3. The process so far

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Comment

Initial Consultation document

Representation ID: 92940

Received: 31/08/2018

Respondent: Historic England

Representation:

Page 10 and 11
We note that the assessment of proposed sites includes landscape and historic environment considerations. We note that each site has the site characteristics set out in the plan. However, we are concerned that despite the clear identification of heritage assets, many of the minerals sites are close to and in one case include a designated heritage asset. Some of these concerns could be addressed through improved policy wording, introduction into policy of specific mitigation measures which have been identified in the Sustainability Appraisal, or the use of heritage impact assessments to define site boundaries at this stage. We also recommend further cumulative assessment, particularly for MIN 19, MIN 205, AOS E and SIL 02. We note that on some of the mapping some designated heritage assets appear to be missing.

Full text:

As the Government's adviser on the historic environment Historic England is keen to ensure that the protection of the historic environment is fully taken into account at all stages and levels of the local planning process. Our comments below should be read with our detailed comments in the attached table.

Summary
At this early stage in the plan process, we have identified in detail in the attached table the changes that we recommend. However, looked at as a whole we have identified two key issues to address for the next iteration of the plan, which we summarise below:

a) Evidence-based allocations: the aim should be to avoid harm in the first instance before minimising or mitigating (Planning Practice Guidance, paragraph 019 reference ID 18a-019-20140306 revision date 06 03 2014). A proposed allocation needs to be based on evidence and should seek to avoid harm to heritage assets in the first instance, then set out how it could be mitigated against if the harm is unavoidable and the public benefits justify that harm under paragraphs 194, 195, or 196 of the National Planning Policy Framework. The following sites do not meet that threshold: MIN 79 and 80, SIL 02, MIN 40, MIN 32, MIN 19 and 205, MIN 48 and MIN 116. Of those, SIL 02 (a large preferred area immediately abutting a complex of highly graded heritage assets) along with AOS E, MIN 19 and MIN 205; MIN 48 (which incorporates a scheduled monument) and MIN 79 (with other development considerations) are most concerning. We would expect some level of heritage impact assessment to be done on the most sensitive sites in order for them to be allocated.

When areas are included in allocations, preferred areas or areas of search which cannot be developed adds confusion and complexity to the planning system. Once the principle of development is established through inclusion within a site allocation, preferred area or area of search, it is more difficult to rebut the presumption in favour of development owing to the assumption that, in an evidence and plan-led system, these aspects are factored into the allocation. As such all sensitive sites should be assessed and the results of that assessment inform whether or not there is an allocation, preferred area or area of search; what size and location it can be and what policy requirements, including mitigation measures, need to be embedded to conserve or enhance the historic environment.

b) Lack of specific local historic environment policy protection: policy MW2 is too generic to provide specific local criteria and/or requirements against which planning applications will be assessed. This could be addressed through an historic environment policy or through specific site allocation policies that specify requirements such as impact assessments, avoidance and mitigation measures, archaeological investigation, progressive working, and aftercare requirements. Many of these already have been identified in the Sustainability Appraisal Annex B. This particularly affects sites MIN 35, MIN 38, and MIN 203, though we have identified where many more proposed allocations should incorporate this information.

Conclusion
As you develop the minerals and waste plan, we would welcome discussing further the points raised in our representations.

In preparation of the forthcoming minerals and waste local plan, we encourage you to draw on the knowledge of local conservation officers, the county archaeologist and local heritage groups.

Please note that absence of a comment on an allocation or document in this letter does not mean that Historic England is content that the allocation or document forms part of a positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment or is devoid of historic environment issues.

Finally, we should like to stress that this opinion is based on the information provided by the Council in its consultation. To avoid any doubt, this does not affect our obligation to provide further advice and, potentially, object to specific proposals, which may subsequently arise where we consider that these would have an adverse effect upon the historic environment.

Comment

Initial Consultation document

Representation ID: 93031

Received: 10/08/2018

Respondent: Brett Group

Agent: Heaton Planning Ltd

Representation:

Section 3 sets out the methodology for site assessments - including landscape, ecology, highways etc.
For Historic Environment and Archaeology:
* Details of known assets
* Proposals for protection / mitigation
* Support from Norfolk County Council's Historic Environment Service and whether this is dependent on appropriate protection / mitigation.
For Sustainability Appraisal:
* Ensures that potential environmental effects are given full consideration alongside social and environmental issues.
* Sustainability appraisal an integral element of the preparation of the MWLP review ... informing in a comprehensive way of the likely impacts of proposed planning policies and specific sites / preferred areas and areas of search.
What is not clear from the methodology is the balance applied to the impacts alongside the economic and social benefits. The revised NPPF (2018) is clear at Chapter 2 that achieving sustainable development means that the planning system has three overarching objectives, economic, social and environmental, which are interdependent and need to be pursued in mutually supportive ways (so that opportunities can be taken to secure net gains across each of the different objectives). Para 32 of NPPF (2018) states:
"Local plans and spatial development strategies should be informed throughout their preparation by a sustainability appraisal that meets the relevant legal requirements. This should demonstrate how the plan has addressed the relevant economic, social and environmental objectives (including opportunities for net gains). Significant adverse impacts on these objectives should be avoided and, where possible, alternative options which reduce or eliminate such impacts should be pursued. Where significant adverse impacts are unavoidable, suitable mitigation measures should be proposed (or, where this is not possible, compensatory measures should be considered)."
The methodology does not clearly provide a balance of the impacts - a number of sites clearly have numerous environmental sensitivities but do not constitute an objection on their own right. There should be some consideration of the cumulative impact of such effects.

Full text:

Representations submitted on behalf of the Brett Group.
Section 3 - The process so far
Section 3 sets out the methodology for site assessments - including landscape, ecology, highways etc.
For Historic Environment and Archaeology:
* Details of known assets
* Proposals for protection / mitigation
* Support from Norfolk County Council's Historic Environment Service and whether this is dependent on appropriate protection / mitigation.
For Sustainability Appraisal:
* Ensures that potential environmental effects are given full consideration alongside social and environmental issues.
* Sustainability appraisal an integral element of the preparation of the MWLP review ... informing in a comprehensive way of the likely impacts of proposed planning policies and specific sites / preferred areas and areas of search.
What is not clear from the methodology is the balance applied to the impacts alongside the economic and social benefits. The revised NPPF (2018) is clear at Chapter 2 that achieving sustainable development means that the planning system has three overarching objectives, economic, social and environmental, which are interdependent and need to be pursued in mutually supportive ways (so that opportunities can be taken to secure net gains across each of the different objectives). Para 32 of NPPF (2018) states:
Local plans and spatial development strategies should be informed throughout their preparation by a sustainability appraisal that meets the relevant legal requirements. This should demonstrate how the plan has addressed the relevant economic, social and environmental objectives (including opportunities for net gains). Significant adverse impacts on these objectives should be avoided and, where possible, alternative options which reduce or eliminate such impacts should be pursued. Where significant adverse impacts are unavoidable, suitable mitigation measures should be proposed (or, where this is not possible, compensatory measures should be considered).
The methodology does not clearly provide a balance of the impacts - a number of sites clearly have numerous environmental sensitivities but do not constitute an objection on their own right. There should be some consideration of the cumulative impact of such effects.

Section 6 - The Strategy - Vision and Objectives
Question 1: 'Minerals and Waste Local Plan Vision'
We have the following comments and suggestions to make:
Minerals and Waste Local Plan Vision to 2036:
3rd para - All mineral workings will be covered by progressive restoration schemes
This is not in accordance with para 205 of the NPPF (2018) which recommends restoration should be at the earliest opportunity. It is not always possible to put in place a progressive restoration scheme, we recommend the wording is amended to be in accordance with NPPF.
7th para - Minerals development and waste management facilities will be located, designed and operated without adverse impacts on the amenity of local communities, the natural, built and historic environment, the landscape and townscape of Norfolk.
This is unreasonable, it would be very difficult for a mineral operation not to have some form of adverse impact, it is the degree of impact which is important. Para 204(f) of the NPPF (2018) seeks to ensure that permitted operations do not have an unacceptable adverse impact. This is reiterated within para 205 (c) of the NPPF (2018). We recommend the wording is amended to be in accordance with NPPF.

Draft Minerals Strategic Objectives
Question 3: 'Minerals Strategic Objectives'
We have the following comments to make:
MSO4 - requiring the justification for the potential sterilisation of minerals from competing development interests is supported.
MSO6 - the adverse impacts should be amended to unacceptable adverse impacts to conform with NPPF.
MSO7 - para 204(g) of the NPPF (2018) recognises that some noisy short term activities, which may otherwise be regarded as unacceptable, are unavoidable to facilitate minerals extraction. MSO7 should be reworded to conform with NPPF.
MSO8 - could you provide some clarification on 'providing for sustainable patterns of minerals transportation'. As is stated on page 29 of the consultation document the majority of minerals and waste sites in Norfolk are served by Heavy Goods Vehicles, with the majority of bulk materials likely to continue being transported by road as this is currently the most feasible mode of transport. We do not believe Objective MS08 is deliverable.
MSO9 - a mineral operator cannot always guarantee a positive contribution to natural, built and historic environment, particularly when the operator does not own the land with the landowner seeking different aspirations. The objective should be to seek to positively contribute.
MSO10 - we do not consider this objective to be deliverable as an operator cannot be in a position to increase public access for every restoration scheme. The objective should be to seek to increase public access.

Section 7 - Presumption in favour of sustainable development
Question 4: Policy MW1
Policy MW1 - 1st bullet should be unacceptably adverse, to conform with NPPF and reflect the advice within Section 8 of the Consultation Document, page 25, 4th paragraph.

Section 8 - Development management criteria
Question 5: Policy MW2
Policy MW2 is supported - the policy is in line with NPPF, in particular the final requirement on restoration recognising that environmental enhancements sought where appropriate. However, this is contrary to the earlier Vision and Objectives. The Vision and Objectives should be amended to seek conformity throughout the plan and with NPPF.

Section 12 - Agricultural soils
Question 9: Policy MW6
Policy MW6 is supported. The final bullet point of Policy MW6 state, 'the benefit of restoring the land to another after-use can be shown to outweigh the loss of the agricultural use of the land.' This is supported and in accordance with NPPF. However, this approach needs to be reflected in strategic objective MSO9 which requires landscape and biodiversity improvements, this cannot always be the case, MSO9 should be amended to reflect Policy MW6.

Section 15 - Land uses potentially suitable for waste management facilities
Question 12: Policy WP3
Policy WP3 identifies that waste management facilities at exiting mineral workings and landfill sites may be considered acceptable on a temporary basis with planning permission restricted to a cessation date for the mineral operation or landfill activities. We consider that greater flexibility should be provided within the Policy - there can be occasions when it is appropriate to retain a facility, for example recycling, that can benefit from the retention of infrastructure and continue to serve the markets established. We recommend Policy WP3 should provide greater flexibility and be amended accordingly.

Section 16 - Recycling or transfer of inert and construction, demolition and excavation waste.
Question 13: Policy WP4
As with Policy WP3, Policy WP 4 seeks to restrict waste management operations to the life of the mineral operation. We do not consider that this is always necessary or appropriate and recommend that Policy WP4 is less restrictive.

Section 23 - Disposal of inert waste by landfill
Question 20: Policy WP11
Policy WP11 is supported and could be extended by including the importation of inert waste where it is necessary for agricultural improvement.

Section 30 - Provision for minerals extraction
Question 27: Policy MP1
NCC propose to use the last 20 years average of 1.98mtpa rather than the 10 year average of 1.41mtpa. The justification for this is to enable a sufficient quantity of sand and gravel resources to be available over the 20 year plan period and would take into account potential fluctuations in the economy. This positive approach to securing a steady and adequate supply of aggregates is supported.
Policy MP1 - provision for minerals extraction including the need to allocate 23,063,560 tonnes of sand and gravel is supported. However, to be in accordance with NPPF, the policy should be amended so that it provides a sand and gravel landbank of at least 7 years.

Section 31 - Spatial strategy from minerals extraction
Final para of page 66 states:
... Norfolk's urban areas and main towns are the locations where there will be the greatest need for a supply of aggregate for new housing development and associated infrastructure.
Policy MP2: Spatial Strategy for mineral extraction
Within the resource areas identified on the key diagram, specific sites for sand and gravel ... should be located within 10 miles of one of Norfolk's urban areas or main towns and/or be well related to one of Norfolk's urban areas or main towns via appropriate transport infrastructure.
Within the listed settlement hierarchy Great Yarmouth is in the highest tier as an urban area. This being the case we question the Council's approach to allocate one site within 10 miles of the Great Yarmouth urban area. We do not believe this secures a steady and adequate supply of sand and gravel to the Great Yarmouth area and the Council should be allocating additional reserves. These additional reserves should be secured through the allocation of land at MIN38 - Waveney Forest, Fritton.

Section 33 - Agricultural or potable water reservoirs
Question 30: Policy MP4
Policy MP4: Agricultural or potable water reservoirs is supported.

Section 34 - Core River Valleys
Question 31: Policy MP5
Policy MP5 seeks protection to the Core River Valleys that is over and above the protection offered in the NPPF to sites of national landscape and biodiversity importance. The policy should be caveated with 'So far as is practicable minerals development will be permitted ...' removing the word 'only'.

Section 36 - Progressive working, restoration and aftercare
Question 33: Policy MP7
Policy MP7 is supported - it provides a balance in seeking progressive working, enhancements to landscape / biodiversity but is not mandatory. This is in contrast to some of the earlier policies and strategic objectives, such as MSO10.

Section 38 - Concrete batching and asphalt plants
Question 35: Policy MP9
Policy MP9 limits the use to the life of the quarry, it is sometimes beneficial to retain the use of ancillary facilities after the mineral operation has been completed making full use of a developed access and transport links, and facilitating an existing market.

PROMOTION OF MIN 38 - WAVENEY FOREST, FRITTON
In a response to Norfolk County Council's 'Call for Sites' a comprehensive submission was made on behalf of the Brett Group promoting land at Waveney Forest, Witton. The submission included a detailed assessment of the potential environmental and amenity impacts that may arise from the development of a new sand and gravel quarry at Fritton.
Part 2 of the Consultation Document undertaken by the County Council concurs with the findings of the Call for Sites report submitted by Brett in August 2017, with exception of Heritage interests. Part 2 of the Consultation Document states:
Historic environment: The historic landscape character of the site is 18th to 20th Century plantation woodland. The site is within a wider historic landscape character of 20th century agriculture with enclosure, boundary loss and boundary loss with a relict element; pastoral farming, and agriculture with 18th to 19th century piecemeal enclosure. The wider historic landscape character also includes modern built up areas of linear settlements, small farm clusters, nucleated clusters and urban development; and drained reclaimed enclosed land (rectilinear enclosure from 19th to 20th century). The wider historic landscape character also includes drained enclosed rectilinear grazing marsh (17th to 20th century enclosure), a historic earthwork, leisure/recreation, informal parkland, sea defences, saltings, a reservoir and woodland (18th to 19th century plantation woodland, carr woodland and regenerated alder carr woodland).
The nearest Listed Building is the Grade II* Drainage Pump which is 260m away. There are 20 Listed Buildings within 2km of the site. There are two locally listed heritage assets within the site, the remains of a WW2 firing range and a concrete railway bridge, although these are not within the proposed extraction areas. The nearest Scheduled Monument is St Olave's Priory, which is 390m away. There are 2 Scheduled Monuments within 2km of the site. Halvergate Marshes Conservation Area is adjacent to the site boundary and Haddiscoe Conservation Area is 330m from the site. There are no Registered Historic Parks and Gardens within 2km of the site. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include a Heritage Statement to identify heritage assets and their settings, assess the potential for impacts and identify appropriate mitigation measures if required.
Archaeology: This site could reveal nationally important remains for early and middle Pleistocene early human settlements in NW Europe, perhaps linking to finds at Norton Subcourse and Pakefield (in Suffolk). There are Historic Environment records of features in the site most of which are linked to a WW2 military site possibly a training site, within the site boundary. The proposer of the site has indicated two extraction areas within the wider site area; neither the local listed features (remains of a WW2 firing range, and a former railway bridge) are within these extraction areas. A number of undesignated heritage assets have been provisionally identified which may be linked to the WW2 training area. The site is currently a commercial forestry plantation within which felling operations take place, which involve the use of heavy vehicles and earth moving operations. These operations may have degraded the undesignated heritage assets, although good practice for tree felling operations states that archaeological features should be protected. Therefore, an assessment of the significance of archaeological deposits will be required at the planning application stage, in order to protect and mitigate the impact of mineral extraction in this site. However, the Norfolk Historic Environment Service have stated that they consider that no appropriate mitigation or modification of the site would be able to prevent harm to the
undesignated heritage assets which as a whole make up the significance of the WW2 training area, of which few examples remain.
The final few sentences of the extract have been underlined because they clearly contradict one another. We believe that the site is able to be developed for quarrying purposes. Within the submission by Brett for the Call for Sites a detailed heritage appraisal was undertaken - a summary of the report is provided below:
Direct Impacts on Heritage Assets - The site is known to contain military structures dating from WWI and predominantly WWII. Some of these are solidly engineered in concrete, whilst the majority are understood to be of more flimsy construction making use of wood, chicken wire and corrugated iron.
The PAA may also retain earlier archaeology, in particular from the later prehistoric period.
In the past 5 years tree felling has occurred across approximately 60% of the proposed extraction areas. This has involved heavy machinery, including evidence of some ground reduction caused by the windrowing of the wastage. The damage caused to archaeology, both military and earlier, could not be quantified on the site visit, but it is considered that it could be significant.
Should this site be allocated, a thorough survey should be carried out using GPS and photography to create a catalogue of archaeology. Some archaeological evaluation may be required. This would allow an assessment of the distribution, form, condition and significance of all archaeology within the PAA.
Opportunities - Any future planning application would require a mitigation strategy to manage the archaeological resource. This would involve a combination of preservation in situ, excavation and recording.
The majority of the military structures identified in the 2009 survey by Warner and Wilby lie outside or on the periphery of the proposed extraction areas and preservation in situ of these outliers should be the objective.
These were only temporary structures and in time they will inevitably decay and collapse through natural processes. Excavation and recording of a selection of structure types within the extraction areas would be an important contribution to our understanding of how they were constructed and operated.
Consideration should be given to the consolidation of some of the military remains to ensure their preservation for the future. There is also potential to create an educational resource, based around any consolidated structures should the restoration concept permit, that would be an important public benefit.
This approach has been adopted elsewhere, for example at Binnegar Quarry, Dorset where an auxiliary bunker has been archaeologically excavated and the results will form the focus of a display in an on-site education centre recounting the history of the Auxiliary Units in Dorset
The Heritage Appraisal reaches the following conclusion:
"On current evidence, there are no overriding constraints to the allocation of this site and, from an archaeological and heritage perspective and subject to appropriate mitigation, the proposals provide opportunities for educational benefit and conform to national planning policy and guidance."
The current Consultation Documents produced by the County Council acknowledge that:
* no local listed feature falls within the proposed extraction area;
* the site is commercial forestry plantation within which felling operations take place, which involve the use of heavy vehicles and earth moving operations;
* commercial forestry operation may have degraded the undesignated heritage assets;
* further archaeological assessment work will be required.
No recognition has been given, by the County Council, to the potential opportunity that could arise from a quarry development to allow for proper archaeological assessment whilst providing opportunities through a considered restoration.
We have some concerns with the Sustainability Appraisal scoring for land at Waveney Forest, Fritton:
SA1 - It is unclear why some sites score more positively than others when they are similar distances to main towns. Why has a score of '+' rather than '++' been given? The site is in close proximity to two urban areas / main towns, Great Yarmouth and Gorelston on Sea.
SA5 - We have concerns that the evaluation within the SA is not taken forward to the assessment within Part 2 of the Consultation Document. Sites with known heritage interests in close proximity are proposed for allocation with no clear indication on mitigation. Further to our comments above, the proposals for Waveney Forest do not have any impact on any designated asset. There is no justification for a score of '- -' post extraction on the site. Brett have offered a restoration scheme that would build on the heritage interest in the area and provide beneficial opportunities. This has not been recognised in any of the assessment documents produced by the County Council to date.
SA8 - why has a '-' score been applied when it is acknowledged that there will be no impact upon any designated landscape and the existing woodland will screen the proposed development.
SA11 - a score of '++' should be applied due to the proximity of Great Yarmouth and Gorleston on Sea and the lack of other allocated sites in closer proximity.
The site is located approximately 9km from Great Yarmouth, the adopted Core Strategy1 identifies that this is one of three 'major built up areas'2 in Norfolk. The Core Strategy sets out a 'locational preference' to potential site allocations which are 'close and/ or well related' to the Great Yarmouth Urban Area. This is such a site and it is understood by the promoter to be the closest land-won aggregate site to Great Yarmouth with reserves throughout the Plan period. Furthermore, there are no other extraction operations within the immediate vicinity which would lead to consideration of cumulative effects.
1 The Core Strategy and Minerals and Waste Development Management Policies Development Plan Document 2010-2026
2 Paragraph 2.3 adopted Core Strategy
The main impact of the proposals relates to heritage interest and potential for structures from WW1 and WW2. These were predominantly temporary structures (for example constructed of timber, chicken wire, corrugated iron and sandbags) and that the cycle of forestry planting and felling will likely destroy or significantly affect these remains. Mineral extraction offers an opportunity to survey, excavate archaeologically and record, as well as consolidating and preserving some in situ for future generations.
By adopting the approach preferred by Brett and the landowner, the site will be able to offer opportunities for creating ecological habitats that are more in keeping with the local environment including woodland, wetland / wet woodland on restoration. In addition to long term habitat creation and protection, the wider benefits will be derived from the development through comprehensive restoration includes opportunities for public access and interpretation of heritage assets.
The public benefit derived from these proposals outweigh the potential damage, se set out in NPPF.
It is therefore submitted that the site represents an ideal opportunity for allocation for sand and gravel extraction as part of the Norfolk Minerals and Waste Local Plan Review.
I trust that the above comments are helpful. Should you have any queries or wish to discuss any of the points raised in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact us.