peak district landscape


Strategic context


One of the purposes of a National Park is to conserve and enhance natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage.


Chapter 3 of the Structure Plan deals with the conservation and enhancement of the National Park's valued characteristics (see Local Plan paragraph 1.28). It sets out broad differences in approach towards development in the three landscape categories of the Natural Zone, general countryside, and town and village. These range respectively from permitting development only in exceptional circumstances, through allowing carefully justified development that must locate in the countryside, to accommodating small scale change (especially where this meets local needs) in a manner that respects local character (Structure Plan Policies C1 to C4).


Agriculture and forestry are extensive land use activities with major landscape implications. They were dealt with as a conservation issue in the Structure Plan and they are again included in this chapter in the Local Plan. Agreed strategy is broadly to conserve the National Park's character and landscapes whilst still allowing appropriate farm diversification and land management (Structure Plan Policies C5 to C7).


Special protection is given to certain features by Structure Plan Policies C8 to C13 (important buildings; sites of historic, archaeological or cultural importance; sites of wildlife, geological or geomorphological importance; parks and gardens; trees, woodlands and other landscape features).


Enhancement of the National Park, improving eyesores and preventing pollution or disturbance are dealt with by Structure Plan Policies C14 and C15. Avoiding development on land which is unstable, contaminated, or likely to flood, or development that could make flooding worse, is covered by Structure Plan Policies C16 and C18.


Development to generate energy (including wind energy) is limited to small scale initiatives to meet local need by Structure Plan Policy C17. Energy is now dealt with in Chapter 8 of the Local Plan.


Protecting the Natural Zone


The Natural Zone is shown on the Proposals Map. It has been defined by the Authority to be the same area as that which it now uses for the 'Section 3 and Natural Zone Map'. This map is used by the Authority to meet its obligations under section 3 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act to show those areas of the National Park that are particularly important to conserve. The basis for defining the area is given in Appendix 4.


Structure Plan Policy C1 makes it clear that development in the Natural Zone will only be acceptable in exceptional circumstances. As this is the most restrictive landscape category (see Structure Plan paragraph 1.17), the strategy envisages only very limited circumstances in which exceptions ought to be allowed. For the avoidance of doubt and in order to fully reflect national and regional policy the Secretary of State has directed that Local Plan policy 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. Development should be located outside the Natural Zone wherever possible unless it is essential to locate inside. Such rare cases might include:


development which is essential in the national interest (for example, that which is required by national considerations of mineral supply), or


works essential for the management of the area (for example a new pathway, or a weir), or


a development that is essential for the conservation or enhancement of the National Park's valued characteristics (for example specialist building stone required for conservation).


It should be remembered that proper management practices will often have been carried out for many years without the development of features that would require planning permission.


In some cases it may be necessary to try to prevent activities or other developments that adversely affect the valued characteristics of the area but that do not normally require planning permission (see paragraph 2.18). In Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), which cover most of the Natural Zone, noisy activities such as motor sports and clay pigeon shooting no longer benefit from permitted development rights. In addition, the impact of any development that is permitted will need to be very carefully controlled and may well involve the National Park Authority seeking planning obligations and/or excluding permitted development rights by means of planning conditions. Retention of natural and remote character is essential to the Natural Zone. Ease of land management is not itself a justification for development.

Policy LC1: Conserving and managing the Natural Zone


The exceptional circumstances in which development is permissible in the Natural Zone are those in which a suitable, more acceptable location cannot be found elsewhere and it is essential:



in the national interest; or



for the management of the Natural Zone; or



for the conservation or enhancement of the National Park's valued characteristics.


Development that would serve only to make land management or access easier will not be regarded as essential.


Where exceptional circumstances prevail, the need for new or significantly enlarged buildings or structures will, nevertheless, be rigorously examined.


Where development is permitted:




detrimental effects must be minimised by the use of, for example: appropriate siting; landscaping; layout and design; materials and construction;




particular attention will be paid to matters such as: scale; intensity; hours of operation; vehicle movements; arrangements for parking; storage of vehicles, equipment and materials;


and where necessary and appropriate:




permitted development rights will be excluded by means of planning conditions;




permission will initially be restricted to a period of (usually) 2 years, and except where it is essential in the national interest, further permission will not be granted if arrangements for minimising the development's impact prove to be unacceptable in practice;




permission will initially be restricted for the personal benefit of the occupant.

Settlement or countryside?


For the purposes of implementing and distinguishing between Structure Plan Policies C2 and C3 this Local Plan identifies and designates those settlements in which a wider variety of development can be considered. Other buildings and small settlements are considered to be part of the general countryside. This has an important impact on housing and employment opportunities in particular. New affordable housing for local needs will be directed to those settlements designated in this Local Plan, together with buildings for employment (other than those for farm diversification). In the countryside, any residential conversion should meet a local need for affordable housing or be for holiday use. Other development is only permitted where it does not harm the valued characteristics of the area and is necessary for agriculture and forestry (including farm diversification), home extension, recreation and tourism or mineral working.


Policy LC2 designates selected places as 'Local Plan Settlements'. Those not on the list are regarded as part of the countryside. The dominating factor in including or excluding a settlement from the list has been the National Park Authority's opinion as to the likelihood of it being able to accommodate some development without undue harm to character and other valued characteristics. In general the smaller a settlement, the more easily its character is harmed, even by small amounts of new development. Regard has also been paid to current and potential levels of services and community facilities (see paragraph 3.13), but not in a rigid manner since the decisions of service providers and shopkeepers are not controlled by the National Park Authority. Appendix 5 provides more detail. Proximity to a settlement more obviously suited to accommodate development (whether in or outside the National Park) can also be a factor. All parishes in the National Park either have a designated Local Plan Settlement or are next to a Parish that does, or (in a few cases) are close to a significant settlement outside the National Park (see Structure Plan Policy HC3).


Structure Plan Policy HC1(c) permits residential development to meet general demand where it would achieve an enhancement of the current position or where the purpose of the development is to enable relocation of a non-conforming use (an existing use which conflicts with the amenity or appearance of the area which merits a remedy). The National Park Authority's view is that this policy should only apply in designated Local Plan Settlements and that such cases will be exceptional. Otherwise the policy could even encourage deliberate dereliction in order to justify a new house in an area regarded as part of the countryside. Furthermore, where relocation of an existing unneighbourly employment use is sought, it may often be better to keep the current site for another less problematic employment use (Structure Plan Policy E4).


Since adoption of the Structure Plan, Government guidance has reinforced the need for sustainable development patterns. The strategy for the National Park seeks to foster development suited to local needs. This should be in places likely to be served by local services and facilities, and where there is a better link between homes and workplaces. Very small settlements are unlikely to meet all or most of these general criteria. Some two-thirds of the designated Local Plan Settlements in Policy LC2 currently enjoy a good public transport service (defined in paragraph 11.41).


The Structure Plan allows for economic and residential development of a scale and type suited to local needs on the edge of towns and villages if there are no suitable internal sites. Criteria are needed to help judge whether proposals are 'on the edge' of a designated Local Plan Settlement. With the exception of Bakewell (see Chapter 12) it is neither appropriate nor necessary to define designated Local Plan Settlement boundaries on the Proposals Map. Instead, individual proposals will be judged against the clear intent of policy. Sensitive and careful consideration will reflect local distinctiveness, settlement form and community interest. Development will not be approved solely because it satisfies criteria for being within or on the edge of a designated Local Plan Settlement. Other policy concerns must also be satisfied.

Policy LC2: Designated Local Plan Settlements


The places listed below are designated 'Local Plan Settlements' for the purposes of Development Plan Policy for towns and villages:








Ashford in the Water















Baslow and Bubnell







Little Hayfield













Bradfield - High


Middleton by Youlgreave



Bradfield - Low







Over Haddon










Peak Forest























Earl Sterndale


Stanton in Peak



Edale (Grindsbrook)


Stoney Middleton


















Fenny Bentley

























Great Hucklow





Great Longstone





Grindleford and Nether Padley














These settlements are the only ones in which residential development necessary for the relocation of non-conforming uses or which would enhance the valued characteristics of the National Park will be permitted.

Policy LC3: Local Plan Settlement limits


To determine whether proposed development is in or on the edge of a Local Plan Settlement, regard will be had to its relationship to nearby buildings and structures and to the settlement's overall pattern of development, which should be complemented and not harmed.


Development will not be permitted where it is separated from the existing settlement to such a degree that it no longer forms part of the whole or is likely to result in pressure to infill an intervening gap

Design, Layout and Landscaping


Structure Plan Policies C2, C3 and C14 establish the specific importance of scale, siting, landscaping, building materials, high standards of design, landscape and habitat, enhancement, open spaces and local character. Other policies protect specific interests such as wildlife, geology or archaeology and can also affect design, layout and landscape.


The quality of our surroundings depends partly on the willingness of those who are investing in buildings to recognise the contribution that they can make. Much can be achieved by persuasion rather than control. Detail is often very important. Developers might, for example, consider how art (e.g. sculpture or murals) can be used to enliven and complement buildings and public open space.


The distinctive local character of an area is important, but good design need not slavishly follow local traditions. It might reinterpret these but nevertheless harmonise with and respect them. Copying and mixing styles can devalue the originals. Similarly, opportunities to make use of planting or other landscaping should respect and build on the local context.


The layout of buildings should respect and relate well to the traditional pattern of the area or settlement. Factors such as building line; scale, shape and form of buildings; orientation to the road; and space around or between buildings are all important. Landscaping can address both visual and wildlife interests, enhancing the valued characteristics of the area. Appropriate species will often be indigenous to the area and preferably of local provenance, or in some cases specimen trees suited to the character of the locality. Planting is seldom effective without proper care and maintenance. Security should also be considered. A well-designed layout and lighting scheme can help in crime prevention.


For individual buildings, factors such as plan form, section or massing, and details such as windows and doors should all be considered. The materials used are important. Local, natural materials for roofs and walls will often provide the best solution, given the traditions of the area.


New development should respect the amenity of neighbouring properties. For example, arrangements that would result in serious overshadowing or loss of privacy should be avoided, and the impact of security or functional lighting schemes on neighbours should be minimised. Lighting can also have a harmful impact on the remote or rural character of the landscape. Careful direction of any lighting onto the areas that need illuminating helps by preventing the unwanted spread of 'light pollution'.


Layout and design can also help reduce energy consumption. This is to be encouraged. Indeed, making best use of the natural environment is often a feature of traditional design in which windows and openings face the sun whilst avoiding prevailing winds. However, modern techniques for energy generation (such as solar panels) and conservation must not damage the attractiveness and character of buildings or wider landscape concerns.


New buildings and the substantial modification of existing ones (and particularly those to which regular public access is intended such as shops, offices, workplaces and public halls) offer opportunities to give access for people with a mobility difficulty (see Policy LT22).


Policy LC4 clarifies the range of detailed considerations necessary to put the approved Structure Plan Policy into practice for the effective conservation and enhancement of the National Park. Other particular concerns for Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas, shop-fronts, advertisements, access and parking set out in this Chapter and in Chapter 11 (Transport) must also be satisfied. Detailed design, landscaping or other guidance or relevant advice published by the National Park Authority should be taken into account.

Policy LC4: Design, layout and landscaping


Where development is acceptable in principle, it will be permitted provided that its detailed treatment is of a high standard that respects, conserves and where possible it enhances the landscape, built environment and other valued characteristics of the area.


Particular attention will be paid to:



scale, form, mass and orientation in relation to existing buildings, settlement form and character, landscape features and the wider landscape setting;




the degree to which design details, materials and finishes reflect or complement the style and traditions of local buildings;




and the use and maintenance of landscaping to enhance new development, and the degree to which this makes use of local features and an appropriate mix of species suited to both the landscape and wildlife interests of the locality;




the amenity, privacy and security of the development and of nearby properties;




and any nuisance, or harm to the rural character of the area, caused by lighting schemes.

Important open spaces in settlements


Structure Plan Policy C3 makes it clear that important open spaces in settlements should be protected from harmful development. Such areas can make an important contribution to a settlement's historic interest and character and are often attractive in their own right. Open spaces may be important to the settlement’s layout, the setting of a building or for views into or out of the built area.


In Conservation Areas the National Park Authority's survey programme will identify open spaces of particular concern and the analyses will be relevant to development control decisions (see paragraph 3.29). In addition, local communities may have strong feelings about the need to protect particular spaces, often expressing such concern through the voice of the Parish or Town Council. These views will be carefully considered by the National Park Authority whenever development is proposed.


Since the majority of development will be directed by this Plan towards designated Local Plan Settlements (see list in policy LC2), the important open spaces within them merit specific protection. Those within Conservation Areas and identified by the National Park Authority’s survey programme (on which there has been consultation with the local community before designation) are indicated on the Proposals Map in relation to policy LC5 (see paragraph 3.29). Other important open spaces in Local Plan Settlements will be identified in Supplementary Planning Guidance (Village Design Statements).

Conservation Areas


The National Park Authority is required by statute to designate Conservation Areas where groups of buildings (and the lanes, paths, trees and open spaces between and around them) create places of special architectural or historic interest. As advised in Planning Policy Guidance Note 15, designations take into account the area's topography (eg thoroughfares and property boundaries), historical development and architectural significance and potential; the prevalent building materials, character and hierarchy of spaces; and the quality and relationship of buildings and of trees and other green features. There are more than 100 designated Conservation Areas in the National Park, which are shown on the Proposals Map and listed in Appendix 6. It should be noted that Conservation Area boundaries may change during the life of this Plan. Structure Plan Policy C4 makes it clear that their preservation and, where possible, enhancement is essential. Changes of use of existing buildings (including use of vacant upper floors - see paragraph 5.6) can often meet these requirements. However, as with all new development, care needs to be taken with levels of traffic, parking, noise or other problems that could detract from the character and appearance of the area. In Conservation Areas, powers are extended to control demolition (by Conservation Area Consent) and the lopping, topping or felling of trees (through Tree Preservation Orders). Agreement must be sought 6 weeks beforehand for work that affects any tree, except where it is dead, dying or dangerous or otherwise exempt in law (further advice is available from the National Park Authority). If necessary, the Authority can also bring within its control matters that do not normally require planning permission (see paragraph 2.18).


Within Conservation Areas the National Park Authority makes grants available for work to repair and renovate traditional buildings; to prune, fell (when unavoidable) and plant trees and to carry out a wide variety of environmental improvements. Together with the National Park Authority, bodies such as Electricity Companies and British Telecom are often willing to contribute to the undergrounding of unsightly cables. The use of traditional materials and detailing is encouraged for streets, lanes and 'street furniture' such as seating, lighting, shelters and bins. Where there is no existing (or evidence of former) street furniture that ought to be maintained or reinstated, good quality new designs can be considered.


The National Park Authority provides a 'Conservation Area Analysis' of each area, identifying the building and settlement pattern characteristics, uses and setting of the area, and those areas particularly important to leave undeveloped, or which would benefit from development/redevelopment or other action. For guidance, important open spaces in Conservation Areas which are identified by the analyses, are shown on the Proposals Map (Inset Maps). In Bakewell, Policy LB2 also applies. In line with Government advice, the National Park Authority will take these analyses into account as Supplementary Guidance when considering development proposals. They will be available for all areas as soon as resources allow. Those who have an interest in a particular Conservation Area are advised to consult the relevant analysis which will help identify the positive role that development might play.


Policy LC4 is also relevant in Conservation Areas (as elsewhere) and particular care will be taken in assessing proposals. These must be in sufficient detail to allow full consideration. To assist applicants, the National Park Authority's officers encourage discussion before the submission of an application, without prejudice to the eventual decision of the Authority. High standards of maintenance and repair are encouraged and advice may also be available about these. In cases where disrepair is severe, the National Park Authority may consider serving an 'Urgent Works Notice' requiring work to be carried out. Demolition is only desirable where the building or structure involved does not make a positive contribution to the area.


The following policy adds operational detail to Structure Plan Policy C4 which prevents harmful development. "Demolition" has been defined in the House of Lords judgement in the case of Shimizu (UK) Ltd v Westminster City Council as the total or substantial destruction of the whole building - partial demolition being regarded as works of alteration.

Policy LC5: Conservation Areas


Applications for development in a Conservation Area, or for development that affects its setting or important views into or out of the area, should assess and clearly demonstrate how the existing character and appearance of the Conservation Area will be preserved and, where possible, enhanced. Outline applications for development will not be considered. The following matters should be taken into account:


form and layout of the area including views into or out of it and open spaces;


scale, height, form and massing of the development and existing buildings to which it relates;


locally distinctive design details including traditional frontage patterns and vertical or horizontal emphasis;


the nature and quality of materials.


Proposals for or involving demolition of existing buildings, walls or other structures which make a positive contribution to the character or appearance or historic interest of the Conservation Area will not be permitted unless there is clear and convincing evidence that:



the condition of the building (provided that this is not a result of deliberate neglect) and the cost of repairing and maintaining it in relation to its importance and to the value derived from its continued use, is such that repair is not practical;




all possible efforts have been made to continue the present use or find compatible alternative uses for the building, including putting the building on the market and seeking advice from relevant authorities and agencies;




the demolition is to remove an unsightly or otherwise inappropriate modern addition to the building.


Where such demolition is acceptable, a record of the current building or structure may be required. Plans for re-use of an area where demolition is proposed must be agreed and a contract for redevelopment signed before the demolition is carried out.


Where appropriate, felling, lopping or topping of trees will not be permitted without prior agreement, which may require their replacement.

Listed Buildings


Structure Plan Policy C9 makes it clear that development (including change of use), demolition or other work requiring Listed Building Consent will not be permitted where it fails to preserve and, where possible, enhance the special features of the listed building. The setting of a listed building is also protected, both in its own right and from adverse effects of nearby development. The setting may include structures such as free-standing buildings, garden steps or boundary walls within the curtilage of the listed building.


Listed buildings are key features in the built environment and their preservation is essential in order to hand on our heritage to future generations. The National Park Authority reviews the condition of listed buildings every 5 years and keeps a list of those considered to be at risk. Owners are encouraged to maintain listed buildings in good condition. Advice is given about appropriate materials and techniques. Grants are available, subject to resources. Where urgent action is necessary to prevent damage or loss of a listed building that is not being properly maintained, the National Park Authority can serve a 'Repairs Notice' requiring the necessary work to be carried out. In certain cases, a non-listed building which is considered to be of listable quality can be 'spot listed' as a safeguarding measure.


The best use for a historic building is very often that for which it was designed. Conversion of non-residential listed buildings to residential use is rarely appropriate. Where there are large internal spaces (eg in barns and chapels), residential use often demands their sub-division and destroys the internal character of the building. Virtually any conversion of a listed building from its original use involves some loss of character. Where accepted, the consequences of conversion on types and levels of use of the building itself or its surroundings will be strictly controlled. Domestication of outside areas with gardens, washing poles and new outbuildings is often inappropriate.


Applications for development or work affecting a listed building should show why the works are desirable or necessary. The development might be related to the listed building and curtilage itself or could be separate but still affect its setting. Applications should carefully assess the likely impact on the building or its setting and should supply sufficient information to avoid delays and enable a proper decision to be made. In addition, when development or other work is acceptable, the changes made should be recorded (by a method agreed with the National Park Authority) so that future historical investigation is made easier. The National Park Authority provides an archive for this. Any impact on protected species that live in the buildings must also be considered (Policies LC17& LC18).


Some alterations to listed buildings are not classed as 'development'. However, they may require Listed Building Consent rather than planning permission: for example internal alterations and minor external works. On the other hand changes to the building that require planning permission will always also require Listed Building Consent. In these cases both should be applied for concurrently. The impact of 'development' on features separately considered under Listed Building Consent can be a reason for refusal of planning permission.

Policy LC6: Listed Buildings


Planning applications for development affecting a listed building and/or its setting should clearly demonstrate:


how these will be preserved and where possible enhanced;



why the proposed development and related works are desirable or necessary.


Development will not be permitted if applicants fail to provide adequate or accurate detailed information to show the effect on features of architectural or historic interest. Information should include appropriate floor plans, elevations, sections, notes of the specification of materials, and (where external work is involved) plans and elevations showing the listed building’s relationship to its curtilage and to neighbouring structures.


Development will not be permitted if it would:


adversely affect the character, scale, proportion, design, detailing of, or materials used in the listed building;



result in the loss of or irreversible change to original features or other features of importance or interest.


In particular, development will not be permitted if it would directly, indirectly or cumulatively lead to:


changes to plan form which involve removal of original walls, stairs, or entrances, or sub-division of large interior spaces;



removal, alteration or unnecessary replacement of structural elements including roof structures, beams and floors;



the removal, alteration or unnecessary replacement of features such as windows, doors, shutters, fire surrounds and plasterwork;



the loss of curtilage features which complement the character and appearance of the listed building (eg boundary walls, railings or gates);



the replacement of original features other than with original materials and with appropriate techniques;



repairs or alterations involving materials, techniques and detailing inappropriate to the listed building;



extensions to the front of listed buildings;



extensions of more than one storey to the rear of listed small houses or terraced properties.


Conversion of a listed building to a use other than that for which it was designed will not be permitted unless it can accommodate the new use without enlargement and does not require major rebuilding. The new use must not involve or lead to changes to the listed building or its curtilage and/or setting that would adversely affect its architectural or historic interest and integrity.


Where change to a listed building is acceptable, and before the work is carried out, an adequate record of the changes made will be required.


Government policy includes a presumption in favour of preserving listed buildings. This forms the basis of Structure Plan Policy C9 which makes it clear that their demolition is only permissible in exceptional circumstances. 'Demolition' is defined in paragraph 3.31. If it is acceptable, a record of the building must be made (by a method agreed with the National Park Authority) and there must be certainty about the future of the site. In particular, demolition of any Grade l or Grade II* building will be wholly exceptional and require the strongest justification. Where it appears that a building is being deliberately neglected, the National Park Authority will take action to secure any repairs necessary to conserve it. Any protected species living in the building will also need to be considered (see 3.62 to 3.65 and Policies LC17 & LC18).

Policy LC7: Demolition of Listed Buildings


Proposals for or involving demolition of a listed building will not be permitted unless there is clear and convincing evidence that:


the condition of the listed building (provided that this is not a result of deliberate neglect) and the cost of repairing and maintaining it in relation to its importance and to the value derived from its continued use is such that repair is not practical;



all possible efforts have been made to continue the present use or find compatible alternative uses for the listed building, including putting it on the market, seeking advice from relevant authorities and agencies, and exploring opportunities for charitable or community ownership that preserve the listed building for its own sake;



the alternative proposals for the site are satisfactory;



the demolition is to remove an unsightly or otherwise inappropriate modern addition to the building.


Where proposals for or involving demolition of a listed building are acceptable, development will be permitted provided that:


demolition shall not take place until detailed plans have been approved for proposed replacement buildings and a contract signed for the redevelopment;



specified features or materials are salvaged and stored or re-used;



the appearance, plan and particular features of the building are satisfactorily measured and recorded;



provision is made for archaeological investigation and excavation of the site where appropriate.

Converting buildings to a new use


Structure Plan Policies set the framework for conversion and change of use of buildings which provide a means of meeting changing economic and social needs. In the countryside, conversions should be related to the diversification of a farm's income, recreation and tourism, or should provide affordable housing for local needs (Structure Plan Policy C2). In Designated Local Plan Settlements (Structure Plan Policies C3 and HC1) conversion to any use, including business space or general market housing, is possible subject to site-specific considerations. Over-intensification of the use of domestic outbuildings can be a particular problem and is dealt with in the housing chapter of this plan. Many buildings may be suitable for new uses that are compatible with Development Plan policies, and adapting existing buildings can provide a sustainable way of meeting society’s changing needs without pressure to add to their number. However, for buildings of historic or vernacular merit the need for particular care when undertaking conversion justifies a specific policy (see LC8).


Listed buildings and other buildings of historic or vernacular merit sometimes need to be put to new uses if they are to survive at all. Structure Plan Policy C9 therefore makes it clear that this might sometimes override other policy considerations. Nevertheless, genuine attempts (including marketing the property) should always be made to find uses that are compatible with policy before alternatives are considered. In all cases, new uses must not adversely affect the particular merits of a building that make it worthy of conservation. For this reason, listed barns in particular are not normally suitable for residential use (Structure Plan Policy C9). Workspace and business uses may be easier to accommodate.


Listed buildings require great care over work that requires planning permission and work requiring Listed Building Consent (see Policies LC6 & LC7). In Conservation Areas additional concerns apply (see Policy LC5). Indeed, conversion of any building of vernacular merit needs to be carried out in a way that avoids adverse effects on its intrinsic character. It is the sum of individual buildings that provides the collective local tradition and distinctiveness that is so valued in many parts of the National Park. Conservation of this cultural value is one of the National Park Authority's most important purposes under the Environment Act 1995. Old buildings suitable for conversion may well provide a home for protected species such as bats and barn owls (see 3.62 to 3.65 and Policies LC17 and LC18). General design considerations in Policy LC4 will also apply.

Policy LC8: Conversion of buildings of historic or vernacular merit


Conversion of a building of historic or vernacular merit to a use other than that for which it was designed will be permitted provided that:


it can accommodate the new use without changes that would adversely affect its character (such changes include significant enlargement or other alteration to form and mass, inappropriate new window spacings or doorways, and major rebuilding);



the new use does not lead to changes to the building's curtilage or require new access or services that would adversely affect its character or have an adverse impact on its surroundings.

Important parks and gardens


Structure Plan Policy C12 protects important parks and gardens from adverse effects of development. The Registers of Parks and Gardens produced by English Heritage and lists kept locally by the National Park Authority identify properties requiring special attention. Sites on the National Register are shown on the Proposals Map and are listed in Appendix 7. Where necessary, agreement may be sought with the owner of the property to strengthen the certainty about the future of a park or garden as a whole before land use decisions are made.

Policy LC9: Important parks and gardens

When considering development proposals that could affect important parks and gardens, individual garden buildings or landscape features within them, or their settings, their importance will be assessed by reference to the National Register compiled by English Heritage and to other historic, botanical or ecological information.

Shop fronts


Shop fronts have a marked visual impact on the character of settlements. Whatever other attention has been paid to the quality of development, they can make a critical difference. There is clear commercial opportunity for owners to make the most of a building's character, recognising the strong intrinsic attraction of the traditional appearance of settlements in the National Park. Shop fronts often incorporate advertising and require alterations to a building. Attention is therefore also drawn to the applicability of Policies LC4, LC5, LC6 and LC11.


There is a growing trend to secure the contents of shops by means of external roller shutters. These require planning permission. They are not compatible with the conservation and enhancement of the National Park's character. Alternatives should be used. These include internal roller shuttering, unbreakable windows, bollards, or (where the building is suitable and its surroundings not harmed) external shutters of a more traditional design.

Policy LC10: Shop fronts

Particular attention will be paid to the design and appearance of any new or altered shop front, which will be permitted provided that it conserves and where possible enhances the character and appearance of the building and its locality. External security roller shutters will not be permitted.

Signs and advertisements


Guidance on advertising is offered in Planning Policy Guidance Note 19 which states that "the main purpose of the advertisement control system is to help everyone involved in the display of outdoor advertising to contribute positively to the appearance of an attractive and cared-for environment in cities, towns and the countryside ... (it) enables local planning authorities to control advertisements, when it is justified, in the interest of 'amenity' and 'public safety'."


The display of advertisements is dealt with by the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992. Under the Regulations some advertisements require 'express consent' whilst others enjoy conditional 'deemed consent' and do not require the National Park Authority's approval. Nevertheless, the National Park is an Area of Special Control where "the aims of its special designation should not be compromised by inappropriate signs or adverts". To achieve this, some classes of advertisement (particularly general poster hoardings) may not be displayed at all, and stricter controls on size and lettering apply. Control applies to both private and public signs, including village finger-post direction signs when these are not in the highway. Details are available from the National Park Authority.


Signs in the highway and advance signing of businesses to assist traffic management are controlled by the appropriate Highway Authority. In doing so, these authorities are required (under section 62(2) of the Environment Act 1995) to have regard to National Park purposes.


Businesses should avoid unnecessary proliferation of adverts and signs, bearing in mind that it is the attractiveness of the National Park which attracts most paying visitors. Similarly, illumination requires special care in order to avoid urbanisation of the area's character (see also paragraph 3.20 and policy LC4). Signs should be as near as possible to the business concerned and preferably on its own land or premises. Business managers are asked to consider the contribution that they can make to conserving and enhancing the National Park's special character and to discuss proposals with the National Park Authority at an early stage.


Where express consent is required, the following policies set a framework for decisions. Where there is sufficient concern over advertising that does not normally require consent, the National Park Authority may seek to bring it within control.

Policy LC11: Outdoor advertising


Advertisements will be granted consent provided that they:


are as near as possible to the business or activity concerned (an exception may be made for community information boards or finger-post schemes in designated Local Plan Settlements);



do not result in a proliferation of signs inappropriate to the building or locality;



do not pose a hazard to public safety or unduly harm the amenity of neighbouring properties;



are in proportion and appropriately located relative to the building on which they are displayed and/or to nearby buildings;



are of a high standard of design, materials and construction;



their scale, setting and design do not detract from features of architectural or historic importance or other valued characteristics of the area.


Internal illumination (except for single illuminated pole signs essential to road safety at petrol stations on main roads) will not be granted consent. External illumination will not be granted consent unless it is during opening hours in predominantly commercial areas; or is at public houses, restaurants or similar premises open after dark.


Signs or adverts more than 3.6 metres above ground level, or (if lower) above the bottom level of any first floor window on the same wall, will not be granted consent unless:


they are hanging signs;



the building is a public house, hotel or restaurant that does not have a fascia and the sign or advert consists of individual lettering attached to it so as to minimise any harmful visual impact and damage to the stone or brickwork.


Advertisements for the purpose of announcement or direction will not be granted consent unless they are reasonably required having regard to the nature and location of that which they advertise.

Agricultural or forestry workers' dwellings


Agriculture is essential to the maintenance of the National Park's countryside. It needs farm buildings, farmhouses and associated development. As the most extensive source of new development in the countryside, agriculture has great potential impact on its appearance.


Structure Plan Policy C6 makes it clear that new homes for agricultural or forestry workers will only be permitted provided that there is a proven need that cannot be met in a nearby settlement and where their future use is appropriately restricted. In deciding whether a particular case justifies the provision of a new agricultural or forestry worker's home, authorities are advised (Planning Policy Guidance Note 7) to consider functional and financial tests to enable proper consideration of the land use implications (including the likelihood of development being implemented and the size of dwelling). This is in order to scrutinise applications thoroughly and to minimise possible abuse of the exceptional approvals that the planning system makes for such dwellings. It is the requirements of the enterprise rather than of the owner or occupier which are relevant. In uncertain cases, temporary accommodation might allow time for the sustainability of a proposal to be tested.


Given the changing needs of any agricultural or forestry business for workers, it is reasonable to expect that workers' dwellings should not be disposed of separately to the business as a whole. Legal agreements such as planning obligations can provide appropriate assurance of this. Changing circumstances may also justify refusal to renew permissions that are not implemented, since failure to provide an agricultural worker's house may indicate that there is no longer such a need for the worker to be on site.


Long term control of a dwelling by an enterprise ensures its future availability to meet the needs of that enterprise. It can also enable the dwelling to meet the needs of other agricultural or forestry enterprises in the locality during periods when the enterprise itself might not require the resident worker(s). Conversely where adequate assurances exist and there is no ongoing agricultural or forestry need in the locality, the National Park Authority may consider temporary relaxation of the occupancy condition. This would allow the property to be let outside of agriculture on a short term basis. Should exceptional circumstances require that a dwelling be sold by the enterprise (eg certainty of no further local agricultural or forestry need) then it should be made available to meet a local need for affordable housing (see Policy LH3).

Policy LC12: Agricultural or forestry workers' dwellings


The need for a new agricultural or forestry worker's dwelling will be considered against the needs of the farm or forestry business concerned and not the personal preferences or circumstances of any individuals involved. Development will be permitted provided that:


a detailed appraisal demonstrates that there is a genuine and essential functional need for the worker(s) concerned, with a requirement that they need to be readily available at most times, day and night, bearing in mind current and likely future requirements;



there is no suitable existing accommodation in the locality that could reasonably be made available for occupation by the worker(s) concerned;



size and construction costs are commensurate with the established functional requirement and likely sustainable income of the business;



it is close to the main group of existing buildings and does not require obtrusive new access tracks or driveways;



a satisfactory mechanism is put in place to secure long term control by the business of the dwelling in question and of any other dwelling that meets an agricultural need of the business;



occupancy of the dwelling in question (and of any other dwelling that meets an agricultural need of the business) is restricted to persons solely or mainly working in the locality in agriculture or in forestry, or to the same occupants when they have stopped such work, or a widow or widower of such a person, and any resident dependants;



stated intentions to engage in or further develop farming or forestry are genuine, reasonably likely to happen and capable of being sustained for a reasonable period of time. Where there is uncertainty about the sustainability of an otherwise acceptable proposal, permission may be granted for an appropriately coloured caravan or other temporary accommodation;



sufficient detail is provided to enable proper consideration of these matters.

Agricultural or forestry operational development


Where new agricultural or forestry buildings are required (Structure Plan Policy C6), they should be located, designed and coloured to respect and avoid harm to the landscape and other valued characteristics of the area. In addition, Structure Plan Policy C2 makes it clear that planning conditions may require the removal of any building or structure when it is no longer needed for its intended purpose.


Policy LC4 is concerned with design, layout and landscaping for all development. In addition a number of factors are of particular practical importance for agricultural and forestry operational development so that it relates well to local landscape and character, including that which will result from new afforestation or agriculture. These are set out in the following Policy LC13. The concerns of these policies will be applied as appropriate to proposals which are subject to 'agricultural notification' procedures as well as to those that require full planning permission. Planning applications should be accompanied by full explanations of the agricultural or forestry proposals with which they are associated in order to allow for a proper assessment. When dealing with proposals for large new agricultural buildings, it is not usually appropriate simply to try to copy traditional building forms or materials. Instead, particular care is necessary with the scale and massing, and with the choice of colour. Dark coloured buildings are in general less obtrusive.

Policy LC13: Agricultural or forestry operational development

New agricultural and forestry buildings structures and associated working spaces or other development will be permitted provided that they:



are close to the main group of buildings wherever possible and in all cases relate well to and make best use of existing buildings, trees, walls and other landscape features;




respect the design, scale, mass and colouring of existing buildings and building traditions characteristic of the area, reflecting this as far as possible in their own design;




avoid harm to the area's valued characteristics including important local views, making use of the least obtrusive or otherwise damaging possible location;




do not require obtrusive access tracks, roads or services. These should be designed with particular respect for the landscape and its historic patterns of land use and movement, and any landscape change likely to result from agricultural or forestry practices.


Changes to valued agricultural landscapes


Structure Plan Policy C5 gives protection to agricultural landscapes for their own sake. Uses and associated development such as horse and pony exercise and training areas require planning permission. They may be domestic in origin or arise through diversification of the farm enterprise. In some cases they may be capable of being assimilated without harm into the countryside. At other times they may create untidy sprawl around settlements and/or damage important views or historical landscapes. Additional policy is not required given the context of the Structure Plan and Local Plan policies for design and for farm buildings.


Agricultural and forestry practices can also have a major effect on valued wildlife and landscapes. These practices are not usually subject to control within the land-use planning system. However, the National Park Authority works closely with many farmers, agreeing on environmentally sound management practices and making some grant aid available. Farming or other practices which may affect land of designated national or international nature conservation importance are also discussed with English Nature.


Farm diversification


Structure Plan Policy C7 provides for suitably located diversification of economic activity that is needed to diversify the source of a farm's income and which helps sustain agriculture as the primary land use. It must not adversely affect the function or character of the main group of farm buildings, use inappropriate non-vernacular farm buildings, result in a need for unacceptable replacement agricultural buildings, nor be out of scale.


This is an exception to the basic strategy for locating general economic activity in settlements where accessibility to the workforce (particularly by public transport or on foot) is maximised whilst landscape impact is minimised. It is justified in order to help sustain the viability and vitality of agriculture as the primary land use, thereby creating and managing the landscape. However, it is not appropriate in a National Park to permit growth of general economic activity in the countryside. Farm diversification should therefore only be permitted where there is a reasonable certainty that the business link between the new activity and agriculture will be maintained. For example: sustained income to the farm business from letting a building is more appropriate than short term capital gain through sale of land or buildings, whilst long term responsibility for the site should remain firmly that of the farm business or the farmer. Disruption of the relationship between farming and buildings in the countryside, sometimes caused by the break-up of holdings (a matter outside public control), can create pressure for inappropriate use of existing buildings. New agricultural buildings are often demanded to replace their function (contrary to Structure Plan Policy C6). The existence of agreed business and management plans for individual farms and legal agreements such as planning obligations help to provide certainty about future intentions. The National Park Authority will encourage such farm plans.


Farm diversification often includes conversion of buildings to provide accommodation for tourists. Structure Plan Policy RT3 ties both together. Local Plan policy LR6 deals with holiday occupancy. Developments such as farm shops (policy LS3), equestrian businesses (policy LR7), camping and caravan sites (policies LR3, LR4 and LR5) or nature trails also relate to the tourist and visitor markets. Policy LR1 and supporting text provide guidance on tourist related developments in different parts of the National Park. Services such as shops and tearooms will often be better located on farms which are in or on the edge of Local Plan Settlements, than in the open countryside (policies LC2 and LS1). On the other hand, diversification might involve industrial or business activities not related to tourism (policy LE4). Where the suitability of a particular building or group of buildings is questionable, policy LE2 applies.

Policy LC14: Farm diversification


Diversification of economic activity on a farm will be restricted to the specific use or range of uses for which permission is given rather than to a use class.


New buildings will not be permitted if the diversified use can be appropriately located in existing vernacular buildings or in a non-vernacular building which would remain appropriate to the area despite its removal from agriculture.


The location and size of an existing non-vernacular building and its relationship to other buildings and features will be important when judging whether it is appropriate for a new use. Where a new use is acceptable, the development should include any improvements to the building and its setting that are needed to ensure that its impact on the landscape and on the character and appearance of the farm is not more harmful than if a new building had been permitted.


Development will not be permitted unless there is sufficient certainty of long-term benefit to the farm business as an agricultural operation.


Evaluating sites and features of special importance


Structure Plan Policy C8 requires evaluation of the impact of a development proposal to be provided before an application is determined. This can be essential to the process of reasoned decision making. In certain cases the National Park Authority will require an Environmental Assessment of any proposal likely to affect a designated site or feature (see paragraphs 2.11 - 2.15).


Historic, archaeological and cultural heritage


Structure Plan Policies C8 and C10 protect the National Park's wealth of historic, archaeological and cultural heritage features. Assessment of the impact of a development proposal is required. Policy C10 also requires appropriate recording, safeguarding and enhancement of any features that are affected by development when it is permitted. Early contact with the National Park Authority's archaeology service can help developers determine whether there is any interest in a particular site. This will prevent unforeseen difficulties when an application is being formally considered. It is always preferable to retain features in their original positions wherever possible. This is extremely valuable to any future research, interpretation and education. The County Sites & Monuments Records provide valuable information supplementing the statutory Schedule of Ancient Monuments and are referred to when development applications are made. Scheduled Ancient Monuments are listed in Appendix 8. Planning Policy Guidance Note 16 advises that Local Plans should include policies for the protection, enhancement and preservation of sites of archaeological interest and of their settings.

Policy LC15: Historic and cultural heritage sites and features


When considering development proposals that could affect historic and cultural heritage sites and features, the following will be taken into account:




their national and local significance by reference to the Schedule of Ancient Monuments and to the County Sites and Monuments Records and other relevant information;





the protection, enhancement and preservation of the sites or features and their settings;





the need for the development to be on the site in question.


Where development affecting such a site or feature is acceptable, the preservation of any feature of special interest in its original position, and appropriate opportunities for public access and examination will be required wherever practicable, taking into account the importance of the site or feature.


Policy LC16: Archaeological sites and features


When considering development proposals that could affect archaeological sites or features, the following will be taken into account:



their national and local significance by reference to the Schedule of Ancient Monuments and to the County Sites and Monuments Records and other relevant information;




the protection, enhancement and preservation of the sites or features and their settings;




the need for the development to be on the site in question;




the need for an appropriate archaeological assessment of the nature and importance of the remains;


Where development affecting such a site or feature is acceptable, the following will be required:



the implementation of an appropriate scheme for archaeological investigation prior to and during development;




wherever practicable, the preservation of any feature of special interest in its original position, and appropriate opportunities for future access and examination taking into account the importance of the site or feature.


Wildlife, geology and geomorphology


The Government attaches great importance to the international wildlife obligations it has assumed and is determined to honour them. These obligations underlie much of the legislative framework for nature conservation. Together with UK legislation they are listed in Planning Policy Guidance Note 9. The planning system is a key tool for the protection of nature conservation. English Nature offers advice where necessary on wildlife, geological and geomorphological matters. The National Park Authority works closely with English Nature and other nature conservation groups, formalising this co-operation in the Wildlife Executive Group. The Group has agreed criteria for assessing the importance of nature conservation interests at a given location, and to assist when considering the likely impact of a development proposal (see paragraph 3.67). English Nature notifies authorities of consultation areas around international sites. Authorities are also required to consult on applications around Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). In some cases where new designations are made, the National Park Authority is required to review existing and implemented planning permissions and consider whether any action is necessary to remove or modify harmful influences.


Structure Plan Policy C11 establishes the protection of sites and wildlife from harmful development (including alteration or conversion of existing buildings) with a more stringent test attached to those of designated importance. Where development is acceptable, it also requires the developer to minimise any impact and record, safeguard and enhance sites or features as appropriate. Policy C11 makes it clear that statutory designations and sites of international, national or regional importance will be accorded the highest protection. These include SSSIs, National or Local Nature Reserves, species listed under Schedules 1, 5 and 8 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act or subsequent legislation, Special Protection Areas (SPAs), and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). Current statutory designations are shown on the Proposals Map and listed in Appendix 9. Policy applies to these statutorily designated sites and to candidate SACs, potential SPAs and provisionally designated SSSIs. In the case of internationally recognised or other sites, primary legislation can further restrict the cases in which exceptional circumstances may justify development, although the European Commission may sometimes determine (in consultation with UK Government) that the overriding public interest favours development. For wildlife sites and species that are not designated, Sites of County Biological Importance (identified by Wildlife Trusts and County Councils) and Biodiversity Action Plans will provide useful information as to their particular significance and priority.


Many sites will require ongoing management, and development should provide for this. Development should not disrupt the movement and dispersal of flora and fauna along wildlife corridors or 'stepping stones' provided by linked landscape features such as copses, woods, walls, ponds or rivers. These are often a key to the survival of species.


Government guidance (PPG9) published since the Structure Plan was adopted advises that when development is to be permitted, the local planning authority may wish to impose conditions or seek planning obligations to minimise any risk to designated sites. It also suggests that where a site is "likely" to be affected, English Nature should be consulted. In the context of these precautionary statements, where any "likely" effect would be harmful, the need to protect designated sites, features or species should take precedence. In SSSIs, the usual (permitted development) rights for temporary use of land for war games, motorsports and clay pigeon shooting do not apply. This means that an application for planning permission must be made. Where necessary, the National Park Authority will consider withdrawing permitted development rights for other activities affecting wildlife interests, particularly in SSSIs.

Policy LC17: Sites, features or species of wildlife, geological or geomorphological importance


For statutorily designated sites, features or species of international, national or regional importance:


development applications in the vicinity of designated sites will be carefully considered to assess the likelihood of adverse effects;



development considered likely to have an adverse effect will be treated as if that effect is established.



in particular, development having a significant effect on the ecological objectives or integrity of a Special Protection Area or Special Area of Conservation will not be permitted unless there is no alternative site or better practical approach available, and it must be carried out for imperative reasons of overriding public interest. Where a site hosts a priority habitat or species, development will not be permitted unless there is no alternative and it is required for reasons that relate to human health, public safety, or beneficial consequences of primary importance to the environment, or for other imperative reasons of overriding public interest determined by the European Commission.


Development that would detrimentally affect the value to wildlife of established patterns of wildlife stepping stones and corridors will not be permitted.


Development will not be permitted unless adequate information is provided about its likely impact on the special interests of a site. In particular, if development is likely to affect a designated site or species, information should include:


an assessment of the nature conservation importance of the site including a habitat/vegetation map and description (with identification of plant communities and species), and a description of fauna and geological/geomorphological features;



an assessment of the direct or indirect effects of the development including pollution, changes in hydrology, associated visitor pressure, and changes to the ease of management of habitats;



details of any mitigating measures.



Structure and Local Plan policies give clear protection to sites, features and species of nature conservation importance. In most cases it is anticipated that it will be possible to locate development elsewhere. There is nevertheless the possibility that a particular proposal would not harm the nature conservation interest of a site (or its importance as a wildlife stepping stone) if carried out in a careful way and then managed appropriately. In such a case, or where development has to be accepted despite adverse impact, great care will be needed to minimise the effect of the development and enhance nature conservation interests. The views and advice of relevant interests (such as governing bodies of sports) can be helpful.

Policy LC18: Safeguarding, recording and enhancing nature conservation interests when development is acceptable


Where development which could affect a site, feature, or species of nature conservation importance or its setting is acceptable, appropriate safeguards and enhancement will be required to minimise adverse impacts. These should ensure conservation of the features of importance in their original location. Provision must be made for the beneficial future management of the nature conservation interests and a satisfactory record must be provided of any features which could be lost or concealed. If the likely success of these measures is uncertain, development will not be permitted.


The provision of alternative habitat and/or relocation of affected flora or fauna will only be accepted as a last resort and in cases where the development of a particular site is unavoidable. Such provision should make every attempt possible to sustain the wildlife interest.



Structure Plan Policies C8 and C11 and Local Plan policies apply not only to sites and features with statutory designation (such as National Nature Reserves or SSSIs) but also to many others important to nature conservation in the National Park. However, work needed to identify these in a reasonably comprehensive manner is still in its infancy. Many changes will be made to the database in the next few years, reflecting the National Park Authority's increasing attention to conservation priorities. These other Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation are not, therefore, shown on the Local Plan Proposals Map. Instead, the importance of a non-designated site or feature will continue to be determined at the time applications are received. Reference will be made to all relevant current information and judgements will be based on the considerations set out in policy LC19. These are based on the recommendations of the Wildlife Executive Group (National Park Authority, English Nature, RSPB and County Wildlife Trusts). Policy will apply to any site which in the opinion of the Authority is important under one or more consideration. Appendix 10 expands on the meaning of the terms used in policy LC19.

Policy LC19: Assessing the nature conservation importance of sites not subject to statutory designation

When applying Development Plan policies to a site not subject to statutory designation its nature conservation importance will be judged according to its scientific importance and its importance to the communityas follows:



Scientific considerations will include size and species population, diversity and richness, rarity, fragility, irreplaceability, naturalness, position in the ecological or geographical unit, potential value, the degree to which it is typical and representative, historical continuity and geological or geomorphological importance.



Community considerations will include landscape importance and visual appeal, recreational or amenity importance, educational value, cultural value and recorded history, and potential value.


Protecting trees, woodlands and other landscape features


Structure Plan Policy C13 protects important trees, woodlands and other landscape features from development that would result in their damage or loss. This applies both during and after work needed for the new development. It also deals with appropriate replacement where important existing trees and woodlands are put at risk. Adequate, detailed assessments of a proposal’s impact on trees and woodlands and other landscape features is necessary in order for proper consideration to be made. Replacement of lost or damaged trees and shrubs should be with the same species or with species appropriate to the local context and preferably grown locally. These will often be indigenous to the area, or in some cases specimen trees suited to its character . In some cases natural regeneration may be the most appropriate solution. Replacement is seldom effective without proper care and maintenance.


The use of trees and shrubs in landscaping for development is dealt with in Policy LC4. The special circumstances for removal of trees in Conservation Areas are dealt with in Policy LC5.


Tree preservation orders (TPOs) may be used by the National Park Authority to protect important trees or small groups of trees, particularly where there is new development. Their use has been reviewed by Government which concluded that they remain a valuable tool for conservation. They are generally not appropriate in the open countryside. Here, the main protection for trees and woodlands is provided by felling licences operated by the Forestry Authority. However, preventing the felling of trees is only a partial answer. Mechanisms therefore exist to help safeguard and enhance trees and woodlands by integrating forestry management with conservation objectives. These mechanisms are: the Forestry Authority's Woodland Grant Scheme and the National Park Authority's Farm Conservation Scheme. The importance of this approach is emphasised in an Accord between the Forestry Authority and the National Park Authority which encourages the ongoing management and creation of native woodland in the National Park.

Policy LC20: Protecting trees, woodlands or other landscape features put at risk by development


Planning applications should provide sufficient information to enable their impact on trees, woodlands and other landscape features to be properly considered.


Where development that involves risk of damage to trees, woodlands or other landscape features is acceptable, adequate space must be left for their replacement with appropriate species of trees and shrubs or local materials. Appropriate maintenance that respects wildlife interests will be required.


Enhancement and habitat or landscape creation


Structure Plan Policy C14 sets the framework for land use decisions that enhance the National Park by treatment or removal of undesirable features or buildings. In addition to occasional action to remove eyesores, derelict land reclamation is also pursued by both the National Park Authority and the District and County Councils. Priorities for action can be based on public enjoyment of the National Park, nature conservation interests, and general amenity considerations. They are regularly reviewed in the light of available resources which vary substantially, and their identification in the Local Plan is not appropriate.


The creation of landscape and habitat features can improve new development, either as compensation for unavoidable losses or as additions to an area's assets (see Policies LC4 and LC20).

Pollution and disturbance, including surface water and ground water protection and contaminated land


Sustainable development is given high priority in the Environment White Paper 'This Common Inheritance'. The principle that 'the polluter pays' recognises the need to avoid handing down the burden or cost of today's activity to tomorrow's generation. The Government also stresses that planning authorities should not duplicate the work of the pollution control bodies, but should work closely with them to avoid pollution of the environment. Planning Policy Guidance 23 advises that the National Park Authority should not resist development purely on the grounds that it may release harmful emissions, but that if they will have a harmful impact upon the use of land it is within the Authority’s power to refuse planning permission. Structure Plan Policy C15 resists development that causes pollution (such as gases, dust, smells, sewage, farm effluent or noise) that will adversely affect the valued characteristics of part of the National Park or its quiet enjoyment by local residents and visitors. The Local Plan clarifies the established or agreed interests to be safeguarded, including farming, recreation and economic interests.


The quality of water in particular, both on and below the surface, is vitally important for a wide variety of reasons including domestic water supply, wildlife habitat, recreation opportunities and landscape features. Development should be resisted where there is inadequate waste disposal, an unacceptable risk of pollution or any other adverse effect on the water environment. Virtually the whole National Park provides important surface catchment and groundwater resources for domestic supply. Some areas supply specific local uses such as Buxton Mineral Water or the local supply in Youlgreave (see also policy LC23).


When a proposed development raises pollution issues, the Environment Agency will be consulted prior to determining the application. If the effects of pollution can be satisfactorily and reasonably controlled through the use of conditions or legal agreements, the National Park Authority could then allow the development.

Policy LC21: Pollution and disturbance

Development that presents a risk of pollution or disturbance that could adversely affect:


the amenity, ecology, or other valued characteristics of the area;



existing recreation activities;



extensive land uses such as forestry and agriculture;



water supply, groundwater resources and the water environment;



established businesses;



potential future uses of the land

will not be permitted unless adequate measures to control emissions within acceptable limits are put in place and (when the permitted use finishes) appropriate removal of any pollutants from the site is assured.

Surface water run-off, flood defence and flood risk


Structure Plan Policy C18 prevents development that would adversely affect watercourse maintenance or would reduce the capacity of the flood plain. This includes engineering works that raise the level of land in the flood plain or put watercourses into culverts. Culverting is not generally desirable because it can lead to flood defence, pollution and maintenance problems. In addition it can disrupt the wildlife corridor provided by a watercourse (see also policies LC17 and LC21). Structure Plan policy provides for exceptional circumstances in which development might be possible provided that compensatory measures and flood protection are agreed. The areas at risk of flooding and the likely exceptional categories of development that might be expected to be located within them can now be identified (see Proposals Map and policy LC23). Risk of flooding can also be made worse by uncontrolled run-off of surface water from new development.

Policy LC22: Surface water run-off

Development will be permitted provided that adequate measures are included to deal with the run-off of surface water from the site. Such measures must not increase the risk of a local water course flooding.

Policy LC23: Flood risk areas

Other than in the following exceptional circumstances development will not be permitted in flood risk areas:


where the development does not require new buildings or otherwise raise ground levels or obstruct the flow of water;



where it falls within one of the following categories and adequate compensatory and flood protection measures are both practical and guaranteed:


development necessary for watercourse or water supply management;


development of small-scale hydro electricity plant;



there is no risk of pollution of the watercourse in the event of flooding.

Contaminated land


Government promotes the sustainable re-use of 'brownfield sites' especially within settlements (sites which have previously been developed but are now available for re-use), in order to reduce pressure on undeveloped 'greenfield' sites. Occasionally, brownfield sites have been contaminated by hazardous substances from, for example, chemical or industrial processes or landfilling with non-inert waste. If they present unacceptable risks to health or to the environment, remedial works are needed to make them suitable for the intended new use. Structure Plan Policy C16 prevents development unless such works are carried out.


Whilst the National Park Authority may be aware of earlier contamination of a site, Planning Policy Guidance Note 23 makes it clear that the responsibility for providing information on whether it is contaminated or not rests primarily with the developer. In cases where a site is, or is suspected of being seriously contaminated, an application for development should be accompanied by details of the contamination and associated risks, and of practicable remedial works. This should be provided by an accredited person whose competence in the field is recognised by the relevant authorities. Where there is a suspicion or evidence of only slight contamination, planning permission may be granted with conditions requiring appropriate site investigation and subsequent remedial works to be carried out before development commences.


The National Park Authority strongly recommends that where there is suspicion or evidence that a site is contaminated, the owner and/or developer should liaise with the Environment Agency as to the type and extent of the problem, and the remedial measures necessary. The National Park Authority will seek guidance from the Environment Agency and/or other contamination experts or authorities when determining any application. Remedial works should not in themselves result in harm to valued characteristics of the area.

Policy LC24: Contaminated land


Development on land believed to be contaminated will be permitted provided that an accredited assessment shows that:


there is no risk to public health arising from any existing contamination;



remedial measures (in situ or by safe disposal off site) can remove any public health risk and make the site fit for its intended use without harm to the valued characteristics of the area.


Where serious contamination is known or suspected, the assessment will be required before a planning decision is made. Where there is suspicion or evidence of only slight contamination, the assessment will be required and remedial measures must be agreed before development commences.

Unstable land


Some land in the National Park is unstable and liable to slippage. This may be the result of natural processes or human activity. Structure Plan Policy C16 prevents development of unstable land which cannot be stabilised. There are broadly speaking three causes of instability:



Underground Cavities
Limestone is prone to dissolution by groundwater and this produces sinkholes. New caves have recently been found in the Castleton area. Old underground mineral workings collapse or subside. Cavities may have been formed by civil engineering works - old tunnels, for example, may cause problems as they deteriorate.  



Unstable Slopes
Both natural slopes (such as Mam Tor) and man-made slopes (such as Dale View Quarry Tip, Stanton Moor) can become unstable. Movement may be slow or rapid, continuous or intermittent, and can be initiated by natural processes or by human activities, including development. The northern area of the National Park is among the areas with a high number of recorded landslides.



Ground compression
Landfill and backfill resulting from quarrying and/or tipping may compress significantly and full consolidation can take many years. In such a case instability is a constraint on development.


Whilst research indicates some of the areas where landslides are more likely to cause problems, the picture is not complete. Not all incidents are reported and generally there are fewer records in areas of low population density. It could thus be very misleading to show perceived areas of instability on the Proposals Map.


Planning Policy Guidance Note 14 (PPG14) advises that local authorities should take into account the possibility of ground instability in preparing their development plans. Whilst Building Regulations are designed to make structures better able to withstand the effects of hazards, some buildings are exempt. Thus PPG14 advises the following in order to minimise risk in the interests of public safety:



It is the responsibility of developers to ensure their developments will not initiate instability or will not be affected by instability originating outside the area of a development.



On sites where landsliding is known or may be reasonably foreseen, developers should seek expert advice about the likely consequences of proposed developments.



Developers are responsible for any necessary investigations to ascertain that their sites are and will remain stable or can be made so, as part of the development works.


Where the stability of a development site is suspect, planning applications should be accompanied by a detailed assessment of ground conditions, potential hazard and of practicable remedial works. This should be provided by a person whose competence in the field is recognised by the relevant authorities.

Policy LC25: Unstable land


Development on land believed to be unstable or likely to become unstable as a result of development will be permitted provided that an accredited stability assessment shows that the land:


is stable and will remain so;



can be made permanently stable by remedial measures undertaken as part of the development process without harm to the valued characteristics of the area;



that its development will not affect the stability or safety of neighbouring areas.


In most cases the stability assessment will be required and any necessary remedial measures must be agreed before development commences. However, where serious instability is known or suspected, the assessment will be required before a planning decision is made.

Chapter 4



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