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chapter1

peak district landscape

 

Introduction


1.1

This is the Local Plan for the Peak District National Park. It contains a Written Statement of:

 


proposals for the development* and use of land,

 

policies for the control of development; and

 

traffic management policies and proposals

 

These are shown on the Proposals Map (Ordnance Survey based) where practicable, as required by the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act.

* "Development" is defined in Appendix 2. It includes both building work and significant changes in use of land and buildings (other than changes in type of agriculture or forestry).

This introduction explains:

1.2

the purpose of the Local Plan

 

its policy background, especially the Structure Plan and Government guidance

 

its relationship to the National Park Plan

 

how to use the following chapters

 

our shared responsibility for the National Park's future

 

It also briefly sets out the National Park context, the structure of the National Park Authority and a description of the National Park.

1.3

The draft Plan was approved by the Peak Park Joint Planning Board in February 1997. Following its deposit, a Public Local Inquiry was held in February-April 1998. After making modifications, the Peak District National Park Authority resolved to adopt the Local Plan in July 2000. For the avoidance of doubt and in order to fully reflect national and regional policy, the Secretary of State then directed that policies LC1 and LW8 must leave open the possibility, however remote, that new development may in some circumstances be the best planning option when all relevant considerations have been taken into account. The Plan was adopted with effect from 30 March 2001.


What is the National Park Local Plan?

1.4

The statutory Development Plan for the National Park has two parts: the Structure Plan (adopted in 1994) and this Local Plan. The Structure Plan sets out a land-use strategy for 10 to 15 years ahead. The Local Plan shows on an Ordnance Survey based map where certain development policies and proposals apply. It supplements the strategy and policies adopted in the Structure Plan with detailed operational policies. It includes consideration of minerals and waste disposal. Together with the Structure Plan the Local Plan provides the policy basis for controlling development in the National Park for the next 10 years or so. It is important to refer to both plans when considering development (see paragraph 1.13)

1.5

The Local Plan is prepared in accordance with the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act, the Town and Country Planning Regulations, and the 1991 Planning and Compensation Act . Particular regard has been paid to Government policy guidance in Planning Policy Guidance Notes, Minerals Policy Guidance Notes, Regional Planning Guidance for the East Midlands and Circulars.

1.6

Previously the only Local Plan for the National Park was restricted to coverage of Bakewell. Known as The Bakewell District Plan (1982), it is replaced by the Structure Plan and this Local Plan.

1.7

Development in the National Park will be monitored with reference to the policies in both the Structure Plan and this Local Plan. The policy framework for the Local Plan will also be kept under review. The policies in the Local Plan will themselves be reviewed on a 5 yearly cycle to ensure that they continue to be both appropriate and effective. During its formulation the Local Plan has been assessed against environmental/sustainability criteria (see paragraph 1.14). This form of assessment will also assist future review.

 

Policy framework for the Local Plan

1.8

The Environment Act 1995 sets out the purposes of the National Park Authority which carries out planning functions as one means of achieving them. The purposes are:

 

conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage (of the National Park), and

 

promoting opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities (of the National Park) by the public.

1.9

Not only the National Park Authority, but any relevant authority must have regard to these purposes when carrying out functions related to or affecting the National Park. ("Have regard to" requires compliance unless there is reasoned justification not to do so.) If the two purposes appear to conflict, precedence is to be given to conservation and enhancement. In pursuing them, the Authority has a duty to seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities, co-operating with other local authorities in order to do so, but without incurring significant expenditure itself. It is important to seek common ground between conservation, enjoyment, and socio/economic well-being wherever possible. In many cases they can be interdependent.

1.10

Government policy for National Parks is expressed in DoE Circular 12/96, the Appendix to Circular 4/76, in its policy statement 'Fit for the Future' published in 1992, and in Planning Policy Guidance. Circular 12/96 confirms that National Park designation confers "the highest status of protection (for) landscape and scenic beauty".

1.11

East Midlands Regional Planning Guidance (1994) describes the National Park as a vitally important, unique natural and cultural asset. It establishes that only limited growth should be permitted in the larger settlements to accommodate mainly local needs. It urges "firm protection" of the National Park from unsuitable development pressures. This need to protect National Parks is also mentioned in other current Planning Policy Guidance Notes. Neighbouring local authorities are asked to meet development pressures diverted from the National Park.

1.12

The National Park Structure Plan was adopted in 1994 and concluded a major review of planning strategy for the National Park. It was subject to an intensive round of consultation and an Examination in Public by an independent Panel. It provides the most authoritative interpretation of national policies in the context of local circumstances. However, the Structure Plan was written before the Environment Act 1995. When the Structure Plan is formally reviewed, it will be amended to reflect the wording in the Environment Act as described in paragraphs 1.8 and 1.9 above. Other than this, the National Park Authority is satisfied that it remains compatible with subsequent Government planning guidance.

1.13

It is the Structure Plan rather than the Local Plan that decides basic directions and policies, taking into account key local issues and trends, Government policy and the policies of neighbouring authorities. The Local Plan is required to conform generally with, and help implement, the strategy put forward in the Structure Plan. For convenience, Structure Plan policies are set out in Appendix 3. For a detailed account of the reasoning leading to the overall strategy for development in the National Park, please refer to the Structure Plan in its entirety.


Environmental Appraisal of the Local Plan

1.14

The Local Plan has been drawn up to be in conformity with the strategy in the Structure Plan, which the Authority judges to be a "reasonable step along the road to sustainable development and sustainability" in accordance with principles in Planning Policy Guidance Notes 1, 12 and 13 (see Structure Plan paragraphs 2.26 and 2.32). Much of the Local Plan consists of policies that add development control detail to those of the Structure Plan, in order to achieve this 'step along the road'. These policies do not introduce new environmental appraisal issues in themselves. The broad effect of the Plan is to direct much development to the designated Local Plan Settlements. Here, there is more likelihood of services and facilities remaining viable and of jobs being within walking distance of homes or near to public transport, to the benefit of both present and future residents. In addition, the Local Plan contains some proposals for development on particular sites. The Authority is satisfied that these are compatible with the Plan's development control policies. Thus for planning purposes, they can be regarded as having passed an environmental appraisal in principle. A more detailed appraisal of each policy against broad environmental criteria is given in a separate document made available with this Plan.


Relationship with the National Park Management Plan

1.15

The land use Development Plan is complemented by the National Park Management Plan, which sets out objectives and actions for the way in which National Park purposes can best be implemented. The National Park Authority adopted the first of a new generation of National Park Management Plans in April 2000. This will be supplemented by a series of Action Plans for particular areas of concern. Until these are completed, detail from the former National Park Plan (1989) may still be relevant. The majority of statements in both the National Park Management Plan and the National Park Plan are not specifically related to the control of development under the Planning Acts. In the event of any apparent conflict between the two Plans , the Development Plan prevails for the purpose of all planning decisions.


How to use the following chapters

1.16

Each chapter sets out policies and proposals related to a particular issue, such as housing or minerals. Each policy applies throughout the entire National Park unless it states otherwise. The areas to which policies for parts of the Park apply are shown on the proposals map. It is fundamental to the use of the Local Plan that policies are not read in isolation. Several policies may apply to any given situation. In addition, Structure Plan policies remain in force and provide the basis for the Local Plan. They are given in Appendix 3. The Local Plan supplements, but does not seek to repeat, policy already agreed in the Structure Plan. Planning proposals will be tested against the National Park Authority's policies in both the Structure Plan and in this Local Plan. For brevity and to avoid confusion, individual policies are phrased so as to avoid unnecessary duplication wherever possible. The text which precedes a Local Plan policy often refers in bold to one or more key Structure Plan policies, but such references are not exclusive. For example:

A proposal to develop a new house on the edge of a settlement would certainly need to be considered against Structure Plan policies GS1 & C3 and Structure and Local Plan housing policies (SP - HC1 & 2; LP - LH1 & 2). There would also be design considerations (SP - C3; LP - LC4). It may be in a Conservation Area (SP - C4; LP - LC6) or affect a site important to wildlife (SP - C8 & 11; LP - LC18 & 19). There may also be local traffic and parking implications (SP - T8; LP - LT10 & 11).

Any other valued characteristic affected (trees/woodlands, geology, flood plain etc) would require consideration of additional policies.

1.17

Chapter 2 describes the National Park Authority's development control practice.


A shared responsibility: the National Park Authority, the public and our common inheritance

1.18

The importance of protecting our environment and heritage has been emphasised at all levels of government during the last few years. At the 1992 World Environment Conference in Rio de Janeiro, heads of Governments agreed that future development should be 'sustainable'. The widely quoted Bruntland Commission definition of sustainable development is that it "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". The National Park Authority places this concern in the context of National Park purposes (see paragraphs 1.8 & 1.9) and the need to conserve and enhance the National Parks. It believes that development should not irreversibly damage the local or global environment, or squander non-renewable resources. It should not burden tomorrow's generations with costs and problems that we should meet today.

1.19

The Government has since emphasised the need for society to re-examine its priorities. It published (and keeps under review) the White Paper 'This Common Inheritance' and the 'Rural White Paper'. There is increased stress on the precautionary principle (not acting until there is sufficient certainty of environmental impact). Local Authorities have been asked to lead discussion on an Agenda for the 21st Century known as 'Local Agenda 21' and the National Park Authority is playing its part in this. Both public and private sectors are urged to quantify their environmental impact and introduce systems to reduce waste, pollution and other damage. The distinctive character of different areas is of acknowledged importance. The emphasis is on involvement, citizenship and personal responsibility. 'The polluter pays', or better still avoids pollution in the first place, be it chemical, visual, aural or any other.

1.20

The need to conserve and enhance the National Park (as required by the Environment Act 1995) for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations takes on a renewed importance in the light of these environmental priorities. With similar action in other National Parks, this will be a major contribution to sustainability in England and Wales as a whole.

1.21

For future development, the National Park Authority has a responsibility to make fair and consistent planning decisions. The starting point is the openly agreed policies in the Structure Plan and this Local Plan. Those with an interest in the development and use of land and buildings, have a responsibility to be aware of these agreed policies and of the potential impact of their proposals on any interests of acknowledged importance. The National Park Authority is always willing to share information with potential developers about species and features that may be harmed if precautionary steps are not taken.

1.22

For development to be sustainable, all parties must share the responsibility of protecting the environment.


National Parks

1.23

The world-wide National Park movement began in the 19th century in the USA and New Zealand. Very large areas of land were reserved by public ownership, in order to preserve their natural beauty and to provide recreation for the people. In England and Wales, a different model was adopted. In 1947 a report to Government proposed the designation of National Parks in which most land would be in private ownership, where development would be limited by public control, and where recreation would be provided by private and public investment. The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 established the principles, now confirmed and updated by the Environment Act 1995.

1.24

All 10 National Parks in England and Wales, and the Broads, consist of lived-in landscapes, with little true, unmanaged, wilderness and with small nature reserves.


The Peak District National Park Authority

1.25

The National Park was designated in 1951. It has been administered by a Joint Planning Board, the members of which are appointed by the County, District and Metropolitan Councils having territory in the National Park, and by the Secretary of State for the Environment.

1.26

The 1995 Environment Act created a new National Park Authority, which shadowed the work of the existing Board until it took office on 1st April 1997. The new Authority has 38 members: 20 appointed by the County, District and Metropolitan Councils, and 18 by the Secretary of State (of whom 8 must be Parish Councillors).


The National Park: a physical description

1.27

The National Park is 1,438 sq km (555 square miles) in area, consisting mainly of uplands, at the south end of the Pennines. It is surrounded by more fertile lowlands and dense urban development. Its attractive landscape is the product of nature and is managed by people. Nature provided limestone plateaux and gritstone moors and edges, shale valleys and limestone gorges. Over 100,000 years of human occupation has produced stone walled fields, meadows and rough grazing, forestry and woodlands, farmsteads, villages large and small and country houses. The current settlement pattern and human activity consists of about 3,000 farms and 100 villages. There is a resident population of over 38,000 people. There are at least 15,000 residents in work and at least 12,600 jobs in the National Park: 52% in service industries (including tourism), 19% in manufacturing, 12% in quarrying and 12% in farming. The National Park has more than 22 million visits each year.


The National Park's valued characteristics

1.28

The valued characteristics of the National Park include opportunities for quiet enjoyment; wildness and remoteness; landscape and wildlife; geology and geomorphology; clean earth, air and water; the cultural heritage of history, archaeology, buildings, customs and literary associations; and any other features which make up its special quality. They are often referred to in the policies in this Local Plan, sometimes singly, sometimes under the generic name 'valued characteristics'. The Structure Plan contains additional description under each chapter heading. Protection of the ability to enjoy these valued characteristics underlies the purposes of National Parks and the policies of this Local Plan.


Chapter 2

Contents

 

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