Appendix 2 - Existing Minerals Site Specific Allocations and Areas of Search Policies
Initial Consultation document
Representation ID: 92952
Respondent: Historic England
We note the typographical error regarding the Areas of Search policy will be replaced by Policy MP13 not MP14.
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.
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.
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.