Question 70: Area of Search AOS F

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Comment

Initial Consultation document

Representation ID: 92405

Received: 29/08/2018

Respondent: Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Representation:

Areas of Search E, F, I, J
We note that in previous iterations of the Minerals plan, it has been considered acceptable to modify Areas of Search to exclude CWS and their immediate surroundings. In order to safeguard multiple CWS from both direct and indirect impacts of minerals extraction, we recommend that similar provisions are made and the Areas of Search are modified to provide sufficient stand off from these CWS to safeguard them from adverse impacts. In particular we note CWS 425 'Mow Fen' which is within AoS E, CWS 424 'Westbrigg's Wood' and CWS 373 'Adj. Adams Plantation' which are both adjacent to AoS E and CWS 365 'Broad Meadow Plantation' which is adjacent to AoS F.

Full text:

Thank you for consulting Norfolk Wildlife Trust on the Minerals and Waste Local Plan Review, and for granting us an extension to the consultation period.
Owing to the lack of information that we hold on the ecological value of the wider countryside we have largely restricted our comments to impacts from proposed allocations on County Wildlife Sites and our reserves. In the wider countryside where possible we have made suggestions on restoration proposals based on sites' locations within our Living Landscapes .
Policies
Vision and Objectives
We strongly support the requirement in the Vision for progressive restoration schemes that enhance biodiversity. Equally, we support the positive contribution minerals planning makes to biodiversity improvements in the county promoted in MSO9 and the creation of opportunities for wider public engagement with nature in MSO10.
MW2: We strongly support this policy, which provides important protection for locally designated sites, as well as supporting net gains for biodiversity through planning in section k, which encourages wherever possible that enhancement of the environment will be sought, as per paragraph 170 of the NPPF.
MP 7: We support the restoration requirements included in this policy, in particular the recommendation that sites that are to be restored to agriculture can still include biodiversity enhancements alongside their primary use. We also support the reference to the county's priority habitats and species and recommend that the policy makes further reference in the supporting text to the specific habitats and species that are present in the county for the benefit of plan users.
MP 8: We support the inclusion of an aftercare policy to ensure that restoration habitats are established to a sufficient standard post-extraction.

Sites
Our comments below relate specifically to sites in proximity to our reserves, SSSIs, CWSs and ancient woodland sites.
Where sites are proposed adjacent to or in close proximity to County Wildlife Sites, we strongly recommend that these are only chosen sequentially after other sites have been selected, that they are only taken forward if it can be demonstrated that they are deliverable whilst providing sufficient stand off from the allocation boundary to account for hydrological and dust impacts, that any planning application will be accompanied by an ecological impact assessment and that restoration will be to habitats in support to those existing nearby, for example expanding existing habitats where adjacent and providing greater connectivity in the wider countryside between existing sites. We note that several proposed allocations are situated close to multiple CWS, and in these locations it would be very beneficial to co-ordinate restoration proposals in order to maximise the gains for wildlife through improving landscape scale connectivity. We would be happy to offer further advice on this in later plan consultations, if that would be helpful.

MIN 35: We support the inclusion of nature conservation in the restoration proposals for this site.

MIN 202: We are concerned that this proposed site partially overlaps with CWS 1344, 'Triumph and Foxburrow Plantations'. We recommend that either the allocation boundary is redrawn to avoid the CWS, or that the site policy includes a requirement for a stand-off area around the edge that includes that part that overlaps the CWS. In addition, given the proximity to the CWS, we would expect the site to be worked dry to avoid any impacts on hydrogeology and a stand-off area sufficient to avoid any impacts on the CWS from dust. We support the proposed restoration to a mosaic of acid grassland, woodland and wetland, and also support the Council's recommendation that the site could support new heathland when restored.

MIN 37: We support the Council's restoration recommendations for the inclusion of acid grassland/ heathland on this site, which would complement the nearby CWS 1411 'Disused Gravel Pit', which supports similar habitats.

MIN 76, MIN 206
We support the Council's proposals for conservation led restoration at MIN 76 and the inclusion of wide field margins and hedgerow planting at MIN 206. Given the proximity of these proposals to several CWS, we recommend that co-ordinated restoration to enhance landscape connectivity between all the nearby CWS should be supported in the site policy.

MIN 40: Given the location within a kilometre of East Winch Common SSSI, restoration of this site to heathland has the potential to enhance the connections of the SSSI with the wider landscape. Therefore we support the Council's recommendation that the restoration proposals for this site should include heathland. Additionally, given the proximity to King's Lynn, the site has the potential to support the provision of new green infrastructure.

SIL 01: We are concerned at the proposal to include part of CWS 416 '70 & 100 Plantations' in this allocation and recommend that as part of any mitigation that these areas are not excavated and are safeguarded as part of any restoration proposals. Provided that suitable mitigation can be provided to ensure the CWS are safeguarded, we support the restoration of the site to habitat types similar to the surroundings to provide connectivity and note the potential for the site to provide green infrastructure with links to the nearby country park.

SIL 02: We note the Council identifies SIL 02 as a Preferred Area, within which a smaller area could be subject to an application at a later date. We note the proximity of several CWS to the boundary of SIL 02 and recommend as with all other proposals near CWS that any application would need to demonstrate it could avoid adverse impacts on these sites. We would support any restoration proposals that enhance the landscape connectivity of the CWS network locally.

MIN 69: Whilst we are unable to comment on the wider impacts of this proposal as they are outside of our remit, should this site be progressed, then we strongly support the Council's recommendations that this site should be subject to high quality restoration creating a large new area of heathland with benefits both for wildlife and for green infrastructure provision.

MIN 71: We are concerned about this proposal due to its close proximity to the Norfolk Valley Fens SAC and Holt Lowes SSSI. The plan will need to demonstrate that it would not result in an adverse effect on the SAC in order to demonstrate that it is deliverable, and in addition to any project level HRA that would be required to accompany any planning application. Should the site be considered deliverable in the local plan HRA, then we strongly recommend that the site is restored to nature conservation with public access, given the significant potential the site has to make landscape scale connections with the multiple designated and county wildlife sites in the area, as well as provide valuable new green infrastructure on the edge of Holt.

MIN 115: We note the proximity of this proposal to several CWS, including CWS 1170 'Lord Anson's Wood'. We support the Council's recommendations for ecological assessment to accompany any application, due to the proximity to the CWS as well as for protected species, and also support the restoration recommendations for a mix of deciduous woodland and heathland, to complement the habitats in nearby CWS.

MIN 207, MIN 208, MIN 209, MIN 210, MIN 211, MIN 212, MIN 79, MIN 80
We support the Council's recommendations for restoration to nature conservation after use on these sites.

MIN 25
Provided potential ecological impacts on the nearby CWS 2221, 'Devil's End Meadow' can be avoided, we support the restoration proposals to acid grassland, woodland and wetland.

Other sites
Whilst we hold no specific knowledge on the following sites, we broadly support the restoration proposals proposed for MIN 12, 13, 51, 200 and 65. Additionally, sites 79 and 80 being close to the Norwich growth area may support restoration that includes specifically includes green infrastructure provision.

Proposed sites for removal
We support the Council's proposed to remove the following sites from further consideration in the plan on the grounds of adverse impacts on wildlife sites, namely MIN 102, 201, 48, 45, 19, 205, 74 and 77.
Areas of Search E, F, I, J
We note that in previous iterations of the Minerals plan, it has been considered acceptable to modify Areas of Search to exclude CWS and their immediate surroundings. In order to safeguard multiple CWS from both direct and indirect impacts of minerals extraction, we recommend that similar provisions are made and the Areas of Search are modified to provide sufficient stand off from these CWS to safeguard them from adverse impacts. In particular we note CWS 425 'Mow Fen' which is within AoS E, CWS 424 'Westbrigg's Wood' and CWS 373 'Adj. Adams Plantation' which are both adjacent to AoS E and CWS 365 'Broad Meadow Plantation' which is adjacent to AoS F.

We trust that these comments are helpful. Should you wish to discuss them in any more detail whilst preparing the next iteration of the plan, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Comment

Initial Consultation document

Representation ID: 93005

Received: 31/08/2018

Respondent: Historic England

Representation:

We note that this area of search forms part of the recently adopted Silica Sand Review. This landscape includes the setting of Wallington Hall (grade I) and its collection of grade II buildings, four listed buildings within Stow Bardolph including its grade I Church of Holy Trinty, and the grade II North Lodge Stow Hall. The two sites combined have a potential cumulative impact on the wider landscape.

This landscape has been shaped by parklands and farmed estates, themselves dating to the 16th Century. There is a need for further field evaluation to understand the significance of archaeological deposits. The proposed Areas of Search also sit in a transitional landscape between the Fens and the Brecks and we would expect to see the use of landscape and visual impact assessments.

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: 93209

Received: 16/08/2018

Respondent: Norfolk County Council Historic Environment Service

Representation:

We agree with the conclusion to allocate the area of search, but with the following comments:
F.3 should state that the archaeological assessment should include a desk-based assessment and field evaluation. It should also refer to archaeological remains rather than 'deposits'