MP7. Progressive working, restoration and after-use
Preferred Options consultation document
Representation ID: 98791
Respondent: Historic England
Paragraphs MP7.1 - 8
Reference should be made in the text and policy to the opportunities for the historic environment and landscape character assessment to inform future restoration of sites. Much of the text currently relates to ecology.
The extraction programme can have a major impact on the historic environment. Inappropriate restoration, aftercare and after-use also have the potential to have major adverse impacts on the setting of heritage assets and may significantly reduce the 'legibility' of the landscape and its historic character.
When planning ahead for restoration, it is important that the setting of heritage assets, the historic character of landscape and the archaeology of the former extraction site itself are given due consideration and we would expect to see more explicit reference to the historic environment in the policy.
Landscape characterisation techniques can inform decision-making, enabling restoration to reflect or harmonise with the character of the surrounding landscape. The results of archaeological investigation, in advance of and during extraction programmes, can provide evidence of past land use that can help to inform decisions on appropriate future land use. The supporting text for the policy would be strengthened by making an expanded reference to the historic environment and the role that it can play in shaping restoration plans.
Suggested change: Include reference to the historic environment and landscape character assessment in the restoration and after use of sites.
Policy MP7 - We welcome the reference to the historic environment here. But it is about more than just reducing impacts on the historic environment. It is about using the historic environment and historic landscape characterisation and landscape character assessments to inform restoration and to enhance and plan positively for the historic environment.
Suggested change to Policy MP7: Include greater reference to historic environment and using the historic environment and historic landscape characterisation and landscape character assessments to inform restoration and to enhance and plan positively for the historic environment.
Norfolk Minerals and Waste Local Plan - Preferred Options Draft 2019
Thank you for consulting Historic England on the Norfolk Minerals and Waste Local Plan - Further Consultation Draft. As a statutory consultee, our role is to ensure that the conservation of the historic environment is fully integrated into planning policy and that any policy documents make provision for a positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment.
Our comments below should be read with reference to our previous comments dated 31st August 2018. Please also see our detailed comments in the attached table, Appendix 1. [ATTACHED]
Whilst we consider many aspects of the plan to be sound we have identified issues with some of the policies and site allocations which do compromise the overall soundness of the plan.
Under paragraph 35 of the NPPF some aspects of this Plan are unsound as they have not been positively prepared, are not justified, effective, or consistent with national policy. We have identified below some of the key areas where we find the Plan unsound and what measures are needed to make the Plan sound. In summary we highlight the following issues:
a) Insufficient Historic Environment Policy
It is our view that there is currently insufficient policy provision for the historic environment in the Plan. We note that the historic environment is addressed in bullet point l of policy MW2. We remain very concerned that criterion l does not provide sufficient protection for the historic environment. Normally we would expect to see a specific separate policy for the historic environment in a Minerals and Waste Local Plan. This policy is insufficient as it stands. Further detail is set out in the attached table.
b) AOS E and SIL2 - HIA
Whilst we welcome the completion of an HIA for AOSE and site SIL2, we have identified a number of shortcomings in the assessment, particularly the need to address non-designated heritage assets and the wider historic environment and inter-relationship between the various assets in this complex medieval landscape. Our concerns are set out in more detail in the attached table. We suggest that the HIA is revised accordingly to provide a robust evidence base for the Plan. We also suggest that the Plan should not simply mark areas with purple hatching that have been identified by the HIA as unsuitable for extraction, but actually delete those areas from the areas of search and site allocation in the Plan altogether.
c) Other allocations requiring further assessment/proportionate evidence
We have identified a number of site allocations where we continue to have concerns regarding the potential impact on the historic environment, perhaps due to proximity of heritage assets or the highly graded nature of some of these assets. These sites are set out in the attached table and include MIN65, MIN96, MIN213, MIN 209/10/11, MIN25 AND MIN40. For these sites we recommend an HIA is prepared now in advance of the next draft of the Plan. This should provide a robust evidence base for the plan. Any evidence needs to be proportionate, and need not necessarily be particularly onerous. .For most of these sites a fairly brief HIA will suffice. Our site allocations advice note <https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/historic-environment-and-site-allocations-in-local-plans/> provides further advice in this respect and we would be happy to discuss the matter further and advise on a suitable way forward.
d) MIN 207 Land at Pinkney Field, Briston
We recommend that site is deleted from the Plan due to the impact on the historic environment.
Further details of each of these main areas are set out in the attached table.
We have suggested a series of other changes to the Plan. Many of these changes do not go to the heart of the Plan's soundness, but instead are intended to improve upon it. We believe that these comments can be addressed by changes to wording in the plan.
We do not have the capacity to review the Sustainability Appraisal report in any detail but did note on quickly skimming the report some surprising conclusions in the report. For example in relation to site MIN 40 - land east of Grandcourt Farm, East Winch where it was concluded that there would be 'No effects expected during the extraction phase' despite a grade II* listed church being located just 50m from the site boundary.
We consider that with such proximity there is likely to be some effects on the setting of this asset. On this brief observation we must question the some of the assessment in the SA.
In preparation of the forthcoming 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 a policy, allocation or document in this letter does not mean that Historic England is content that the policy, allocation or document is devoid of historic environment issues. We should like to stress that this response 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 as a result of this plan, where we consider that these would have an adverse effect upon the historic environment.
If you have any questions with regards to the comments made then please do get back to me. In the meantime we look forward to continuing to work with you and your colleagues.