2011/1959 LAND SURROUNDING PARK FARM MIDDLE BICKENHILL Application No: 2011/1959/S Ward/Area: BICKENHILL Location: LAND SURROUNDING PARK FARM CHESTER ROAD MIDDLE BICKENHILL SOLIHULL Date Registered: 08/12/2011 Applicant: TRAXX AGGREGATES LTD Proposal: PLANNING APPLICATION TO ALLOW THE EXTRACTION AND PROCESSING OF SAND AND GRAVEL INCLUDING THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW SITE ACCESS ROAD, LANDSCAPING AND SCREENING BUNDS, SAND SCREENING PLANT, MINERALS WASHING PLANT, SILT SETTLEMENT LAGOONS, QUARRY OFFICES, SAND BAGGING SHED AND OTHER ASSOCIATED INFRASTRUCTURE WITH RESTORATION TO AGRICULTURAL LAND USING IMPORTED INERT FILL. PROPOSAL This application seeks planning permission for the extraction and processing of some 1.6 million tonnes of sand and gravel in four phases over a 6 year extraction period, together with ancillary operational development, followed by a further 6 years of inert infilling to restore the land back to original levels for agriculture. The site is the location of the proposed new station and car park etc for the proposed HS2 rail link and this proposal would prevent the potential sterilisation of this mineral resource if the HS2 project goes ahead. The sole access into and out of the site would be at the point of an existing field access onto East Way which adjoins the north side of the A45 Coventry Road and joins it just west of the Stonebridge island. Background This application has been brought forward as a consequence of the HS2 scheme to enable the minerals to be worked before the land is developed (if the scheme goes ahead). Pre-application discussions also took place between the landowner/agent and the Highways Agency and HS2. CONSULTATION RESPONSES Neighbours Notified : 13/12/11 and 12/01/12 Site Notice : 16/12/11 Press Notice : 16/12/11 Bickenhill Parish Council : No objection subject to s106 Agreement to impose controls over restoration, vehicle routing, hours of working, street cleaning, and environmental monitoring. Warwickshire County Council : No comments made. Warwickshire Archaeologist : Additional geophysical survey work requested and further evaluative fieldwork to be secured by condition. Environment Agency : No objection, subject to recommended conditions. Natural England : No objection, subject to recommended condition. Highways Agency : TR110 Direction issued, directing conditions to be attached in the event of approval. Birmingham Airport : No objection subject to bird prevention measures as specified. HS2 : No objection in principle, subject to phasing and restoration details. Keen to maintain dialogue. Council's Ecologist : No objection subject to conditions. Landscape Officer : No objection subject to conditions. Highways Officer : No objection subject to conditions. Environmental Protection : No objection subject to condition. Planning Policy Team : Whilst there are sufficient reserves of sand and gravel to meet current requirements including the necessary landbank, this situation is likely to change within the next 12 months, without further permission for extraction. In addition, if the High Speed 2 rail link goes ahead as planned, there is the potential for the mineral resource within the application site to be lost unless the extraction process is started soon. In policy terms, the lack of provision for sand and gravel production in the UDP beyond 2011, the reducing landbank, and the potential sterilising of mineral resources by the proposed High Speed 2 rail link may well be considered to amount to the very special circumstances required by UDP Policy M3 for bringing forward this proposal at this time. Conservation Planner : Inevitable though temporary impact on setting of Park Farm listed building. Conditions recommended in the event of approval re screening and security and to monitor the condition of the listed building. English Heritage : No comments except that the application should be determined in accordance with national and local policy guidance and the Council's own specialist conservation advice. National Planning Casework Unit : Sent Environmental Statement - statutory requirement. No comment made. REPRESENTATIONS Two letters of objection from private individuals raising the following concerns: Impact on rural landscape/visual amenity Siting of processing plant - potential noise disturbance Additional lorry/traffic movements - noise, disturbance, pollution and potential structural damage to properties Potential structural damage to properties from the excavations POLICY RPG11 – Regional Spatial Strategy for the West Midlands (Jan 2008) In May 2010 the Secretary of State announced his intention to abolish all Regional Spatial Strategies. He subsequently did so in July 2010 using powers in the Local Democracy, Economic Development & Construction Act 2009. However the Courts quashed this decision in November 2010 following a legal challenge. The outcome of which is that the RSS remains an ongoing part of the development plan. However the Government has confirmed its commitment to abolishing RSSs (through the Localism Act) and this can be taken into account as a material consideration. The weight to be attached to RSS policies is therefore much reduced but will be dependant upon the circumstances of each case and the following policies are considered relevant to this application. QE1 - Conserving and Enhancing the Environment QE5 - Protection and enhancement of the Historic Environment QE6 - The conservation, enhancement and restoration of the Region's landscape QE7 - Protecting, managing and enhancing the Region's Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Resources QE9 - The Water Environment M1 - Mineral Working for Non-Energy Minerals M2 - Minerals - Aggregates T1 - Developing accessibility and mobility within the Region to support the Spatial Strategy Solihull UDP (2006) C2 - Control of Development in the Green belt M3 - Supply of Aggregates M4 - Mineral Extraction, Restoration and After-Care T1 - Transport ENV6 - Listed Buildings ENV8 - Archaeology ENV10 - Important Nature Conservation Sites ENV11 - Biodiversity ENV12 - River Blythe Catchment Area ENV13 - Wildlife ENV14 - Trees and Woodlands ENV17 - Water Protection ENV18 - Noise ENV20 - Water Conservation ENV21 - Flood Plains C8 - Landscape Quality Solihull Draft Local Plan - Shaping a Sustainable Future Work has reached an advanced stage on preparing a development plan that will replace the existing adopted UDP. This plan will provide the long term spatial vision for how the borough’s towns, villages and countryside will develop and change over the Plan period to 2028. The plan sets out to deliver a strategy for promoting, distributing and delivering sustainable economic growth whilst conserving and improving the character and quality of the environment. The draft Local Plan has been through a six week public consultation period of representation which expired on 5th March 2012. The feedback from this consultation will inform the adoption process of the Local Plan. A decision to submit the Plan will be taken late Spring 2012 with a view to an independent Examination in Public taking place later in 2012 and eventual adoption Spring 2013. The Plan is considered to be a material consideration, carrying an element of weight having been through consultation processes. P8 - Managing Demand for Travel and Reducing Congestion P10 - Natural Environment P11 - Water Management P12 - Resource Management P13 - Minerals P14 - Amenity P16 - Conservation of Heritage Assets and Local Distinctiveness P17 - Countryside and Green Belt National Planning Policy Framework and Supplementary Technical Guidance As detailed below. PLANNING HISTORY The red-line application site has no recorded planning history although it partly surrounds Park Farm on Chester Road which is a listed farm house with some planning history and outbuildings converted to offices. SITE DESCRIPTION The site comprises undeveloped agricultural land to the south and west of Park Farm which is bisected east-west by a small watercourse known as the Hollywell Brook, and north-south by a long-disused rail line. To the south is East Way and the A45, to the north-east is the A452 Chester Road, and to the west is Middle Bickenhill Lane. The Council's recently reviewed Countryside Strategy 2010-2020 places the area in zone 5 "The Rural Heartland" which is typical of the Arden landscape and important for its open rural character and the site is typical of this, mainly comprising fields bounded by mature trees and hedgerows. Nevertheless, it should also be recognised that this northern tip is also adjoined by major highways, just a short distance east of the airport and NEC, and opposite the National Motorcycle Museum, the former Arden Brickworks site and the Council's public recycling centre. To the north is the Packington waste disposal site. MAIN ISSUES compliance with minerals policies of the Solihull UDP 2006, draft local plan and NPPF timing, land-bank of reserves and the national and regional need for aggregates (sub-regional apportionment and production targets) relationship to the HS2 scheme infilling/restoration timescale road safety and impact on the local highway network landscape and visual impact ecology surface and groundwater impacts archaeology and impact on adjoining listed building noise and dust and any other impacts on residential amenity APPRAISAL National & Regional Guidelines and Sub-Regional Apportionment The National & Regional Guidelines for Aggregates Provision in England 2005 -2020 sets a target for primary aggregates provision with the West Midlands. Subsequent sub-regional apportionment by the West Midlands Aggregates Working Party, published by DCLG in September 2011, indicates an apportionment of 8.8 million tonnes for the West Midlands County sub-region. This equates to an annual apportionment of 550,000 tonnes. As Solihull contributes over 90% of this figure, and the Black Country Core Strategy makes provision for at least 50,000 tonnes per annum, this leaves a maximum of 500,000 tonnes per annum from sites within Solihull. Borough Requirement The target for sand and gravel production from sources within the Borough for the plan period to 2028 is based on the maximum 500,000 tonnes per annum, minus the excess years above the minimum 7 year landbank. This amounts to 7.5 million tonnes. Solihull Draft Local Plan January 2012 The Emerging Core Strategy has been updated by the publication of the Solihull Draft Local Plan on 23 January 2012. The Draft Local Plan identifies under Challenge I the objective of providing 7.5 million tonnes of primary sand and gravel aggregates from sources within Solihull for the plan period to 2028, including the maintenance of a minimum landbank of 7 years. The Spatial Strategy for Solihull indicates that production will be consolidated at existing workings or within the areas of search shown on the proposals map, with extraction permitted elsewhere, where essential to meet local or sub-regional targets. Policy P13 provides for the safeguarding of sand and gravel resources that are known to be viable by defining Mineral Safeguarding Areas, which will be protected from non-mineral development that would sterilise the mineral resources. A Mineral Safeguarding Area Is Identified east of the NEC and M42, which includes the application site. The policy also refers to the provision for primary sand and gravel extraction to meet the identified requirement of 7.5 million tonnes for the plan period. Preferred areas for providing around 2.5 million tonnes are identified, along with areas of search to address the shortfall. An area of search is identified east of the NEC and M42, which includes the application site. Landbank and Phasing Issues The Draft Local Plan target includes the maintenance of a minimum 7 year landbank as required by guidance that was in Annex 1 to MPS1. The latest information on supply for the West Midlands County sub-region in the Regional Aggregates Working Party Annual Report 2009 indicates a landbank of 10 years at 31 December 2009. This is based on the annual apportionment resulting from the earlier National and Regional Guidelines for Aggregates Provision in England 2001 -2016, which was 506,000 tonnes rather than the new figure of 550,000 tonnes. Taking the new Guidelines and apportionment into account, the current landbank is currently less than 8 years, and is likely to fall below 7 years before the end of 2012. There are no phasing policies in the Draft Local Plan, reflecting the fact that known viable sand and gravel aggregates are restricted to limited areas of the Borough, the long lead in times and periods for extraction and restoration, and the steady rate at which minerals are produced to meet market demands. The proposed High Speed 2 rail link, station and supporting infrastructure east of the NEC will cross the application site. The construction period is scheduled to start between 2017 and 2025 with the line opening in 2026. At this stage it is not known at what point within the construction period the work affecting the application site will be undertaken. National Planning Policy Framework The NPPF introduces a requirement for MPA's to prepare annual Local Aggregate Assessments either individually, or jointly by agreement with other MPA's. These would be based on an average rolling 10 years sales and other relevant information, and an assessment of all supply options. This will no doubt be considered by the existing Regional Aggregates Working Party in future reports, but has no immediate implications for the determination of this application or the issue of diminishing landbank for aggregates referred to above. Otherwise, the NPPF makes little change to established minerals policy apart from updated technical guidance. Conclusion on policy The Council is required to make provision for the extraction of sand and gravel aggregates from sources within the Borough to help meet the current requirement for the West Midlands County sub-region of 550,000 tonnes per annum. Solihull contributes in excess of 90% of this figure and thus needs to provide for 500,000 tonnes per annum. The mineral resources from the application site, estimated to be 1.68 million tonnes, would make a significant contribution to this requirement. Policy in the UDP and the Draft Local Plan supports extraction within specific sites and areas of search as identified in the plans. The UDP includes specific sites to meet the Borough’s requirement for sand and gravel aggregates up to 2011. The Draft Local Plan identifies preferred areas for sand and gravel extraction to meet about one-third of the Borough’s requirement to 2028, with the balance to be provided from sites within areas of search. The Draft Local Plan identifies an area of search for sand and gravel that includes the application site, and Policy P13 confirms that areas of search are intended to meet the gap between the resources within the preferred sites and the requirement for the plan period. Whilst the Draft Local Plan has yet to be examined, the policies carry some weight, particularly as the UDP does not make provision for sand and gravel to meet requirements beyond 2011 and the Borough requirement is based on national guidelines, agreed sub-regional apportionment, and provision elsewhere in the sub-region set out in an adopted plan. National and local Green Belt policy includes mineral extraction as one of the forms of development which is not inappropriate in the Green Belt - provided it preserves openness and does not conflict with the purposes of including land in the Green Belt. Some of the ancillary plant and buildings would have an impact on openness, but such impact would be time-limited. Relevance of the HS2 Scheme The published route of the proposed HS2 rail link passes through part of application site. Furthermore, the published draft location of the proposed new Birmingham Interchange Station, and the ancillary multi-storey car park, lies wholly within the application site - in what would be phases 1 and 2 of the mineral extraction, to the south and west of Park Farm. This would be a critical part of the first phase of the new railway line and would require the acquisition of all or part of this application site. The construction of the new line is currently still subject to Parliamentary approval and the Government intends to promote a hybrid bill to authorise the first phase in 2013. Prior to this the Government intends to make a Direction safeguarding the land needed for the first phase of the project. Subject to consultation, this is expected to take effect in Autumn 2012. Nevertheless the Council, as local planning authority, has an important part to play in reducing avoidable conflict with this project of national strategic importance. HS2 have not objected to the application, but naturally identify their key issues as (a) phasing, and (b) restoration details. With regard to phasing, the submitted scheme envisages completion of extraction, after 6 years, in 2018. This could potentially conflict with the DfT's current programme for the construction of the first phase of HS2 which is for it to commence in 2017, although the final phase of extraction is currently outside the site of the proposed new station and car park which reduces any such risk. However there may be some flexibility in this programme, and in the phasing of the proposed mineral extraction, which could potentially resolve any such conflict, and indeed the excavation works required for both schemes may enable some co-operative planning. Similarly, with regard to restoration (estimated at a further 6 years after extraction although there would be some progressive restoration as extraction proceeds), whilst the default scheme for this application is a return of the land to its former levels and condition for agricultural purposes, there would need to be the option for an alternative scheme in the event of HS2 proceeding. HS2 Ltd have stated that they are keen to work with the Council and other relevant parties to ensure that any potential conflicts and impacts are mitigated as far as possible. The two schemes are not mutually exclusive and, indeed, much of the work involved in planning and implementing the mineral extraction may be of benefit to the HS2 scheme and provide some opportunities to lessen its impact, e.g. through changes in levels. If the Council is minded to approve this application, HS2 have stated a wish " … to maintain close dialogue with the landowner, applicant and the Council to ensure that any potential efficiencies and synergies between the proposed development and HS2 are realised and maximised for the benefit of both schemes, the local community and any wider future plans the Council may be considering". The applicant has equally expressed a desire to work closely with HS2. Highway Safety The primary highway consideration in this case is the impact of the proposed development on the function and safety of the strategic highway network which, in this case, includes junction 6 of the M42, the A45 Coventry Road and A452 Kenilworth Road 'Stonebridge Island'. These key segments of the highway network provide access to Birmingham and Coventry as well as key economic assets such as Birmingham Airport, the NEC, Jaguar Landrover, and Birmingham Business Park. The development site is bounded by highways links on all sides but would be served by a single new site entrance to be formed by upgrading an existing farm access onto Eastway. All traffic would enter and leave the site via this new access - all traffic exiting the site would merge with the eastbound A45 Coventry Road and on to Stonebridge Island. Survey information has been considered and accident data demonstrates no prevailing accident problems along Eastway. The Highways Agency has recently commissioned an improvement scheme at Stonebridge island involving the signalisation of the eastbound and westbound A45 slip road and circulatory carriageway. No timescale has been provided to date for this scheme, however it should not materially affect the impact of the development on Stonebridge island. It is estimated that circa 1.6 million tonnes of sand and gravel would be extracted from the site and a further 180,000 tonnes of inert material would be imported for infill and restoration. Using a 'first principles' approach, the transport assessment indicates that, during the most intensive periods of site operations, a total of 368 two-way lorry movements could be generated per day with a maximum of 34 lorry movements per hour. All lorries exiting the site would have to use a weighbridge which would take approximately 3 minutes per vehicle thus restricting how many vehicles could exit the site and preventing lorries leaving in cohorts. The distribution of trips would be variable and would depend on market forces, however as much of the extracted material would be used in the house-building and construction industry, the distribution of trips has been estimated based upon the proximity to various parts of the Birmingham and Coventry conurbations and smaller, more localised built-up areas. Your Highways officers consider this to be realistic. This indicates that only approximately 35% of the total trips generated would pass through Solihull's highway network equating to 129 daily trips or 12 two-way trips per hour. The main development impact would be at Stonebridge island as all exiting lorries would have to travel through it. It is estimated that it would result in a small percentage increase in total vehicle flows at the roundabout (less than 1%), and an increase in HGV's of 8.2%. This is a small percentage impact, however the A45, Eastway, and Stonebridge island can experience spikes in traffic demand resulting from popular events at the NEC and a Traffic Management Plan is recommended which seeks to work with the Council and stakeholders (in particular the NEC) to develop a partnership approach in resolving any identified highway issues which might arise. A draft Traffic Management Plan has been submitted with the application although this needs to be worked up in more detail - this could be secured by condition. It is also considered that the lack of reilience on the strategic highway network at this location, combined with the fact that HGV's can disproportionately reduce highway link and junction capacity, warrants a further condition limiting lorry movements in and out of the site during the network peak hours. The site would only employ up to 6 staff who would need to be on site before 7am, and only 2 of whom would be on site after 4pm - therefore trips associated with staff and visitors are likely to be negligible to prevailing flows. Subject to appropriate conditions therefore, it is considered that the development is acceptable from a highways perspective. The Highways Agency raises no objection to the scheme subject to mandatory conditions (set out in a TR110 Direction by the Secretary of State for Transport), one of which (requiring a hydrological assessment) is currently the subject of ongoing discussions with the applicant at the time of writing this report. Landscape and Visual Impact The process of minerals excavation, processing, infill, restoration, and all the associated development and operations, would inevitably have a major visual impact on the landscape during the course of those works - a quarry is not in character with the natural character of this area as defined by the Warwickshire Landscape Guidelines for Warwickshire and the Council's own Countryside Strategy. However such impact is time-limited as the proposed restoration scheme would return the land to its previous levels and condition, as grassland for agriculture with reinstatement of hedgerows, subject to landscaping and planting details which could be secured by condition, and subject also to any variations which may be required if and when the HS2 scheme proceeds. If the Council is minded to approve the application therefore, having regard to the need to win and work minerals where they exist, the principal issue here is the mitigation of visual impacts during the works, replacement planting and appropriate restoration afterwards. It is also relevant to note the visual backdrop of the Packington landfill site to the north. Whilst parts of the site would be visible from adjoining roads, these are roads which are little used by walkers, cyclists or horse riders, and views from passing vehicular traffic would be fleeting from East Way and the A452 due to higher traffic speeds along those roads. The greatest impact would be on the view into Phases 2 and 3 from Middle Bickenhill Lane, although there are no properties along the relevant part of the lane. Views towards the site eastwards from Middle Bickenhill Lane could be lessened by additional hedgerow planting to be carried out in the initial stages of the development so that it matures as extraction work progresses, and it is proposed to further mitigate visual impact by some progressive restoration of excavated areas by filling against exposed slopes and seeding with grass (pending full and final restoration) which would also have the benefit of stabilising those excavated areas closest to the highway. The site entrance would afford views in from East Way from where the principal elements of operational development would also be visible at least in part, i.e. the car park and site office, wheel wash and weighbridge, bagging shed, and processing plant. These would be difficult to effectively screen from this direction, not least due to land levels, and would have an impact on the openness of the Green Belt. However, again, such impact would be temporary and, as East Way is a one-way road at this point, most views would only be brief, from vehicles passing east to west. Visual receptors are otherwise relatively limited (principally from Park Farm which is in the same ownership, and from the public house to the south east), visual impact is assessed as being 'moderate', and your Landscape Officers are satisfied that impacts can be acceptably mitigated subject to a landscape scheme and management plan and standard planting, tree protection and replacement conditions. Ecology The application site contains no formal nature conservation designations. A disused railway line passes through the land (north-south) which has been identified as a proposed LWS/SINC, and the same applies to part of a small watercourse (the Hollywell Brook) which traverses the site east-west. However the scheme has been designed to avoid any direct impacts on either of these habitats except where the proposed haul road cuts across the disused rail line to access phases 1 and 2 to the north. The exact position of this has been selected on site in consultation with officers to minimise impact on trees. In the southern part of the site, no excavation is proposed near to the aforementioned areas and only the processing plant, stocking area and soil storage adjoins the disused rail line. To the north, the Phase 1 excavation is separated from the disused rail line habitat by a 30m stand-off. The four proposed areas of excavation are all open fields. The necessary ecological surveys and assessments have been carried out and supplementary information has been provided on impacts and mitigation measures and the Council's Ecologist is satisfied that the scheme is acceptable subject to conditions to secure the necessary measures as proposed in the submission. The Hollywell Brook runs from Pendigo Lake at the NEC, eastwards through the application site, and eventually flows into the River Blythe to the north- east - which is a SSSI. It is therefore important to ensure that water quality is maintained and that there are no impacts on the River Blythe. The nature and design of this operation minimises any potential risk of (silt) discharge, and in any case this matter is controllable through a Surface Water Management Plan. Surface and Groundwater Impacts As referred to above, the Hollywell Brook is the only watercourse and lies almost wholly outside the application site except where it emerges from an existing culvert under the disused rail line and passes beneath the proposed haul road. A short section of new culverting work would be needed at this point which is controllable by the Environment Agency. The associated flood plain is also outside the application site and the nearest operational works would be well-distanced to the north. Both Natural England and the Environment Agency have recommended a condition requiring the submission of a Surface Water Management Plan and subject to that and related measures to minimise flood risk, no objection is raised. Archaeology and Impact on Adjoining Listed Building A geophysical survey has been undertaken of that part of the application site (around Park Farm) which a desk-based assessment suggests is most likely to have any archaeological potential. This found no significant evidence of any heritage assets below ground and the applicant suggests that any anomalies could be recorded during soil stripping operations and that the proposal 'provides an opportunity to contribute to local archaelogical knowledge in the Park Farm area. A geophysical study of the remainder of the site is suggested on a post-determination basis. The Warwickshire County Archaeologist would prefer to see a geophysical study of the entire site pre-determination and there is some lack of agreement on this issue. The NPPF simply states that "Where a site on which development is proposed includes or has the potential to include heritage assets with archaeological interest, local planning authorities should require developers to submit an appropriate desk-based assessment and, where necessary, a field evaluation". I consider that this could reasonably be secured by a condition requiring a programme of archaeological work in accordance with a written scheme of investigation which is to be agreed before commencement, but which I anticipate would entail a programme of investigation and recording concurrent with soil stripping and excavation. The principal known designated heritage asset affecting this site is Park Farm, which abuts the site and would effectively be surrounded on 3 sides by Phases 1, 2, and 3 of the proposed extraction and restoration works. Park Farm is a Grade 2* listed Gothic house dating from the later 18th or early 19th century. The setting of Park Farm has already been compromised by agricultural modernisation and hedgerow removal, the development of the A452 and associated lighting, the erection of adjoining bulky modern farm buildings, and associated concrete drive and apron. The proposed works would inevitably have a further detrimental impact on setting, however such impact would be relatively short- term, with restoration after the 6-year extraction phase returning the surrounding land to original levels for agricultural use - unless HS2 proceeds as currently proposed, in which case the setting of the listed building may be equally or more affected on a permanent basis by the new station, car park, and access road. In the short- term, there is an opportunity to mitigate impact to some degree through bunding and/or planting to screen views of the works and protect the amenities of the occupiers of the house and users of the other buildings which are in commercial use - a 3m high planted bund is proposed. This could be secured by condition, and further conditions have also been suggested relating to security details and to secure a structural survey of the house, before any extraction works begin, plus subsequent monitoring, to enable any potential adverse impacts to be identified. Noise and Dust and Residential Amenity The application site is in a relatively isolated location with no immediately adjoining residential properties other than the aforementioned Park Farm house. The nearest dwellings are towards the southern end of Middle Bickenhill Lane and some 300-400 metres from the processing plant which would also be on the other side of the disused railway line. Ambient noise levels in this locations are relatively high due to the close proximity of major highways and Birmingham Airport, and the survey work contained in the EIA concludes that noise levels from the proposed operations would have an impact of only minor significance and that noise levels created will not rise above 'noticeable' levels at the properties within the vicinity of the site. This is not disputed. Your Environmental Monitoring Officer has expressed some reservations about the technical basis of the submitted air quality report with regard to the measurement of fine particulates known as PM10. Nevertheless, the conclusion is that the emissions of PM10 are unlikely to cause an increase in PM10 levels at receptor locations (such as the nearest dwellings) sufficient to cause a breach of air quality standards provided that suitable mitigation measures are put in place. A condition has been recommended to secure such measures. CONCLUSION Whilst the HS2 scheme currently still has a lengthy statutory process to go through, it is sensible and necessary to consider preventing the sterilisation of the identified mineral resource - within a timescale which does not conflict with the HS2 timetable. Whether or not HS2 were to proceed the recommendation to approve the application is not based on an assumption or requirement that HS2 proceeds. Notwithstanding this consideration, the principle of mineral extraction at this location accords with national and local minerals policies and the development would make a significant contribution to the Borough landbank requirement for supply of aggregates. Whilst there would be some unavoidable environmental impacts, these would be temporary and I am satisfied that conditions can secure appropriate controls, protection, and mitigation measures to prevent any unacceptable harm to interests of acknowledged importance. RECOMMENDATION For the reasons outlined above I recommend approval subject to the following conditions : (1) The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of three years from the date of this permission. Pursuant to the requirements of Section 51 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. (2) The development hereby permitted shall not be carried out except in complete accordance with the details shown on the submitted plans and details as follows : Planning Application Written Statement and Environmental Statement by Greenfield Associates dated 2nd December 2011 incorporating drawings numbers PA11-1 through to 13; and PFES1 through to 5; Drawing No. TPE/PFK/105 (March 2012); and supplementary Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment dated 30th March 2012 and incorporating drawings no's M10.164.05 through to 15. To ensure compliance with the approved plans and details to safeguard amenity and the quality of the environment in accordance with Policy ENV2 of the Solihull Unitary Development Plan 2006. (3) Prior to the commencement of work on site, all existing trees/hedges and large shrubs except those agreed for removal, shall be protected by barriers. Details of the type of fencing, its siting, and related tree protection measures (including a 7m minimum stand-off for trees) shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority in the form of a tree and hedgerow protection plan which should be at a scale appropriate to clearly show the trees/hedges, their RPAs, the tree fencing, the haul road, and all construction features close to trees. It is important that this plan is in a suitable format to be included in the site set-up documentation for the construction site manager. Thereafter the tree barriers shall be implemented and maintained on site as approved. The protected areas shall be kept free of all materials, equipment and building activity during the site development, and ground levels within the protected areas shall not be raised or lowered. To minimise disturbance to existing vegetation during development in accordance with Policy ENV14 ‘Trees and Woodlands’ of the Solihull UDP 2006. (4) No soil stripping or mineral extraction works shall be commenced until full details and timetable of all initial stage planting works have been approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. This shall include hedgerow planting along the boundary with Middle Bickenhill Lane and hedgerow trees as replacements for mature trees removed from the plant set-up area.and all planting shall be carried out in accordance with those details and at those times. To minimise the effect and enhance the character of the development in accordance with Policy ENV2 and ENV14 ‘Trees and Woodlands’ of Solihull UDP 2006. (5) Any tree, hedge or shrub scheduled for retention which is lost for any reason during development works, shall be replaced with a tree, hedge or shrub of a size and species to be agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority and planted during the first planting season after its loss. To retain the character of the landscape in accordance with Policy ENV14 ‘Trees and Woodlands’ of Solihull UDP 2006 (6) The site shall be restored to agricultural land at original levels, using imported inert materials, as indicated on the conceptual restoration plans no's PF11-12 and PFES5, in accordance with a detailed restoration scheme incorporating land levels, topsoiling, seeding, soft landscaping details, replacement tree and hedgerow planting details, an ecological and landscape management plan, and timetable for implementation to be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. Submitted details shall include details of plants, locations, species, sizes and densities, planting mixes and appropriate management regimes (including monitoring) to maintain landscape and ecological interest. The restoration scheme shall be implemented in accordance with the approved details and timetable unless otherwise agreed in writing by the local planning authority. Such scheme shall be submitted before sand and gravel extraction ends. To ensure a satisfactory standard of restoration in accordance with Policies ENV 11, 13 and 14 of Solihull UDP 2006. (7) No soil stripping works shall take place until the applicant, or their agents or successors in title, has secured the implementation of a programme of archaeological work in accordance with a written scheme of investigation which has been submitted by the applicant and approved in writing by the local planning authority. To ensure adequate opportunity for site research and recording in accordance with Policy ENV8 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (8) No extraction or processing works shall commence until a scheme has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority which specifies the provisions to be made for the control and monitoring of dust and particulates, including a timetable for implementation, to ensure that air quality standards are protected. Such approved provisions shall be implemented in accordance with the approved details and timetable and maintained for the duration of the works. In the interests of pollution control in accordance with Policy ENV15 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (9) The development hereby approved shall be carried out in accordance with the Traffic Management Plan, dated 29th November 2011, prepared by David Tucker Associates. To ensure the continued safe and effective operation of the A45, A452, and A446 trunk roads and the M42 and M6 motorways in accordance with Policy T1 of the Solihull UDP 2006.. (10) Prior to extraction and processing activities commencing on site, a weighbridge shall be installed and be operational within the site. A daily written record shall be maintained of the time of day of all vehicles exiting the site, and no more than six (6) delivery vehicles shall exit the site between the hours of 08:00 and 09:00. To ensure the continued safe and effective operation of the A45, A452, and A446 trunk roads and the M42 and M6 motorways in accordance with Policy T1 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (11) No vehicular deliveries shall be dispatched from the site outside the following times : 06:00 and 17:00. To ensure the continued safe and effective operation of the A45, A452, and A446 trunk roads and the M42 and M6 motorways in accordance with Policy T1 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (12) The development hereby permitted shall not be commenced until such time as a scheme to control the potential flooding from both the Hollywell Brook and from the site itself has been submitted to, and approved in writing by the local planning authority in consultation with the Environment Agency in liaison with Natural England and the Lead Local Flood Authority. Such scheme shall : 1. Ensure no raising of ground levels in areas that are predicted to flood from the Hollywell Brook and therefore no loss of floodplain storage that could worsen flooding for others. 2. Improve the existing surface water disposal system by removing the existing concrete weir across the Hollywell Brook in consultation with the EA. 3. Ensure continued access to the rivers on the site for future maintenance. 4. Produce a detailed surface water management plan for the site to ensure that no contamination (or wash-water) will enter the Hollywell Brook during operation and that any discharge from the site is only at rates comparable to the run-off that might be expected from the current site across a range of storm events. 5. Also produce a detailed model of the possible flooding that might occur, bearing in mind the existing and proposed hydraulic structures on the site and upstream at Pendigo Lake and provide an emergency flood procedure for what staff will do in the event of a flood of the site. The scheme shall be fully implemented and subsequently maintained, in accordance with the timing / phasing arrangements embodied within the scheme, or within any other period as may subsequently be agreed, in writing, by the local planning authority. 1. To prevent flooding by ensuring the preservation of existing floodwater storage volume. 2. To improve the carrying capacity of the Hollywell Brook and reduce flood risk on the site. 3. To allow for future maintenance. 4. To ensure the satisfactory storage of/disposal of surface water from the site and ensure no contamination in the rivers. 5. To reduce the impact of flooding on the proposed development and future occupants. In accordance with Policies ENV 12, 17 and 21 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (13) Notwithstanding the traffic management plan submitted, the development shall not commence until an addendum traffic management plan has been submitted to and approved by the LPA. Prior to the commencement of the development of for the lifetime of the development thereafter, the addendum traffic management plan shall be implemented as approved. The addendum traffic management plan shall provide for: 1. Commitment to work in partnership with the Council and local stakeholders to resolve so far reasonably practicable identified issues surrounding traffic connected with the site; 2. A named contact at the site who can be contacted in the event of an issues arising and who will record and respond to complaints with regard to vehicle routing; 3. A review of highway signing to the site on the local highway network and implementation of alterations agreed with the highway authority. In the interests of highway safety in accordance with Policy T1 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (14) The development shall not commence until a site access has been constructed in accordance with details to be submitted to and approved by the LPA. In the interests of highway safety in accordance with Policy T1 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (15) Prior to extraction and processing activities commencing on the site, a weighbridge shall be installed and be operational within the site. In the interests of highway safety in accordance with Policy T1 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (16) No lorries shall exit the site between the hours of 08:00 and 09:00 and 17:00 and 18:00. A daily written record of vehicle movements shall be maintained for the lifetime of the development to the time of day all vehicles enter and exit the site. In the interests of highway safety in accordance with Policy T1 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (17) There shall be no discharge of any foul or contaminated surface water from the site onto the public highway. In the interests of highway safety in accordance with Policy T1 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (18) The site access shall be kept clean and free of mud and other deleterious material at all times. In the interests of highway safety in accordance with Policy T1 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (19) No mud or deleterious material shall be deposited on the public highway. In the event that material is inadvertently deposited it shall be removed immediately. In the interests of highway safety in accordance with Policy T1 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (20) The wheel wash indicated on the plans hereby approved shall be installed at the site and maintained in a clean and functional condition at all times and shall be used as necessary by all lorries leaving the site. In the interests of highway safety in accordance with Policy T1 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (21) No loaded lorries shall enter or leave the site unless they are sheeted or the load is otherwise adequately secured. In the interests of highway safety in accordance with Policy T1 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (22) Mineral extraction shall not commence until full details of screening measures proposed to protect the amenities of the occupiers and users of Park Farm and associated buildings have been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The approved screening measures shall be implemented in accordance with the approved details and timetable. To protect amenity in accordance with Policy ENV2 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (23) All measures referred to in the plans and details hereby approved, to make the active site, and post-restoration site, as unattractive to birds as possible shall be fully implemented and retained for the duration of the development. In the interests of air safety in accordance with Policy T1 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (24) No sand and gravel extraction shall take place later than the expiration of the period of 15 years from the date of this permission and no landfill/waste deposit operations shall take place later than the expiration of 17 years from the date of this permission. To safeguard the Green Belt in accordance with Policy C2 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (25) No buildings or structures shall be erected except in accordance with details to be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. To safeguard the character and appearance of this Green belt location in accordance with Policy C2 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (26) Within 12 months of the cessation of mineral extraction from the site all equipment, machinery, buildings, plant, site roads and processing equipment not required for restoration shall be removed from the site. To safeguard the Green Belt in accordance with Policy C2 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (27) The soil storage bunds indicated on the approved plans shall not exceed 10 metres in height above existing ground levels. In the interests of visual amenity in accordance with Policy C8 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (28) There shall be no discharge of any foul or contaminated surface water from the site into either the ground water system or any surface water course. To prevent pollution of the water environment in accordance with Policy ENV 17 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (29) Unless otherwise agreed in writing by the local planning authority, the full depth of the topsoil and subsoil shall be stripped and stored for use in restoration of the site and none shall be removed from the site To ensure a satisfactory standard of restoration in accordance with Policies ENV11, 13, and 14 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (30) No soils shall be stripped or removed except when the full depth of soil to be stripped or otherwise transported is in a suitably dry and friable condition. Conditions shall be sufficiently dry for the top soil to be separated from the subsoil without difficulty and the ground is suitably dry to allow the passage of heavy goods vehicles and machinery over it without damage to the soils. Top and subsoils shall be stripped and stored separately. To preserve the quality and integrity of the soils in accordance with Policy C4 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (31) Soil storage mounds shall be constructed with the minimum amount of compaction necessary to ensure stability and shall not be traversed by heavy vehicles or machinery. To preserve the quality and integrity of the soils in accordance with Policy C4 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (32) Nothing other than materials of an inert nature shall be deposited on the site. To protect groundwater quality in accordance with Policy ENV17 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (33) All operations involving soil replacement and treatments shall be carried out when the full volume of soil involved is in a dry and friable condition to minimise soil damage and all reasonable precautions shall be taken to prevent the mixture of topsoil and subsoils with other material. To ensure the integrity of the soils in accordance with Policy C4 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (34) Three months prior to the replacement of any top soil, final soil cover or the completion of restoration works of any part of the site, whichever is the sooner, a detailed aftercare scheme for that area shall be submitted to the local planning authority for approval. The scheme shall specify the steps to be taken and the five-year period in which they are to be taken. Following written approval by the local planning authority the scheme shall be implemented accordingly. To ensure satisfactory restoration and aftercare of the site in accordance with Policies ENV11, 13, and 14 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (35) Except with the prior written agreement of the local planning authority, no operations authorised or required by this permission shall be carried out, and no plant or machinery shall be operated, other than during the following times : 06:00 to 18:00 Monday to Saturday and not at all on Sundays of Bank or Public Holidays. In the interests of the amenities of local residents in accordance with Policy ENV2 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (36) Plant and machinery shall not be operated at the site unless it is silenced at all times in accordance with best practicable standards. In the interests of the amenities of local residents in accordance with Policy ENV2 of the Solihull UDP 2006. The decision to grant planning permission has been taken having regard to the policies and proposals in the Solihull Unitary Development Plan 2006 set out below, together with all other relevant material considerations, including the Solihull Draft Local Plan Shaping a Sustainable Future, and the particular circumstances and reasons summarised below. RPG11 - Regional Spatial Strategy for the West Midlands 2008 QE1 - Conserving and Enhancing the Environment QE5 - Protection and enhancement of the Historic Environment QE6 - The conservation, enhancement and restoration of the Region's landscape QE7 - Protecting, managing and enhancing the Region's Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Resources QE9 - The Water Environment M1 - Mineral Working for Non-Energy Minerals M2 - Minerals - Aggregates T1 - Developing accessibility and mobility within the Region to support the Spatial Strategy Solihull UDP (2006) C2 - Control of Development in the Green belt M3 - Supply of Aggregates M4 - Mineral Extraction, Restoration and After-Care T1 - Transport ENV6 - Listed Buildings ENV8 - Archaeology ENV10 - Important Nature Conservation Sites ENV11 - Biodiversity ENV12 - River Blythe Catchment Area ENV13 - Wildlife ENV14 - Trees and Woodlands ENV17 - Water Protection ENV18 - Noise ENV20 - Water Conservation ENV21 - Flood Plains C8 - Landscape Quality Solihull Draft Local Plan - Shaping a Sustainable Future P8 - Managing Demand for Travel and Reducing Congestion P10 - Natural Environment P11 - Water Management P12 - Resource Management P13 - Minerals P14 - Amenity P16 - Conservation of Heritage Assets and Local Distinctiveness P17 - Countryside and Green Belt National Planning Policy Framework and Supplementary Technical Guidance In reaching this decision the Council is mindful of the particular circumstances and reasons set out below, namely: Whilst the HS2 scheme currently still has a lengthy statutory process to go through, it is sensible and necessary to assume at this time that it will go ahead, in which case there is a need to prevent the sterilisation of the identified mineral resource - within a timescale which does not conflict with the HS2 timetable. Notwithstanding this consideration, the principle of mineral extraction at this location accords with national and local minerals policies and the development would make a significant contribution to the Borough landbank requirement for supply of aggregates. Whilst there would be some unavoidable environmental impacts, these would be temporary and conditions can secure appropriate controls, protection, and mitigation measures to prevent any unacceptable harm to interests of acknowledged importance. Advice to applicant Under the terms of the Water Resources Act 1991, and the local land drainage byelaws, the prior written consent of the Environment Agency is required for any proposed works or structures, in, under, over or within 8 metres of the top of the bank of the Hollywell Brook, designated a ‘main river’. This will include all works within 8m of the river, the removal of the existing access culvert and construction of a new one, any alterations to the existing weir structure in the river or changes to tributaries of the river. The developer will also require Consent from Solihull Council as Lead Local Flood Authority for any works that will affect the stream joining the Hollywell Brook from the South. Separate permissions are likely to be needed from the Environment Agency for the discharge of the final settlement lagoon into the Hollywell Brook and for any abstraction of ground or river water on the site.
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