (September 1994)

  • Outlines the considerations to be taken into account in determining planning applications both for noise-sensitive developments and for those activities that will generate noise
  • Introduced the concept of noise exposure categories for residential development 

PPG25: Development and Flood Risk (July 2001)

  • Explains how flood risk should be considered at all stages of the planning and development process to reduce future damage to property and loss of life
  • States that policies in development plans should recognise uncertainties that are inherent in the prediction of flooding • Includes guidance on canals and other artificial water bodies 

Regional Context

Regional Spatial Strategy for the West Midlands (June 2004)

  • Supports rural communities
  • Seeks to improve the availability and range of services in rural areas
  • Emphasises protecting and enhancing the Region’s natural, historic and cultural assets, recognising the importance of conserving regional character and local distinctiveness 

Sub-Regional Context

Warwickshire Structure Plan (WASP) (August 2001) - The Warwickshire Structure Plan requires the Local Plan to include policies that:

  • Protect environmental assets and respect local character and quality (ER.1)
  • Ensure environmental impacts are assessed and adverse effects mitigated (ER.2)
  • Protect and enhance landscape character and quality (ER.4)
  • Provide for positive management and enhancement of environmental assets (ER.5)
  • Protect open space and identify Areas of Restraint (ER.6)
  • Protect informal recreation facilities, including Public Rights of Way (ER.7)
  • Provide for mineral workings within the context of the Minerals Local Plan (ER.8) 

Local Context

North Warwickshire Sustainable Community Plan:

"Rural North Warwickshire; a community of communities. A place where people want to live, work and visit, now and in the future, which meets the diverse needs of existing and future residents, is sensitive to the local environment, and contributes to a high quality of life. A place which is safe and inclusive, well planned, built and run. And offers equality of opportunity and good services to all. 


Summary of Local Needs and Opportunities

North Warwickshire is regarded as a rural area whose environment should be protected and improved. The Plan will help to do this and in particular will promote:

  1. High quality and inclusive design for all development in towns, villages and the wider countryside
  2. Pleasant town and village characters
  3. Diverse wildlife and habitats
  4. Transport choice and access to amenities
  5. Safety and security
  6. The Borough’s rich heritage of historic buildings and ancient monuments


Development that would neither protect nor enhance the intrinsic qualities of the existing landscape, as defined by Landscape Character Assessment, will not be permitted. Only where protection or enhancement is incompatible with proposed development might mitigation be considered as an alternative to protection or enhancement. 


Reasoned Justification

PPS7 advises that planning authorities should reassess the need for local landscape designations when reviewing their development plans. Instead of such designations landscape character assessment is identified as a tool for protecting landscapes that are highly valued at a local level but which are not protected by national designation. 


The Council will undertake landscape character assessments of the Borough and adopt them as Supplementary Planning Documents. The first assessments will be of landscapes formerly covered by the Special Landscape Area (SLA) designation, the Environmental Enhancement Zone (EEZ) and the Area of Restraint, as identified in the 1995 Local Plan. In the interim, the Council will use the Warwickshire Landscape Guidelines (1993) as a means of fulfilling the role of the assessment in informing decisions about landscape character. 


The Warwickshire Landscape Guidelines highlight that North Warwickshire encompasses the Arden and Mease Lowland landscapes. The Arden landscape is made up of seven landscape types which include Ancient Arden, Arden pastures, industrial Arden, Arden parklands, wooded estatelands, Arden river valleys and river valley wetlands. The Mease Lowland landscape is principally agricultural with large country estates.


The siting, layout, design and landscaping of proposals will be expected to protect, complement or enhance the identified characteristics of the landscape. Where the protection or enhancement of the existing landscape would stand in the way of an otherwise acceptable or needed development proposals for on or off site mitigation will be considered. However, mitigation will not always be acceptable especially where important features of the landscape would be lost or where the overall quality of the landscape would be eroded. 


Where a planning application has an effect on trees, woodland or hedgerows the Council will expect that they will be retained and that special measures are taken to protect them while works are carried out. 


Trees, woodland and hedgerows have a range of health and environmental benefits which include producing oxygen, ameliorating pollution, encouraging biodiversity and providing aesthetic value. The incorporation of new trees, woodlands and hedgerows within the landscaping schemes of new development will therefore be encouraged.


  1. The outer extent of the West Midlands Green Belt in North Warwickshire is shown on the Proposals Map. Within this area, Government Policy Guidance Note 2 Green Belts applies.
  2. Areas within Development Boundaries are excluded from the Green Belt. 

Reasoned Justification

Within Green Belts the primary aim is to maintain the open nature of the area, and there is a general presumption against development that is inappropriate to a rural area, except in very special circumstances. The general location of the Green Belt within Warwickshire is given in the WASP Key Diagram and the detailed boundaries are shown in the Proposals Map. 


The maintenance of the Green Belt is seen as a vital component in protecting and enhancing the Borough as an area of pleasant countryside, especially by preventing the incursion of nearby urban areas. The wholeness of the Green Belt designation is important, and further exclusions would reduce its effectiveness. Greenbelt boundaries were reviewed in the last Local Plan. 


It is intended that dispersed workings or employment sites be put back into appropriate Green Belt / rural uses as current operations / permissions cease. 


Policies on overall rural character and landscape enhancement apply throughout the Green Belt in North Warwickshire.


Nationally Important Sites

  1. Proposals for development in or likely to affect Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) will be subject to special scrutiny. Where development may have an adverse effect, directly or indirectly on a SSSI it will not be permitted unless the reason for development clearly outweighs the nature conservation value of the site itself and the national policy to safeguard the national network of such sites.

Regionally and Locally Important Sites

  1. Development and other land use change likely to have a harmful effect on the nature conservation value of:
  • A Local Nature Reserve,
  • A Site of Importance for Nature Conservation or
  • A Regionally Important Geological / Geomorphological Site,

will not be permitted unless it can be clearly demonstrated that there are reasons for the proposal that clearly outweigh the need to safeguard the nature conservation value of the site or feature.

  1. Where development is permitted, the Authority will consider the use of conditions and / or obligations to secure all compensatory measures necessary to protect and enhance the site’s nature conservation interest as well as the overall coherence of designated sites. It will also seek to increase the amount and quality of habitats, species and geological sites. 

Species Protection

  1. Development and other land use changes that are likely to have a harmful effect on rare, endangered, or other species of conservation importance will not be permitted.
  1. Where development is permitted which may have an effect on these species, the Authority will use conditions and / or obligations to secure compensatory measures necessary to protect the species, reduce disturbance to a minimum and provide alternative habitats to sustain or enhance the population. 

Reasoned Justification

This policy seeks to ensure that the Borough’s key nature conservation assets are carefully protected. The highest level of protection is afforded to those assets that are of National or International importance. The Borough currently contains 13 SSSI’s as shown on the Proposals Map and listed in Appendix 5. 


Many other sites and features within the Plan area are subject to non-statutory designations. They include sites designated for their substantive nature conservation value (known as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs)) and sites designated for geological reasons (known as Regionally Important Geological Sites (RIGS)). There are over 46 designated with a further 220 potential SINCs and 20 RIGS within the Borough. 


Where development impacts on regional or local sites, it will only be permitted if its value outweighs the county and strategic significance of the sites. 


Species that are protected include those listed in the relevant schedules of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), the Habitats Directive, the Bern Convention and any other relevant international Treaty, national legislation or European Directive. It also includes species listed in the Red data book, nationally notable or scarce species, locally rare or threatened species, birds listed in the RSPB’s list of Birds of Conservation Concern and those species given priority in the Warwickshire Biodiversity Action Plan.


In considering applications that may have an effect on European protected species the Council will have regard to the three tests in the Habitats Directive in accordance with Regulation 3(4) of the Conservation (National Habitats, &c) Regulations 1994. The three tests are;

  1. That the development is in the interests of public health and safety, or for other imperative reasons of overriding public interest, including those of social or economic nature and beneficial consequences of primary importance for the environment.
  2. That there is no satisfactory alternative.
  3. That the derogation is not detrimental to the maintenance of the populations of the species concerned at a favourable conservation status in their natural range.


Development will not be permitted if it would result in the loss of trees, woodlands or hedgerows that in terms of their historical, ecological, townscape or landscape significance make a positive contribution to the quality of the local environment. The planting of new trees, woodlands and/or hedgerows will be sought in the landscaping of new development.


Reasoned Justification

This policy seeks to protect the Borough’s legacy of ancient woodlands and mature trees as well as those trees that are of significance but are not protected by a Tree Preservation Order. It also seeks to protect hedgerows identified as important through the framework of the 1997 Hedgerows Regulations. Ancient Woodlands are shown on the Proposals Map.


  1. Development resulting in the loss of open space which has been shown to be needed to meet the open space, sports and recreational needs of the Borough following the process of need assessment, audit and setting of local standards in accordance with paragraphs 1-9 of PPG17 will not be permitted.
  2. Until that PPG17 process has been completed, development resulting in the loss of open spaces falling within any of the following categories will not be permitted unless the proposal, in accordance with paragraph 10 of PPG17, is supported by an independent assessment showing the land to be surplus to requirements, that the local community has been consulted and that the proposals are widely supported by that community:
    1. Open Space Identified on the Proposals Map.
    2. Open space which falls within the typology in paragraph 2 of the annex to PPG17, except where development provides for relocation of the open space to a site which is at least equivalent in size, quality, accessibility, usefulness and attractiveness to that which would be lost.

Reasoned Justification

Open spaces whether publicly or privately owned are important within settlements because they break up the built form and contribute to local identity. Reflecting this the protection and enhancement of open spaces was considered an important issue at the settlement consultations. 


PPG17 requires Local Authorities to audit open space, sports and recreation facilities giving regard to their quality, quantity and accessibility. This allows authorities to identify specific needs as well as quantitative/ qualitative deficits or surpluses in provision. 


The PPG17 Audit for North Warwickshire has not yet been completed. A monitoring target has however been set (through the Local Development Scheme) to affirm the Council’s commitment to its completion. In the meantime this policy has been formulated to provide interim protection to existing open space. 


New developments will need to provide for their own open space requirements. Until local standards have been adopted this will be judged using the NPFA ‘6 Acre Standard’ as a general guide and will be carried forward through policy Core Policy 12. 


Where open space has a community function and is located in the Main Towns of Atherstone, Mancetter, Polesworth and Dordon or the Green Belt Market Town of Coleshill cross-reference should be made to policy COM2.


  1. The Council will safeguard and enhance land resources in the Borough by:
    1. In minerals developments ensuring the early establishment of after-uses that best meet the policies in this Local Plan
    2. Protecting suitable sites for the recycling and re-use of waste materials
    3. Requiring applicants to identify unstable and potentially unstable land, and securing land stabilisation
    4. Ensuring strict control of the use and disposal of hazardous substances, so as to safeguard land, premises and people
    5. Protecting the best and most versatile agricultural land

Contaminated Land:

  1. Development that would result in land contamination will not be permitted. An Environmental Impact Assessment of a proposal may be required to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Local Planning Authority, that contamination will not occur.
  2. The development of contaminated, or potentially contaminated, land or of land in its vicinity, will not be permitted unless it is demonstrated to a reasonable degree of certainty that practical measures can be taken to treat, contain or control the contamination so as not to:
    1. Expose the occupiers of the development, including in the case of housing the normal use and enjoyment of gardens, to significant risk
    2. Threaten the structural integrity of buildings existing or to be erected on the site
    3. Lead to the contamination of any watercourse or aquifer
    4. Cause the contamination of adjoining land, or allow such contamination to continue
    5. Cause unacceptable environmental conditions for the occupiers of nearby properties while the remedial measures are being carried out, or
    6. Expose site operatives to unacceptable health risks.
  3. All remediation measures shall be to a standard approved by the Council, and allowance made for full remediation where this is not practical initially.

Reasoned Justification

The raw material, heavy infrastructure and disposal needs of the adjacent Birmingham conurbation and other nearby major urban areas have resulted in additional pressures on the Borough’s land resources, including potential contamination. The Borough still has a legacy from extensive coal mining and other extraction. 


The County Council is the Planning Authority for minerals and waste matters. The provisions of this Local Plan and the views of the Local Planning Authority are, however, material considerations in the County’s consideration of these matters. 


The Minerals Local Plan, which forms part of the Development Plan for North Warwickshire, was adopted in 1995 and a review of it has begun. There are however extant planning permissions for approximately three times the required minimum supply of minerals within the County. The new plan will seek to reduce the distances that excavated minerals travel to their point of processing and use. 


There is also a strong relationship between mineral sites and landfill sites in the Waste Local Plan, which is also part of the Development Plan for the Borough. 


It is recognised nationally that within the principles of sustainable development, protecting the best and most versatile agricultural land for future generations is important. 


Contamination is a material planning consideration. The responsibility for assessing whether or not land can be used for a particular purpose, including contamination implications, rests with the prospective developer. Contamination should be treated on-site. However, where this is demonstrated to be inappropriate, removal and disposal to a licensed site will be permitted. Useful information on these aspects is also available from the Environment Agency. 


Development of existing employment land outside the defined development boundaries of the Main Towns, the Green Belt Market Town and Local Service Centres will only be permitted if:

  1. The site is to remain in its existing and continuing use and:
    1. The proposal would not represent inappropriate development within the Green Belt; and
    2. The applicant firm occupies the land with the benefit of an extant planning permission for the use concerned, or the existing use is otherwise a lawful one in planning terms; and
    3. There would be no quantitative increase in employment floorspace; and
    4. The proposed development is necessary to secure existing jobs; and
    5. Lasting environmental improvement of the site commensurate with the scale of the project would be secured; and
    6. The proposal includes measures to avoid giving rise to additional unsustainable patterns of travel and transport.


  1. The site is redundant and:
    1. The proposal would not represent inappropriate development within the Green Belt; and
    2. The site is or will be made accessible by sustainable modes of transport; and
    3. The proposed use is one that requires a rural location or is otherwise incompatible for environmental, traffic or amenity reasons with being located within a settlement having a defined settlement boundary; and
    4. The proposal would result in a net reduction in the area of the site used for employment purposes and a net increase in the area of the site in open countryside use; and
    5. Lasting environmental improvement of the site commensurate with the scale of the project would be secured; and
    6. Local jobs and/or local services would be provided.

Reasoned Justification

North Warwickshire’s countryside includes large areas of previously developed employment land, mineral workings, power stations and water and sewage treatment works. The sites or part thereof may be in continuing use or redundant. 


This policy complements Core Policy 8 and aims to progressively reduce the amount of existing development in unsustainable locations, whilst recognising the needs of businesses and services that operate in the rural parts of the Borough or whose activities necessitate a rural site. 


Where possible the Council’s Economic Development Team, with the help of the Warwickshire Investment Partnership, will assist businesses to identify more suitable alternative sites for relocation. Vacated sites should then be restored for uses appropriate to the countryside in line with Core Policy 2. 


Planning conditions or obligations will be used to ensure; the removal of surplus structures, the landscaping of sites, the formulation of green travel plans, to secure the permanent re-routing of existing bus services, and measures to fill jobs locally including the provision of suitable on-the-job retaining opportunities.


In many cases previously developed sites are important for their nature conservation, historical and archaeological value. Such sites can have valuable geological exposures or have important habitats and many are of particular value to rare and threatened species, such as invertebrates. Where appropriate cross-reference should therefore be made to policy ENV3, ENV15 and ENV16 of this Plan. In the Green Belt cross-reference should also be made to policy ENV2. Where proposals involve a rural building cross-reference should be made to policy ECON9. Buildings unsuitable for re-use under that policy should be removed and the countryside re-established.


The water resources of the Borough will be safeguarded and enhanced, and development protected from floodwater by:

  1. Preventing the contamination of any watercourse or aquifer, as advised by the Environment Agency.
  2. By applying the sequential test approach, as outlined in table 1 of PPG25, when considering the proposed location of development
  3. Ensuring new development has satisfactory surface and foul water drainage systems by requiring, where feasible the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS).
  4. Not permitting development that would prevent maintenance access to watercourses
  5. Requiring remediation measures where pollution has already occurred. 

Reasoned Justification

The Rivers Tame, Blythe and Anker are all subject to pollution. Particular attention will be paid to remediation measures to benefit the River Blythe Site of Special Scientific Interest, which is currently under serious threat from pollution run-off. 


Recent years have seen an increase in public concerns over flooding. Table 1 of PPG25 sets out the sequential characterisation of flood risk for different types of land. This will be used by the Borough Council in its consideration of development within or adjoining floodplains. In line with the guidance, where there is considered to be a low-medium or high risk of flooding, developers will be required to conduct a flood risk assessment. Up-to-date Indicative Floodplain Maps can be viewed and obtained from the Environment Agency who regularly update and maintain the information.


Effective flood protection requires proper maintenance of watercourses and the control of water discharge through drainage systems. Ponds and ditches form an important natural drainage function that should where possible be protected and enhanced. In many new developments man-made drainage must be provided. PPG25 and the Environment Agency advocate the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS). These seek to control surface water run-off as close as possible to its origin. SUDS help to reduce the impact of development and decrease the need to invest in flood management and protection. They can also result in environmental enhancement and provide benefits to wildlife. Advice on SUDS can be sought from the Environment Agency, Highways Authority and sewerage undertakers.


The air quality of the Borough will be safeguarded and enhanced by:

  1. Not permitting new potentially polluting forms of development within and bordering the Borough’s Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) to minimise potential risks to health. The existing AQMA is shown on the Proposals Map.
  2. Not permitting development that would include hazardous substances likely to have an unacceptable risk to nearby areas and people.
  3. Not permitting development in the vicinity of notifiable hazardous installations or premises if there is an unacceptable risk to occupiers.
  4. Not permitting places of residence, employment or other noise-sensitive uses if the occupants would experience significant noise disturbance.
  5. Not permitting development that would create significant noise disturbance to nearby housing, schools and other noise-sensitive uses. 

Reasoned Justification

Major requirements to improve air quality have been introduced by Government since the previous Local Plan was adopted. 


Certain substances, when processed or stored in significant quantities can be a potential hazard to people in the vicinity in the event of explosion or escape. 


Up-to-date lists of Sites Subject to Hazardous Substances Consent and pipelines subject to the Notification of Installations Handling Hazardous Substances Regulations may be inspected at the Borough Council offices and advice can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive.


Energy Generation

  1. Planning permission will be granted for renewable energy schemes where they do not have an unacceptable impact on the environment.
  2. In all residential developments of 10 or more dwellings and in non-residential developments of 1000sq m or more 10% of the predicted energy requirements should be produced on site from renewable energy resources.

Energy Conservation

  1. New development will not be permitted unless its siting, design and layout avoids the unnecessary waste of renewable and non-renewable energy resources and makes economic use of raw materials. 

Reasoned Justification

Energy Generation 

Most energy is currently generated from fossil fuels. This is a major source of the greenhouse gases causing climate change. To address this Government has set a target that 10% of electricity in the UK should come from renewable energy by 2010 increasing to 15% by 2020. 


The generation of energy from renewable sources positively contributes to sustainable development and has environmental and economic benefits that will be given material weight in the determination of planning applications. Reflecting this, proposals for renewable energy generation will be supported where they accord with policies ENV1, ENV12, ENV13, ENV14, ENV15 and ENV16 of this Plan. In the Green Belt proposals will also need to comply with policy ENV2. In all cases conditions will be used to ensure equipment is removed and that the site is restored where a development ceases to be operational.


For the purposes of this policy renewable energy is defined as energy that comes from reoccurring natural sources that are not depleted by being used. It includes energy generated from the wind, sun, water, earth or plants. The policy will be used in the determination of applications for renewable energy developments and where small-scale renewable energy technology is incorporated in developments. 


Energy Conservation 

Clause 2 of the policy requires new development to maximise opportunities to reduce energy consumption by using energy more efficiently. This can be achieved through measures such as orientating buildings to maximise passive solar energy and minimise overshadowing, installing community heating and combined heat and power (CHP), and using locally produced materials. Such measures are reinforced by other policies in the Plan such as Core Policy 2 which promotes energy efficiency by directing development to sustainable locations. Clause 2 also requires raw materials to be used economically. This can be achieved through waste reduction measures and recycling. In implementing energy efficiency measures developers will be encouraged to achieve an ‘excellent’ rating in accredited assessment schemes such as BREEAM and Eco Homes. 


Where an applicant can demonstrate that a percentage of the development’s energy requirements have been reduced because passive solar energy has been utilised in its design that percentage will be deducted from the 10% requirement under clause 1 (b) of the policy.


It is acknowledged that some energy efficiency measures may conflict with other planning principles such as density or design. Where such conflicts arise the applicant must explain how they have been reconciled giving reasons why one principle has been given priority over another. 


The requirements of clause 2 of the policy operate in addition to the requirements of Building Regulations. 


Development will not be permitted if the occupiers of nearby properties would suffer significant loss of amenity, including overlooking, loss of privacy, or disturbance due to traffic, offensive smells, noise, light, dust or fumes. Occupiers of the development itself should also enjoy satisfactory standards of these amenities.


Reasoned Justification

The purpose of this policy is to enable people to enjoy places without undue disturbance or intrusion from neighbouring uses. This protection of amenity in the public interest accords with paragraph 29 of the companion note to PPS1 ‘The Planning System: General Principles’. 


The policy will be applied to protect peoples living and working conditions and will be enforced through the Council’s environmental health powers.


Development will only be permitted if;

  1. All the elements of the proposal are well related to each other and harmonise with both the immediate setting and wider surroundings to present a visually attractive environment.
  2. Existing natural features are treated as an integral part of the development
  3. Spaces that make a positive contribution to the public realm are provided and/or improved.
  4. The design and layout reduces opportunities for crime.
  5. Any external illumination includes measures to minimise sky glow, glare and light trespass.

Reasoned Justification

PPS1 states that high quality design should be the aim of all those involved in the development process. This policy aims to ensure that a high quality of design is achieved in North Warwickshire. 


Development proposals will be expected to adopt principles of good design so that they make a positive contribution to the character and quality of the area. Regard should therefore be had to good practice set out in ‘By Design – Urban Design in the Planning System: Towards Better Practice’ (DETR/ CABE 2000) and ‘By Design - Better Places to Live’ (DTLR 2001).


Reference should also be made to design SPG produced by the Council. This includes ‘A Guide for Shop Front Design’, ‘A Guide for the Design of Householder Developments’ and ‘A Guide for the Design of Lighting Schemes’. In addition to this the Council plans to prepare further design guidance. The timetable for this will be brought forward through the Local Development Scheme.


  1. New buildings and extensions or alterations to existing buildings will only be permitted where;
    1. The scale, massing, height and appearance of the proposal positively integrates into its surroundings and
    2. The materials and detailing used respect and enhance local distinctiveness.
  2. Outside development boundaries any extension or enlargement of existing dwellings will be limited to no more than 30% of the volume of the dwelling as originally permitted or as existing on 1 July 1948, whichever is the later.

Reasoned Justification

The Council does not wish to stifle innovative design. However it is expected that new buildings and extensions or alterations to existing buildings integrate well into their surrounding environment so that a local sense of place is reinforced. 


The impact of a large extension to a building is greater when the building is located in the countryside rather than inside the development boundary of a settlement. To protect rural character and openness and to avoid suburbanisation of the countryside the volume of extensions to buildings outside defined development boundaries is consequently limited to 30%. The volume will be measured externally to exclude any accommodation entirely below ground, but include any subsequent additions, whether built as permitted development or not, and any garage or other outbuilding that either is or will become attached to the dwelling or will stand within 5 metres of any external wall of the enlarged or extended property.


  1. The design of access to and within development should demonstrate that priority has been given to pedestrians, cyclists and those using public transport.
  2. Development will only be permitted where vehicular access to the site is safe and the local road network is able to accommodate traffic to and from the development without problems of congestion, danger or intimidation caused by the size or number of vehicles, and without adversely affecting the character of the surrounding environment.
  3. Development will not be permitted if its layout and design does not provide safe and easy access for all potential users including those with particular access requirements.

Reasoned Justification

It is important that places are ‘designed for people’. Developments should therefore provide safe and adequate access provision with particular priority given to pedestrians and other forms of sustainable transport. In designing access to a site reference should be made to good practice advice contained in ‘Planning for Sustainable Access Best Practice’ and ‘Safer Places – The Planning System and Crime Prevention. This policy should also be read in conjunction with policy TPT3. 


The purpose of clause 3 of the policy is to ensure that the ability to access development is inclusive. Reflecting this the external spaces around buildings such as pathways and car parks should be accessible to all potential users including those with disabilities, the elderly and those with pushchairs. This requirement supplements Part M of Building Regulations which deals with physical access into and within buildings.


Conservation Areas:

  1. Conservation Areas are shown on the Proposals Map.
  2. Development inside or outside a Conservation Area will not be permitted if it would have a harmful effect on the character, appearance or setting of a Conservation Area, or views into or out of the area.
  3. Demolition of an unlisted building within a Conservation Area will only be permitted where it can be shown that the existing building does not make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of the Conservation Area, or it is beyond economic repair. Any replacement building will be required to make a greater positive contribution to the character or appearance of the Conservation Area than that which is being replaced. A condition may be imposed to prevent demolition before planning permission for redevelopment has been granted and a contract for the construction of the new building is in place.
  4. The felling or significant lopping of trees within Conservation Areas will only be permitted for sound arboricultural or safety reasons, or where such felling or lopping would, in itself, enhance the characteristic appearance of the area.
  5. New buildings within and adjoining a Conservation Area will be required to harmonise with their settings, reflecting the scale, form and fenestration of traditional buildings in the area, and using materials characteristic of the area.
  6. Alterations and extensions to buildings will be required to harmonise with their character and that of the Conservation Area, by retaining and where necessary restoring traditional features, including boundary walls, paved surfaces and street furniture.
  7. The removal of traditional shop fronts and fascias will not be permitted unless they can be shown to be beyond repair or are incapable of being adapted for continued use. The design of new shop fronts and fascias must respect the character and appearance of the building and its wider surroundings
  8. Interpretive signs and advertisements should be of traditionally painted or have an engraved finish.

Sites included in English Heritage’s Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest:

  1. Sites included in English Heritage’s Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest are shown on the Proposals Map.
  2. Development within or adjoining sites included in English Heritage’s Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest will not be permitted if it adversely affects the character or setting of the area.

Industrial Heritage of the Borough:

  1. Development that does not make provision for the preservation or enhancement of features and artefacts present on the site that, in terms of their architectural, cultural or historic interest, contribute to the Borough’s industrial heritage, will not be permitted. Conditions may be imposed, or planning obligations sought, in connection with the redevelopment of any former industrial site requiring the developer to undertake a supervised programme of investigation, analysis and recording of the site and its contents before development takes place.

Reasoned Justification

Conservation Areas

Under the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 Planning Authorities are able to designate Conservation Areas. Designated areas are of special architectural or historical interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. The Council will develop a programme of review and assessment for the existing areas (shown on the Proposals Map) and for potential designations. Within Conservation Areas applicants will be required to provide details, including plans, of their proposals sufficient to show the proposed development in its setting.


The Council will control demolitions in Conservation Areas because unlisted buildings play an important role in contributing to the group value of buildings, and to the overall appearance and character of Conservation Areas. 


All trees, whether or not protected by a Tree Preservation Order, make an important contribution to the character and appearance of a Conservation Area. It is therefore important to control their pruning and removal. 


Traditional shop fronts and fascias are important to the historic heritage of the Borough and add to the sense of place. It is therefore necessary to seek their protection and retention. Where this is not possible, replacements should harmonise with, and not adversely affect, the character of the area. Advice and guidance is contained in Supplementary Planning Guidance issued by the Council. 


Encouragement will be given to the removal of features that disfigure an area, and the proper maintenance of buildings and public areas. As resources permit, measures will also be carried out to enhance the street scene and public realm. 


Sites Included in English Heritage’s Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest

There are two sites included in English Heritage’s Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest within the Borough which have been designated by English Heritage because of their national importance. These are the Merevale and Packington Estates. They contribute to the rural setting of North Warwickshire and are of historic value. 


There are also 8 other parks and gardens which although not designated nationally have an important local value. 


Industrial Heritage

Heritage within the Borough does not only relate to its landscape or wildlife but also to its industrial past particularly mining, agriculture and the canal systems. There are many facets of this heritage which are unique within the Borough and it is important that they are retained for future generations.


Measures will be taken to ensure the retention, repair and renovation of parts of Daw Mill Colliery the last operational deep-seam mine in the West Midlands. When extraction has ceased, buildings, machinery and the mine itself should become a major interpretive centre for the area’s mining heritage and mining geology. 


Records of industrial heritage are important to provide information for future generations on the historical context of the Borough. Developers will be required (by planning condition or obligation) to submit the results of investigations to the County Sites and Monuments Record. 


Listed Buildings:

  1. There will be a presumption in favour of the preservation of Listed Buildings within the Borough.
  2. Development that would detract from the character, appearance or historic value of a Listed Building (including any building within its curtilage) in terms of historic form and layout or its setting, will not be permitted.
  3. The removal of later additions or alterations that detract from the character or appearance of a Listed Building will be encouraged, and will be required where substantial works are proposed.

Non- Listed Buildings of Local Historic Value:

  1. Development will not be permitted if it would result in the demolition, loss or disfigurement of buildings that are of demonstrable local townscape, architectural or historic interest, unless:
    1. The building or structure is no longer capable of beneficial use, and its fabric is beyond repair; or
    2. The proposed replacement or altered building or structure would be of equal or greater townscape and architectural quality than the existing; and
    3. The proposed development cannot practicably be adapted to retain any historic interest that the building or structure possesses.
  2. In the event that demolition is permitted, a condition may be imposed requiring the existing building or structure to be fully recorded.

Sites of Archaeological Importance:

  1. Sites of archaeological importance and their settings will be protected, enhanced and preserved.
  2. Development affecting sites of known or potential archaeological importance and their settings will not be permitted unless it can be shown that any remains will be preserved and protected.
  3. There will be a presumption in favour of physical in-situ preservation of remains of national importance whether Scheduled or otherwise. The design, siting and layout of new development should reflect this.
  4. In the case of remains of regional or local importance, the Council will assess the case for in-situ preservation against factors such as the importance of the remains and the need for the new development.
  5. Where it is considered that in-situ preservation of remains is not merited, in the light of expert advice, developers will be expected to make provision for a programme of archaeological works.
  6. Tree planting or other activities that could adversely affect archaeological remains or their settings will be resisted.
  7. Conditions and/ or legal agreements will be used to ensure the management, enhancement and interpretation of historical and archaeological sites.

Reasoned Justification

Listed Buildings

This policy seeks to protect, enhance and preserve Listed Buildings which are an important part of the country’s heritage. 


It is the responsibility of the owners of Listed Buildings to ensure their proper upkeep. This responsibility may be enforced by a range of powers under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. 


Applications for Listed Building consent will need to be accompanied by fully detailed plans. 


Non-Listed Buildings of Local Historic Value

The policy also recognises the value of, and seeks to protect, those buildings, which do not have statutory protection but have a local value.


The Council will compile a list of buildings of local architectural or historic interest and this will be available for inspection in the Council offices. This list, even when completed, will not however be exhaustive. This is not least because the value of individual buildings to the local community may not always be identifiable until detailed internal or external inspection and appropriate research has taken place. 


The policy indicates three broad categories of building that might be worthy of protection. Developers are urged to notify the Council of any buildings on their sites that may fall within these categories before formulating their development proposals. This is so that an early assessment of the buildings can be made.


Sites of Archaeological Importance

North Warwickshire has a varied and interesting archaeological heritage. This includes evidence of Mesolithic (circa 10,000 to 3,000 BC) activity in the Anker Valley, Iron Age hill forts, Roman settlement and industry at Mancetter and Hartshill, castles and monastic remains, and industrial features including the canal and railway networks. This policy seeks to safeguard the Borough’s archaeological heritage.


Scheduled Ancient Monuments are an important facet of sites of archaeological importance and are therefore covered by this Policy. The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act provides stringent controls on works affecting Scheduled sites. 


Currently designated Scheduled Ancient Monuments are shown on the Proposals Map and listed in Appendix 6. 


Where applications are made on sites which are shown on the Proposals Map or included in the Sites and Monuments record, the results of assessment/field evaluation should be submitted with the application. 


The list of Scheduled Ancient Monuments does not include all sites or monuments of national importance. The Sites and Monuments Record can supply information on other sites and monuments of archaeological significance in the Borough, together with further details on Scheduled sites. This information can be obtained from the Warwickshire Museum. 


Through the use of conditions and/ or legal agreements, developers will be expected to provide records of local heritage as they offer an historical context of the Borough for the benefit of future generations. The records will be stored with an appropriate organisation.


All types of applications for new telecommunication installations will be permitted where:

  1. There is evidence to demonstrate that it is not possible to share existing masts or sites or utilise existing buildings or structures or that to do so would result in greater visual intrusion.
  2. The design and scale of the equipment minimises visual intrusion.
  3. The equipment complies with up to date Government- backed guidelines on the levels of safe exposure to radio waves.

Reasoned Justification

As a result of the economic and social benefits, the use of telecommunications is increasingly becoming an important part of everyday life. However the erection of masts and the associated equipment can have negative impacts, especially on the appearance of the environment.


In order to minimise visual intrusion, new masts will not be permitted where it is feasible to share an existing mast or site or use an existing building or appropriate structure. In cases where it is not considered feasible a written statement outlining the negative cumulative impacts or technical restrictions will be required. 


Masts and their associated development should be designed in a manner that minimises the impact on their surroundings. This may include innovative design and the use of landscaping. Particular attention will be given to the impact on nature conservation and historic designations. In the Green Belt, proposals will also be subject to policy ENV2.


To allay concerns regarding the health implications of masts, all equipment should comply with ICNIRP guidelines. These guidelines advocate the ‘precautionary principle’ identified in the Government commissioned Stewart Report (2000). Where these guidelines are met PPG8 states that planning considerations should not prevent a proposed development on the basis of its health implications. 


This policy will apply to all telecommunications applications, including cases where intervention is necessary due to the need to relocate an antenna installed under permitted development rights and where the Council has required prior approval of the siting and appearance of a development 

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