Quarry Feasibility Proposal

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					PLANNING BOARD                                                Agenda Item: 6

                              Ward:               Croscombe & Pilton

                              Portfolio:          Built Environment
                  Ed Baker, Development
FROM:             Control Team Leader             Date: 10 June 2009

SUBJECT:          015399/006 Dulcote Quarry, Dulcote, Nr Wells

Summary:               This report relates to planning application 015399/006, which
                       seeks outline planning permission for industrial development at
                       Dulcote Quarry, Dulcote, near Wells. The application was
                       deferred by the Planning Board at its meeting of 22 April 2009.
                       The Planning Board asked officers for further information and
                       advice concerning policy, the question of prematurity and the
                       other material considerations advanced in favour of the
                       development. This report considers these issues and provides an
                       update to the original committee report (copy attached).
Recommendation:        That delegated authority is given to officers to approve the
                       planning application with conditions and subject to the conclusion
                       of a Section 106 Legal Agreement to secure heads of terms.
Links to Priorities:   Economy and Enhancing Mendip as a place to live
Impact on Service      Within existing resource.
Plans:

Financial              There are financial consequences if planning permission is
Implications:          refused and the decision is appealed; the Local Planning
                       Authority may have to meet the applicant‟s costs at appeal if the
                       Local Planning Authority is found to have acted unreasonably.
Legal                  None, other than those set out in the report
Implications:
Crime and              None identified.
Disorder
Implications:
Equalities             None identified.
Implications:
Risk Assessment:       No robust or reasonable grounds for refusing planning permission
                       have been identified by officers and as such there is risk to the
                       Local Planning Authority if permission is refused and the decision
                       is appealed.




                                          1
Introduction

   1. This report relates to planning application 015399/006, which seeks outline
      planning permission for industrial development at Dulcote Quarry, Dulcote,
      near Wells. The proposed development comprises approximately 24,000
      square metres of floor space including Use Classes B1, B2 and B8 uses.

   2. The planning application was originally considered by the Planning Board at
      its meeting of 22 April 2009 when it was deferred. The resolution was as
      follows:

      That the application is deferred so that officers can report on members‟
      concerns about the proposal being contrary to Development Plan policy that
      seeks to strictly control development in the countryside, and its prematurity.
      Further information should be provided concerning the material
      considerations that officers perceive to weigh in favour of the development.

   3. This report provides further information and analysis of the planning
      application in response to Members‟ concerns. A copy of the original
      committee report to the Planning Board meeting of 22 April 2009 is attached
      for reference.

Compliance with Development Plan policy

   4. Section 36(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires
      that the Local Planning Authority determines all planning applications in
      accordance with the Development Plan, unless material considerations
      indicate otherwise.

   5. The Development Plan for Mendip comprises the Regional Spatial Strategy
      for the South West (adopted September 2001) (RPG10), the Somerset &
      Exmoor National Park Joint Structure Plan Review (adopted April 2000) and
      the Mendip District Local Plan (adopted December 2002).

   6. Members were concerned that the proposal is in conflict with Policy STR6 of
      the Structure Plan and Policy S1 of the Local Plan. Both policies require that
      outside the development limit, development should be strictly controlled and
      limited to that which does not foster travel, that which benefits the economy
      and that which preserves or enhances the environment. In order to satisfy the
      policy, all three tests must be met. These policies are analysed in some detail
      in the original committee report and are expanded upon below.

   7. It is not sufficient for the Local Planning Authority to refuse planning
      permission because a proposal fails to comply with policy alone. The Local
      Planning Authority must also always consider the evidence of actual harm
      that would be likely to result from the failure to comply with policy. The
      emphasis is on the regulation of development in the public interest.




                                         2
Will the proposal foster travel?

   8. The proposal will foster travel with the private car likely to be the principal
      modes of transport. The applicant‟s Transport Assessment predicts 2,393
      traffic movements over a typical 12-hour period (0700 to 1900 hours) for the
      whole development. Whilst on face value, this is a very substantial figure; a
      number of other factors must be taken into account.

   9. The evidence (as reported in the original committee report) points toward the
      need for a further 6 hectares (ha) or so of employment land in the Wells area
      by 2026. This land will have to be provided somewhere and wherever it is it
      will foster travel to some degree.

   10. With the availability of previously developed land at a premium, this future
       employment land is likely to be provided on traditional „Greenfield‟ sites, which
       might be, for example, on the edge of Wells. Even in this location, the
       proposal would foster travel with the development generating both employee
       and business traffic. The objective must be to minimise the level of growth in
       the need to travel.

   11. The Dulcote Quarry site is considered to provide a viable and suitable
       alternative. The site is very close to the nearest main settlements being
       approximately 2.5km from Wells and around 5km from Shepton Mallet. It has
       good links with the main highway network and the proposal provides a certain
       degree of mitigation through the Green Travel Plan framework and extension
       and improvement of the multi user path between the site, Dulcote and Wells.
       These measures will help provide opportunities for travelling to and from the
       site by means other than the private car.

   12. The Council‟s Planning Policy team has suggested that the scheme can go
      further by providing public transport links to the site and perhaps by
      introducing shuttle buses to connect up with inter-urban bus services. The
      Highway Authority is looking into this further and these avenues can be
      explored in more detail with the applicant.

   13. It is the Planning Policy team‟s view that „…there are some positive aspects
      [within the proposal] to off-set the clear travel generating concerns that this
      application raises. Furthermore, there is the potential for the site to be
      accessed by alternative modes…‟ The proposal will foster travel, however, by
      reason of its location and content, the proposal is considered to provide an
      attractive opportunity, which should help minimise additional travel
      movements to a realistic and appropriate level.

Will the proposal benefit the economy?

   14. The emerging LDF Core Strategy identifies the need for around 6 ha of new
      employment land for the Wells area by 2026. The current economic downturn
      may act to suppress this projection; however it should be noted that the
      primary driver for additional land is modernisation and change of existing
      businesses. Employment growth in Wells is projected to arise from


                                           3
      technology and knowledge based sectors providing better paid jobs for local
      residents. A clear prerequisite for that is the availability of land for firms grow
      or establish themselves. This proposal allows for a choice of sites for
      employers and provides potential for less residentially compatible uses to be
      accommodated around the City.

   15. The Planning Policy team believes that there is a strong economic case for
       the proposal. The application also has the firm support of the Council‟s
       Regeneration team. The applicant projects that the development will generate
       some 800 jobs (some of which may or may not come from existing employers
       in the area) and suggests that this will help alleviate the 400 or so job losses
       in Wells in recent years. Wells has seen the loss of major local manufacturers
       such as Nutricia and Clares and the proposal will clearly be beneficial in this
       context. The proposal is also consistent with the emerging LDF Core
       Strategy for Wells, which cites as its objectives the delivery of land for
       employment. The conclusion is that the proposal will benefit the economy.

Will the proposal either preserve or enhance the environment?

   16. The question of whether the proposal would preserve or enhance the
       environment is discussed in the original committee report (copy attached).
       Further legal advice is awaited on a possible point of law relating to this issue.
       Members will be provided with a further update in time for the meeting.

Prematurity

   17. Some Members were concerned that the planning application is „premature‟
       and that the applicant should, in fact, be pursuing their proposals through the
       Local Development Framework (LDF) (which will eventually replace the
       Mendip District Local Plan) process.

   18. The Council‟s Planning Policy team have been asked for their thoughts on the
       question of prematurity. They point out that during pre-application discussions
       with the applicant; officers did suggest that it would more ideal for the
       proposal to be considered through the LDF process rather than by means of a
       planning application, given the nature of the strategic issues involved. That
       being said, the Local Planning Authority is obliged to consider proposals put
       before it and consideration of the planning application has actually been
       done with one eye on the emerging LDF Core Strategy.

   19. For Wells, the emerging Core Strategy issues include:

         Employment land analysis (see Table 19 in the original committee report)
          concludes that around 6 ha of new land will be required to satisfy the
          employment needs of the Wells area throughout the rest of the plan
          period to 2026. Clearly, the current economic downturn may act to
          suppress this projection, however it should be noted that the primary driver
          for additional land is modernisation and change of existing firms.




                                           4
      Employment growth in Wells is projected to arise from technology and
       knowledge based sectors providing better paid jobs for local residents. A
       clear prerequisite for that is the availability of land for firms to grow or
       establish themselves. This proposal, which is differentiated from the land
       supply at Gate Lane, allows for a choice of sites for employers and
       provides potential for less residentially compatible uses to be
       accommodated around the city.
      The emerging vision and objectives for Wells within the LDF, derived from
       consultation views and background evidence, highlights a number of
       aspects which are co-terminus with this proposal:

          o Vision - “Previously developed land has been effectively used and
            recent development has respected the city‟s character”, “New
            employment sites have allowed knowledge based industries to
            grow and there are now more skilled jobs “, “walking and cycling
            networks around the city encourage healthier lifestyles”;

          o Objectives

                  Deliver land for employment use
                  Ensure efficient use of previously developed land to prevent
                   need for development on high value landscape
                  Safeguard [and develop] the multiuser path between
                   Shepton and Wells

20. PPS 4 (Planning for Economic Sustainable Development) (consultation draft)
    (PPS4)     says that in determining planning applications for economic
    development, Local Planning Authorities should „…adopt an evidence-based
    approach…by weighing market and other economic information alongside
    environmental and social information; taking full account of any longer term
    benefits, as well as the costs, of development, such as job creation or
    improved productivity including any wider benefits to national, regional or
    local economies; and considering whether those proposals help to meet the
    wider objectives of the LDF.‟

21. The planning application is being considered in line with emerging national
   policy on economic development. The evidential work that has been
   undertaken is considered to justify the type and level of development, which
   will help meet the future economic needs of Wells and surrounding area. The
   Council‟s Planning Policy team confirms that proposal also accords with the
   emerging LDF strategy for Wells. The Local Planning Authority has an
   obligation to determine the planning application before it; it is considered that
   it would not be reasonable for the Local Planning Authority to take the
   position that the application is premature. As set out before, should the Local
   Planning Authority wish to refuse planning permission (on the grounds of
   prematurity), then it must demonstrate very clearly what overriding harm there
   is to the public interest in the proposal being determined now. No such harm
   is identified by officers.




                                       5
Other material considerations

   22. The original committee report highlighted five main material considerations,
       which officers consider weigh in favour of the proposal when balanced
       against policy. The Planning Board asked for further explanation and analysis
       of these material considerations.

         The proposal provides the opportunity for improved business premises
          and choice of employment land including relocation of existing firms from
          Wells.

   23. The „Mendip Employment Land and Premises Demand and Supply‟ study
       (2005) concluded that there is demand in Wells for high quality new business
       premises. Clearly, the Clares and Nutricia sites are no longer appropriate to
       consider leaving Keward, Underwood (including Thales), and Gate Lane. The
       latter is obviously an undeveloped site. Keward and Underwood provide
       relatively modest accommodation of a fairly limited scale with premises
       ranging from poor quality to recently renovated. On the Thales site there are
       some more modern premises for specific purposes.

   24. Overall therefore, the supply of traditional employment land has been eroded
       whilst the quality of existing premises has not greatly improved. Evidence
       from consultation suggests there is a very large latent demand for new
       premises in the Wells - some firms are suppressing expansion as a result of a
       lack of sites - and that once delays in bringing Gate Lane forward are
       resolved it will rapidly be filled. Therefore, Dulcote Quarry offers a choice
       which may be more appropriate for less residentially compatible operations.

         Wells is heavily constrained (environmentally and aspirationally) in terms
          of its ability and desire to expand its boundaries and provide further
          housing, employment and other land to meet its future needs. The
          proposal provides a potentially suitable site on the „doorstep‟ of the city,
          which could meet some of those future needs whilst at the same time
          providing possibilities for freeing up existing sites in and around the town
          for housing and other uses.

   25. The 6 ha or so of new employment land, which will need to be provided for
       the Wells area by 2026 will need to be located some where. Sequentially, and
       simply from a strategic perspective, the preference would be to provide this
       land in or on the edge of Wells, it being the largest hierarchical settlement in
       the area. However, Wells is heavily constrained, which means that it is
       unlikely that this is a realistic option.

   26. To the north there are significant landscape constraints with Wells bounded in
       this direction by the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. To the
       west are two sewage treatment works buffer zones, where air quality is an
       issue. To the south east, there are ecological and ancient woodland
       constraints, and issues to the south concerning impact on views of the
       Cathedral and its setting. Added to this, there is undoubtedly heritage and
       cultural pressure for Wells to retain its status as „England‟s smallest City‟.


                                          6
27. The Dulcote Quarry site is considered to provide an appropriate and attractive
    alternative for location of the new employed land for the Wells area. The
    proposal would have minimal landscape impact (being located within a
    manmade bowl) and is geographically well related to Wells and Shepton
    Mallet, as well as the wider transportation network.

28. The site will provide the opportunity for some existing businesses in and
    around Wells that are in need or expansion and/or modernisation to relocate.
    In turn, this might free up those existing premises on previously developed
    land for redevelopment for housing to help meet Wells‟ future housing needs
    during the next plan period (some 1,000 to 1,100 new homes by 2026).
    Again, there is pressure as to where these homes will be provided and the
    redevelopment of existing business premises could help to alleviate this.

    The development would reduce the pressure for the development of more
     traditional „Greenfield‟ sites.

29. The alternative to building on the Dulcote Quarry site is likely to be the
    development of more traditional „Greenfield‟ sites on the edge of Wells (which
    has its own potential problems as discussed above). In terms of preserving
    the landscape setting of the City, development of Dulcote Quarry is clearly
    considered to be preferable.

    The proposal is for a highly technological „green‟ and environmentally
     sustainable form of industrial development.

30. The proposal displays a number of green credentials (as described in the
    original committee report) in line with both national and local policy.
    Sustainability must be seen in the round – and not just limited to the question
    of whether development fosters travel or not. In this regard, the proposal will
    incorporate sustainable design and construction, arguably unique for this field
    of development. This may also be particularly attractive to prospective
    occupiers who may be able to make long term cost savings as well as display
    their own green credentials.

    The proposal provides the opportunity to extend and enhance the existing
     multi user path between Wells, Dulcote and the site, which would provide
     increased opportunities for travel to the site by more sustainable means
     and which would provide benefits for the wider community.

31. The promotion of the multi user path between Wells and Shepton Mallet is
    another of the emerging LDF Core Strategy‟s objectives for Wells. The
    proposal will assist this objective and will have the wider benefit of not only
    provided enhanced opportunities for travel for workers (and other visitors) to
    the Dulcote Quarry site, but providing enhanced transportation opportunities
    for others.




                                       7
Other matters

   32. One Member expressed concern that the officer recommendation included
       too many conditions (i.e. 32) and that the planning permission, if granted,
       would therefore be unenforceable. The number of conditions attached to a
       planning permission is, however, irrelevant; the question is whether each of
       the conditions is individually enforceable. The number of recommended
       conditions is not a material factor and is not a ground for refusing planning
       permission.

   33. Somerset County Council, as Minerals Planning Authority, has confirmed that
       the site (being a former quarry) is not previously developed land in
       accordance with the definition set by Planning Policy Statement 3 (Housing).

Further representations

   34. The Local Planning Authority has received a number of other representations
       since the last meeting. These include five further objections, which raise all or
       some of the following points:

         The site is outside the development limit. Growth in travel.
         The quarry is meant to be returned to a Greenfield site
         Adverse ecological impacts
         Insufficient parking
         How will the road network accommodate the extra traffic? The increased
          traffic will be dangerous on local roads.
         Noise pollution
         Light pollution
         Where will waste be disposed of?
         How will the Dulcote spring be affected by the development?
         The likely number of new jobs will be closer to 400 than the 800 speculated
          by the developer. The developer believes that the site will largely be taken
          up by existing firms relocating from Wells. Therefore, where is the
          additional employment?
         There are other undeveloped sites which should be built on first.
         The applicant says that they are not bound by their proposals for energy
          conservation in the design of the buildings.
         Concerns about where employees will have their lunch and how this might
          impact upon food sales in Wells (or increased trips to Wells at lunchtime
          for employees to buy their lunch).
         Unconvinced that employees will cycle or walk to the site.
         To grant planning permission would set an undesirable precedent.

   35. The Local Planning Authority has received one further letter of support:

         The Trails Trust (which represents 400 members) welcomes the proposed
          multi user path. Furthermore, utilising the quarry were ensure a big
          reduction in visual and noise impacts.




                                           8
Recommendation

   36. The Dulcote Quarry proposals are considered to represent an excellent
       opportunity for Wells to meet its future employment needs. The site is
       geographically very well related to Wells, Shepton Mallet and the hinterland
       and has good transportation links. Landscape and neighbour impacts will be
       minimal, the site being able to take advantage of its quarry setting. The
       proposal includes detailed environmental and ecological mitigation, and the
       design and layout of the development will promote energy conservation.
       Added to this, the proposal will provide an estimated 800 or jobs and could be
       a significant boost to the local and wider economy.

   37. Having re-visited the issues in the light of concerns raised by some Members
       of the Planning Board, and having considered the land-use benefits of this
       proposal, officers cannot identify any robust or reasonable grounds for
       refusing planning permission.

   38. It is recommended that delegated authority is granted to officers (if
       appropriate in consultation with the Ward Member and Chairman of the
       Planning Board) to grant conditional planning permission for the development
       subject to further negotiation with the applicant regarding green travel
       measures (including possible provision of public transport connection and
       provision of a shuttle bus scheme).

   39. The permission shall also be subject to the conclusion of a Section 106 Legal
       Agreement to secure the following heads of terms:

             The upgrading, improvement and maintenance of the existing multi
              user path between Wells and Dulcote;
             The provision of an extension to the existing multi user path from
              Dulcote to the application site;
             The provision of a Management Company to cover environmental
              controls; management of the non adopted common parts of the site;
              maintenance of the foul and surface water drainage infrastructure; and
              installation of CCTV at the site entrance;
             Revocation of the existing extant planning permission (015399/005);
              and
             The provision of landscaping and an after-use strategy (replicating the
              requirements of the extant planning permission 015399/005) if the
              proposal is not implemented.


Contact Officer: Ed Baker X524

Background papers: the report to the Planning Board of 22 April 2009 is attached




                                          9
DC01
Case Officer:         Edward Baker
Site:                 Dulcote Quarry, Dulcote, Nr Wells
Application Number:   015399/006
Date Received:        13/11/2008
Development:          Outline application for construction of up to 24,751 square metres of use
                      classes B1/B2/B8 development and ancillary structures, landscaping and
                      external works and access (means of access determined at the outline
                      stage). (DEL)
Application Type:     O
Applicant:            Kilbride Properties Ltd
Ward:                 Croscombe and Pilton          Parish:             St Cuthbert Out


This application is referred to the Planning Board because of the scale of the
proposal and the nature of the strategic policy issues involved.

Site Description and Proposal
This application relates to land at Dulcote Quarry, located to the south of the Village
of Dulcote and the A371 between Wells and Shepton Mallet.

The site is located in open countryside and is a former quarry. It is designated a
County Wildlife Site (CWS) and Regionally Important Geological Site (RIGS). There
is a public footpath network surrounding the site. There is Ancient Woodland beyond
the quarry top along its north perimeter. The site lies within Flood Zone 1.

The Village of Dulcote is located to the north side of the A371 a little over 200
metres from the site boundary to the north west. The Village of Dinder is also
located to the other side of the A371, approximately 500 metres to the north east.
There are isolated sporadic properties to the south including Wellesley Cottages and
Scarlet Withies Farm. The recycling centre lies adjacent to the site on its south side.

The application seeks outline planning permission for industrial development on the
quarry floor. The proposal comprises Use Classes B1 (light industrial/offices/R&D),
B2 (general industrial) and B8 (storage and distribution). The total floor space
proposed would be up to 24,751 square metres. Access is to be determined now
with Layout, Scale, Appearance and Landscaping reserved for subsequent approval.
The site would use the existing access.

The application is accompanied by an array of supporting information including a
Design and Access Statement, Statement of Community Involvement, and a
detailed Environmental Statement.

The application follows pre-application discussions with the Council.

Consultations and Representations
St. Cuthbert (Out) Parish Council (the site is located within this Parish)
OBJECTION – recommends refusal:



                                           10
      Insufficient information regarding employment, hours of working and type of
       industrial and commercial processes.
      Are Buildings 1, 2 and 3 going to be storage and distribution centres?
      Some local highway improvements would be needed, including traffic calming
       in Dulcote and surrounding villages.
      Dulcote Quarry is a bowl and fills with water when it rains – insufficient
       information on how this will be dealt with.
      The proposal may affect the water supply to properties in Dulcote (many
       houses have two water supplies).
      Dulcote is not on the mains sewage network.
      We would object to street lighting in this area as this is open countryside and
       light pollution should be kept to a minimum. A full lighting scheme should be
       submitted.

Croscombe Parish Council
NO OBJECTION – recommend approval. The proposal will help to provide
employment for the area. However, it is important to ensure adequate consideration
of transport infrastructure. Increased car traffic along the road leading to the quarry
would be an extra hazard and must be considered. A safe multi user path will be
required.

North Wootton Parish Council
NO OBJECTION. The Parish Council “wholeheartedly” supports the supplication.
They believe the application is well thought through. The site will not interfere with
anyone and the access is excellent. It should provide employment opportunities for
residents of North Wootton.

Pilton Parish Council
NO OBJECTION – recommends approval.

Shepton Mallet Town Council
NO OBJECTION – recommends approval in principle. Funds should be secured by
means of a Section 106 Legal Agreement for future upgrade of the Ridge Road
(Dinder to Cannards Grave) relief road.

Highway Authority
NO OJECTION – subject to conditions.

The Highway Authority notes that the site is located outside the development limit
and is therefore remote from the workforce who would ultimately work at the site.
Public transport services are limited. Employees working at the development would
likely be dependant on the private car to travel to work. The proposal would foster
travel and in this regard is contrary to National, Regional and Local policy.

However, it must be a matter for the Local Planning Authority to decide whether
there is sufficient need and justification for the development to override these
concerns. The applicant has submitted a framework Green Travel Plan, which
promotes alternative means of transport other than the private car.




                                          11
The applicant has submitted a comprehensive Transport Assessment (TA) to
consider the impact of the development upon the wider highway network. The
Highway Authority accepts the findings of the TA. Based on an assessment of
predicted traffic generation, the Highway Authority can be confident that no serious
problems are anticipated as a result of the development.

The Highway Authority has considered representations from Sustrans and LEGS. It
is clear that one of the principal ways in which to promote more sustainable travel is
to promote the existing cycle way from Wells to Dulcote right into the site itself.
There appear to be sections of cycleway and path which could be joined up to serve
this purpose and the Highway Authority would like to see this take place. The
existing multi user path is in need of restoration and the Highway Authority wishes to
see this maintenance carried out as part of encouraging journeys by foot and
bicycle.

The Highway Authority is happy for the internal road layout to remain private but it
should be built to an adoptable standard, supervised by the Highway Authority.

The Somerset County Parking Standards should be used to determine parking
spaces. This is a matter for the detailed stage.

Environmental Resources (Somerset County Council)
COMMENTS as follows:

      The matter was discussed at the Full Council meeting in November 2008. It
       was agreed that Mendip District Council is authorised to deal with the
       planning application, which is otherwise a „County Matter‟. This decision was
       subject to the following provisos:

           That the County Council, as both Highway Authority and Minerals
            Planning Authority, is consulted at appropriate times for its views with
            regard to any subsequent planning application; and
           That should permission be granted by Mendip District Council then it
            should be subject to a Section 106 Legal Agreement to revoke the
            extant minerals permission relevant to the site.

      Reference is made to the Full Council committee report. In particular,
       attention is drawn to pars. 4.3 and 4.4 of Appendix A. These should be taken
       account of when Mendip District Council considers the application.

Strategic Planning & Transport Group (Somerset County Council)
COMMENTS as follows:

      Strategic policy will need to be considered. The proposal appears to be a
       departure from the Development Plan.
      Policies STR6 (development outside development limits), 19 (employment
       provision in rural areas), 18 (location of land for industrial, warehousing and
       business development) and 1 (nature conservation) are applicable.
      The site area is designated a County Wildlife Site.



                                         12
      The Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West and Structure Plan seek to
       focus development in existing identified settlements. Policies B and ES2 of
       the Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West are relevant.
      The proposal will need to be considered in the light of current location policy
       but also the emerging Local Development Framework work.
      Notwithstanding any advantages of re-using redundant land, the proposal
       does represent a significant deviation from the general policy of steering
       major development to identified centres. The proposal would have to be
       justified carefully against current policy provision, emerging Local
       Development Framework work and the possibility of an unfavourable
       precedent being established.

Planning Policy Team (Mendip District Council)

The following issues are considered appropriate to address at this outline stage in
relation to this application:

   -   Economic development need
   -   The site and its setting
   -   The nature of the development.
   -   A longer term opportunity?
   -   Detailed policy considerations

Economic development need

Recent work undertaken to inform the Local Development Framework Core Strategy
provides a substantial source of evidence to inform the level of need for employment
land across Mendip.
This work takes information from the Mendip Employment Land and Premises
survey as well as Employment Growth projections to establish a level of employment
land provision for general business development.         The key information is
summarised in the [updated] table below

UPDATED TABLE FROM ‘PORTRAIT OF MENDIP’ ROLLING MONITORING
DATA FORWARD TO 31/3/08

Table 19: Employment Land: Calculating Employment Land Requirements to
2026

                Land         Plus        Plus     Less     Less        Less    Additional N
             needed to       Local       land     land     Land     outstandi Employme o
             accommod      moderati     lost to   gaine     with        ng      nt Land   t
                 ate          on         other      d     Plannin   allocation Requirem e
              projected     factors      uses     since      g           s     ent 2008-
             job growth                  since    2004    Consen                 2026
             (Industrial                 2004     (Net)      t
             & Business                  (Net)
             Park only)




                                           13
 Frome           6.5          16.50        -    1.46    17.34       -0.88        5.08
 Glastonb
                 2.2           8.5       0.26     -      3.97       1.30         5.69
 ury
 Shepton                                                                                   1
                 4.4           8.6       5.60     -      2.44       0.50        15.66
 Mallet
 Street          1.6           8.6         -    7.60    -7.88       4.75         5.73
                                                                                           2
 Wells           2.4           7.5       0.26     -     -2.55       6.50         6.21
 Villages
 and
                 8.4            -          -    9.68    15.15         -      (surplus)*
 Countrysi
 de
* Rural employment land gains and consents include a range of activities and land
  uses have employment densities well in excess of those applied in the towns.
  Hence, whilst the figures in the table above show a surplus they cannot be directly
  compared.

Notes
   1. The jump in provision for Shepton Mallet arises from the completion of the
      Townsend Retail Park. There must be caution in re-providing equivalent land
      as the site has arguably provided replacement employment.
   2. The rise in the Wells figure emerges from the grant of consent for housing at
      the Clares site. It should be noted that the Nutrica site was granted consent
      in the 08/09 year (hence not yet monitored) and amounts to 7.57ha which
      increases the requirement for Wells to 13.78ha. As in the case of Shepton, a
      view will need to be taken as to whether retention of some employment on
      this site warrants re-provision in full.

The work undertaken shows that Wells, as one of the principal service and
employment centres of the district, is relatively well provided for in terms of land
supply, largely on the basis that the Gate Lane site, allocated in the current Mendip
District Local Plan, will become available in the coming year. Taking this site into
account, a further area of land amounting to 6.21 ha is required to meet employment
needs for the city to 2026. Clearly this figure is a guideline; however it indicates the
scale of employment development that the city needs to meet predicted job growth.

The proposal to which this consultation response relates aims to provide 8.54ha
(gross) of new employment land capable of accommodating up to around 25,000m 2
of floorspace for B1, B2 and B8 uses.

The need for the further economic development is an important consideration,
particularly given the emerging LDF Core Strategy approach for Wells. Background
data reveals that that the city is already a net importer of workers and so further
economic development may only act to fuel commuting. The recently published
“Issues and Options” paper consulted people on an approach that would seek to
balance the number of jobs available locally with a similar number of new homes,
hence, it could be argued that the city would need to accommodate further housing
development to match job growth from this proposal.

Site suitability



                                          14
The site lies 2km to the south east of Wells and is a former quarry where no further
extraction is proposed on account of the limited hard rock reserves remaining. As
such the site currently has outstanding conditions relating to restoration and after-
use of the quarried area, namely:

   -   Condition 32 of permission 15399/005 requires that the site “shall be
       reclaimed and left suitable for amenity and nature conservation purposes”.
       The condition requires submission and approval of a scheme for restoration
       to this type of use.
   -   Condition 30 requires a detailed landscaping scheme to be submitted for
       approval. An up to date scheme is required.

This proposal aims to supersede the requirements of those conditions by providing
appropriate landscaping and habitats for wildlife alongside an employment
development.

In landscape terms the quarry and its setting mark a boundary between the Sheppey
Valley and the Pilton Wootton Slopes however the very nature of the rock extraction
has created a well hidden bowl which is not visible from any of the surrounding
directions. The quarry floor lies 20-30m below its ridgeline meaning that activity and
development within this area is likely to have little visual impact on the surrounding
countryside or the historic setting of the city of Wells. Light pollution may be a factor
which the case officer should carefully consider given the visibility of the site from
elevated viewpoints on the Mendip Hills.

The site is now a designated County Wildlife Site (CWS) on account of the presence
of protected species and is also a Regionally Important Geological Site (RIGS). In
recognition of this, the proposal does seek to undertake works to create habitat
areas for the protected species making use of the rock trap buffer on the perimeter
of the quarry floor. This area will also provide for a sustainable drainage solution.
The quarried faces will remain open and visibly maintaining the RIGS interest.
Further planting and landscaping of the currently barren quarry floor and perimeter
(extending to 4.5ha) will also create opportunities for wildlife once the site is
established. In all, the landscape and quarry restoration components of the scheme
are entirely appropriate and will create a multifunctional setting for the employment
area.

Access to the site by road is very good with a direct and suitably engineered link
road to the A371. The new development will add traffic to the local road network
however the submitted transport assessment concludes that this will not be
significant and mitigation measures could be put in place to suppress travel
demands. A suitable Green Travel Plan represents an appropriate mechanism to
manage travel arising from the site although the council (district or county) should
retain some means of sanction to ensure measures proposed are implemented

The site is also accessible via a network of footpaths which, in the direction back
towards Wells, are all relatively level. The site is also bounded by a former railway
line which has been safeguarded for a multi user path. The Wells to Shepton
section has been the subject of a feasibility study with Sustrans and local group
LEGS (Let Everyone Go Safely) committed to the project. Given that this proposal


                                           15
will effectively create a detached satellite to the city, it is considered that this
proposal should make a substantial contribution to the section between the site and
the A371 completing the sustainable high quality link not only for workers, but also
for Wells people to gain better access to the wildlife and scenic qualities of the
quarry rim and the surrounding countryside to the south and east.

In all there appear to be few drawbacks to the reuse of this site in the manner
outlined in the application.

The Nature of the Development

The proposal is aimed at providing a range of employment space with the potential
to meet the needs of any type of business from storage and distribution through to
small scale office space. Clearly the contained nature of the site lends itself to
employment uses which are less compatible with adjacent residential uses as well
as providing space for a large scale operation. Some concern was raised initially
about the extent of office space indicated in the initial layout. This type of use is
typically more dense in terms of workers per given area and so will in turn generate
                                                                               2
a much higher level of travel. However, once quantified, the 2,000m shown
perhaps represents the right balance in this location allowing more accessible
locations (i.e. in terms of public transport links and to town based shops and
services) within the city and at Gate Lane to provide for this type of development.

The commitments to sustainable construction are to be welcomed.

A Long Term Opportunity?

The initial section of this consultation considered the need for the development
concluding that a proposal of this scale is in excess of what is needed to meet
projected job growth in the period to 2026. It is fair to add that the current recession
further weakens the need for the proposal. However, to consider the Dulcote
proposal purely on the basis of absolute need ignores the opportunity it offers as a
part of a longer term solution to some of Wells constraints and problems. The
following points consider some relevant factors.

   a) Wells is an historic city set within a landscape which is sensitive to change on
      all but its western side. This factor has constrained the city‟s potential and
      allowed it to retain its place as “England‟s smallest city”. The Dulcote site, as
      explored previously, is a well contained site in visual terms lying within a short
      distance of the city and so could provide a well screened space for the more
      intrusive employment structures which would not be as appropriate in the
      immediate setting of the city.
   b) Linked to a), the charm of Wells masks needs for more housing to address
      severe affordability problems for local people, and potential for business
      growth and renewal. In the latter respect, the Gate Lane site now offers
      opportunities for new business, however it is acknowledged (in the council‟s
      own research and the applicant submission) that there are some employers in
      the city whose current premises are small or outdated. As a result, there is a
      danger that the Gate Lane site could become an area for business relocation
      amongst existing employers, and whilst relocation might involve some job


                                          16
      growth, this will not provide enough space for all the job growth predicted.
      The Dulcote proposal therefore offers an alternative opportunity to Gate Lane
      to accommodate the relocation needs of existing business as well as new
      business.
   c) Following on from b), the provision of opportunities for business relocation
      and renewal provides an opportunity for existing substandard employment
      sites in the city to be redeveloped. There are known to be a number of key
      employers in this position. In line with current policy the council would seek to
      retain jobs on such sites, however proportions of each could also provide for
      the city‟s housing needs without the need to consider Greenfield extensions.
   d) In general terms, employment development relies on good access to the
      highway. The Dulcote site is well connected to the highway network and
      whilst this will lead to more through traffic, manoeuvring, turning and flows of
      traffic in proximity to residential areas will not be an issue.

The „do nothing„ option of restoring the quarry for wildlife and amenity use
represents one satisfactory end use for the site and a number of respondents to the
application make this point. However, given the constraints and issues considered
above and the fact that this scheme could still provide for wildlife and amenity uses,
a failure to grasp this opportunity does leave many of these issues unresolved and
will inevitably lead to more pressure for more visible development to take place
beyond the current boundaries of the city.

Detailed Policy Considerations

The previous sections have provided the preamble for a detailed examination of
relevant policies set out below.

PPS/PPGs:

PPS4 (Consultation draft) – The proposal seeks to make use of an opportunity to
     deliver economic development of a high quality format in allocation which
     respects the historic setting of the city. Whilst the scale of provision is in
     excess of projected need, the site offers choice for business forming and
     relocating to Mendip whilst also providing the opportunity for existing business
     to modernize and grow. The quality of local employment premises in the local
     area is acknowledged to be substandard for a number of key businesses
     which this site can provide for. The nature of the site also allows for the
     economic base of Wells to be broadened and in turn make qualitative
     improvements to the type of work available (and correspondingly improve pay
     levels in the local workforce)

PPS9 – A core principal of PPS9 is to preserve and enhance biodiversity and
     geodiversity. This proposal aims to set aside habitat space for protected
     species and undertake landscaping and planning which will improve the
     biodiversity of what is currently a bare quarry. It is acknowledged that the
     existing mineral consent conditions would seek the restoration of a larger
     proportion of the quarry area for wildlife and amenity uses. However, the
     proposal under consideration provides for a productive end use which is
     important to the local economy and has the potential to reduce the need for


                                         17
      new Greenfield development as well as 4.5ha of habitat and landscaped
      space. In essence the proposal under consideration therefore satisfies the
      requirements of PPS9 in that it does conserve and enhance existing habitats
      of protective species and the wider landscaping will provide habitat
      opportunities for other species.

Emerging Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS10):

The RSS requires local authorities to plan ahead for a 20 year supply of employment
land drawing on data from the RDA and local assessments. In considering
approaches, the RSS encourages authorities to set the provision of employment
land within the context of planning for places including regeneration and renewal
opportunities. The preceding section sets out a range of factors which outline the
opportunities that the development of this site could secure for the City of Wells and
its economic prosperity throughout the current RSS period and beyond. The only
negative factor which the RSS raises is the relative accessibility of the scheme to
Wells and its public transport linkages. It will be essential for the scheme to provide
for improved foot and cycle routes and therefore the completion of the multi user
path link is a reasonable project that this development can contribute towards.

Somerset and Exmoor Structure Plan:
Although the RSS will supersede this plan, policies STR6 and 18 are relevant in
considering this proposal. STR6 sets out general criteria for development away from
towns which is relevant to this case. The issues raised in sections above highlight
that development on this site – which is physically detached from Wells – will benefit
economic activity in the Wells area and will maintain and enhance the environment
(in terms of both habitat creation and safeguarding the historic setting of Wells).
The final criteria of the policy relates to growth in the need to travel. In this respect
the detachment of the site from the city will lead to some localized increase in the
need to travel, but the presence of direct foot and cycle links from the town centre
which is a public transport hub means that the impact need not be significant
provided that the promised travel plan can act to incentivize the workforce to use
modes of transport other than the car.

Mendip District Local Plan

Policy S1 is the primary spatial policy of the Local Plan and, with relevance to this
case, reiterates the Structure Plan‟s policy position in its last clause. The response
set out above can therefore be applied.

There are a range of other policies relating to more detailed matters which the case
officer will need to be satisfied with –

Policy Q3    Access
Policy Q4    Landscape design
Policy Q5    Off site Infrastructure – relevant to the multi user path
Policy Q12   Noise pollution
Policy Q14   Light pollution
Policy EN2   Wildlife Sites and RIGS – comments above conclude that this policy
              test appears to have been addressed.


                                           18
Policy EN3   Protected Species – Crested Newt habitats are to be secured and
              enhanced as discussed above
Policy ER7   Reuse of materials

Conclusions

The proposal makes good and productive use of site which is visually well contained
within the landscape setting of Wells and the southern fringes of the Mendip Hills
AONB. The proposal makes a commitment to restoration and enhancement of
wildlife habitats in line with the extant minerals extraction consent. Access to the
site is good and there is excellent potential for the workforce in the local area and
beyond to make use of non-car travel choices. In seeking to further improve
accessibility it is recommended that the development contributes to the completion
of the multiuser path link to the entrance of the quarry and that the ability to sanction
end users is retained should commitments to Green Travel Planning not be
forthcoming.

In terms of need, it must be acknowledged that the proposal would make
overprovision of employment land. However, this overprovision may have wider
benefits for the city in terms of encouraging reinvestment by existing businesses and
in turn freeing up some land within the built up area for additional housing and
community infrastructure which is being debated for as part of the current LDF Core
Strategy preparation. In the current climate and in looking to the future this
opportunity will ensure that the economic health of Wells is maintained in a manner
that does not detract from the setting of the place.

There are some limited concerns relating to light pollution and the ultimate level of
office space provided, however, subject to negotiation on these points the scheme
concept is good and should be recommended for approval.

As a postscript to this consultation it is worthwhile relaying to members that this
proposal, if approved, will entail some adjustment to the overall strategy for the city
of Wells within the emerging work on the LDF. Appropriate further consultation will
be considered if required ahead of the selection of Preferred Options in the autumn
of this year.

Environmental Protection Team (Mendip District Council)
NO OBJECTION – subject to conditions and the provision of a Management
Company to be secured by means of a Section 106 Legal Agreement.

Contamination       Officer           (Mendip                 District          Council)
NO OBJECTION – subject to conditions.

Area Regeneration Officer (Mendip District Council)
COMMENTS as follows:

„From a regeneration point of view I am most supportive of this “green industrial
park” from an employment [perspective] as well as environmentally.




                                           19
I‟m also on the steering group of the Wells to Shepton multi-user path – I would be
keen to any Section 106 Legal Agreement monies used to be spent on the pathway
planned near the quarry site and next to the Viridor waste site. If the business park
comes into operation the extra traffic generated will need handling with regard to
extra cyclists and walkers in the area.‟

Environment Agency
NO OBJECTION – the applicant has addressed previous concerns about risk of
pollution to the water environment. The Environment Agency recommends a number
of conditions and a management regime if planning permission is granted.

Natural England
COMMENTS as follows:

      The proposal will have a significant affect on the terrestrial habitat of Greater
       Crested Newts, a European Protected Species. A robust mitigation strategy
       and method statement must be put in place that will maintain the favourable
       conservation status of the species on the site. We support the consultant
       ecologist‟s recommendation that replacement habitat creation should be
       carried out before the site is developed.
      The peregrine falcon, a bird afforded special protection under Schedule 1 of
       the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, breeds in Dulcote Quarry. Appropriate
       mitigation is needed to allow it to remain breeding and rearing young within
       the site if the developed proceeds.
      There is concern about the proposal to erect a wind turbine within the site.
       There is evidence of at least five species of bats including noctule foraging in
       the quarry. Bats are European protected species and could be impacted upon
       by a wind turbine (there is evidence that bats collide with wind turbine
       although the reason why needs to be researched further). To minimise impact
       upon birds and bats, the wind turbine should be located at least 50 metres
       away from any habitat features or structures that are suitable for bats or
       breeding birds. A mitigation strategy should be provided and if one cannot be
       prepared then the wind turbine should not be permitted.

Wells Civic Society
COMMENTS as follows:

      Supports the redevelopment of the quarry and the creation of employment
       opportunities there.
      The site should provide opportunity for existing businesses in the area to
       relocate or expand. This may be a catalyst to other firms and businesses
       coming to the area.
      Access to the site is good. Minimal road improvements will be required.
      The site is self-contained and unlikely to cause nuisance or disturbance to
       local residents.
      The proposal could “release” other ear-marked sites around Wells for other
       uses.
      The proposal is admirable from an environmental and conservation viewpoint.
       The preservation of wildlife, proposals for integrated site drainage and
       enhancement of natural screening of the site.


                                          20
      The proposal effectively restores the previous “industrial usage” of the site.
      The proposal is not at variance with the draft Local Development Framework.

“Sustrans”
COMMENTS as follows:

      Strong support is expressed from the perspective of access by means of
       sustainable forms of transport. Numerous actions are proposed by the
       application to facilitate access to the site by walking and cycling.
      The development will rely heavily on staff commuting from Wells (an easy
       cycle ride). Most of the traffic free path alongside the A371 was finished with
       dust and stone, and never adequately maintained. In the winter the path is
       often soft, uneven and muddy. These conditions deter cyclists and walkers.
      The extension of the traffic free walking and cycling route may be justified to
       bring vulnerable users to the very gates of the site. This can be done on land
       controlled by the County Council.
      The planning application should only be approved if:

           A commitment is secured from Somerset County Council to re-surface
            the stone/dust section of the cycle path with a tarmac surface at least
            2.5 metres wide throughout.
           A parallel commitment to maintain the path and verges is secured.
           The traffic free path is extended to the quarry gates or other suitable
            provision made for vulnerable users.

      The application makes some suggestion of cycle access from Shepton Mallet.
       However, Sustrans suggest that few commuters would make the trip on the
       roads as they currently stand, despite the short distance. Perhaps it would be
       possible to secure contributions through the development to improve this
       traffic free route.

L.E.G.S (Let-Everyone-Go-Safely)
COMMENTS as follows:

      Supports the application on the basis that it would provide excellent
       employment prospects for local people and its strong emphasis on
       encouraging people to cycle to the site.
      It is recommended that the old railway line (situated within the quarry between
       the quarry entrance and Viridor Amenity Centre) is identified as part of the
       development as a path route.

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE)
OBJECTION:

      The area is not designated for industrial growth within the Mendip District
       Local Plan.
      There is a multiple of vacant sites within the District for this kind of facility.
       The Nutricia and Clares sites are available.
      The site is essentially a “Greenfield site”. It is not a brownfield site.



                                           21
      The density of the development will cause major disruption to the
       neighbourhood and its transport infrastructure.
      Sceptical about the amount of anticipated cycle usage.
      Given the current economic climate there is no need for this facility.
      The countryside location of the site will cause future planning problems.
      Condition 32 of planning permission 015399/005 (granted in 1999 and
       reinforced by an Inspector) says that the site should be returned to amenity
       and landscape. There is no evidence that this has ever taken place neither
       has an updated landscaping scheme been provided to the County Council.
       The condition should have been complied with within two years of the date of
       the planning permission.
      Puzzled as to how Mendip District Council is dealing with this application
       given that it is not the Minerals Planning Authority.

Representations
The Local Planning Authority has received 22 OBJECTIONS raising some or all of
the following points:

      There are other sites in Wells which would better benefit from development
       (e.g. the Cold Store, Clares and Nutricia). They are brownfield sites and
       benefit from better transport links. The Morlands site (Glastonbury) also lies
       empty.
      Questioning the need for the development.
      The development should be closer to Wells.
      The economic climate makes the proposal unrealistic.
      The site is not previously developed land.
      Its naïve for the applicant to think that a large proportion of employees
       working at the site will cycle or travel by means other than the private car.
      Lack of public transport.
      The site is very far from major road networks and settlements (e.g. the
       motorway and Bristol).
      Increased traffic in surrounding villages.
      Increased heavy goods traffic.
      Increased traffic through Croscombe will cause a safety problem for the
       schools.
      Impact of traffic on the narrow country lanes surrounding the site.
      Poor road network.
      Impact of extra traffic upon the safety of local cyclists.
      The A371 between Dulcote and Croscombe will become even more
       dangerous.
      The staggered cross at Dinder will also become even more dangerous (from
       a road safety point of view).
      The historic use of the site blends in with the countryside and the proposed
       use will not – the balance will be upset.
      Potential noise pollution. Impact on neighbours - 24 hour working.
      Dust and nuisance.
      Light pollution.
      The proposal is inconsistent with the existing planning permission for
       quarrying of the site and the Inspector‟s finding, which was to require a



                                         22
       restoration scheme for the site and make it into an amenity/nature
       conservation area.
      The land would be better used for an amenity/nature conservation area.
      The site attracts much wildlife including nesting peregrine falcons.
      Concerns about possible pollution of the local residential water supply.
      Concerns about neighbour notification of the planning application.
      Devaluation of neighbours‟ property.

Mendip Bridleways and Byways Association

The Association is concerned that no mention is made in the application about the
provision of bridle path or multi-users path for cyclists and horse riders utilising
existing tracks around the edge of the quarry and the old railway line. These issues
were raised with the applicant during the public consultation exercise last year. Both
the applicant and Local Planning Authority must be aware that there is a bridleway at
the entrance to the quarry. The increase in traffic resulting from this development will
pose a risk to riders who not only use the bridleway but also the road to the
underpass leading to Dulcote. It is important that provision is made for riders.

Planning Analysis
Planning History
015399/005 – permission refused in January 1998 for extraction of mineral reserves,
importation, crushing and screening of demolition and construction materials for the
production of recycle aggregates. Importation of inert and naturally occurring
excavated materials for restoration and reclamation. An appeal against the decision
was allowed in February 1999. The permission requires a landscaping and after-use
scheme, which are secured by conditions.

015399/004 – permission granted in May 1997 for importation of naturally excavated
materials to complete construction of landscape embankment within the approved
landscaping scheme.

015399/003 – permission granted in September 1988 for the continued use of ready
mix concrete plant and mess room.

015399/001 – permission granted in January 1981 for the continued use of ready
mix concrete plant and mess room.

There are various other older decisions dating back to 1973 and earlier.

Policy Context

Section 38(6) of the Planning & Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires that all
development proposals are determined in accordance with the Development Plan
unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The Development Plan for Mendip
consists of the Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West (adopted September
2001), the Somerset & Exmoor National Park Joint Structure Plan Review (adopted
April 2000) and the Mendip District Local Plan (adopted December 2002).

The following Development Plan policies are considered relevant to this application:


                                          23
   Saved Policies STR1 (sustainable development), STR6 (development outside
    Towns, Rural Centres and Villages), 1 (nature conservation), 5 (landscape
    character), 18 (location of land for industrial, warehousing and business
    development), 19 (employment and community provision in rural areas) and 49
    (transport requirements of new development) of the Somerset & Exmoor National
    Park Joint Structure Plan Review (adopted April 2000)

   Saved Policies S1 (settlement policy), Q1 (design quality and protection of
    amenity), Q3 (access), Q4 (landscape design), Q5 (off site infrastructure), Q12
    (noise generating development), Q14 (light pollution), EN3 (protected species),
    EN5 (protection of trees, hedgerows and woodlands), EN16 (watercourse), EN17
    (surface water run-off), ER1 (energy conservation), ER7 (re-use of materials),
    SN23 (accessibility – major traffic generators), SN24 (travel plans), SN25
    (vehicle parking provision) and SN26 (development affecting public rights of way)
    of the Mendip District Local Plan (adopted December 2002)

The following national planning policy is relevant:

   Planning Policy Statement 1 (Delivering Sustainable Development)
   Planning Policy Guidance Note 4 (
   Planning Policy Statement 4 (Planning for Sustainable Economic Development
    (consultation paper)
   Planning Policy Statement 7 (Sustainable Development in Rural Areas)

   Planning Policy Guidance Note 13 (Transport)
   Planning Policy Statement 23 (Planning and Pollution Control)
   Planning Policy Statement 25 (Development and Flood Risk)

Analysis

1. Procedural matters

The determining planning authority

The proposal is a County Matter under paragraph 1.1(h) of Schedule 1 of the Town
and Country Planning Act 1990 since it involves development of land formerly used
for the winning and working of minerals and where the proposal would conflict with
or prejudice compliance with a restoration condition or aftercare condition.

Somerset County Council is the Minerals Planning Authority. It advises that there are
two outstanding planning matters concerning the last extant planning permission
granted for quarrying of the site (planning permission 015399/005):

       Condition 32 requires that the site shall be reclaimed and left suitable for
        amenity and nature conservation purposes. The condition requires
        submission and approval of a scheme for restoration to this type of use; and

       Condition 30 requires a detailed landscaping scheme to be submitted for
        approval. An up to date scheme is required.


                                          24
The County Council has formally agreed that Mendip District Council can deal with
the planning application because of the proposal‟s potential strategic importance to
the District Council‟s economic development strategy, and that the District Council
normally deals with proposals for business and commercial development. This
decision is subject to the proviso that the County Council is consulted on the
planning application, both as the Highway Authority and Minerals Planning Authority.
Furthermore, should planning permission be granted, it should be subject to a
Section 106 Legal Agreement to revoke the existing extant minerals permission.

Somerset County Council has been consulted on the application and its responses
(as Highway Authority, Minerals Planning Authority and County planning team) have
been summarised above in the consultations section of this report.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

The applicant has submitted an Environmental Statement with the application. The
development falls within the scope of Schedule 2 sub-section 10(a) („Infrastructure
Projects‟) of the Town & Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment)
Regulations 1999. The development has been screened and the Local Planning
Authority has determined that full Environmental Impact Assessment is not required.
It has been concluded that the development would not have any significant
environmental impacts in the context of the Regulations and the advice contained in
Circular 02/99 „Environmental Impact Assessment‟ suggests that EIA is more likely
to be required where the development site is more than 20 hectares.

Departure from Development Plan

The site is located outside the development limit in „open countryside‟ and, given its
scale, Members are advised that the proposal represents a departure from the
Development Plan. Should the Local Planning Authority resolve to grant planning
permission, the application should first be referred to the Government Office for
clearance before planning permission can be issued.

2. Community consultation

PPS1 advocates the involvement of the wider community at an early stage so that it
may inform the formulation of proposals and design process. The applicant held an
exhibition in Wells Town Hall on 26 June 2008. The consultation exercise was
publicised in the local press and letters were sent to a range of key stakeholders
including parish councils, local interest groups, councillors and business
organisations.

The applicant summarises the results of the exhibition as follows:

      „The development of Dulcote Quarry was generally agreed to be necessary
       and an industrial/business use considered appropriate. Several respondents
       commented that Wells had lost/needed more industrial space, and those who
       commented about the use of Dulcote Quarry for this purpose considered it an
       opportunity to address this lost/need;


                                         25
      Two respondents suggested alternative uses for the quarry, including
       housing, a bowling alley, Waitrose, and a cinema;
      The consultation validated the scoping exercise as the areas of
       concern/opportunity which were raised were:

              Noise
              Rights of way – horse riders and cycle path
              Tree planting
              Hydrological effects, including drainage and flooding
              Dust
              Traffic.‟

The applicant has responded to the concerns raised as follows:

      General concern about adverse environmental impacts, particularly from
       noise, traffic, hydrological impacts and dust – the applicant says that an
       Environmental Impact Assessment has been carried out. Several
       amendments have subsequently been made to the scheme to eliminate or
       reduce impacts, but also to introduce beneficial effects.
      Extend/create public rights of way (particularly for cyclists and horse riders) –
       walking and cycling is promoted in the scheme, and opportunities to link into
       existing routes are identified.
      Involve young people, neighbours, economic development and district
       councillors for Wells – a site visit for interested parties was scheduled for 08
       October 2008.
      Suggestions for alternative uses of the site – the Environmental Statement
       accompanying the planning application considers other uses. The views of
       planning officers and economic considerations were taken into account.
      Planning process – Mendip District Council confirmed that it was happy to
       deal with the planning application and that it was appropriate for it to do so for
       a business/industrial proposal, subject to agreement by Somerset County
       Council. Somerset County Council subsequently agreed to hand formal
       responsibility for determination of the application to Mendip District Council.

The Local Planning Authority has undertaken statutory and non statutory
consultations following formal submission of the planning application, the results of
which are summarised above in the consultations section of this report.

3. Principle

The application site is a former quarry and is situated less than 2km to the south
east of Wells and about 4 km west of Shepton Mallet. It is located outside the
development limit (development area) of any recognised hierarchical settlement and
for planning purposes is considered „open countryside‟.

The planning system seeks to regulate development in the countryside and „protect
it for its own sake‟. Policy STR6 of the Structure Plan and Policy S1 of the Local
Plan seek to strictly control development outside the development limit and restrict it
to that which does not foster travel, that which benefits the economy and that which
either preserves or enhance the environment. These are the three key Development


                                           26
Plan tests for assessing whether a development proposal outside the development
limit is acceptable in principle.

Travel

Dealing with the issue of travel first, the location of the site and nature of the
proposal inevitably mean that the proposal will foster travel. Some mitigation may be
provided: a Green Travel Plan for each end user to promote alternative sustainable
means of travel; and the upgrading and extension of multi user path links to the site
from Wells. However, overall, these measures will only provide enhanced
opportunities for workers to travel to and from the site by means other than the
private car. The general effect will be that the development will foster travel albeit it
is considered that such increase will not be significant.

Economic benefit

In terms of benefit to the economy, the proposal represents major economic
investment and the Council‟s planning policy team has commented on the qualitative
benefits that the site may have for employment land supply in the area. In terms of
overall quantitative need, research identifies the requirement for an additional 6.21
ha of employment land for Wells during the period 2008 to 2026. This figure needs
to be adjusted to take account of the fact that the former Nutricia employment site
will not be completely lost to housing because it includes the requirement for 4,000
square metres of Use Class B1 (approximately 1.2 ha of employment land). This
reduces the need figure for Wells to closer to 5 ha.

The application site is approximately 8.5 ha in size although this land take up
includes open drainage, landscaping and ecological areas. Using this figure, the
proposal would exceed the identified need for employment land in the area for the
period up until 2026 by approximately 3 ha. The emerging Planning Policy
Statement 4 (Planning for Sustainable Economic Development) advocates a positive
and flexible approach to economic development and employment land delivery. The
proposal is also put forward as a „cutting edge‟ environmentally sensitive and green
technological development. Combined with the other qualitative benefits of the
scheme, it is considered that a sound economic case can be made for the proposal.

There is a concern that the development - which could give rise to an oversupply of
employment land in the area in the shorter term - could potentially prejudice take up
of the Gate Lane allocation site (which the Local Planning Authority has resolved to
grant outline planning permission for 22,000 square metres of B1, B2 and B8 floor
space on 7.4 ha of land, and which lies adjacent the city boundary). This might be so
and it is relevant that the location of the Gate Lane site is appreciably better from a
transport sustainability point of view. Nevertheless, the Dulcote Quarry site is likely
to be attractive to a slightly different commercial market (because of its high „green
credentials‟) and the level of potential oversupply of employment land is not in
relative terms significant.

Environment




                                           27
The effect of the proposal upon the environment is considered in more detail later on
in this report (including discussion on landscape impact, light pollution, biodiversity
and impact upon the water environment). The site is located in an excavated bowl
and so the development would have minimal visual impact. The application also
includes well considered mitigation in response to the potential environmental effects
that it may have. In general terms, the environmental impacts of the development
would be relatively well contained.

Other considerations

The Council‟s planning policy team has provided a very detailed commentary on the
policy implications of the proposal and captured the main arguments for and against
the principle of development (these comments have been reported in full in the
consultations section of this report). On the face of it, the proposal fails to accord
with the Development Plan policies that seek to strictly control development in the
countryside, but there are a number of other material considerations that must be
considered and which favour the development:

      The proposal provides the opportunity for improved business premises and
       choice of employment land including relocation of existing firms from Wells.

      Wells is heavily constrained (environmentally and aspirationally) in terms of
       its ability and desire to expand its boundaries and provide further housing,
       employment and other land to meet its future needs. The proposal provides a
       potentially suitable site on the „doorstep‟ of the city, which could meet some of
       those future needs whilst at the same time providing possibilities for freeing
       up existing sites in and around the town for housing and other uses.

      The development would reduce the pressure for the development of more
       traditional „Greenfield‟ sites.

      The proposal is for a highly technological „green‟ and environmentally
       sustainable form of industrial development.

      The proposal provides the opportunity to extend and enhance the existing
       multi user path between Wells, Dulcote and the site, which would provide
       increased opportunities for travel to the site by more sustainable means and
       which would provide benefits for the wider community;

A number of local residents have expressed strong concern that to allow industrial
development here would contradict the Inspector‟s decision to allow permission for
continued quarrying from the site until 2013 but in doing so required the site to be
later reclaimed and left suitable for amenity and nature conservation purposes.
However, that was the planning position and the time and it is entirely within the
remit of the Local Planning Authority to review that position in the light of the current
application. Each planning application must be judged upon its own individual merits
in accordance with the Development Plan and consideration of any other relevant
material factors.




                                           28
It is also relevant that the Somerset County Council, as the Minerals Local Planning
Authority, offers no objection to the application in principle. It does however ask that
the existing extant permission for quarrying of the site (ref. 015399/005) is revoked
(by way of a Section 106 Legal Agreement). This is in recognition of the fact that the
existing permission requires landscaping and implementation of an after-use
strategy, which would no longer be required if planning permission is to be granted
for the proposed development and subsequently implemented. However, there is a
potential scenario whereby planning permission is granted for the proposal but never
implemented. It would therefore be necessary to secure the landscaping and the
after-use strategy in such an eventuality (this would need to be achieved by a
Section 106 Legal Agreement).

Having regard to all these points, the site is considered to be suitable in principle for
employment development and of the scale proposed.

4. Access and transport issues

As part of their submission, the applicant has produced a Transport Assessment
(TA) to consider the transportation effects of the development. The TA is a very
detailed and comprehensive technical report, and has been scrutinised by the
Highway Authority. The Highway Authority accepts the findings of the TA and does
not anticipate that any serious problems would result from the additional numbers
(and type) of traffic that will be generated by the proposal.

However, a prerequisite to the overall acceptability of the development is the
provision of a „Green Travel Plan‟ for each end user. The purpose of the travel plan
is to promote greener and more sustainable modes of transport (such as the
promotion of cycling, walking, car sharing schemes etc). The applicant has
submitted a framework travel plan, which meet‟s the Highway Authority
requirements, and which will form a structure for subsequent green travel plans to be
submitted by each end user. The travel plan can be secured by means of condition.

The Highway Authority acknowledges that given the location of the site, the
development will foster travel, therefore contrary to planning policies and transport
sustainability objectives. However, the Highway Authority considers that it is a matter
for the Local Planning Authority to decide whether the potential economic benefits of
the development override this consideration.

The Highway Authority endorses the recommendations of Sustrans and LEGS for
the maintenance, improvement and extension of the multi user path from Wells to
Dulcote and the site. This would further enhance the sustainability credentials of the
development and is in fact fundamentally necessary if the Green Travel Plan
framework is to work. The applicant is in discussions with the Highway Authority
about how best to secure this (although whichever way it is almost certainly to
involve the requirement for a Section 106 Legal Agreement).

There is an argument that the amount of Use Class B1(a) office floor space should
be restricted for reasons of transport sustainability. The Local Planning Authority
should not be encouraging a high proportion of office use here, the site being some
distance from Wells. There are more sustainable locations for new office


                                           29
development in and around Wells such as the Gate Lane and Nutricia sites site. The
applicant has therefore agreed to limit the amount of B1(a) floor space to just over
3,000 square metres and this is considered to be an appropriate limit for B1(a) office
use..

Parking numbers and layouts will be decided at the detailed stage. The internal road
layout should ideally be built to an adoptable standard although there is no
legislative requirement for this.

In view of the Highway Authority‟s position on the application, and subject to
conditions and a Section 106 Legal Agreement to secure improvements, upgrading
and maintenance of the existing multi user path together with the extension of the
path up to the site, it is considered that the access arrangements and transportation
implications of the development are acceptable.

5. Landscape impact

The development is to be located at the base of the quarry. Although existing ground
levels are likely to rise by around 2 metres, the northern perimeter of the quarry has
a very substantial north face and the southern perimeter has a high face. The height
of the buildings will be no greater than 9 metres (approximately 75 metres AOD).
The highest part of the buildings will be less than the height of the south face (which
is approximately 80 metres AOD) and substantially less than the north face (110
metres AOD in places). This means that the buildings will be set lower than the
quarry face and their wider landscape impact would be contained.

The development will need to be lit and it is essential that external lighting is very
carefully controlled. Indeed, this is almost certainly the area where the development
has most potential to impact visually. A strategic lighting scheme for the whole site
should be secured at the outline planning application stage, and this should be
secured by means of a condition.

There is a public footpath network to the immediate north (along the northern
boundary of the quarry top) and south. There are further public footpaths to the west
and south east. However, the proposal is unlikely to have much if an impact upon
users‟ enjoyment of these footpaths.

Landscaping within the site is reserved for later consideration and would be the
subject of a separate application.

6. The effect of the proposal upon neighbour amenity

The Villages of Dulcote and Dinder are located close to the site to the north west
and north east respectively. The closest properties to the south are Wellesley
Cottages and Scarlet Withies Farm. The consideration of potential environmental
impacts (such as noise, vibration, dust and odour) on nearby residents is a very
important issue.

The application includes consideration of potential impacts and this has been the
subject of scrutiny and on-going discussion with the Council‟s Environmental


                                          30
Protection Team (EPT). Being a former quarry, it is considered that the site lends
itself quite well for industrial use because the development would be located in a
bowl and the quarry faces provide substantial buffering. Noise will in the most part
rise upwards and subject to controls and regulation of commercial operations,
should not give rise to unacceptable environmental impact on nearby residents.

The EPT has recommended a range of planning conditions relating to controls on
the construction phase, outside storage and processing of materials, hours of
operation, LGV movements, waste management, lighting, odour and amplified
equipment. These are considered necessary to ensure that the amenity of local
residents is adequately safeguarded.

The applicant has agreed to the principle of a management company to provide
additional regulation and control over environmental issues. The provision of a
management company is best practice and has been successfully used at the
Coalway Lane site („Commerce Park‟), Frome. It is also to be introduced at the Gate
Lane employment site, Wells. The management company would be secured by
means of a Section 106 Legal Agreement.

LGV movements should be prohibited between 11pm and 7am and in order that this
condition can be enforced and monitored it is considered necessary to require the
developer to install CCTV at the site entrance. This can also be secured through a
Section 106 Legal Agreement.

Subject to these provisions, it is considered that the amenity of nearby residents
would be satisfactorily protected.

7. Drainage and the impact on the water environment

The applicant has produced a flood risk and drainage assessment. Following the
submission of further information, the Environment Agency is satisfied that the
development would not result in contamination of the aquifer that runs beneath the
site or the wider water environment.

The scheme would incorporate a sustainable urban drainage system (SUDS), details
of which will need to be firmed up at the detailed design stage and this can be
secured by condition. The applicant is considering a number of options for foul water
drainage including a private treatment plant with discharge into the River Sheppey; a
pumping station to Strawberry Way roundabout; and a shared pumping station with
Wessex Water with discharge to the Strawberry Way roundabout. The Environment
Agency has no objection to these alternatives although it expresses a preference for
discharge to the public foul sewer. It would welcome a joint development with
Wessex Water incorporating first-time sewerage for Dulcote as this would address
possible water quality issues caused by septic tanks in the area. Again, the details of
foul water drainage will need to be controlled by means of a condition.

It is considered necessary to require a maintenance and management regime for the
surface water and foul drainage and this can be secured by means of a Section 106
Legal Agreement.



                                          31
Having regard to the Environment Agency‟s advice, it is considered that potential
flood risk, water contamination and drainage issues can be satisfactorily dealt with.

8. Biodiversity

Dulcote Quarry is a designated County Wildlife Site (CWS) and County Geological
Site (CGS). The site falls within a network of CWSs, including ancient semi-natural
broad leaved woodland to the north and species rich grassland to the south. Twinhill
Woods and Meadows Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) lie within 1km of the
site to the south-west.

The applicant has commissioned an independent ecological survey and appraisal of
impacts and recommended mitigation. The main findings of the study include the
following:

      Overview - the habitats within the site are highly disturbed and degraded,
       comprising the bare rock and tipped areas of a recently worked quarry.

      Pond - the quarry pond (to the north west part of the quarry floor) represents
       an area of more significant nature conservation value, as a foraging areas for
       at least five species of bats and due to the presence of a medium population
       of great crested newts. The pond will be retained as part of the proposals with
       an additional pond formed as part of the SUDS system.

      Peregrine Falcons - a species of UK conservation concern, are breeding on
       the north cliff of the quarry. Ravens are also breeding there. The construction
       phase may cause significant disturbance. Construction of the units closest to
       the northern cliffs should be restricted to outside the breeding season. Shrub
       clearance should take place between mid-August and early March, outside of
       the nesting season.

      Great crested newts - the proposals will result in the loss of a significant
       proportion of the terrestrial newt habitat associated with the tipped slopes to
       the south of the quarry pond. If unmitigated this will have a permanent
       adverse impact on the local newt population. The installation of SUDS will
       require some re-grading of the rock trap bunds at the base of the northern
       quarry face, which may also adversely affect great crested newt habitat. The
       most significant scrub habitat closest to the face and pond will be retained,
       thus potentially reducing the effect. A “Habitat Protection Zone” will be
       retained along the northern quarry face to safeguard potential terrestrial great
       crested newt habitat. The area associated with Unit 11 and the SUDS
       scheme will have to be cleared under license (from Natural England) before
       any works are undertaken here. Mitigation will need to be secured by means
       of planning condition before a license can be granted. Mitigation measures
       are detailed in 11.8.2 of the ecological report.

      Bats - some vegetation currently used by bats will be lost and this will have a
       short term adverse impact. However, in the medium and long term there will
       be an overall benefit due to replanting and natural regeneration of trees, and
       the introduction of SUDS. Bats may be adversely affected by the introduction


                                          32
       of external lighting for the development. Lighting close to the pond should be
       limited and very carefully designed. The “Habitat Protection Zone” will provide
       a vegetation corridor to the pond for commuting and foraging bats.

      Nesting birds - the removal of scrub vegetation on the site used by birds for
       nesting will reduce available breeding territories. However, the impact is
       unlikely to be significant on the local population of these relatively common
       species. The construction phase may cause significant disturbance.

      Biodiversity gain – the proposal includes several features that will improve the
       quality of the site in the medium and long term for protected species found at
       the quarry. This includes the provision of SUDS (including open and flowing
       water features), and planting of native vegetation throughout the site.

Natural England has commented on the planning application as part of the
consultation process. It has raised a number of important points that can be
responded to as follows. They have requested a robust mitigation strategy and
method statement in respect of the effect of the development upon the terrestrial
habitat of Great Crested Newts. As discussed, the applicant has provided a detailed
mitigation strategy and this can be secured by means of planning condition.

Natural England identifies the need for the developer to provide appropriate
mitigation allow Peregrine Falcons to remain breeding and rearing young within the
site if the developed proceeds.

Natural England has expressed concerns about the provision of a wind turbine and
its potential impact upon bats. However, the application merely shows a wind turbine
as a possible feature and no definitive proposals are included for a wind turbine,
which would need to be subject to a separate planning application. Natural England
has provided some locational advice concerning the wind turbine and this can be
relayed to the developer by way of an informative.

It is clear that the proposals will impact upon ecological interests within the site.
However, it is considered that the applicant has satisfactorily demonstrated that
these impacts can be appropriately mitigated. This must be secured as part of the
planning permission by means of planning conditions.

9. Energy Conservation

The applicant says that the proposal will meet BREEAM very good standards. The
Design & Access Statement accompanying the application states that the layout will
ensure opportunities to take advantage of passive and active solar gain. Green roofs
will be introduced to some of the units to provide enhanced insulation. Structural
Insulated Panels will be used in the construction of some buildings to offer high
insulation qualities. The scheme will incorporate sustainable water management with
low demand fittings and rainwater harvesting systems. All buildings will be fitted with
natural ventilation and energy efficient lighting.

The applicant is promoting the development as a green technology industrial estate
and the commitment to BREEAM very good standard is welcomed. It is considered


                                          33
that this commitment to energy conservation will help to off-set in part some of the
transport sustainability disadvantages due to the site‟s location. Whilst energy
conservation measures will need to be incorporated at the detailed design stage, it is
essential that the framework for this approach is set out and controlled at this outline
stage. It is considered that this can be appropriately secured by means of condition.

10. Other issues raised by consultees

A number of consultation responses have been received that raise issues not
already considered in this report. These are discussed below:

      That there are other more suitable sites for industrial development in and
       closer to Wells – the Local Planning Authority must determine the application
       before it and it has been demonstrated that the development will meet a
       shortfall of employment land in the Wells area for the period up until 2026.
       Wells is very sensitive to expansion of its boundaries and there are no other
       obvious sites available for employment development of the level proposed
       without having potentially significant ramifications.
      That there is no need for the development in the current economic climate –
       there is currently no policy basis to withhold planning permission on such
       grounds.
      The site is not well served by public transport – the proposal seeks to
       promote sustainable travel by other means through the implementation of
       green travel plans and the extension and improvement of the multi user path
       between Dulcote and Wells.
      The possible devaluation of local properties is not a material planning
       consideration.
      Public consultation has been carried out in accordance with statutory
       requirements.
      Impact on water supply to Dulcote – the applicant is working with Wessex
       Water to provide an appropriate solution on the issue of water supply.
      Extension of the multi user path from the site entrance to the recycling centre
       – it would be unreasonable to request this because it would be seeking to
       resolve an existing issue that is unconnected to the development.
      Impact on bridleways and horse riders – the Highway Authority has advised
       that horses may be able to use the extended multi user path to the site.

11. Conclusion

The proposal is for the development of a significant area of employment land outside
the development limit where development is strictly controlled. However, the site is
situated close to Wells and the proposal should help meet a recognised shortfall of
employment land in the Wells area up until the period 2026. There are limited viable
opportunities for the expansion of Wells to meet its future housing and employment
needs and the site provides a sound alternative.

The quarry nature of the site means that it is very well contained and this should
help minimise the development‟s landscape and other environmental impacts. The
development is promoted as being especially sustainable with use of green



                                          34
technology, SUDS and extensive ecological mitigation. The means of access and
transport implications of the development are deemed to be acceptable.

For the reasons set out in more detail in the main body of this report, the proposal is
considered acceptable. Delegated authority is sought to approve the application
with conditions subject to the conclusion of a Section 106 Legal Agreement to cover
the following heads of terms:

             The upgrading, improvement and maintenance of the existing multi
              user path between Wells and Dulcote;
             The provision of an extension to the existing multi user path from
              Dulcote to the application site;
             The provision of a Management Company to cover environmental
              controls; management of the non adopted common parts of the site;
              maintenance of the foul and surface water drainage infrastructure; and
              installation of CCTV at the site entrance;
             Revocation of the existing extant planning permission (015399/005);
              and
             The provision of landscaping and an after-use strategy (replicating the
              requirements of the extant planning permission 015399/005) if the
              proposal is not implemented.

Reason for Approval

The proposal is for the development of a significant area of employment land outside
the development limit where development is strictly controlled. However, the site is
situated close to Wells and the proposal should help meet a recognised shortfall of
employment land in the Wells area up until the period 2026. There are limited
opportunities for the expansion of Wells to meet its future housing and employment
needs and the site provides a sound alternative.

The quarry nature of the site means that it is very well contained and this should
help minimise the development‟s landscape and other environmental impacts. The
development is promoted as being especially sustainable with use of green
technology, SUDS and extensive ecological mitigation. The means of access and
transport implications of the development are deemed to be acceptable.

Subject to planning conditions and a Section 106 Legal Agreement, the Local
Planning Authority considers this to be an acceptable development, having regard to
the following Development Plan policies:

Saved Policies STR1 (sustainable development), STR6 (development outside
Towns, Rural Centres and Villages), 1 (nature conservation), 5 (landscape
character), 18 (location of land for industrial, warehousing and business
development), 19 (employment and community provision in rural areas) and 49
(transport requirements of new development) of the Somerset & Exmoor National
Park Joint Structure Plan Review (2000).

Saved Policies S1 (settlement policy), Q1 (design quality and protection of amenity),
Q3 (access), Q4 (landscape design), Q5 (off site infrastructure), Q12 (noise


                                          35
generating development), Q14 (light pollution), EN3 (protected species), EN5
(protection of trees, hedgerows and woodlands), EN16 (watercourse), EN17
(surface water run-off), ER1 (energy conservation), ER7 (re-use of materials), SN23
(accessibility), SN24 (travel plans), SN25 (vehicle parking provision) and SN26
(development affecting public rights of way) of the Mend District Local Plan (2002).

List of Conditions
        The development hereby approved shall be begun either before the expiration of
1       five years from the date of this permission, or before the expiration of two years
        from the date of approval of the last of the reserved matters to be approved,
        whichever is the latest.
        Reason: As required by Section 92 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990
        and to avoid the accumulation of unimplemented planning permissions.

2      Application for approval of the reserved matters shall be made to the Local
       Planning Authority before the expiration of three years from the date of this
       permission.
       Reason: As required by Section 92 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990
       and to avoid the accumulation of unimplemented planning permissions.
3      Approval of the details of the (a) layout (b) scale (c) appearance; and (d) landscaping of
       the site (hereinafter called 'the reserved matters') shall be obtained from the Local
       Planning Authority in writing before any development is commenced.
       Reason: This is an outline permission and these matters have been reserved for the
       subsequent approval of the Local Planning Authority, and as required by Section 92 of the
       Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).
4      Plans and particulars of the reserved matters referred to in condition (03) above shall
       include details of:
       (a) the provision to be made for the parking and turning of vehicles within the site.
       (b) the space to be provided for the loading, unloading and turning of vehicles within the
       site.
       (c) the surface treatment of any roadways and other parts of the site which will not be
       covered by buildings.
       (d) external materials.
       (e) existing and proposed ground and floor levels
       (f) Retention of the pond to the north west corner of the site.
       Reason: This is an outline permission and these matters require detailed consideration by
       the Local Planning Authority having regard to the provisions of the Mendip District Local
       Plan 2002.
5      The development hereby approved shall be limited to no more than 24,751 square metres
       of gross floor space.
       Reason: To control the level of development, having regard to Saved Policies S1, Q1, Q3,
       Q4, Q12 of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002).
6      Notwithstanding condition 5, the amount of Use Class B1(a) (office) floor space shall be
       limited to no more than 3,076 square metres of gross floor space (excluding ancillary
       office space elsewhere within the development), unless otherwise first agreed in writing
       by the Local Planning Authority.
       Reason: To limit the amount of office floor space in the interests of transport
       sustainability, having regard to Saved Policy Q3 of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002).
7      The development (in terms of its design, form, layout and energy conservation measures)


                                           36
     shall be carried out in general accordance with the principles and concepts contained in
     the Design & Access Statement received on 27 November 2008, unless the Local
     Planning Authority grants its prior written approval to any variation.
     Reason: To promote a high quality development that maximises energy conservation and
     good design, having regard to Saved Policies Q1 and ER1 of the Mendip District Local
     Plan (2002).
8    The dimensions of the buildings shall not exceed the dimensions set out in tabular form in
     the email received on 16 March 2009.
     Reason: To control the impact of the development, having regard to Saved Policy Q1 of
     the Mendip District Local Plan (2002).
9    No works shall be undertaken in respect of the construction of any of the units until such
     time as details of an external lighting strategy for the whole development have been
     submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The strategy shall
     include a programme for implementation. There shall be no external lighting of the
     development unless in strict accordance with the approved strategy, unless the Local
     Planning Authority grants its prior written approval to any variation.
     Reason: To minimise light pollution in the interests of visual and residential amenity,
     having regard to Saved Policies Q1 and Q14 of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002).
10   The development hereby approved shall be constructed to BREEAM very good standard
     and shall incorporate energy conservation measures as set out in the Design & Access
     Statement received on 27 November 2008, unless the Local Planning Authority grants its
     prior written approval to any variation. Each individual unit shall be constructed to
     BREEAM very good standard in accordance with the criteria outlined in the `BREEAM for
     Industrial Units 2008 Pre-Assessment‟ dated 05 September 2008 and produced by
     Atkins. Each individual unit shall not be occupied until such time as a copy of BREEAM
     very good certification has been provided to the Local Planning Authority. Reason: In the
     interests of promoting energy conservation in the design and layout of the development,
     having regard to Saved Policy ER1 of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002).
11   The means of access shall be built in strict accordance with the approved plans and shall
     be made available prior to occupation of the first unit.
     Reason: In the interests of highway safety, having regard to Saved Policy Q3 of the
     Mendip District Local Plan (2002).
12   Each unit shall be served by a covered bicycle area, details of which shall have first been
     submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The covered bicycle
     area shall be provided prior to occupation of the unit and shall be permanently retained in
     that form thereafter, unless the Local Planning Authority grants its prior written approval
     to any variation.
     Reason: To promote cycling use, having regard to Saved Policy Q3 of the Mendip District
     Local Plan (2002).
13   Each unit shall not be operated unless in accordance with a Green Travel Plan, details of
     which shall have first been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning
     Authority. Unless otherwise first agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority, the
     Green Travel Plan shall accord with the Travel Plan Framework, dated September 2008,
     by PFA Consulting and received on 27 November 2008.
     Reason: To promote sustainable travel to and from the site, having regard to Saved
     Policy SN24 of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002).
14   No works shall be undertaken until details of a sustainable urban drainage system for the
     site, including a programme for implementation, have been submitted to and approved in
     writing by the Local Planning Authority. The works shall not be carried out unless in strict



                                          37
     accordance with the details so approved.
     Reason: To provide a sustainable drainage system for the site, having regard to Saved
     Policies EN16 and EN17 of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002), and PPS25.
15   No works shall be undertaken until details of foul drainage have been first submitted to
     and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Such details shall include a
     programme for implementation. The works shall not be carried out unless in accordance
     with the details so approved, unless the Local Planning Authority grants its prior written
     approval to any variation.
     Reason: To ensure the adequate provision of drainage infrastructure having regard to the
     provisions of Saved Policies Q5 and EN14 of the Mendip District Local Plan 2002.
16   An investigation and risk assessment, in addition to any assessment provided with the
     planning application, must be completed in accordance with a scheme to assess the
     nature and extent of any contamination on the site, whether or not it originates on the site.
     The contents of the scheme are subject to the approval in writing of the Local Planning
     Authority and shall be submitted to the Local Planning Authority prior to the
     commencement of any works. The investigation and risk assessment must be
     undertaken by competent persons and a written report of the findings must be produced.
     The written report is subject to the approval in writing of the Local Planning Authority.
     The report of the findings must include:
     (i) A survey of the extent, scale and nature of contamination;
     (ii) An assessment of the potential risks to:
     (iii) Human health
     (iv) Property (existing or proposed) including buildings, crops, livestock, pets, woodland
     and service lines and pipes, adjoining land, ground waters and surface waters, ecological
     systems, archaeological sites and ancient monuments;
     (v) An appraisal of remedial options, and proposal of the preferred option(s).

     Reason: To ensure that risks from land contamination to the future users of the land and
     neighbouring land are minimised, together with those to controlled waters, property and
     ecological system, and to ensure that the neighbours and other offiste receptors, having
     regard to Saved Policy Q10 accordance with policy of the Mendip District Local Plan
     (2002) and advise set out in Planning Policy Statement 23: Planning and Pollution
     Control.
17   A detailed remediation scheme to bring the site to a condition suitable for the intended
     use by removing unacceptable risks to human health, buildings and other property and
     the natural and historical environment must be prepared, and is subject to the approval in
     writing of the Local Planning Authority. The scheme must include all works to be
     undertaken, proposed remediation objectives and remediation criteria, timetable of works
     and site management procedures. The scheme must ensure that the site will not qualify
     as contaminated land under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in relation
     to the intended use of the land after remediation.

     Reason: To ensure that risks from land contamination to the future users of the land are
     minimised, together with those to controlled waters, property and ecological systems, and
     to ensure that the development can be carried out safely without unacceptable risks to
     workers, neighbours and other offsite receptors, having regard to Saved Policy Q10
     accordance with policy of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002) and advise set out in
     Planning Policy Statement 23: Planning and Pollution Control.
18   The approved remediation scheme must be carried out in accordance with its terms prior
     to the commencement of development (other that that required to carry out remediation),
     unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The Local Planning



                                          38
     Authority must be given two weeks written notification of commencement of the
     remediation scheme works.
     Following completion of measures identified in the approved remediation scheme, a
     verification report (referred the in PPS23 as a validation report) that demonstrates the
     effectiveness of the remediation carried out must be produced, and is subject to the
     approval in writing of the Local Planning Authority.
     Reason: To ensure that risks from land contamination to the future users of the and
     neighbouring land are minimised, together with those to controlled waters, property and
     ecological systems, and to ensure that the development can be carried out safely without
     unacceptable risks to workers, neighbours and other offsite receptors, having regard to
     Saved Policy Q10 accordance with policy of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002) and
     advise set out in Planning Policy Statement 23:Planning and Pollution Control.
19   In the event that contamination is found at any time when carrying out the approved
     development that was not previously identified it must be reported in writing immediately
     to the Local Planning Authority. An investigation and risk assessment must be
     undertaken in accordance with the requirements of condition 16, and where remediation
     is necessary a remediation scheme must be prepared in accordance with the
     requirements of condition 17, which is subject to the approval in writing of the Local
     Planning Authority.
     Reason: To ensure that risks from land contamination to the future users of the land and
     neighbouring land are minimised, together with those to controlled waters, property and
     ecological system, and to ensure that the development can be carried out safely without
     unacceptable risks to workers, neighbours and other offisite receptors, having regard to
     Saved Policy Q10 accordance with policy of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002) and
     advice set out in Planning Policy Statement 23: Planning and Pollution Control.
20   No works shall be undertaken in connection with either (i) the common parts of the site or
     (ii) individual building plots, unless a method statement has been submitted to and
     approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The method statement shall detail the
     working methods to be employed during the preparation of the site and all construction
     works. It will specify measures to be taken to minimise emissions of dust, fumes, odour,
     noise, and vibration. It shall also include details for the safe disposal of waste materials.
     The construction phase shall not take place unless in accordance with the approved
     method statement.
     Reason: In the interest of the amenities of adjacent residents, having regard to Saved
     Policy Q12 of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002).
21   Noise emissions from the site during construction of the development (i.e. the
     preparation, demolition and construction) shall not take place unless during the following
     hours where noise is audible at any point at the boundary of any residential development:

     Monday to Friday              0700 - 1900
     Saturday                      0800 - 1300

     There be no construction activities audible at any point at the boundary of any residential
     development at all other times, including Sundays, Bank and Public Holidays

     The above restrictions shall not apply to the laying of concrete floor slabs where such
     activities are undertaken within a building which has been so constructed as to comply
     with the acoustic design requirements for the subsequent occupier.

     Reason: In order to minimise the risk of nuisance to adjacent residents and safeguard
     their reasonable amenities during the construction periods of the development, having
     regard to Saved Policy Q12 of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002).



                                          39
22   No sound reproduction or amplification equipment (including public address
     systems, loudspeakers etc.) which is audible at the site boundary shall be installed or
     operated on the site without the prior written consent of the Local Planning Authority,
     except for that which is required for emergency/safety reasons.
     Reason: To safeguard the amenities of adjacent residents, having regard to Saved Policy
     Q12 of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002).
23   There shall be no activities involving the external manufacturing, storage or processing of
     materials in the open air anywhere on the site (with the exception of operations confined
     to site preparation, construction and the collection and delivery of materials), unless
     otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
     Reason: In order to ensure that the noise control regime required for the site is achieved
     and in the interest of the amenities of adjacent residents, having regard to Saved Policy
     Q12 of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002).
24   Outside the hours of 0700 to 2100, no vehicle or plant maintenance (audible at the site
     boundary) shall be carried out other than within the confines of a building. Where other
     external activities are permitted, then outside the hours of 0700 to 2100 the following shall
     apply:

     - All engines of vehicles shall be switched off when not in use. Refrigerated vehicle units
     shall not be left running unless connected to an electrical hook up point within a
     designated parking area, by prior written agreement with the Local Planning Authority.
     Where the use of reversing alarms, forklift trucks, trolleys or other wheeled containers are
     likely to be employed, a Management Plan shall be first submitted to and approved in
     writing by the Local Planning Authority. The Management Plan shall detail how
     compliance with all other consent conditions relating to noise emitted from the site, will be
     achieved. Such uses shall not thereafter be undertaken unless in accordance with the
     approved Management Plan.
     Reason : In order to ensure that the noise control regime required for the site is achieved
     and in the interest of the amenities of adjacent residents. having regard to Saved Policy
     Q12 of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002) and Planning Policy Statement 23 (Planning
     and Pollution Control).
25   There shall be no external storage or removal of waste in association with the use of a
     particular building, unless in accordance with details that have been first submitted to and
     approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
     Reason: In order to ensure that external storage does not compromise vehicle access
     and parking and in the interest of preventing pollution and harm to residential amenity,
     having reagrd to Saved Policy Q12 of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002) and Planning
     Policy Statement 23 (Planning and Pollution Control).
26   Noise emitted from the site (attributable to the development), shall not exceed the levels
     (in dB) specified in the table below. The LAr,Tr is the rating level as defined in
     BS4142:1997. The LAmaxF is the maximum A-weighted sound pressure level measured
     with the fast time weighting. The levels are specified for free field locations. For
     compliance purposes, noise levels may be measured, calculated or determined by
     combination method.

     Location               Grid ref.**    Period 1       Period 2
                                            LAr,Tr        LAr,Tr LAmaxF
     The Lodge                              47            35     55
     Scarlett Withies                       36            35     55
     Churchill House                        35            35     55
     Cardamine                              40            35     55


                                          40
     Notes:-
     1       Period 1 is defined as between the hours of 0700 and 2300 Monday to Friday and
     0800 to 1300 on Saturdays.

     2      Period 2 is defined as all other times and includes Sundays, bank and public
     holidays.

     3        This condition shall not apply to noise which is attributable to site construction
     activities during the development phase of the site.

     Reason: In order to ensure that noise levels arising from the development do not cause
     sleep disturbance or that ambient noise levels do not increase to the detriment of the
     amenities of nearby residents, having regard to Saved Policy Q12 of the Mendip District
     Local Plan (2002).


27   No LGV shall enter or leave the site outside the hours of 0700 to 2300, unless otherwise
     first agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Reason: In order to ensure that
     ambient noise levels do not increase to the detriment of the amenities of nearby
     residents, having regard to Saved Policy Q12 of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002).
28   There shall be no perceptible odour, dust, fumes or other effluent to air beyond the
     boundary of the site as a whole as perceived by the Local Planning Authority. Reason: In
     the interests of the amenities of the occupiers of neighbouring residential properties,
     having regard to Planning Policy Statement 23 (Planning and Pollution Control).
29   Great Crest newt mitigation in the area of the pond, Unit 11 and SUDS shall be carried
     out in strict accordance with the mitigation strategy detailed in section 11.8.2 of Chapter
     11 Ecology of the Environmental Statement dated October 2008 and authored by Corylus
     Planning and Environmental Ltd. and received on 27 November 2008, unless the Local
     Planning Authority grants its prior written approval to any variation.
     Reason: In the interests of safeguarding ecological interest, having regard to Policies
     EN2, EN3 and EN4 of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002).
30   If development has not commenced by 01 May 2010 then no works shall be undertaken
     after that date until such time as the ecological surveys are updated in accordance with
     details that have first been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning
     Authority. No works shall thereafter be undertaken unless in accordance with the details
     so approved.
     Reason: In the interests of safeguarding ecological interest, having regard to Policies
     EN2, EN3 and EN4 of the Mendip District Local Plan (2002).
31   No site works or clearance shall be undertaken until protective fences which conform with
     British Standard 5837:2005 have been erected around any existing trees and other
     existing or proposed landscape areas in positions to be first submitted to and approved in
     writing by the Local Planning Authority. Until the development has been completed these
     fences shall not be removed and the protected areas are to be kept clear of any building,
     plant, material, debris and trenching, with the existing ground levels maintained, and there
     shall be no entry to those areas except for approved arboricultural or landscape works.
     Reason: To safeguard the areas to be landscaped and the existing trees and planting to
     be retained within the site having regard to the provisions of Saved Policies Q1, Q4 and
     EN5 of the Mendip District Local Plan 2002.
32   No works shall be undertaken until details of an ecological mitigation scheme for the
     protection of peregrine falcons have been first submitted to and approved in writing by the


                                           41
       Local Planning Authority. The mitigation scheme shall include a programme for
       implementation. The mitigation scheme shall be carried out in strict accordance with the
       details so approved.
       Reason: In the interests of the protection and welfare of peregrine falcons, a legally
       protected species, having regard to Policies EN2, EN3 and EN4 of the Mendip District
       Local Plan (2002).

List of Advices
1      This planning permission is subject to a Section 106 Legal Agreement, which secures the
       following heads of terms:

       The upgrading, improvement and maintenance of the existing multi user path between
       Wells and Dulcote;
       The provision of an extension to the existing multi user path from Dulcote to the
       application site;
       The provision of a Management Company to cover environmental controls; management
       of the non adopted common parts of the site; maintenance of the foul and surface water
       drainage infrastructure; and installation of CCTV at the site entrance; and
       The provision of landscaping and a after-use strategy (replicating the requirements of the
       extant planning permission 015399/006) if the proposal is not implemented.


2      This decision relates to ¿Environmental Statement¿ (Parts 1, 2 & 3) dated October 2008
       and authored by Corylus Planning and Environmental Ltd. and received on 27 November
       2008; 'Trial Pit Ground Investigation' dated July 2008 and authored by Discovery GE;
       additional drainage information received on 13 February 2009.


3      The responsibility for ensuring compliance with the terms of this approval rests with the
       person(s) responsible for carrying out the development. The Local Planning Authority
       uses various means to monitor implementation to ensure that the scheme is built or
       carried out in strict accordance with the terms of the permission. Failure to adhere to the
       approved details will render the development unauthorised and vulnerable to enforcement
       action.
4      The Planning Authority is required to erect a Site Notice on or near the site to advertise
       development proposals which are submitted. Could you please ensure that any
       remaining Notice(s) in respect of this decision are immediately removed from the site and
       suitably disposed of. Your co operation in this matter is greatly appreciated.
5      The application suggests the provision of a wind turbine, however, no definitive proposals
       are including and this would have to be subject to a further separate planning application.
       Natural England has raised some concerns about the provision of a wind turbine and their
       comments should be borne in mind should the developer wish to formulate formal
       proposals for a wind turbine. There is evidence of at least five species of bats including
       noctule foraging in the quarry. Bats are European protected species and could be
       impacted upon by a wind turbine (there is evidence that bats collide with wind turbine
       although the reason why needs to be researched further). To minimise impact upon birds
       and bats, the wind turbine should be located at least 50 metres away from any habitat
       features or structures that are suitable for bats or breeding birds. A mitigation strategy
       should be provided and if one cannot be properly introduced then the wind turbine should
       not be permitted.
6      Any assessment carried out by noise consultants should include raw measurement data
       so that the conclusions may be thoroughly evaluated and calculations checked.


                                           42
Any noise or vibration survey measurement methods, assessment, evaluation and
interpretation should be agreed with the local authority prior to surveys starting.

The applicant is advised that many industrial processes require a permit under the
provisions of The Environmental Protection Act 1990 prior to becoming operational.
(Failure to obtain such Authorisation constitutes an offence punishable on summary
conviction by a maximum fine of £20,000). Further information may be obtained from the
Environmental Protection Team.

The applicant is reminded that compliance with the conditions attached to this consent
does not preclude the Council from taking action under the Statutory Nuisance provisions
of Part III of The Environmental Protection Act 1990.

All sound level measurements should be taken using an integrating - averaging sound
level meter or equivalent system conforming to Type or Class 1 of BS EN 60804 (as
amended).

All sound level measurements to be expressed as 'A' weighted "Fast" response levels
unless otherwise stated. The rating level shall be assessed according to the approach
given in British Standard BS4142:1997 (as amended) with the proviso that the
background noise level shall be taken to be the background noise level (L90) prior to
development in order to prevent the creeping increase of ambient noise.
It may not always be possible to measure noise levels due to the development, and
typically, when considering the likely impact of a new commercial/ industrial occupier for
compliance with noise levels. The procedure for determining noise levels may therefore
either require measurement, calculation or a combination of both methodologies in order
to demonstrate compliance.




                                     43

				
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Description: Quarry Feasibility Proposal document sample