North East Derbyshire Publication Draft Local Plan (Reg 19)

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4 SPATIAL STRATEGY

(4) Introduction

4.1 The purpose of this chapter is to set out the Spatial Strategy that the Council will follow to achieve its Vision and Objectives. The achievement of sustainable development forms the basis of the strategy approach which seeks to deliver new development and associated supporting infrastructure to meet future needs of the District in the locations where it is most needed whilst at the same time protecting valued assets and resources.

(5) Sustainable Development

4.2 The purpose of the planning system is to contribute to sustainable development[5]. The goal of sustainable development is to enable all people to satisfy their basic needs and to enjoy a better quality of life, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own social, economic and environmental needs.

4.3 The Local Plan's vision and objectives are centred on sustainable growth, which means encouraging sustainable development as a means of protecting and enhancing the environment, growing the District's economy, and supporting the health and wellbeing of the District's communities.

4.4 Achieving sustainable development to create more sustainable patterns and forms of development in the district is the fundamental principle underpinning each policy in the Local Plan. Policy SS1 sets out the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development and what this means in North East Derbyshire. In light of the rural nature of North East Derbyshire this means focusing the majority of development in and around the most sustainable locations, where the best use can be made of existing infrastructure, services and facilities; whilst at the same time meeting the essential needs of smaller rural communities in an appropriate way. A hierarchy of settlements has been established to identify the relative sustainability of places and to focus development in the right places. Other policies in the plan clearly set out the scale and nature of development that is appropriate within the different settlement categories to ensure that development enhances the place it becomes part of.

4.5 The identification of settlement boundaries creates a clear distinction between areas that are considered to form part of the built form or wider environs of a settlement and are therefore considered suitable for planned or windfall development. Countryside policies apply to land outside of these settlement boundaries (unless allocated for other uses).

(11) Policy SS1: Sustainable Development

  1. In order to contribute to sustainable development in North East Derbyshire, development proposals will:
    1. Meet development needs within defined settlements or other allocated areas having regard to the defined settlement hierarchy and the need to enhance their role as a focus for new services and facilities (Policy SS2 & Table 4.2);
    2. Promote the efficient use of land and the re-use of previously developed land (including the remediation of contaminated land) buildings and existing infrastructure in sustainable locations (Policy SS2, SS3, SS4 & SS6);
    3. Locate development where there is access to a broad range of jobs, services and facilities which are accessible by foot, cycle or public transport with reduced reliance on the private car (Policy SS2);
    4. Support the local economy by contributing towards business expansion and growth, attracting and supporting a skilled labour force, and improving skills and access for local people to job opportunities including targeted recruitment and training, and the use of Local Labour Agreements (Policies WC1-4);
    5. Reduce the need for energy in new development and ensure that it can use energy efficiently through the life time of the development (Policy SDC10);
    6. Promote the social and economic wellbeing of North East Derbyshire's communities and contribute to reducing social disadvantages and inequalities (Policies LC2, LC4, LC8, WC1, WC4, WC7 and ID9);
    7. Create well designed places that are accessible, durable, adaptable and enhance local distinctiveness (Policy SDC12);
    8. Protect and enhance the character, quality and settings of towns and villages and heritage assets (Policies SS8, SDC1 & SDC5–9); ,
    9. Protect and/or enhance the character, quality and diversity of the District's green infrastructure and local landscapes, the wider countryside and ecological and biodiversity assets (Policies SS2, SS11,SDC3–4, ID1 and IDC6-8 );
    10. Protect the productive potential of the District's best quality agricultural land, and avoid sterilisation of mineral resources;
    11. Support the provision of essential public services and infrastructure (Policies SS2,ID1-4 and ID9);
    12. Play a positive role in adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change, including through the use of sustainable drainage systems, to contribute to the health and wellbeing of communities and the environment through the location, design and operation of development (Policies SDC10-11);
    13. Take account of any coal-mining related land stability and / or other public safety risks, and where necessary, incorporate suitable mitigation measures to address the risk (Policies SDC14-15).

Housing, Employment and Retail Targets and Provision

(51) Housing Target

4.6 The proposed housing target forms a central building block of the Council's Spatial Strategy in that it contributes to explaining how much residential development is planned during the plan period. A key starting point for the Local Plan is to establish the Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) for market and affordable housing over the plan period. The NPPF indicates that this should relate to the Housing Market Area (HMA). The North Derbyshire and Bassetlaw Strategic Housing Market Area makes up the appropriate HMA and comprises Bassetlaw District, Bolsover District, Chesterfield Borough and North East Derbyshire District Councils. This area was reviewed and confirmed as an appropriate HMA in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) in 2013. The 2013 SHMA was updated in 2017 to take account of the Government's 2014-based population figures and household projections (SHMAA Update, October 2017). As advised by the NPPF the SHMA identifies the full, objectively assessed need for housing, both across the Housing Market Area and for each of the component authority areas.

4.7 The SHMA Update 2017 indicates a need for 1,184 homes per year across the HMA covering the period 2014-2034. It identifies North East Derbyshire's Objectively Assessed Housing Need at 283 homes per year. These figures use a methodology similar to the Government's proposed standard methodology. They take as a starting point the Government's 2014-based population figures and household projections i.e. the demographic need for homes and include an upward adjustment of 10%, for enhanced affordable housing delivery, along with an uplift to account for baseline employment growth.

4.8 In developing a realistic housing target (as opposed to baseline OAN), the Council must also have regard to the NPPF's need for positive planning, and to the Vision and Objectives of the Plan. This requires consideration of the District's ambitions for growth and the wider City-region and HMA context including the activities of the Sheffield City Region and D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). Both of the LEP Growth Plans and Economic Strategies are in development in relation to the understanding of their impact upon population and housing. However, the combined effects of these Growth Plans upon authorities which fall within both LEPs have not been clarified and there is no sub-regional breakdown. Consequently, it is difficult to determine whether there are any direct impacts of the LEP strategies upon the scale of housing in the Local Plan, although both strategies intend to assist with housing delivery. As they stand, their background information indicates that the job growth they aspire to would be possible from population growth already projected across the LEP areas.

4.9 The SHMA Update, 2017 modelled a housing provision for North East Derbyshire in line with Council's Growth Strategy and the wider LEPs ambitions. This was based on a Scenario developed as part of the Council's Employment Land Review evidence. This 'Regeneration Scenario' takes into account the potential for higher growth in certain key sectors reflecting both the Council's and wider LEPs' Economic Development Strategies. The assumption used is somewhat conservative in that growth in these sectors could be anticipated at rates close to the baseline East Midlands' regional growth rate. This provides employment growth of 3,000 jobs, which is 1,000 higher than in the District's Baseline, with a growth rate of 0.4% pa. This is still lower than the historical growth rate of 0.6% (between 1993 and 2014). The Growth Scenario in the SHMA translates these 3,000 jobs into a housing requirement of 332 dwellings per annum; this has been rounded to the nearest 10 dwellings.

4.10 The reason for adopting this 'Regeneration Scenario' is threefold.

i) To reflect a realistic and reasonable future economic growth reflecting the context of the District and sub-region beyond it, including that of the LEPs.

ii) To provide support and not constraint for economic growth and delivering regeneration in the District to align with the Local Plan and Growth Strategy objectives.

iii) Delivery of more affordable housing. The District's OAN includes an upward adjustment to boost affordable housing delivery and a higher overall Plan figure than the OAN will deliver proportionately higher affordable housing to meet local needs.

4.11 As a result, when establishing a target for housing provision in line with the broader objectives, including a realistic level of economic growth, the Council has identified a minimum of 330 homes a year as the most appropriate target for the District, amounting to 6,600 dwellings over the plan period 2014 – 2034.

Baseline OAN – 283 per year

Housing Target – 330 per year

4.12 Table 4.1 sets out the components of the housing land supply that will meet the overall housing target. This comprises the 975 dwellings that have been built since 2014, and a further 3882 dwellings with planning permission that are considered to be deliverable and developable within the Plan period. These are also known as commitments, the majority of which are shown as allocations on the Policies Map. Only 614 are not shown as allocations and this is due either to their small size, or their location around settlements below level 2 in the settlement hierarchy. This leaves a balance of 1,764 dwellings remaining to be found for allocation in the Plan (Appendix A provides a breakdown per settlement). Additional flexibility will be provided by windfalls, which are expected to provide for approximately 75 dwellings per year based upon past trends. This will provide a 13% buffer in relation to the overall housing requirement of 6600 dwellings

Table 4.1: Components of Housing Supply

Housing Completions 2014-2017

975

Minor commitments at 31/03/2017 (minus 5% lapse rate)

420

Major commitments at 31/03/2017 (not allocated)

194

Allocations (with planning permission I.e commitments)

3268

Allocations (without planning permission)

1764

TOTAL

6621

(6) Employment Land Provision

4.13 The Local Plan aims to provide new jobs along with new housing, ensuring that a range of deliverable and marketable employment land is available both for indigenous firms and for inward investors, but at the same time recognising the relationship of the District with the Sheffield City Region, particularly with Sheffield and Chesterfield. In particular, it acknowledges the 61% of people who commute out of the District to work. About 19% commute to Sheffield, 18% to Chesterfield, and 3% each to Amber Valley, Bolsover, Derbyshire Dales and Rotherham (2011 Census)).

4.14 In addition to the relationship with the Sheffield City Region which has strong links with the north of the District, the south of the District has a close economic relationship with the D2N2 economic area covering Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. The Strategic Growth Plans of the LEPs (submitted to Government in 2014) provide the strategic context for the Council's own Growth Strategy, and for the Local Plan. The District's Growth Strategy & Action Plan seeks to unlock the capacity of major employment sites, maintaining an appropriate supply of suitably located employment land and premises and working with partners to develop, manage and enhance key strategic employment areas.

4.15 The District's economy is diverse and there is a need to plan for a range of different sizes and types of employment site. The Local Plan aims to provide employment land of various scales and types across the District along with new housing to provide opportunities for people to live close to their places of work. In particular, there is a need to unlock development and bring forward strategic and major sites for development to transform economic prospects, and to support regeneration of the district's towns.

4.16 The 2017 Employment Land Update (ELU) recommended that employment land provision for North East Derbyshire should be between 28ha & 41ha (2014-34). The bottom end of the range represents a level that links to 'baseline' employment forecasts. The upper end reflects forecasts related to a 'Regeneration' scenario. This is intended to represent the growth associated with the Local Plan's objectives and broad strategies in the District and beyond, including those of the LEPs; and is considered to be the most appropriate and realistic forecast. The recommended target of 41ha would allow for significant losses of existing employment land but provide for an overall employment land increase in line with economic forecasts.

4.17 The employment land provision also has regard to guidance in the NPPF to avoid the long term protection of employment allocations. The ELU also suggests that the Council should consider whether existing employment sites in the District are no longer productive for employment use and "could be better placed to support non B class employment uses in the future." Consequently land allocations have been reviewed and certain sites, considered to fulfil the NPPF and ELU descriptions, have been reconsidered for how they may contribute value to the land portfolio for future employment.

4.18 The Local Plan aims to safeguard and improve existing successful and attractive employment sites, and to allocate new sites to improve the portfolio of available employment land within the District. New employment development for manufacturing and distribution will take place on already committed sites to regenerate previously developed land and, where necessary and sustainable, on Greenfield land in accessible locations. It is recognised also that employment growth is increasingly provided by other, non-B use commercial and public sectors such as leisure and the health service. A wider definition of economic development has been reflected in National Planning Policy Guidance since 2012[6]. The Plan adopts a positive approach to sui generis and other non B class job-creating uses on certain employment sites, within prescribed criteria to ensure the use proposed is compatible and appropriate.

4.19 Opportunities have been explored to capitalise on development potential for new employment land in and adjoining employment areas with locational advantages of proximity to the M1 corridor and/or that create opportunities to regenerate previously developed land. The focus is on existing large sites, both within the public and private sectors including:

  • The Avenue, Wingerworth
  • Former Biwaters, Clay Cross
  • Markham Vale Enterprise Zone

4.20 The provision in policy SS2 resulting from the Plan's allocations therefore allows for the improvement of the employment portfolio through the loss of existing, less marketable employment land, more diverse uses on some employment sites, and new employment land and mixed-use strategic sites. A minimum employment land provision target for North East Derbyshire is therefore identified at 41 hectares (net) for the plan period.

4.21 New employment will also be encouraged in town and local centres, to support the objective of improving and enhancing their economic role.

Balancing Housing and Economic Growth

4.22 The Plan has an objective to support sustainable growth which brings about regeneration, recognising the housing and employment needs of a growing population. The North East Derbyshire Growth Strategy has been prepared in the light of the continued growth in population used in the Local Plan evidence base, including the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA). The results of the SHMA analysis of the housing provision and forecast growth in employment is that the level of housing planned for would be sufficient to accommodate the levels of economic growth anticipated.

4.23 The Council's Growth Strategy has the intention of raising job densities (jobs/worker) within the District, either through stronger improvements in economic participation (associated with greater access to local employment opportunities) or through lower levels of people commuting out of the area to work (or moving to the District to both live and work). Due also to the existing significantly low job densities, an increased growth in jobs would not directly lead to the need to increase planned housing provision.

4.24 The housing and economic evidence presented above indicates that the proposed employment land provision and housing provision are well balanced, the latter providing sufficient population to support growth in the economy.

Retail Provision

4.25 The Local Plan recognises the role of its town centres in forming the heart of their communities and includes policies for the management and growth of centres over the plan period to support their viability and vitality to ensure they remain competitive. The evidence underpinning these policies is derived from the Retail Study (January 2018) which provides evidence on the health of town centres, shopping patterns and future retail needs. The Study defines Town Centre boundaries for Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh as shown on the Policies Map, and confirms that these also represent the Primary Retail Area. A Local Centre is also defined in Dronfield. The Study also informs policy on the principles for retail development in and outside of the District's retail centre and the setting of local thresholds to trigger the need for retail impact assessments for any edge or out of centre retail proposals within the catchment of a designated centre, (further detail is in Chapter 6

4.26 In terms of future retail needs the retail Study provides forecasts for the likely future quantitative capacity for Convenience Shopping (Predominantly Food) and Comparison Shopping - (E.g. Clothes, toys, white goods) up to 2033. These forecasts are based upon baseline population forecasts and take account of committed sites up to August 2016 and indicate the following:

  • By 2033 the quantitative capacity for additional convenience goods floorspace is forecast to be between 2,000m² and 2,900m² (net). This is of a scale normally associated with discount foodstores, rather than large supermarkets.
  • By 2033 there is estimated to be a negative quantitative capacity for comparison goods floorspace of between -100m² and -200 m² (net).

(18) Distribution of Growth & the Settlement Hierarchy

4.27 In accordance with the fundamental principles of sustainable development and the criteria outlined in Policy SS1 the Local Plan aims to direct new growth to the district's most sustainable settlements based on the Settlement Hierarchy; and to Strategic Sites in suitable locations that promote the re-use of previously developed land. This will enable the integration of homes, jobs, services and facilities in the most accessible locations.

4.28 Table 4.2 below shows the Settlement Hierarchy, this is based on the findings of the Settlement Hierarchy Study (September 2017 update), which analyses the roles that different settlements perform for their communities. A settlement's position in the hierarchy reflects its relative sustainability derived from scores associated with population levels, facilities and services, employment opportunities and public transport provision.

4.29 Level 1 Settlements in the hierarchy comprise the four towns of Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh. These towns are considered to be the most sustainable locations for new development in terms of the range of services and facilities they provide and support and because they generate the greatest needs for new housing, jobs, services and facilities. In 2011, these four towns contained almost 50% of the district's housing and 48% of the population.

4.30 The towns also have important roles in providing the economic, commercial and social hearts of the District and growth will be targeted to support and where possible enhance these roles. It is logical and reasonable therefore that we should look to these towns to maintain their importance and prominence and to seek to provide for a significant proportion of the District's housing growth requirements, to accommodate any required retail growth within their town centres and provide a focus for new employment growth.

4.31 It is however recognised that there are specific issues affecting the location of employment growth and the district's towns and regeneration sites do not necessarily provide the optimum locations for all types of employment development, particularly that which is attractive to a wider than local market. Sites in particularly accessible locations are also required in order to attract investment and compete effectively with neighbouring areas.

4.32 Three Strategic Sites are identified at the Former Biwaters Site, Clay Cross, The Avenue, Wingerworth and Markham Vale, Duckmanton. Between them these sites have the potential to deliver approximately 2000 dwellings, of which three quarters are expected to come forward within the lifetime of this Plan, along with 17.7Ha of employment land and approximately 2000 m2 of retail floorspace.

4.33 It is envisaged that the 4 Towns and 3 Strategic Sites together will accommodate the majority (i.e. over 50%) of the District's housing growth requirements during the Plan period and all the new employment land provision.

4.34 Level 2 settlements will provide the locations for the remaining planned housing growth, and there will be no housing allocations in Level 3 settlements (over and above existing commitments), although windfall developments of appropriate scale may be acceptable in line with criteria based Policy SS7 or an adopted Neighbourhood Plan.

4.35 Level 4 Settlements are generally small in scale and lacking in services and facilities, there will be no allocations in these settlements. Development will be restricted to minor infill development to meet local needs, in line with criteria in Policy SS8 or an adopted Neighbourhood Plan.

Table 4.2: Settlement Hierarchy

Type of Settlement

Place

Level 1: Towns

Clay Cross

Dronfield

Eckington

Killamarsh

Level 2: Settlements with good level of sustainability

Calow

Grassmoor

Holmewood

Morton

North Wingfield

Pilsley

Renishaw

Shirland

Stonebroom

Tupton

Wingerworth

Level 3: Settlements with limited sustainability

Apperknowle

Arkwright Town

Ashover

Barlow Commonside

Barlow Village

Cutthorpe

Heath

Higham

Highmoor

Holmesfield

Holymoorside

Kelstedge

Long Duckmanton

Lower Pilsley

Marsh Lane

Mickley

Old Brampton

Ridgeway

Spinkhill

Stretton

Temple Normanton

Unstone Crow Lane

Unstone Green

Wadshelf

Walton

Wessington

Level 4: Very small villages and hamlets with very limited sustainability

Alton

Bolehill

Brackenfield

Cock Alley

Fallgate

Handley near Stretton

Littlemoor

Sutton Scarsdale

Woolley Moor

(47) Policy SS2 : Spatial Strategy and the Distribution of Development

  1. The Local Plan will promote prosperous and sustainable communities by delivering new development, whilst protecting the high quality environment that makes North East Derbyshire an attractive place to live and work.

Housing Provision

  1. The Local Plan will make provision for the delivery of a minimum of 6,600 dwellings over the period 2014 - 2034
  1. The majority (over 50%) of new housing development will be focused on the four towns of Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh and on the Avenue and former Biwaters Strategic Sites.
  1. The remaining housing development will be focussed on the district's other most sustainable settlements, defined as Level 2 settlements in the Settlement Hierarchy at Table 4.2

Employment Provision

  1. The Local Plan will make provision for 41ha of employment land for the period 2014-2034.
  1. New employment development will be focused on Principal Protected Employment Areas as identified in Policy WC2 and on Strategic Sites at: The Avenue, Former Biwaters and Markham Vale (Policies SS3-5).

Retail Provision

  1. New convenience floorspace will be focussed within town centre boundaries as identified in Policy WC5.

Settlements

  1. Policies for settlements will aim to:
    1. Support and enhance the role of the four Towns of Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington, and Killamarsh;
    2. Regenerate towns and level 2 settlements with identified needs; and
    3. Maintain the role of settlements by supporting their ability to sustain services and facilities through new development that is appropriate in scale and reflects their position in the Settlement Hierarchy.


(2) Housing Provision by Settlement

4.36 The Settlement Hierarchy is the basis for determining the appropriate level of new housing for each settlement, informed by the Sustainability Appraisal and the supply and availability of suitable sites in each area. The distribution of housing by settlement is also strongly influenced by the extent of commitments and Policies SS1 and SS2, in order to support regeneration and the creation of more sustainable communities.

(2) Level 1 & Level 2 Settlements

4.37 Table 4.3 shows the housing distribution by Level 1 and Level 2 settlement and Strategic Sites. This is based upon commitments and allocations, which together with dwellings built since 2014 is sufficient to meet the minimum provision of 6,600 dwellings, as set out in Policy SS2.

(2) Level 3 & Level 4 Settlements (Smaller Villages and Hamlets)

4.38 No specific housing requirements are proposed for these settlements and therefore no allocations are proposed. The policy approach to dealing with proposals for new housing on unallocated land in these settlements is set out in Policies SS9 & SS10.


Table 4.3: Housing Distribution by Level 1 & Level 2 Settlement[7]

Settlement

Housing Provision

2014 - 2034

Level 1 Settlements (Towns)


Clay Cross ( + Biwaters Strategic Site)

329 (+825)

Dronfield

569

Eckington

603

Killamarsh

523

Towns Total

2024

Strategic Sites


The Avenue

716

Former Biwaters

825

Strategic Sites Total

1541



Level 2 Settlements (Large Villages)


Calow

73

Grassmoor

272

Holmewood

519

Morton

129

North Wingfield

131

Pilsley

129

Renishaw

6

Shirland

192

Stonebroom

96

Tupton

370

Wingerworth (+ The Avenue Strategic Site)

600 (+716)

Large Villages Total

2517

Remaining Area[8]

539

TOTAL

6621

*


(2) Strategic Site Allocations

4.39 In order to assist in the delivery of the Spatial Strategy (Policy SS2), the Plan allocates strategic sites which are considered critical to achieving the Plan's strategy. This includes three Strategic Sites which are considered capable of delivering development within this plan period. A further site at Coalite is also identified as a priority regeneration area. Whilst this site is of strategic scale and has the benefit of planning permission, it is not identified as a strategic site. This is because the planning permission pre-dates the announcement for the revised route of HS2, which cuts across the eastern end of the site, creating uncertainty over the site layout and timescales for delivery.

(2) The Avenue, Wingerworth

4.40 The Avenue site is located to the east of the A61, adjacent to Wingerworth and close to the administrative boundary with Chesterfield Borough. A significant proportion of the site comprises the former Avenue Coking Works and has a legacy of contamination that is currently the subject of a major remediation programme due to be completed in 2017.

4.41 The Avenue site was allocated for re-development in the previous District Local Plan (which covered the period 2001-2011). Since this time, the Council has adopted the Avenue Area Strategic Framework as non-statutory planning guidance and it will be a material planning consideration in determining planning applications on the site. This considered the incorporation of an additional area of adjoining land between the site and the A61, together with the former CPL site, to ensure that development takes place in a comprehensive and co-ordinated manner. The Framework considers that the site is capable of delivering around 4-5 hectares of land for employment uses, and up to 1100 new homes, along with ancillary facilities and infrastructure, and public open space. Planning permissions are in place for three parts of the site and include the provision of approximately 700 dwellings. It is expected that the remaining site area is likely to deliver beyond the plan period.

4.42 Given the scale of the site and its role in delivering the strategy of the Plan over the plan period, the land is allocated as a strategic site for mixed use development, comprising employment, housing, recreation and open space uses.

4.43 The Local Transport Plan sets out future proposals for new infrastructure and includes an A61-A617 Avenue link road as a longer term County Council project


Figure 4.1: Strategic Site Allocation – The Avenue

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(7) POLICY SS3: The Avenue

  1. Land at the former Avenue site, as shown on the Policies Map, is allocated as a Strategic Site for mixed use development
  1. Proposals for the comprehensive mixed use development of this site will be guided by The Avenue Area Strategic Framework or any subsequent approved document and will be permitted where they:
    1. Optimise the use of the site or make best use of land;
    2. Provide up to 1100 new homes (approximately 700 within the period up to 2034);
    3. Provide for a minimum of 4 hectares of employment land;
    4. Include a range of local facilities, including a primary school retail, sport and recreation facilities;
    5. Protect and/or enhance existing open space, sport and recreation facilities;
    6. Promote and accommodate sustainable transport for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport;
    7. Provide effective pedestrian and cycle links to Chesterfield and nearby settlements, including through green infrastructure where this would not have an adverse impact on biodiversity;
    8. Do not prejudice the construction of a link road from the A61 to A617;
    9. Create development of the highest quality design and energy efficiency, with appropriate low carbon technologies;
    10. Maintain and improve existing known areas of wildlife habitat and species, and include measures for habitat creation; and
    11. Incorporate an appropriate mix of house types and tenures, to reflect housing need and market considerations


Former Biwaters Site, Clay Cross

4.44 The former Biwaters site is located to the north east of Clay Cross town centre, adjoining Bridge Street Industrial Estate, and is closely related to Coney Green and the residential area between it and the town centre. It is well located in terms of access to services and facilities in Clay Cross. The site also benefits from potential access to the Midland Mainline Railway lines to Nottingham and Derby, and access to the M1 via the A6175. Redevelopment of the site will be supported for a mixed use scheme incorporating employment, residential, commercial recreation and leisure uses.

4.45 Although part of the site to the eastern boundary lies within a high flood risk area, this land will not be built upon, instead creating a wildlife corridor and buffer zone to ensure minimum standards of flood defence are maintained, in accordance with the NPPF. The area of the Strategic Site has been extended to the north to enable the masterplanning for the site to respond effectively to current market conditions relating to housing density whilst retaining the overall scale and mix of land uses.

4.46 The site was originally allocated in the previous Local Plan (2001-2011). Since that time, the Council has adopted a Design Framework (as non-statutory planning guidance) for the site which will guide proposals coming forward and be a material planning consideration in determining planning applications for the site. The landowner, working closely with the Council has a comprehensive strategy to bring forward development of the site.

4.47 Outline planning permission was first secured for the site in August 2010 and included site remediation, public open space, approximately 980 dwellings and 29,500 m2 of employment land. Further outline planning permission was secured in January 2016 for a foodstore for up to 2,086 m2 and a drive-through restaurant for up to 394 m2, as well as a full permission for a public house. A reserved matters planning permission, pursuant to the first outline permission, was also secured in August 2017 for 166 dwellings.

4.48 Work has commenced on site with the construction of a roundabout on the A61, a 100m length of road into the site and a new public house at the A61 site entrance. Construction is also underway for the first phase of the housing development (166 dwellings). A revised outline application was received in June 2017 to reflect current market conditions, which has led to an adjustment to the site boundary. It is expected the site will deliver 825 new homes during the plan period.


Figure 4.2: Strategic Site Allocation – Former Biwaters

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(4) POLICY SS4: Former Biwaters Site, Clay Cross

  1. Land at Former Biwaters, Clay Cross, as shown on the Policies Map, is allocated as a Strategic Site, for mixed use development.
  1. Development proposals for the comprehensive remediation and mixed use development of this site will be guided by the Design Framework or any subsequent approved document and permitted where they:
    1. Provide a high quality, sustainable, mixed use development that is well connected and has a functional relationship with Clay Cross;
    2. Provide for approximately 8 hectares of employment land to include provision for starter units and managed workspace;
    3. Provide up to 1000 new dwellings (approximately 825 within the period up to 2034);
    4. Provide new local facilities to include a range of small shops catering for local needs;
    5. Protect existing open space, sport and recreation facilities and provide or enhance additional facilities to meet additional need generated by the development
    6. Locate the residential element to maximise accessibility to existing and new local facilities;
    7. Promote and accommodate sustainable transport for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport and does not preclude the future provision of rail access;
    8. Provide effective links for pedestrian and cycle access, including to Clay Cross town centre, Tupton, and North Wingfield via a trail network to incorporate the development of a Brassington Lane safe route link to Tupton Hall School;
    9. Provide a through road from the A61 to Furnace Hill/A6175;
    10. Sustain or enhance the significance of heritage assets (including the Grade 1 listed St Lawrence Church in North Wingfield);
    11. Provide a wildlife corridor and buffer zone along the River Rother to protect the biodiversity value of the river corridor and protect new development from the risk of flooding, and promote linkages to the wider green infrastructure network;
    12. Provide structural landscaping, and public open space in accordance with Policies ID6-9 and SDC12; and
    13. Incorporate an appropriate mix of house types and tenures, to reflect housing need and market considerations


(1) Markham Vale, Long Duckmanton

4.49 The Markham Vale project is an 85 hectare scheme based around the regeneration of the former Markham Colliery. The site area encompasses Bolsover District, Chesterfield Borough, and a small 10ha area of land between Long Duckmanton and the M1 motorway in North East Derbyshire. Outline planning permission for the scheme was granted by partner authorities in 2005, and the regeneration project commenced in 2006 with several phases of the development now completed. An approved joint Design Framework is in place to ensure development takes place in a manner that respects the location and mitigates impacts on local historic and environmental assets.

Figure 4.3: Strategic Site Allocation – Markham Vale

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(2) POLICY SS5: Markham Vale

  1. Land at Markham Vale, as shown on the Policies Map, is allocated as a Strategic Development Site for employment use.
  1. Development proposals will be guided by the approved Design Framework or any subsequent approved document and permitted where they:
    1. Take place as part of the comprehensive development of the whole Markham Vale scheme;
    2. Promote and accommodate sustainable transport for pedestrians, cyclists, and buses in accordance with Policy ID2-3;
    3. Provide structural landscaping, green infrastructure and public open space in accordance with Policies ID6 & ID9, and promote linkages to the wider green infrastructure network;
    4. Incorporate sustainable design principles, in accordance with Policy SS1 and Policy SDC12; and
    5. Protect the setting of heritage assets, in particular the Grade 1 Listed Bolsover Castle.


(2) Coalite Priority Regeneration Area

4.50 The Coalite Priority Regeneration Area comprises the 61 hectare former Coalite Chemical Works site. This large area of previously developed land is located to the east of Junction 29A of the M1 motorway and the Markham Vale Enterprise Zone straddling the administrative boundary with Bolsover District Council and in close proximity to the boundary with Chesterfield Borough Council, making it an important cross-boundary strategic site.

4.51 The site is predominately brownfield with a legacy of contamination due to its historical uses associated with coal mining, and coal oil chemical processing. The site forms part of the setting of Bolsover Castle, and includes the Doe Lea Corridor and its important biodiversity, both of which would need to be effectively protected in any regeneration proposals. The site is being promoted by the land owner and outline permissions were secured with both North East Derbyshire and Bolsover District Councils in 2016 and 2015 respectively. The approved scheme includes remediation of the site, the provision of approximately 660 dwellings, 70,000 m2 employment land, a transport hub, energy centre, visitor centre/museum, local centre and land for a new primary phase school.

4.52 Since planning permission was secured on the site the Government has confirmed proposals for the realignment of the proposed route for HS2, such that it runs through the eastern end of the Coalite site affecting two proposed housing plots and a key roundabout access off Chesterfield Road. The impact of this creates significant uncertainty for the currently approved scheme within North East Derbyshire. Work has commenced on the clean-up of the site and the land owner has confirmed that they remain committed to the development of the entire site, but indicate that a revised scheme will be necessary to take account of the impacts of HS2.

4.53 In light of these uncertainties the Council cannot be confident in relying on the housing land proposed to contribute to the delivery of the Local Plan's housing target. However, the Council still strongly supports the site's remediation and development and in accordance with the regeneration ambitions of the Local Plan, the Council allocates the site as a Priority Regeneration Area.

4.54 This policy approach has been discussed and formulated jointly with Bolsover District Council to ensure that this strategic cross boundary site is addressed appropriately in line with the Duty to Co-operate.


Figure 4.4: Coalite Regeneration Area – Cross Boundary Strategic Site

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(7) POLICY SS6: Coalite Priority Regeneration Area

  1. Land at the former Coalite Chemical Works site as defined on the Policies Map is allocated as a Priority Regeneration Area within the Local Plan. As such, the site will be safeguarded from development which would jeopardise the comprehensive remediation, reclamation and redevelopment of the whole site (including the land in Bolsover District)
  1. Proposals for the development of this priority regeneration area will be guided by the approved masterplan for the site or any subsequent approved document and permitted where they:
    1. Form part of a comprehensive masterplan for re-development on the whole site (including the land in Bolsover District) including infrastructure requirements and delivery;
    2. Enable the full reclamation of the site prior to the development commencing, in line with an agreed programme of work and delivery plan;
    3. Protect the setting of heritage assets, in particular the Grade 1 Listed Bolsover Castle and Sutton Scarsdale Hall;
    4. Protect and enhance the biodiversity value of the Doe Lea Corridor and promote linkages to the wider green infrastructure network;
    5. Protect the water quality of the River Doe Lea;
    6. Protect development from the risk of flooding by avoiding placing vulnerable uses in the high risk flood zones within the site; and
    7. Take account of any potential impacts arising from the implementation of High Speed 2.


(5) Settlement Development Limits

4.55 In addition to the development of sites allocated in the Plan, opportunities will exist throughout the plan period for additional development where it is sustainable development and is appropriate to the scale and function of the settlement in which it is located. Such opportunities will mainly comprise of residential development on previously developed land, as well as conversions and the redevelopment of existing buildings. It may also cover proposals for development such as live/work units, specialist accommodation, small scale retailing, and employment uses not covered by policies elsewhere in the Plan.

4.56 Settlement Development Limits enclose the built framework of settlements and determine the extent of the countryside beyond, by taking into account existing, committed and allocated development and land uses. Within Settlement Development Limits identified on the Proposals Map the principle of development is acceptable provided it is in line with Policy SS7: Development on Unallocated Land within Settlements with defined Settlement Development Limits. Outside of these main built up areas there are some smaller villages and hamlets identified within Level 4 of the settlement hierarchy which do not have a Settlement Development Limit but where limited infill development may be appropriate, where this is allocated by an adopted Neighbourhood Plan as set out in Policy SS8 Development in Small Villages and Hamlets or SS11 (Development in the Countryside).

4.57 Outside Settlement Development Limits, countryside and/or Green Belt policies apply and all proposals for development will be considered against these requirements set out in Policies SS11: Development in the Countryside & SS7: North East Derbyshire Green Belt. This approach provides certainty to all those involved in the development management process and makes it clear which policies will apply.

4.58 This approach complies with the plan-led approach advocated in national policy (NPPF); since the Local Plan identifies sufficient housing provision for the District to meet both a five year supply of housing on adoption of the Plan and the development requirements for the Plan period. Further land outside Settlement Development Limits is therefore not required to meet this need.

4.59 It is acknowledged that in circumstances where the Council may not be able to demonstrate a five year supply of housing land, these policies may be considered to restrict the supply of housing in terms of the provisions of paragraph 49 of the NPPF. However these are important place shaping policies that are integral to the strategy of the Local Plan and achievement of sustainable development. Their purpose is to guide development to the right places, rather than constraining development and therefore should be given due weight in decision making in the event that no five year supply is demonstrated.

(5) Policy SS7: Development on Unallocated Land within Settlements with defined Settlement Development Limits

  1. All development proposals on sites within Settlement Development Limits that are not allocated in the Local Plan or in a Neighbourhood Plan, will be permitted, provided that the proposed development:
    1. Is appropriate in scale, design and location to the character and function of the settlement; and
    2. Does not result in the loss of a valued facility or service unless it can be demonstrated that it is no longer viable, or is not the subject of a Community Right to Bid; and
    3. Is compatible with, and does not prejudice any intended use of adjacent sites and land uses; and
    4. Accords with other policies of the Plan.

(4) Policy SS8: Development in Small Villages & Hamlets

  1. Within very small villages and hamlets (defined under level 4 in the Settlement Hierarchy at Table 4.1) development will be restricted to limited infill development allocated by an adopted Neighbourhood Plan.
  1. Such development should:
    1. be of a scale and type that is appropriate to the existing settlement and surrounding landscape character; and
    2. be of a design that is sympathetic to the existing built form.


(1) Development in the Countryside

4.60 As a general principle, new development will be directed to sites within Settlement Development Limits, or sites allocated for development, whilst the countryside will be protected from inappropriate development, in accordance with Policy SS1 (Sustainable Development). Land which is not within a Settlement Development Limit, if not allocated for development, will be treated as 'countryside'.

4.61 As well as providing leisure and recreational opportunities the countryside is a constantly changing workplace. It is necessary to balance and integrate the requirement to protect the countryside with the need to sustain and encourage the vitality and viability of the rural economy, including agriculture and tourism. Whilst many of the activities in the countryside are outside the scope of the planning control, there are other forms of development which can be accommodate without detrimental effect on the countryside.

4.62 There is a range of buildings in the countryside which are no longer suitable for their original purposes. The majority are likely to be agricultural buildings, but there may be other buildings which are no longer in use for their original purpose and for which an alternative use is being sought. Many of these buildings make a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the area. Provided that they are structurally sound, conversion of these buildings, for example to employment or community use, visitor accommodation or housing, can safeguard their future. By re-using existing resources, conversions can also meet the aims of sustainable built development. However there are some buildings which are not suitable for conversion, including those which are structurally unsound, roofless, missing substantial sections of wall, or so ruined that only vestiges remain of the original structure; of temporary construction; eyesores which should be removed in the interests of landscape conservation; unsuitable in terms of size and forms of construction; or at risk of flooding.

4.63 New buildings should respect the style, and character of the locality. Proposals for new buildings in the countryside outside of existing settlements and not on land allocated for development will be strictly controlled.

(12) Policy SS9: Development in the Countryside

  1. Development proposals in countryside locations outside the Settlement Development Limits will be approved where it can be demonstrated to fall within one or more of the following categories:
    1. It involves a replacement building for the same use and is not significantly larger than the building it replaces;
    2. It involves a change of use, or re-use of vacant, derelict or previously developed land and accords with policy SDC1;
    3. It is necessary for the efficient or viable operation of agriculture, horticulture, forestry and other appropriate land based businesses, including the diversification of activities on an existing farm unit;
    4. It involves small scale employment uses related to local farming, forestry, recreation, or tourism;
    5. limited infilling or the partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed sites (brownfield land), whether redundant or in continuing use (excluding temporary buildings), which would not have a greater impact on the character of the countryside than the existing development
    6. It would secure the retention and/or enhancement of a community facility; or
    7. It is in accordance with the policies of an adopted Neighbourhood Plan.
  1. In all cases, where development is considered acceptable, it will be required to respect the form, scale and character of the landscape, through careful siting, scale design and use of materials

(26) North East Derbyshire Green Belt

4.64 The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open. The essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence, providing long term protection and certainty from inappropriate development, which is by definition harmful to the Green Belt. Green Belts can also assist in urban regeneration by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.

4.65 The North East Derbyshire Green Belt covers a substantial part of the District, located between Sheffield and Chesterfield in the north, Chesterfield and Wingerworth in the south, and also the land west of Chesterfield to the Peak Park boundary. It surrounds the towns of Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh and a number of villages. It was first drawn up in 1955, adopted in 1986 and carried forward in the North East Derbyshire Local Plan, (adopted 1999). The Green Belt was subsequently reviewed in the successor Local Plan (adopted 2005).

4.66 The North East Derbyshire Green Belt has been an effective planning policy tool assisting in focussing development on brownfield sites and undeveloped land within settlements boundaries. However over time there have been unintended impacts such as localised unmet housing need and demand, development pressure on green spaces and employment land, increased house prices and affordability pressures in those towns and villages constrained by the Green Belt. As a consequence pressure for growth has been redirected to other areas of the district.

(169) Green Belt Review

4.67 National Guidance is clear that Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances, through the preparation or review of a Local Plan. In reviewing Green Belt boundaries authorities should have regard to their intended permanence in the long term, so they should be capable of enduring beyond the plan period.

4.68 Early work on the Local Plan sought to distribute development in a way that did not involve a review of the Green Belt. However it became evident that there was a significant mismatch between the strategy and the proposed spatial distribution of housing, land availability and demand; such that the level of growth being planned for across the District could not be accommodated in a sustainable way or where demand and viability were highest. Detailed evidence setting out the exceptional circumstances justifying the release of Green Belt land is set out in the Green Belt Topic Paper (January 2018). The key reasoning is based upon the fact that three of the District's four most sustainable settlements are tightly constrained by the Green Belt and evidence shows that:

  • Housing land supply in these areas is limited, which combined with high demand has driven up land values and exacerbated housing affordability issues;
  • Employment land in these settlements should be retained for employment use,
  • Existing sports pitches and recreation facilities within these settlements are all required to be retained
  • Increasing supply in other areas of the district would not support the strategy of the Plan

4.69 The evidence led the Council to undertake a review of the Green Belt (Green Belt Review, 2016). This involved an objective assessment of the role of individual land parcels in fulfilling the purposes and objectives of the Green Belt. The review confirmed that all but a few parcels continue to perform a valid Green Belt function. Therefore in order to achieve a more sustainable pattern of development that is in line with the spatial strategy, and provide a sufficient level of development in the North of the District to meet needs, we must accept that this will have an impact on the Green Belt.

4.70 Further supplementary assessment of the Green Belt land parcels has taken place to identify those parcels that would cause least harm to the strategic functions of the Green Belt. These sites have also been taken through the Council's usual site assessment process and Sustainability Appraisal to ensure that they are suitable for development. The area of land removed from the Green Belt to meet the development needs of the District during this plan period (as allocated sites) or because they are not considered to perform a valid Green Belt function amounts to less than 1% of the Green Belt within North East Derbyshire. In line with the NPPF (paragraph 81) policies associated with the development of those areas of land released from the Green Belt will seek to enhance the beneficial use of the remaining Green Belt, such as looking for opportunities to provide access; to provide opportunities for outdoor sport and recreation; to retain and enhance landscapes, visual amenity and biodiversity; or to improve damaged and derelict land. The remaining area of Green Belt will continue to be protected from inappropriate development by National Guidance in the NPPF and by Policy SS10.

(5) Safeguarded Land

4.71 National guidance requires that when defining Green Belt boundaries authorities should have regard to their permanence in the long term, so that they are capable of enduring beyond the plan period[9]. The identification of 'safeguarded land' between the urban area and the Green Belt can help to meet longer-term development needs that extend beyond the current plan period, thereby avoiding the need for a review of the Green Belt with each Local Plan review. However given the inherent uncertainty of accurately predicting development needs beyond the plan period, it is difficult to say how much land would be required and whether the locations selected now would be appropriate in the future. This makes it difficult to demonstrate exceptional circumstances for removing the land from the Green Belt for the purposes of safeguarding and therefore in the absence of clear evidence, the Plan does not identify any safeguarded land.

(26) Policy SS10: North East Derbyshire Green Belt

  1. Within the North East Derbyshire Green Belt as shown on the Policies Map, inappropriate development will not be approved except in very special circumstances and where the potential harm to the Green Belt is clearly outweighed by other material planning considerations.
  1. The construction of new buildings will be regarded as inappropriate development and will not be permitted. Exceptions to this, where they accord with other policies in the Plan are:
    1. Buildings necessary for the purposes of agriculture or forestry*;
    2. Provision of appropriate facilities for outdoor sport, outdoor recreation, and for cemeteries, which preserve the openness of the Green Belt and do not conflict with the purposes of including land within it;
    3. Limited extensions or alterations to a building provided that is does not result in disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original building;
    4. Replacement of a building provided the new building is in the same use and is not materially larger than the one it replaces;
    5. Limited affordable housing for local community needs in accordance with Policy LC3; or
    6. Limited infilling or the partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed land which would not have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt than the current use.
  1. Other forms of development which may be appropriate in the Green Belt, provided it preserves the openness of the Green Belt and does not conflict with its purposes include:
    1. Mineral extraction,
    2. Engineering operations,
    3. Local transport infrastructure which can demonstrate a requirement for a Green Belt location,
    4. The re-use or conversion of buildings which are of permanent and substantial construction, and
    5. Development brought forward under a Community Right to Build Order.

*i.e where the development is necessary to support a genuine agricultural or forestry business where the majority of income is derived from the business

(5) Local Settlement Gaps

4.72 Community 'identification of place' is an area of local concern and is a valid component of Sustainable Development. Issues in the south of the district are not strategic in extent, such that Green Belt designation would be appropriate. However, these issues are locally important and increasingly acute, such that a locally responsive policy mechanism is required to address this real and increasing threat to the character and identity of the plan area's communities. The NPPF's core principles recognise that different areas play different roles in supporting sustainable development, and within the plan area settlement identity and separation is a pressing concern which can be safeguarded through a positive plan-led approach across certain areas.

4.73 The southern sub-area, which does not benefit from Green Belt designation, is particularly vulnerable to settlement coalescence and identity loss. The rolling terrain of this part of the district sometimes emphasises the narrow and often narrowing separation between settlements and can exacerbate the perceptual and visual erosion of settlement identity and separation as villages and towns often fall within the same public views from elevated areas or across prominent hillsides.

4.74 The harm that erosion of settlement separation can have is not limited to visual character, cultural or historic identity effects. It can also erode environmental and community benefits afforded by accessible open space and outlooks from within the settlement. Where settlements are allowed to coalesce or separation is significantly reduced through urban growth, the remaining 'sense of place' can be harmed and important green infrastructure and recreational roles that green spaces around settlements play be eroded.

4.75 The designation of Local Settlement Gaps is a policy response to the issue. These limited, localised areas (set out on the Policies Map) have been identified as playing important roles in maintaining settlement identity. Development within them will be restricted to that which would not erode the wider functionality of the settlement gap.

4.76 The identification of these areas and restriction of significant development therein has not served to restrict or redirect objectively assessed need for development across the district nor result in less sustainable locations for growth. The protection of these Local Settlement Gaps helps deliver a more sustainable form of development across the plan area.

(12) Policy SS11: Local Settlement Gaps

  1. Within those areas identified on the Policies Map as Local Settlement Gaps development proposals will be permitted where they:
    1. Maintain the functionality of the Local Settlement Gap such as:
      1. Small scale agricultural development or appropriate rural development;
      2. Proposals which seek to improve the environmental value and permanence of the Local Settlement Gap whilst maintaining its undeveloped character; or
      3. Proposals for the use of land for outdoor recreational or community uses which maintain a predominantly undeveloped character of the land.
    2. Prevent the effective coalescence of historically distinct settlements; and
    3. Prevent the erosion of existing settlement separation and identity enabled by the generally undeveloped character of those spaces;

Unless the benefits of the proposals would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the adverse impacts on Local Settlement Gap functionality.

4.77 The Key diagram summarises the key elements of the Spatial Strategy across the District.


Figure 4.5: Key Diagram

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[5] (Planning & Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (S.39).

[6] Paragraph: 033 Reference ID: 2a-033-20140306

[7] Figures are based upon completions since 2014, current commitments and allocations. They do not represent targets or maximum levels of housing.

[8] Remaining Area – figure includes commitments in level 3 & 4 Settlements and countryside locations.

[9] National Planning Policy Framework, paragraph 85

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