The British Talywain Near Pontypool Torfaen Spring _Talywain

Document Sample
The British Talywain Near Pontypool Torfaen Spring _Talywain Powered By Docstoc
					                         The British Planning Statement




      The British
       Talywain
    Near Pontypool
       Torfaen




Spring (Talywain) Limited




PLANNING STATEMENT
 (Reclamation Scheme)




       April 2008




       Prepared By




   Haywood House South
      Dumfries Place
     Cardiff CF10 3GA

        Ref: SJC/KS




                                                     1
                                                    The British Planning Statement




Contents:

                                                                           Page
Section 1: Introduction                                                       3
Section 2: The Site                                                           5
Section 3: Planning Policy                                                    7
Section 4: Summary and Conclusions                                           24

Appendix:

Appendix 1: Draft Masterplan
Appendix 2: Representations to Preferred Strategy
Appendix 3: Statement of Community Involvement




                                                                                2
                                                      The British Planning Statement




Section 1: Introduction
Atisreal has been instructed by Spring UR to prepare a Supporting Planning
Statement to accompany a planning application which seeks planning consent
for a land reclamation scheme involving ground stabilization (by the removal of
underground voids (including the removal of coal by opencast methods) and
treatment of mine entries), remediation of contamination and underground
surface drainage problems and restoration of the whole to part suitable for
development (including compaction).

The area of land subject of this application is identified on the Plan “Site
Boundary” submitted as part of the planning application package.

This Planning Statement should be read in conjunction with the other supporting
documentation, including the Design Statement, application form and
application drawings. This statement forms part of the Environmental
Statement.

We understand that accompanying this application, the following details and/or
information is required:


     •   Results of any preliminary surveys of resources.

     •   Confirmation of the market the excavated material is to supply
         and where are the nearest alternative resources.

     •   The estimated life of the resource, the quantity to be extracted
         yearly and details of the accompanying traffic movements.

     •   Method, direction and estimated rate of working with details of
         phasing and the estimated maximum depth of the excavations
         for any surface working.

     •   Details of any ancillary processes such as washing, screening
         and crushing and the siting and design of plant, equipment,
         buildings, settlement lagoons, surface water drainage
         arrangements, access to the highway.

     •   Details of the provisions for dealing with environmental issues
         and minimizing the potential nuisance from noise, dust,
         blasting etc.

     •   Details of the stripping and storing of topsoil, stockpile areas,
         waste disposal areas and screening and landscaping of the
         site.

     •   Proposals for dealing with overburden, and proposals for
         restoration and treatment of the land after extraction.


We confirm that each bullet point referred to above forms part of the
Environmental Statement submitted as part of the planning application and the
relevant information is contained therein.




                                                                                  3
                                                    The British Planning Statement




Statement Structure

Section Two of this Statement describes the site and surrounding area and
provides a description of the proposed development. Section Three considers
the relevant planning policy guidance. Section Four contains the summary and
conclusions.




                                                                                4
                                                         The British Planning Statement




Section 2: The Site
Site and Surrounding Area - Description of Development:

The Site is located approximately 3km north west of the settlement of Pontypool
and approximate 0.5km to the west of the village of Talywain, near Abersychan,
Torfaen. The application site comprises approximately 71 hectares of land set
within total land ownership of approximately 134 hectares.

The application site is bounded to the west by the slopes of the Byrgwm and
Waun Wen mountains which are bisected by the Cwm Sychan and Cwm
Byrgwm valleys. The eastern most extremity is defined by the embankment of
the disused railway line which separates the site from the residential edge of
Talywain. The northern boundary is defined by properties at Castle Wood and
an unclassified track which runs in an east to west direction and serves isolated
properties including Tyr-beili Farm. The southern boundary skirts around a
group of dwellings at Pant Glas and follows the existing boundary with Pentwyn
Rugby Ground.

The site is currently accessed by the B4246 and A4043 roads. In addition a
public right of way crosses the site and its diversion during the reclamation
process forms part of this planning application.

There are two vehicular accesses to the site from the B4246 road at Talywain:
to the north, Farm Road passes between old bridges abutments to join Albert
Road and Commercial Road; to the south, the Big Arch, a prominent brick-lined
tunnel, links the site with Lodge Road.

Current Land Use

Currently much of the site enjoys no beneficial use. Although the original
organic soil cover has been lost from the extensive derelict areas of the site
Castle Wood meadow, in the north of the site, is used for pony grazing and the
adjacent meadows have a history of management for hay cutting. There is
some sheep grazing of other parts of the site. A number of rights of way exist
within and adjoin the site and a cycle path on the railway embankment is part of
the Celtic Trail. Hence parts of the site have recreational usage. A high voltage
overhead electricity line on steel lattice supports crosses the eastern part of the
site from north to south. There are no occupied properties on the reclamation
site but a number of scattered dwellings are close to its boundaries including:

    •   cottages and bungalows along the northern perimeter at Castle Wood;
    •   a terrace of former industrial cottages known as Elizabeth Row adjacent
        to the south west boundary; and
    •   Brook Cottage, New Cottage and Bracken Lodge, at Pant Glas, on the
        southern perimeter of the site.

On higher ground to the north west of Farm Road are small scale industrial
premises, for sale at the time of writing but formerly occupied by ETM Steel
Fabrication.

The bulk of the settlement of Abersychan/Talywain lies to the east of the line of
the former railway and B4246.




                                                                                     5
                                                         The British Planning Statement




Description of Development

The planning application seeks consent for a land reclamation scheme involving
ground stabilization (by the removal of underground voids (including the
removal of coal by opencast methods) and treatment of mine entries),
remediation of contamination and underground surface drainage problems and
restoration of the whole to part suitable for development (including compaction)
(reference Section 4 of the accompanying Environmental Statement).

In addition, the public right of way currently crossing the site is proposed to be
temporarily diverted by way of this planning application and this is referred to in
the application form. Its current position, and proposed diversion route is
indicated on the plans attached. This development proposes the temporary
diversion following the route of the proposed access road. The temporary route
will enable development to progress in a safe manner whilst allowing members
of the public to cross the land by a newly formed commodious route.




                                                                                     6
                                                        The British Planning Statement




Section 3: Planning Policy
Policy Context:
This section sets out the key policy considerations relevant to the development.

National Planning Policy

1       Planning Policy Wales

Planning Policy Wales (herein referred to as “PPW”) was adopted in 2002. Its
broad objectives, which reflect both the sustainable development agenda and
the emerging priorities in the Wales Spatial Plan, should be taken into account
in the preparation of UDPs and in the control of development throughout Wales.

PPW confirms that planning policies and proposals should:

    •   Promote resource-efficient settlement patterns that minimise land-take
        (and especially extensions to the area of impermeable surfaces) and
        urban sprawl, especially through preference for the re-use of suitable
        previously developed land and buildings, wherever possible avoiding
        development on greenfield sites;

    •   Locate developments so as to minimise the demand for travel,
        especially by private car;

    •   Contribute to climate protection by encouraging land uses that result in
        reduced emissions of greenhouse gases, in particular energy-efficient
        development, and promoting the use of energy from renewable
        sources; and

    •   Promote access to employment, shopping, education, health,
        community, leisure and sports facilities and open and green space,
        maximising opportunities for community development and social
        welfare recognising the strengths of urban communities, which are
        home to the majority of the population of Wales. The Assembly
        Government’s priorities for urban areas are, through integrated
        approaches, to secure environmentally-sound and socially inclusive
        regeneration in those urban areas which require it, so that they become
        more desirable places in which to live and work

The Guidance states that, in their land allocation policies and proposals, local
planning authorities should promote sustainable patterns of development,
identifying previously developed land and buildings.

(i) Preference for the re-use of land

PPW confirms that previously developed (or brownfield) land should, wherever
possible, be used in preference to greenfield sites. The Assembly Government
recognises that not all previously developed land is suitable for development.
However, The British site has been acknowledged by Torfaen Council as being
suitable for redevelopment by virtue of its allocation in the Local Plan and its
continued reference in the recently published Preferred Strategy. In addition,
work undertaken previously not only with Spring UR but other previous owners
of the site, provides the explicit intention of the Council in wishing to see this
site brought forward for development.




                                                                                    7
                                                        The British Planning Statement




This is a brownfield site in need of reclamation and decontamination, which will
in turn lead to a strategically important development site, helping to inform and
deliver not only the goals of the Adopted Local Plan, but also the aspirations of
the Local Development Plan’s Preferred Strategy.

PPW confirms that many previously developed sites in built-up areas may be
considered suitable for development because their re-use will promote
sustainability objectives. This includes sites:

(a) In and around existing settlements where there is vacant or under-
used land, commercial property or housing;

Comment
The British site is a substantial land holding situated around the settlement of
Talywain, Torfaen. It is currently vacant and underused, and an area of land
classed as previously developed. It is extremely well located to the existing road
network, with excellent links both to the north and south of the County Borough.
It is situated close to existing residential development and community facilities
and its reuse will secure major sustainability objectives in this regard.

(b) In suburban areas close to public transport nodes which might
support more intensive use for housing or mixed use;

Comment
The accompanying Transportation Assessment has produced details of existing
public transportation links and nodes that indicate that development at a scale
of that proposed (in terms of the after use application to be submitted at a later
date) can be accommodated. It also indicates that the road network throughout
the site will be constructed to a scale that can accommodate public transport
movements ensuring a sustainable form of development.

(c) Sites which secure land for urban extensions and sites which facilitate
the regeneration of existing communities.

Comment
The British could certainly be viewed as an urban extension given the size of
the land holding. Its redevelopment is sustainable in that securing development
on this brownfield site will enable other Greenfield, more sensitive sites located
within the County Borough can be safeguarded against inappropriate
development. It is anticipated that The British will become part of the settlement
of Talywain and provide an acceptable urban extension to it. Its development
will regenerate a disused and underused parcel of land, and also help to
facilitate the regeneration of the existing community.

(ii) Dealing with unstable and contaminated land

PPW, in dealing with unstable and contaminated land, indicates that the
planning system should guide development to lessen the risk from natural or
human-made hazards, including risk from land instability and land
contamination. The aim is not to prevent the development of such land, rather
to ensure that development is suitable and that the physical constraints on the
land are taken into account at all stages of the planning process. However,
responsibility for determining the extent and effects of instability or other risk
remains that of the developer. It is for the developer to ensure that the land is
suitable for the development proposed, as a planning authority does not have a
duty of care to landowners.

This element has been borne out by the considerable amount of work
undertaken in preparing for this application, informing the accompanying



                                                                                    8
                                                         The British Planning Statement




Environmental Statement. This work has been undertaken in liaison with the
local planning authority to ensure they have been informed throughout the
process.

This application will stabilize the site and address any contamination issues.

2       Minerals Planning Policy Wales (2000)
        Draft Coaling TAN (2008)

The introduction to Minerals Planning Policy Wales (Adopted 2000) sets out the
land use planning policy guidance of the National Assembly in relation to
mineral extraction and related development, which includes all minerals and
substances in, on or under land extracted either by underground or surface
working.

The Policy confirms that the planning system has a fundamental role in
providing a framework within which sound and consistent decisions on mineral
development proposals can be taken. It goes on to state that authorities should
seek through their development plan policies and decisions to take account of
all costs and benefits associated with mineral working in accordance with the
principles of the Assembly’s Sustainable Development Scheme. The main aims
relate to minerals planning as follows:

    •   Social progress which recognises the needs of everyone: to provide for
        the benefits of increased prosperity through an adequate supply of
        minerals that society needs now and in the future, together with
        protecting and improving amenity;

    •   Effective protection of the environment: to protect things that are highly
        cherished for their intrinsic qualities, such as wildlife, landscapes and
        historic features; and to protect human health and safety by ensuring
        that environmental impacts caused by mineral extraction and
        transportation are within acceptable limits; and to secure, without
        compromise, restoration and aftercare to provide for appropriate and
        beneficial after-use;

    •   Prudent use of natural resources: to help conserve non-renewable
        resources for future generations through efficient use, recycling and
        minimisation of waste to protect renewable resources from serious
        harm or pollution; and to promote the use of appropriate alternative
        materials;

    •   Maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth: to ensure an
        adequate supply of minerals that are needed at prices that are
        reasonable and to safeguard mineral resources for future generations.

The Guidance goes on to say that it is likely that society needs, and will
continue to need for the foreseeable future, a wide range of minerals. The
essential role of mineral planning authorities in relation to mineral working is to
ensure that a proper balance is struck between that fundamental requirement,
the need to ensure a prudent use of finite resources, and the protection of
existing amenity and the environment. Any effects on local communities and the
environment must be minimised, and thereafter ameliorated to an acceptable
standard. The overriding objective is to provide a sustainable pattern of mineral
extraction by adhering to five key principles that authorities must take into
account in development control and when formulating unitary development plan
policies.

These key principles are to:



                                                                                     9
                                                          The British Planning Statement




(i) Provide mineral resources to meet society’s needs and to safeguard
resources from sterilization:

Comment
The reclamation scheme proposed will enable the extraction of mineral
resources, from a sustainable site, in need of restoration and redevelopment. It
is a site acknowledged as a key development area within the County Borough
of Torfaen and its reclamation will provide an economic solution to that
reclamation, whilst at the same time ensuring that the coaling resources within
the site are not sterilized for the future.

(ii) Protect areas of importance to natural or built heritage:

Comment
Whilst the Environmental Statement acknowledges that there will be some
impact on the natural environment during the stages of reclamation, the
conclusions do consider that those initial impacts will be negated by the
proposed mitigation measures and future end use and aftercare proposition. In
addition, the Environmental Statement concludes that bulk excavation will
remove any archaeological features that currently survive within the extraction
area, comprising the Coke Ovens, the Brickworks, lime kiln, tramways and
mineral railways. However, there will be no direct impact on those features
which lie outside this area including the two Scheduled Ancient Monuments, the
Listed Buildings and the main complex of the Iron Works.

It has been established by the Environmental Statement that the current
evidence indicates there are no archaeological sites within the proposed
reclamation scheme that pre-date the Post-Medieval period. The various
studies undertaken to date have also established that there are a number of
features relating to the 19th century Iron Works known as the British, including
Scheduled Monuments and Listed buildings with the site. However, the
reclamation scheme has been designed to ensure that there is no direct impact
upon these structures. These surviving remains do not warrant preservation in
situ, but do merit preservation by record. This may be achieved through a
programme of archaeological works undertaken prior to extraction and secured
through a planning condition attached to the planning permission.

(iii) Limit the environmental impact of mineral extraction:

Comment
The Environmental Statement concludes that The British supports a mosaic of
habitat types, including those which are considered semi-natural such as Beech
Woodland and those that have clearly established as a result of the industrial
heritage of the site such as the vegetated mounds of colliery spoil and railway
embankment to east. Agricultural habitats in the form of acid and neutral
grassland are evident, particularly in the northern and north western parts of the
site.

There are no nationally designated sites within The British but, due to its
relatively undisturbed nature, several areas have developed into areas
encompassing ecological features and support flora and fauna, including
reptiles, nesting birds, bats and invertebrates. The reclamation proposals will
result in direct habitat loss and fragmentation, together with potential for indirect
impacts on adjoining habitats due to disturbance, (e.g. noise, light) dust
deposition and changes to the hydrological regime. The railway embankment
along the eastern boundary would be retained, except for one section, together
with its associated habitats. To mitigate for the loss of habitats the
Environmental Statement proposes to enhance the value of land within the



                                                                                     10
                                                           The British Planning Statement




ownership of the applicant but outside the site and translocate certain species,
including:

    •   Enhancement of grassland areas at Hay Meadow and in Cwm Sychan
        valley;
    •   Enhancement of off-site heathland at British Top Tip and lower Cwm
        Byrgwm Tip using turves from on-site heathland;
    •   Control of Bracken within British Heath and Cwm Byrgwm Valley;
    •   Translocation of reptiles from within the reclamation boundary to the
        railway embankment, Cwm Byrgwm and British Heath.

It is considered that the above will limit the environmental impact of mineral
extraction scheme.

(iv) Achieve high standard restoration and beneficial after-use:

The reclamation scheme at the British will remediate and reprofile a degrading
site as well as play a significant role in the revitalisation of the local economy by
creating a stable landform ready for future development. The subsequent
restoration will be of a high standard as indicated in the Environmental
Statement and the after-use proposed (to be subject to the a separate planning
application) will enable the development of a sustainable extension to the
settlement of Talywain, providing social and economic benefits to the wider
community.

(v) Encourage efficient and appropriate use of minerals and the re-use and
recycling of suitable materials:

The accompanying Environmental Statement has indicated that the proposed
method of reclamation encourages the efficient and appropriate use of minerals.
In considering the possible remedial strategies for the site it was necessary to
take full account of the impact of abandoned mine workings and mine entrances
on the site and also that of the spoil tips, in the event of instability. The principal
issue was public safety with any remedial measures needing to be robust and
effective in this respect. Remedial measures were also required to not
unreasonably compromise future land use proposals for the site. Coupling all
these issues together has led to the proposed scheme which we consider fulfils
this particular element.

Buffer Zones

Paragraph 40 of MPPW relates to “Buffer Zones” and states that there can be
conflict between mineral workings and other land uses as a result of the
environmental impact of noise and dust from mineral extraction and processing.
Buffer zones have been used by mineral planning authorities for some time to
provide areas of protection around permitted and proposed mineral workings
where new development which could be sensitive to adverse impact, including
residential areas, hospitals, schools, should be resisted.

Whilst usually within the buffer zone, there should be no new mineral extraction
or new sensitive development, the Draft Technical Advice Note on Coaling does
provide exemption clauses. With particular reference to The British site, the
latest Consultation Draft of the Coal TAN (February 2008) states that open cast
schemes should be allowed to move forward if they are:

              to remediate land damaged by shallow coal workings or mine
              waste, where coal extraction is the most sustainable option;

              for reasons of health and safety and/or



                                                                                      11
                                                           The British Planning Statement




              when the proposal is of overriding significance for regeneration,
              employment and economy in the local area.

We deal with each of these in turn.

(i) Remediate land damaged by shallow coal workings or mine waste,
where coal extraction is the most sustainable option;

The Environmental Statement has reviewed a number of options in dealing with
the land at The British.

In considering the possible remedial strategies for the site it was necessary to
take full account of the impact of abandoned mine workings and mine entrances
on the site and also that of the spoil tips, in the event of instability. The principal
issue was public safety with any remedial measures needing to be robust and
effective in this respect. Remedial measures were also required to not
unreasonably compromise future land use proposals for the site.

The chosen strategy for dealing, in principal, with the mining hazards on the site
was bulk excavation. This entails excavation of the mineral horizons to remove
any remaining voids in the ground, and then replace the excavated spoil as an
engineered, compacted backfill. It constitutes a robust and comprehensive
method of treatment for the following reasons:

    •   Remaining coal can be recovered in the operation, helping to finance
        the remediation.
    •   Any remaining voids or shaft going to greater depth encountered in the
        excavation floor can be positively sealed to provide a sound surface on
        which to place the backfill.
    •   A satisfactory depth of compacted backfill would be sufficient to
        preclude migration to surface any voids that remain below the
        excavation base.
    •   Future use of the final restored surface is not unduly compromised.
    •   Safe working is relatively straightforward since this operation would be
        carried out by very large plant, removing hazards as the works
        progress.

Table 3.2 of the Environmental Statement compares reclamation techniques
and on the basis of the comparisons, the option of treating the mine entrances
and mine workings was discarded as a principal means of reclaiming the site
because of cost, the extent of environmental disturbance (no better than bulk
excavation), the uncertainty of hydrogeological impacts and the safety of
implementation.

(ii) Health and safety issues

The accompanying Environmental Statement has indicated that the principal
issue with regard to proposing a coaling scheme to reclaim The British was
public safety with any remedial measures needing to be robust and effective in
this respect.

A number of options were considered in dealing with existing ground conditions
on site and these are referred to in the Environmental Assessment. They have
been discounted for a number of reasons, many of which relate to health and
safety issues. For example, mine entrances or collapse features are sometimes
secured by fencing to prevent accidental access to a dangerous location. In
conjunction with warning signs, this approach can be regarded as a reasonable
response in the short term, i.e. until a more permanent solution can be


                                                                                      12
                                                         The British Planning Statement




implemented. Notwithstanding the effectiveness of fencing such a large area,
since the purpose of the reclamation scheme is that of facilitating the economic
regeneration and redevelopment of the site, this option was discarded as being
neither viable nor offering a permanent solution.

In addition, when one considers the option of removing the subsidence hazards
associated with abandoned shallow mine workings and to fill in any remaining
voids in the worked horizons by drilling into them and injecting grout a number
of health and safety issues must be considered. Significant pollution risks are
associated with accidental escapes of grout to watercourses. Given the
complexity of connections between the various mineral horizons and the many
known (and unknown) links to the surface water system, it would be difficult to
guarantee that pollution incidents would not occur. Further, the process would
be very disruptive. Taken together with the treatment of mine entrances, the
necessary access arrangements to allow earth moving plant and drilling rigs to
cross the site would result in virtually all of the surface vegetation and much of
the industrial landscape being destroyed. This method of treatment, therefore,
has little environmental advantage over bulk excavation and in addition, the
safety aspect of operating small plant and drilling rigs, with the risk of collapse
of the surface beneath, is also a material factor.

Finally, when one considers the chosen strategy for dealing, in principal, with
the mining hazards on the site (bulk excavation), safe working is relatively
straightforward since this operation would be carried out by very large plant,
removing hazards as the works progress.

It is considered permitting the reclamation works proposed will enable the
landowner to make the site safe, an extremely important issue with regard to its
future stability and role as a General Development Area as designated in the
Adopted Torfaen Local Plan.

(ii) A proposal is of overriding significance for regeneration, employment
and economy in the local area.

Given the Local Planning Authority’s previous objections to the original Draft
Coal TAN and our understanding that they will offer their views on this latest
version in support of the above clauses, we consider The British is precisely the
type of major strategic site the exemption clauses anticipate, borne out by the
Local Plan allocation and inclusion in the Torfaen Preferred Strategy. In
addition, the Authority will be aware of the proposed after-uses indicated on the
indicative masterplan accompanying the Environmental Statement and this
Planning Statement (as Appendix 1).

As borne out by the Adopted Local Plan, The British comprises a large area of
derelict land that has been the subject of detailed investigation by the County
Borough Council and various landowners over a number of years. The
preparation of the site requires major land reclamation works to create a
landform suitable for the development proposed. Once reclaimed it is
considered that the site is capable of accommodating a mix of uses including,
inter alia, housing, local shopping facilities, cultural and tourism opportunities,
community uses and formal and informal open space. The realisation of the full
development potential of this site is an important part of strategic planning
policy and indicates that its redevelopment is of overriding significance for the
regeneration of not only the local area, but also of the wider County Borough.

Restoration and Aftercare

The MPPW seeks satisfactory and suitable restoration following reclamation
schemes. Restoration and aftercare should provide the means to enhance the



                                                                                    13
                                                        The British Planning Statement




long-term quality of land and landscapes taken for mineral extraction. This will
be to the benefit of local communities and ensure that a valuable natural asset
will be passed on to future generations.

After-Use

In discussions with the Local Planning Authority, the after-use for the
reclamation scheme has proposed. The Policy Guidance states that various
after-uses may include a whole host of uses. It also confirms that a separate
planning permission is likely to be required for any after-use. In this particular
circumstance, Spring UR’s advisers are preparing a planning application to
seek redevelopment of the site once reclamation has taken place. Whilst this
after-use has not been formalized, in discussions with the Council and local
residents, the general uses sought include residential, community,
neighbourhood shopping facilities, employment and commercial uses.

The guiding principles determining the potential after-use of a site should form
part of the application submission for proposed mineral extraction, although
flexibility and review will often be necessary during the life of the mineral
operations. Using the guiding principles as a framework, and even for long term
working sites, there must be a defined and acceptable minimum standard of
restoration outlined at the application stage. To maximise the opportunities
provided by the reclamation operation, it is essential that consultation is
undertaken with the mineral planning authority (Torfaen Council in this case)
prior to the submission of the application for mineral extraction to determine the
most sensible guiding principles and thus the most appropriate after-use of the
restored land.

Spring UR have held detailed discussions with the Local Authority in providing a
scheme and an indicative masterplan (attached herewith as Appendix 1) has
been submitted with this reclamation application to indicate potential end uses.
Where development is not intended to take place for a prolonged period, those
areas will be hydro-seeded. Areas of permanent strategic landscaping (as
indicated in Figure 10 of the Environmental Statement) will be the subject of
advance planting schemes – the precise nature of which will be determined by
the masterplan proposals

Energy Minerals - Coal

The Policy confirms that proposals for opencast or deep-mine development or
colliery spoil disposal will be expected to meet the following requirements:

    •   The proposal should be environmentally acceptable or can be made so
        by planning conditions or obligations, and there must be no lasting
        environmental damage;

        Comment:
        We consider the accompanying Environmental Statement indicates that
        the proposal is acceptable environmentally and that, ultimately, the
        environment will benefit from this proposal.

    •   If this cannot be achieved, it should provide local or community benefits
        which clearly outweigh the disbenefits of likely impacts to justify the
        grant of planning permission;

        Comment:
        We consider this can be achieved, however, in addition, the end use
        proposed will provide local and community benefits and is in line with
        the policy of Torfaen Council.



                                                                                   14
                                                       The British Planning Statement




    •   In National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs),
        proposals must also meet the additional tests set out in paragraph 21
        above; within or likely to affect Sites of Special Scientific Interest
        (SSSIs), National Nature Reserves (NNRs), Special Protection Areas
        (SPAs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Ramsar Sites must
        meet the additional tests set out in paragraphs 23 and 25 above;

        Comment:
        Where relevant this has been reviewed in the Ecological Chapter of the
        Environmental Statement.

    •   Land will be restored to a high standard and to a beneficial and suitable
        after-use.

        Comment:
        We confirm that the Environmental Statement indicates that a high level
        of restoration will be achieved at The British and that a beneficial and
        suitable after-use will be sought by subsequent planning application.
        Where development is not intended to take place for a prolonged
        period, those areas will be hydro-seeded. Areas of permanent strategic
        landscaping (as indicated in Figure 10 of the Environmental Statement)
        will be the subject of advance planting schemes – the precise nature of
        which will be determined by the masterplan proposals.

Local Planning Policy

The current development plan consists of two documents: the adopted Gwent
Structure Plan and the Adopted Local Plan for the County Borough of Torfaen.
These plans cover the fifteen-year period from 1991 to 2006, although Torfaen
have confirmed that they will remain in force until the new Local Development
Plan (LDP) is adopted by the Council.

The Gwent Structure Plan was adopted by the former Gwent County Council in
1996, and covers the five former districts of Blaenau Gwent, Islwyn, Newport,
Monmouth and Torfaen. Its main purpose is to provide a broad policy
framework for determining planning applications, and to guide the preparation of
local plans.

Following the reorganisation of Local Government in Wales in 1996, the new
County Borough of Torfaen published the Adopted Local Plan for the County
Borough of Torfaen in 2000. Its main purpose is to interpret the Gwent Structure
Plan at a local level, providing guidance for development control decisions and
coordinating investment in the development and use of land.

Gwent Structure Plan (Adopted 1996)

Paragraph 2.4 of the GSP states that the overall goal of the future strategy for
Gwent is to accommodate the necessary growth required while minimising its
impact, and where possible enhancing the environment and quality of life. The
main objectives of this Replacement Structure Plan are:

    1. to develop land-use and transport policies which seek to reflect the
       principle of sustainable development;

    2. to maintain and improve the living standards of the people of Gwent;

    3. to improve the economic prosperity of Gwent;




                                                                                  15
                                                            The British Planning Statement




    4. to maintain and enhance the countryside and built environment of
       Gwent.

The above should be achieved by - directly - providing local jobs, homes and
community facilities and removing eyesores, and - indirectly - by avoiding the
loss of greenfield sites. The GSP confirms that there are still areas of derelict or
underused land within or adjoining the urban areas of Gwent. Much of this could
be put to a positive use without adverse impact on surrounding land uses or
leading to the loss of valuable open space or countryside. The British is a prime
example of this.

Urban Regeneration

Policy E3 of the GSP relates to urban regeneration.

It states:


 E3: THE DEVELOPMENT OF DERELICT, UNDERUSED AND VACANT
 URBAN LANDAND THE CONVERSION OF SUITABLE URBAN BUILDINGS
 WILL BE ENCOURAGED FOR APPROPRIATE EMPLOYMENT AND
 OTHER USES PROVIDED THEY ARE COMPATIBLE WITH SURROUNDING
 LAND USES, ARE ENVIRONMENTALLY ACCEPTABLE AND HAVE
 ADEQUATE ACCESS.


The supporting text continues to say that in many towns in Gwent there are
areas of land which are derelict, underused or vacant.

Paragraph 3.27 of the Plan explains that urban regeneration must be
considered in the wider context. A fully integrated approach to the issues should
be adopted. Urban regeneration involves a number of initiatives ranging from
site redevelopment to environmental improvements to the street scene as well
as including all aspects of economic development, community development and
training.

Derelict Land

Policy L1 of the GSP relates to derelict land. It states:


 L1: PARTICULAR ENCOURAGEMENT WILL BE GIVEN TO THE
 RECLAMATION OF DERELICT LAND AND TO MEASURES WHICH
 PREVENT ADDITIONAL, OR REVERSION TO, DERELICTION. USES OF
 RECLAIMED LAND CONFORMING TO OTHER POLICIES OF THIS PLAN
 WILL BE DEFINED IN LOCAL PLANS.


The supporting text explains that derelict land is generally understood to be land
which is so damaged by industrial or other development that it is incapable of
beneficial use without treatment. Not all land disturbed by man's past activities
is derelict; natural regeneration has often created a sufficiently beneficial use or
there may be a heritage value. Care must be taken to ensure that resources for
reclamation are directed where necessary community benefits will result and
features of scientific or historical interest are not unnecessarily damaged. Public
safety will of course be the primary objective and Spring UR (as well as the
Draft Consultation TAN) acknowledge this.




                                                                                       16
                                                       The British Planning Statement




The Plan goes on to say that minerals provide energy (coal, oil and gas),
construction materials (hard rock, sand and gravel) and the raw materials for
manufacturing industry (eg limestone). Minerals are therefore indispensable and
provision must be made to ensure an adequate and continuing supply. For
many years Gwent was a major source of such minerals and the County
continues to supply local and regional needs. Continuing supplies are a
necessary contribution to the economic growth and regeneration of the area.

As mentioned above, an indicative masterplan accompanies this application
(attached herewith as Appendix 1) providing the basis for a further planning
application to allow development of the site once reclamation has taken place.
This should provide certainty to the Council for the after-use.

In addition, the Environmental Statement explains that the restoration proposals
relate to landform only. Where development is not intended to take place for a
prolonged period, those areas will be hydro-seeded. Areas of permanent
strategic landscaping (as indicated in Figure 10 of the Environmental
Statement) will be the subject of advance planting schemes – the precise nature
of which will be determined by the masterplan proposals.

Policies - General Mineral Development

Policy M1 relates to mineral development. It states:


 Ml: PROPOSALS FOR MINERAL DEVELOPMENT WILL BE CONSIDERED
 AGAINST THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA AS APPROPRIATE:

         i) THE ACCEPTABILITY OF THE IMPACT UPON NEIGHBOURING
         COMMUNITIES OF THE OPERATIONS AND ASSOCIATED
         WORKS, PAYING PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO NOISE,
         VIBRATION, DUST AND SAFETY;

         ii) THE CONSEQUENCES OF TRAFFIC MOVEMENTS LIKELY TO
         BE GENERATED BY THE PROPOSAL;

         iii) THE EFFECT ON THE LANDSCAPE OF THE AREA IN BOTH
         THE NEAR AND LONG TERM;

         iv) THE EFFECT ON SURFACE AND SUBSURFACE DRAINAGE
         AND WATER SUPPLIES IN BOTH THE NEAR AND LONG TERM;

         v) THE EFFECT ON THE NATURE CONSERVATION INTERESTS
         OF THE SITE AND ADJOINING AREAS IN BOTH THE NEAR AND
         LONG TERM, PAYING PARTICULAR REGARD TO AREAS
         DESIGNATED FOR NATURE CONSERVATION PURPOSES;

         vi) THE EFFECT ON AGRICULTURAL INTERESTS IN THE AREA
         IN BOTH THE NEAR AND LONG TERM;

         vii) THE EFFECT ON ARCHAEOLOGICAL INTERESTS IN THE
         AREA IN BOTH THE NEAR AND LONG TERM;

         viii) THE DURATION OF THE OPERATIONS, RESTORATION AND
         AFTER CARE WORKS;

         ix) THE ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTION OF THE PROPOSALS
         INCLUDING THE NEED FOR THE MINERAL, ALTERNATIVE
         SOURCES OF SUPPLY, ALTERNATIVE MATERIALS AND THE



                                                                                  17
                                                          The British Planning Statement




         EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES LIKELY TO BE PROVIDED;

         x) THE EXISTING NATURE AND CONDITION OF THE PROPOSED
         SITE AND EXTENT AND NATURE OF ANY IMPROVEMENTS THAT
         WILL RESULT FROM THE OPERATIONS;

         xi) THE LIKELIHOOD OF MINERALS BEING STERILISED BY
         OTHER FORMS OF DEVELOPMENT;

         xii) THE EXTENT OF DAMAGE TO OR INTERFERENCE WITH, OR
         IMPROVEMENT TO AND ENHANCEMENT OF, OTHER EXISTING
         OR PROPOSED USES AND AMENITIES.


In addition, with regard to coaling, Policy M5 pertains. It states:


 M5: APPLICATIONS FOR THE OPENCAST MINING OF COAL WILL BE
 EXAMINED AGAINST THE CRITERIA OF POLICY M1. THAT
 EXAMINATION WILL BE PARTICULARLY STRINGENT WHERE SUCH
 DEVELOPMENT WOULD BE LARGE SCALE OR LIKELY TO CAUSE
 LONG TERM OR EXCESSIVE NEAR TERM ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE
 OR DISTURBANCE TO NEARBY COMMUNITIES.


Dealing with both these policies together, the accompanying Environmental
Statement covers the issues mentioned above and the summary assessment
tables 14.1 and 14.2 demonstrate that most of the temporary environmental
impacts during the duration of the reclamation scheme fall into the range minor
to major adverse whilst the permanent environmental impacts are
overwhelmingly beneficial. This is what would be expected of a reclamation
scheme of this type, in which a period of disruption and loss of amenity is a
necessary pre-requisite to remediation of dereliction, regeneration and
revitalisation of the area.

Having regard to the scale and nature of the development and those receptors
open to adverse environmental impacts - primarily those of noise, dust and
visual intrusion – there is a counterweight afforded by the social and economic
benefits (particularly in the long term) of new jobs and the financial injection into
the local economy, together with the community benefits of remediation of an
unsafe site.

As with all developments, however, the costs and benefits are not evenly
distributed and are not necessarily balanced for individuals. Clearly, the nearest
residents and receptors will experience the greatest impacts and some of these
will be cumulative regardless of magnitude eg loss of view, increases in noise
and disturbance, changes to amenity and so on. Whilst the cumulative impacts
upon them should not be underestimated or disregarded, nonetheless, for the
wider community the reclamation of The British is a key component of
sustainable regeneration and growth.

The investigative work undertaken by Spring UR’s advisers indicates how
stringent the examination of the site has been. In addition, it must be noted that
this application seeks permission to opencast a site for a time-limited period to
enable reclamation and a suitable after-use to occur.

Looking at the specific criteria of Policy N1 we comment:




                                                                                     18
                                                         The British Planning Statement




The acceptability of the impact upon neighbouring communities of the
operations and associated works, paying particular attention to noise,
vibration, dust and safety:

The existing site has extensive areas of unmade, non-vegetated ground giving
rise to wind erosion of soil and hence, dust emissions in the local area. The
reclamation scheme will entail substantial earthmoving and extraction activities
which would also give rise to dust emissions with subsequent potential impact in
terms of dust nuisance and elevated fine particle (referred to as PM10)
concentrations. The bulk excavations with coal recovery would take place close
to residential properties. Application of standard dust mitigation measures would
reduce the potential impact in terms of dust nuisance and elevated PM10
concentrations to within acceptable limits for the majority of the time. However,
during dry conditions when operations take place close to housing, nuisance
from dust is expected and careful management is required to avoid its
occurrence.

The increase in road traffic on local highways would have no significant air
quality impact.

With regard to noise, progressive working and restoration will mean a short
duration of activity at any one location. Impact predictions, however, indicate
noise levels in excess of target criteria (55dBA) at various sensitive locations
around the site, including noise attenuation from proposed bunds and
overburden mounds.

In order to keep noise to an acceptable level for normal site working, additional
measures, including the provision of bunds above 5m and the use of close
board fencing, will be tailored to those locations most affected. Noise can be
further reduced by the use of smaller quieter plant, where practicable, and the
careful location of haul routes and proper maintenance. All equipment will
comprise sound reduced models and regular noise monitoring will be
undertaken to ensure that agreed levels are adhered to. A complaints response
system will be established, in addition to the proposed Liaison Committee, to
deal with noise incidents. Pro-active management systems should, however,
pre-empt the occurrence of such incidents ensuring their prevention

The consequences of traffic movements likely to be generated by the
proposal:

The traffic projections indicate that there could be up to around 260 daily vehicle
movements during the bulk excavation phase of the reclamation work. Most of
these would be attributable to staff car journeys to and from work rather than
the exportation of the coal by heavy goods vehicles, which would account for
approximately 42 movements. This amounts to an increase in traffic on the
B4246 of under 3%. It is proposed to route all coal exportation goods vehicles to
and from the south, avoiding the World Heritage site at Blaenavon. A Transport
Implementation Strategy has been devised to provide a formal basis for
securing safeguards regarding vehicle routing and road condition, as well as a
means of outlining commitments to ensuring any local disruption is minimised.

The effect on the landscape of the area in both the near and long term:

The site’s location and its local landscape character are such that no significant
detriment to the landscape character and appearance of the wider locality would
be likely to result from the proposed development. While there will be some
modest gains to the landscape structure such as the restored watercourse of
the Cwm Sychan Brook, these will be balanced by the loss of scrub and




                                                                                    19
                                                          The British Planning Statement




heathland habitats. Part removal of the old rail embankment to locate a new
access point just north of the Big Arch will open up the site to the east.

In the long term the reclaimed landform will form an excellent basis for a
Masterplan where major landscape infrastructure proposals will form a key part
of regenerating this part of the valley landscape. Without the scheme the site
will continue to degrade. The loss of existing vegetation and tree cover is an
unavoidable impact during the reclamation works but the principal impact will be
on the visual amenity of nearby residents at Castle Wood, Elizabeth Row and
Pant Glas. Although noise bunds will screen the working surfaces, these
mitigation features will temporarily cut off the majority of the long attractive
views across the valley. The overburden mounds will be bulky/high features in
the southern part of the site.

The effect on surface and subsurface drainage and water supplies in both
the near and long term:

A new surface watercourse will be constructed early in the reclamation scheme
to convey the streams through the site in a new open channel designed to meet
modern standards. It will flow sinuously through a green corridor and form a
significant wetland feature. Flows from the new channel will be discharged off-
site via a new culvert constructed under Lodge Road before discharging into the
open channel section of the Cwm Sychan Brook downstream of the site. Flows
will be attenuated with flood storage being provided within lower lying land in
the vicinity of Big Arch. The existing Golynos Watercourse would continue to
function as a mine water drain and would not be disturbed by the proposed
works.

The primary impact would be permanent resolution of existing surface water
drainage problems caused by the antiquity of the existing site system. Coal
washing and water treatment facilities are likely to be required during
reclamation scheme to safeguard water quality in the Cwm Sychan Brook.
Water will be treated in a series of stilling ponds located within the southern part
of the excavation, allowing water to be filtered prior to discharge to the realigned
channel.

The effect on the nature conservation interests of the site and adjoining
areas in both the near and long term, paying particular regard to areas
designated for nature conservation purposes and the effect on
agricultural interests in the area in both the near and long term:

The reclamation proposals, entailing extensive earthworks and an almost total
vegetation strip, will result in direct habitat loss and fragmentation, together with
potential for indirect impacts on adjoining habitats due to disturbance, (e.g.
noise, light) dust deposition and changes to the hydrological regime. Agricultural
habitats in the form of acid and neutral grassland are evident, particularly in the
northern and north western parts of the site.

The railway embankment along the eastern boundary would be retained, except
for one section, together with its associated habitats.

To mitigate for the loss of habitats it is proposed to enhance the value of land
within the ownership of the applicant but outside the site and translocate certain
species, including:

    •   Enhancement of grassland areas at Hay Meadow and in Cwm Sychan
        valley;
    •   Enhancement of off-site heathland at British Top Tip and lower Cwm
        Byrgwm Tip using turves from on-site heathland;



                                                                                     20
                                                         The British Planning Statement




    •    Control of Bracken within British Heath and Cwm Byrgwm Valley;
    •    Translocation of reptiles from within the reclamation boundary to the
         railway embankment, Cwm Byrgwm and British Heath.

The effect on archaeological interests in the area in both the near and
long term:

The bulk excavation will remove any below ground features that currently
survive within the extraction area; this will involve the removal of archaeological
remains relating to the Coke Ovens, the Brickworks and the Tramway and rail
links. Fieldwork has established that these structures have been significantly
truncated by previous activity within the site. As such the surviving remains do
not warrant preservation in situ, but do merit preservation by record. This could
be achieved through a programme of archaeological mitigation works.

There will be no direct impact from the extraction process on those features
which lie outside this area. Those features of the highest value will be preserved
in situ and that the reclamation scheme has been designed so it will have no
direct impact upon them.

The duration of the operations, restoration and after care works:

Covered in some detail in the Environmental Statement at Section 4.4, we
confirm here proposed timescales:

           Phase 1: Set Up:                             Month 1.
        Phase 2: Coal Recovery:                      Months 2 to 43.
         Phase 3: Restoration:                       Months 44 to 48.

The economic contribution of the proposals including the need for the
mineral, alternative sources of supply, alternative materials and the
employment opportunities likely to be provided:

The reclamation works will provide opportunities for civil construction and
extraction jobs during the period of the works. Up to 100 persons may be
working on the site at any one time, including supervisory staff, plant operators,
earthworks operatives and contractor staff. The negative impact on community
and residential amenity for the temporary duration of the reclamation scheme is
counteracted by the benefits, on completion, of the presence of a restored
landscape which has removed safety hazards, dereliction and unsightliness.
The regeneration benefits of the reclamation scheme will be primarily derived
with the implementation of subsequent housing and complementary
development.

The existing nature and condition of the proposed site and extent and
nature of any improvements that will result from the operations:

This aspect is covered widely in the Environmental Statement. Here we state
that the reclamation scheme at the British will remediate and reprofile a
degrading site as well as play a significant role in the revitalisation of the local
economy by creating a stable landform ready for future development.

As with as reclamation project of this size, adverse environmental impacts will
occur, however measures can be implemented to reduce many of these
impacts. The residual dis-benefits must then be weighed in the balance with the
potential economic and social benefits of future development on the site.

The likelihood of minerals being sterilised by other forms of development:




                                                                                    21
                                                         The British Planning Statement




The reclamation scheme proposed will enable the extraction of mineral
resources, from a sustainable site, in need of restoration and redevelopment. It
is a site acknowledged as a key development area within the County Borough
of Torfaen and its reclamation will provide an economic solution to that
reclamation, whilst at the same time ensuring that the coaling resources within
the site are not sterilized for the future.

Local Plan For the County Borough of Torfaen

Policy S2 of the Local Plan for the County Borough of Torfaen (adopted 27th
July 2000) relates specifically to the redevelopment of The British. It states:


 S2
 The following sites are designated as General Development Areas:-
 S2/1 The British…

 Proposals for development within General Development Areas which are
 in conformity with the development framework and other relevant
 policies of this local plan will be permitted.


The Reasoned Justification to the Policy states that:


 General Development Areas (GDAs) have been identified at locations
 where a comprehensive mixed use form of development will be
 permitted. The disposition of land uses will be in accordance with
 development frameworks prepared for each site and approved by the
 County Borough Council after consultations with the public, landowners,
 developers and others with an interest in the land. Development
 frameworks will reflect the different characteristics of the two GDAs and
 cover the disposition of land uses, their scale, phasing if necessary,
 access arrangements, landscaping and open space requirements.
 Proposals for development within the GDAs should be in conformity with
 the development frameworks.


With particular regard to the proposal site, the Local Plan confirms that The
British comprises a large area of derelict land that has been the subject of
detailed investigation by the County Borough Council. The preparation of the
site requires major land reclamation works to create a landform suitable for the
development proposed. Once reclaimed it is considered that the site is capable
of accommodating a mix of uses including, inter alia, housing, local shopping
facilities, cultural and tourism opportunities, community uses and formal and
informal open space. The realisation of the full development potential of this site
will require improvements to the system of roads, in particular the B4246 /
A4043 corridor, which provides access to the site.

The adopted Local Plan clearly views the development of The British as
paramount to the land use strategy of Torfaen County Borough. In addition to
this application, a Development Framework is currently being drafted to
accompany the after-use application. By way of guiding principles, an indicative
masterplan accompanies this application to provide an indication of future likely
uses and landform.

The application is therefore in line with the policies of the Adopted Local Plan.




                                                                                    22
                                                      The British Planning Statement




Torfaen Local Development Plan

The draft Preferred Strategy relating to the Torfaen Local Development Plan
was published for consultation in February 2008.

Paragraph 6.7 relates to Strategic Housing Sites and proposes a number
throughout the County Borough. In particular it states that:


 The LDP proposes the following Strategic Housing Sites, detailed in
 Figure 1
 (of 100 or more dwellings): -
 …
 2 The British, Talywain…


Atisreal have submitted representations to the Preferred Strategy supporting
this statement. It amplifies the Council’s previous views on the redevelopment
of The British and we are pleased that focus on the site continues in this more
recent planning policy document. A copy is enclosed with this Planning
Statement as Appendix 02.




                                                                                 23
                                                         The British Planning Statement




Section 4: Summary and Conclusions
This application seeks permission to reclaim a strategically important previously
developed site in line with an allocation in an adopted Local Plan and defined in
a draft Preferred Strategy as a Strategic Housing Site.

It is in line with National Guidance contained in Planning Policy Wales, Minerals
Planning Policy Wales as well as the emerging Technical Advice Note on
Coaling. The latest Consultation Draft of the Coal TAN (February 2008) states
that open cast schemes should be allowed to move forward (even if they are
located within the proposed buffer zones) if they are:

    •   to remediate land damaged by shallow coal workings or mine waste,
        where coal extraction is the most sustainable option;

    •   for reasons of health and safety and/or

    •   when the proposal is of overriding significance for regeneration,
        employment and economy in the local area.

These three points are considered the “Exemption” criteria for allowing open
cast schemes (although we do claim in this statement and the accompanying
Environmental Statement that this is a reclamation scheme over a short period
of time as opposed to the more long term usual open cast schemes envisaged
by the Coal TAN).

This planning statement, and accompanying Environmental Statement has
concluded that, in relation to the exemption clauses, the chosen strategy for
dealing, in principal, with the mining hazards on the site is bulk excavation. This
entails excavation of the mineral horizons to remove any remaining voids in the
ground, and then replace the excavated spoil as an engineered, compacted
backfill. It constitutes a robust and comprehensive method of treatment for the
following reasons:

    •   Remaining coal can be recovered in the operation, helping to finance
        the remediation.
    •   Any remaining voids or shaft going to greater depth encountered in the
        excavation floor can be positively sealed to provide a sound surface on
        which to place the backfill.
    •   A satisfactory depth of compacted backfill would be sufficient to
        preclude migration to surface any voids that remain below the
        excavation base.
    •   Future use of the final restored surface is not unduly compromised.
    •   Safe working is relatively straightforward since this operation would be
        carried out by very large plant, removing hazards as the works
        progress.

Table 3.2 of the Environmental Statement compares reclamation techniques
and on the basis of the comparisons, the option of treating the mine entrances
and mine workings was discarded as a principal means of reclaiming the site
because of cost, the extent of environmental disturbance (no better than bulk
excavation), the uncertainty of hydrogeological impacts and the safety of
implementation.

With regard to health and safety issues, this statement and the accompanying
Environmental Statement has indicated that the principal issue with regard to
proposing a coaling scheme to reclaim The British was public safety with any
remedial measures needing to be robust and effective in this respect.



                                                                                    24
                                                         The British Planning Statement




A number of options were considered in dealing with existing ground conditions
on site and these are referred to in the Environmental Assessment. They have
been discounted for a number of reasons, many of which relate to health and
safety issues. For example, mine entrances or collapse features are sometimes
secured by fencing to prevent accidental access to a dangerous location. In
conjunction with warning signs, this approach can be regarded as a reasonable
response in the short term, i.e. until a more permanent solution can be
implemented. Notwithstanding the effectiveness of fencing such a large area,
since the purpose of the reclamation scheme is that of facilitating the economic
regeneration and redevelopment of the site, this option was discarded as being
neither viable nor offering a permanent solution.

In addition, when one considers the option of removing the subsidence hazards
associated with abandoned shallow mine workings and to fill in any remaining
voids in the worked horizons by drilling into them and injecting grout a number
of health and safety issues must be considered. Significant pollution risks are
associated with accidental escapes of grout to watercourses. Given the
complexity of connections between the various mineral horizons and the many
known (and unknown) links to the surface water system, it would be difficult to
guarantee that pollution incidents would not occur. Further, the process would
be very disruptive. Taken together with the treatment of mine entrances, the
necessary access arrangements to allow earth moving plant and drilling rigs to
cross the site would result in virtually all of the surface vegetation and much of
the industrial landscape being destroyed. This method of treatment, therefore,
has little environmental advantage over bulk excavation and in addition, the
safety aspect of operating small plant and drilling rigs, with the risk of collapse
of the surface beneath, is also a material factor. A Health Impact Assessment
has been produced and accompanies the planning application.

Finally, when one considers the chosen strategy for dealing, in principal, with
the mining hazards on the site (bulk excavation), safe working is relatively
straightforward since this operation would be carried out by very large plant,
removing hazards as the works progress.

It is considered permitting the reclamation works proposed will enable the
landowner to make the site safe, an extremely important issue with regard to its
future stability and role as a General Development Area as designated in the
Adopted Torfaen Local Plan.

The final point to note in the draft Coal TAN relating to the exemption test is for
a proposal to be of overriding significance for regeneration, employment and
economy in the local area.

Given the Local Planning Authority’s previous objections to the original Draft
Coal TAN and our understanding that they will offer their views on this latest
version in support of the above clauses, we consider The British is precisely the
type of major strategic site the exemption clauses anticipate, borne out by the
Local Plan allocation and inclusion in the Torfaen Preferred Strategy. In
addition, the Authority will be aware of the proposed after-uses indicated on the
indicative masterplan accompanying the Environmental Statement and this
Planning Statement (as Appendix 1).

As borne out by the Adopted Local Plan, The British comprises a large area of
derelict land that has been the subject of detailed investigation by the County
Borough Council and various landowners over a number of years. The
preparation of the site requires major land reclamation works to create a
landform suitable for the development proposed. Once reclaimed it is
considered that the site is capable of accommodating a mix of uses including,



                                                                                    25
                                                         The British Planning Statement




inter alia, housing, local shopping facilities, cultural and tourism opportunities,
community uses, employment and formal and informal open space. The
realisation of the full development potential of this site is an important part of
strategic planning policy and indicates that its redevelopment is of overriding
significance for the regeneration of not only the local area, but also of the wider
County Borough.

In addition to the above, this statement and the accompanying Environmental
Statement has concluded that:

    •   There is an acceptable level of impact upon neighbouring communities,
        paying particular attention to noise, vibration, dust and safety.

    •   There is an acceptable level of impact with regard to the consequences
        of traffic movements likely to be generated by the proposal.

    •   There is an acceptable level of impact on the landscape of the area in
        both the near and long term.

    •   There is an acceptable level of impact on surface and subsurface
        drainage and water supplies in both the near and long term.

    •   There is an acceptable level of impact on the nature conservation
        interests of the site and adjoining areas in both the near and long term,
        paying particular regard to areas designated for nature conservation
        purposes and the effect on agricultural interests in the area in both the
        near and long term.

    •   There is an acceptable level of impact on archaeological interests in the
        area in both the near and long term:

    •   The duration of the operations, restoration and after care works is of an
        acceptable scale, being in total, 48 months from set up to restoration.

    •   There are positive contributions to the local area in economic terms;
        and

    •   The reclamation scheme at the British will remediate and reprofile a
        degrading site as well as play a significant role in the revitalisation of
        the local economy by creating a stable landform ready for future
        development; and

    •   The proposal will enable a site of overriding significance to come
        forward for development for the benefit of the area in terms of
        regeneration and economic issues.

Finally, in line with Guidance, a Statement of Community Involvement has been
produced to accompany the planning application and this is attached as
Appendix 3 to this planning statement.




                                                                                    26

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:61
posted:3/21/2010
language:English
pages:26