Development Management DPD - Revised Proposed Submission

Ended on the 16 May 2014
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Section 3: Design and Townscape

Policy DM1 – Design Quality

3.1 High quality, innovative design is essential in creating and maintaining successful and sustainable places that are safe, attractive, and distinctive and where people will want to live, work, visit and enjoy. It is therefore necessary that this is at the forefront of all planning applications and the Council will require all new development to achieve a high design standard that contributes positively to the local distinctiveness and characteristics of places, spaces and neighbourhoods within the Borough.

3.2 The Council’s Design and Townscape Guide SPD provides detailed design advice for achieving high quality development within the Borough that draws on local distinctiveness. The aim of the Design and Townscape Guide SPD is to provide a practical basis for achieving high quality design that enhances local character, the quality of an area and the way it functions. Development proposals should seek to address the objectives and principles of this SPD. Where considered necessary and appropriate, the Council will consider the use of Design Codes where they can help to deliver good design locally.

Context and Sense of Place

3.3 To ensure that new development is sympathetic to its surroundings and responds positively to local character, a comprehensive context appraisal should inform the design process. All development proposals should seek to successfully integrate into the existing built fabric by ensuring a positive relationship with their surroundings with respect to: layout, density, form, scale, massing, height, landscaping, access arrangements, elevational design and by drawing reference from local materials. The Southend Borough Wide Character Study 2011 provides a detailed description and understanding of the Borough’s urban character and should be used as a reference document when considering a sites context.

Public Realm

(1) 3.4 The design of the spaces between buildings, both private and public, is a fundamental component in contributing to successful place-shaping. This includes hard and soft landscaping, art/sculpture, as well as boundary treatments, bin and cycle stores, use of materials and lighting. Landscape design and the intended use of any open spaces must form an integral part of any proposal, and should be considered from the outset to inform the design process and the creation of successful, inclusive places. Particular attention needs to be given to the interface between the public and private space and how an area will connect or relate to the wider open space network. The design of a development should also seek to encourage walking and cycling and use of public transport by creating attractive, safe and accessible entrances and routes. Further guidance on the design of the Borough’s streets and public space can be found in the Council’s Streetscape Manual SPD.

Amenity

3.5 High quality development by definition should provide a positive living environment for its occupiers whilst not having an adverse impact on the amenity of neighbours. Protection and enhancement of amenity is essential to maintaining people's quality of life and ensuring the successful integration of proposed development into existing neighbourhoods. Amenity refers to well-being and takes account of factors such as privacy, overlooking, outlook, noise and disturbance, the sense of overbearing, pollution and daylight and sunlight. A proposed development will need to consider its potential impact upon neighbouring properties and the surrounding area. Such considerations apply equally to proposals to extend and alter existing buildings as they do to new developments. The Council’s requirements for residential amenity space provision are set out within Policy DM8, with guidance provided by the Design and Townscape Guide SPD.

Secured by Design

3.6 Developments should be safe and secure and take account of crime prevention and community safety considerations as cited in the Association of Chief Police Officers Secured by Design principles. This will require particular consideration to the layout of the development to allow for effective natural surveillance and supervision of public areas. Where appropriate, public areas should be clearly visible from adjoining buildings and the design and landscaping should provide for clear sight-lines on public routes (paths, cycleways etc) and not create unnecessary concealed or negative/unused spaces.

Pre-Application Discussions and Community Involvement

3.7 Good urban design requires a 'partnership' approach between applicants, the Council and the local community. As such, the Council will encourage applicants to engage in pre-application discussions with the Local Planning Authority, the local community and stakeholders at an early stage to help gain a better understanding of the proposals and to ensure any issues or concerns highlighted can be resolved as part of the design process, prior to submission. The pre-application process will also define the scope of drawings and reports to be submitted with a planning application. Under the provisions of the Local Government Act 2003 the Council will normally make a charge for pre-application advice. Further information can be found in the Council’s adopted Statement of Community Involvement at: www.southend.gov.uk

Design Review

3.8 Design Review is a formal process that can be put in place to review, and subsequently make recommendations on, development proposals, and this is usually most successfully undertaken at pre-application stage before the scheme is finalised. It provides an opportunity for Local Planning Authorities and applicants to work with independent experts to discuss proposed developments and to seek to reach an understanding on particular matters, supporting Local Planning Authorities in approving high quality, innovative design.

3.9 The Council will provide professional design advice on planning applications and, where considered appropriate, the use of local and regional Design Review Panels will be encouraged by the Council particularly, where suitable, for sensitive sites with complex issues, to ensure a high standard of design is achieved. Where appropriate, the Council will refer significant major projects for a national design review by Design Council CABE.

(1) Policy DM1 – Design Quality

1. The Council will support good quality, innovative design that contributes positively to the creation of successful places. All developments should draw reference from the relevant design principles set out in the ‘Design and Townscape Guide’, and where a Design and Access Statement is required demonstrate within this how the relevant principles have been addressed to achieve high quality, sustainable design. In order to reinforce local distinctiveness all development should:

  1. Respect and enhance the character of the site, its local context and surroundings in terms of its architectural approach, height, size, scale, form, massing, density, layout, proportions, materials, townscape and/or landscape setting, use, and detailed design features giving appropriate weight to the preservation of a heritage asset based on its significance in accordance with Policy DM5 where applicable;
  2. Provide appropriate detailing that contributes to and enhances the distinctiveness of place;
  3. Contribute positively to the space between buildings and their relationship to the public realm;
  4. Protect the amenity of the site, immediate neighbours, and surrounding area, having regard to privacy, overlooking, outlook, noise and disturbance, the sense of overbearing, pollution, and daylight and sunlight;
  5. Provide an internal and external layout that takes account of all potential users including prioritising pedestrians and cyclists and accessibility to public transport; and
  6. Address security issues by having regard to the principles of ‘Secured by Design’.

The Council recognises the important role high quality and innovative design can play in raising the standard of design locally, and will give due consideration to developments that are considered to achieve this. The Council will encourage the use of Design Review Panels particularly for sensitive sites with complex issues and significant major projects, to ensure a high standard of design is achieved.

Core Strategy Linkage:
Objectives Policies

Strategic Objective 14

Policy KP2: Development Principles

Policy CP4: The Environment and Urban Renaissance

Policy DM2 – Low Carbon Development and Efficient Use of Resources

3.10 Sustainable development is the core principle that underpins the planning system. Planning therefore has an important role to play in helping to tackle carbon emissions generated by the built environment through the development and implementation of policies and practices that promote energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy. With buildings accounting for approximately 40% of carbon emissions in the UK, and non-domestic buildings making up nearly half of this, there is a clear need and opportunity for comprehensible standards to be set for new buildings, as well as opportunities for retrofitting the existing building stock.

3.11 To secure effective and efficient sustainable development that minimises local contributions to, and the impact of, climate change, and the depletion of non-renewable resources development proposals should incorporate the principles of the energy hierarchy:

  1. Be lean: reduce the need for and use less energy;
  2. Be clean: supply and use energy efficiently; and
  3. Be green: supply energy from renewable sources.

3.12 In order to achieve this, it is crucial that energy and water conservation measures, together with other sustainable measures, are incorporated into new development. All development should be designed and built to reduce energy and resource use, minimise greenhouse gas emissions throughout its lifetime and incorporate low carbon technologies. Urban greening techniques, including living walls and green roofs, will be promoted and supported, as such measures will contribute towards the adaptation to, and mitigation of, the effects of climate change.

Local Context

3.13 The Borough Council has signed the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change, which is a voluntary pledge to address the issues of climate change. In signing the declaration, the Borough Council is giving a public commitment that it will play its part in addressing the causes and possible impacts of climate change. The Low-Carbon Energy Strategy builds upon this and is the Borough Council’s strategy in relation to improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions throughout Southend and tackling climate change and sustainability locally. The Strategy sets out a number of objectives, including encouraging the development of renewable and low carbon energy throughout the Borough through the implementation of local planning policies.

3.14 Policy KP2 of the Core Strategy seeks the reduction in the use of energy and other resources within all new development and promotes on-site energy generation from renewable options, and/or decentralised renewable or low carbon sources. Policy DM2 should be read in conjunction with KP2 and these policies will collectively set the planning framework to reduce the consumption of energy and natural resources and will help contribute towards securing more sustainable forms of development.

Zero Carbon Development

3.15 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires Local Planning Authorities to adopt proactive strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change, in line with the objectives and provisions of the Climate Change Act 2008, taking full account of flood risk, coastal change and water supply and demand considerations.

3.16 Under the Climate Change Act 2008 the UK Government has committed to a legally binding greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of at least 34% by 2020 and at least 80% by 2050 (relative to 1990 levels), which includes legally binding five-year carbon budgets that govern the trajectory to the 2050 target. This includes a commitment to making all new homes ‘zero carbon’ by 2016, and non-domestic buildings by 2019.

Passive Design Measures

3.17 Good passive design is based on the principles of orientation, daylighting, ventilation, insulation, thermal mass and zoning. A well designed passive building will use very little energy to maintain a constant thermal comfort level and natural light will reduce the requirement for artificial lighting. The key principles of passive design include:

  • The use of materials with high thermal efficiency;
  • Maximising the benefits of passive solar gain to provide natural heating and lighting;
  • Minimises overshadowing;
  • Promotes natural ventilation, cooling and shading;
  • Incorporates indigenous species which are resilient to the predicted impacts of climate change;
  • Makes the most efficient use of water resources;
  • Ensures that water run-off levels are maintained at pre-development levels wherever possible; and
  • Use of permeable surfaces, sustainable drainage systems, green roofs and other water management features.

3.18 The Council will encourage the incorporation of passive design measures into new and existing buildings to enhance their energy efficiency.

The Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM

3.19 The Code for Sustainable Homes is a national standard for sustainable design and construction of new homes. It provides an all-round measure of the sustainability of new homes beyond the scope of Part L Building Regulations, ensuring that homes deliver real improvements in key areas such as carbon dioxide emissions and water use. BREEAM is a commonly used environmental assessment method for non-domestic developments.

3.20 The Southend-on-Sea Combined Policy Viability Study (2013) tested the impact of the Council’s affordable housing policies and other requirements, namely sustainability, lifetime homes, SuDs and Section 106 on a range of development typologies. The results of the Study indicate that the achievement of CSH level 3 is possible in the majority of cases tested throughout the Borough and that CSH level 4 is possible in some cases, particularly in the higher value parts of the Borough. However, in order to ensure the delivery of the required growth, particularly in the lower value areas, the Council should adopt a more flexible approach to the application of their policies with cost implications, i.e. subject to viability.

3.21 Taking account of these findings, all new domestic buildings within Southend will therefore be expected to meet Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3 as a minimum, unless it can be justified and demonstrated that this is not viable or feasible, although higher standards will be encouraged and local standards on water efficiency will still need to be achieved.

3.22 It is important that all new non-residential developments also meet environmental standards in terms of function and impact, not just for the short term but over the lifetime of the development. The Council therefore will require all non-residential developments to meet the BREEAM standard ‘Very Good’ as a minimum, although higher standards will be encouraged. Exceptions will be considered where it can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Council this is not viable or feasible.

3.23 A developer should demonstrate how the relevant Level of the Code for Sustainable Homes or category of BREEAM will be met through the submission of a relevant Interim Certificate based on the initial design stage pre-assessment to accompany the application; a post construction assessment, conducted by an accredited assessor, and supported by the relevant accreditation certificate, will be required to be submitted as part of a planning condition where planning permission is granted, prior to the first occupation unless otherwise agreed by the local planning authority.

Water Efficiency

3.24 For Southend, there is an identified need for increased water efficiency measures to be integrated into new developments to take account of the water resourcing issues identified in Essex.

3.25 The Essex Thames Gateway Water Cycle Study: Scoping Study 2009 states that South Essex is not self sufficient in relation to water resources and over the last 25 years has been dependent on the transfer of water from other areas beyond the wider Essex area. In very dry years there has been a ‘supply and demand deficit’ in the Thames Gateway South Essex area, meaning there are insufficient resources to meet peak demand. The NPPF states that in order to support a low carbon future, Local Planning Authorities should set sustainability standards in a way consistent with the Government’s zero carbon buildings policy and adopt nationally described standards. When applying the Code for Sustainable Homes to new developments there are mandatory standards for indoor water use. At Code Level 3 this is 105 Litres per Person per Day (LPD) (110 lpd including external water use). Given the local evidence presented by the Water Cycle Study – Scoping Study 2009, the Council considers that it is appropriate to require this standard within Southend for internal water consumption.

Reducing the Use of Mineral Resources

3.26 Sustainable construction methods should also be adopted in order to minimise the use of raw materials and maximise opportunities for the use of recycled aggregates. Waste policy at the national and local level aims to ensure that as much demolition, construction and excavation waste is re-used or recycled as possible at development sites in order to help preserve natural resources by providing a supply of recycled mineral products.

3.27 A key approach to reducing the demand for minerals in new developments is through encouraging and supporting aggregate recycling. Mobile crushing and screening plant can be used on demolition and construction sites where redevelopment is taking place. The recycled aggregate material produced may be re-used in the new development or used on nearby sites, saving primary aggregates. The approach will vary between redevelopment sites owing to the nature of the previous development, on-site practicality and other environmental constraints.

3.28 The use of mobile plant is strictly controlled and subject to suitable safeguards imposed by the Environment Agency and environmental health departments of local councils. Proposals should not cause unacceptable impacts or harm to neighbouring land-uses by virtue of noise, vibration, dust, light pollution or heavy road traffic.

Urban Greening

(1) 3.29 Urban Greening relates to the growing of plants, trees and other forms of landscaping including green and brown roofs, living walls, and open spaces, within urban areas. As well as helping to enhance the aesthetic quality of a development Urban Greening also contributes towards absorbing rainfall, filtering pollution (water and air borne) and providing shade and/ or shelter. It also contributes to the reduction of glare and heat reflection and the reduction of a buildings energy demand, whilst forming part of the wider green infrastructure in Southend. This assists in the promotion of biodiversity through the provision of homes and food sources for wildlife, and can increase the provision of open space.

3.30 Planting and landscaping, given the range of potential benefits described above, should not be an afterthought or considered merely as a decorative element to be added once the built structures are designed or constructed, it should be a major consideration at an early stage in the design of any development. Applicants should always consider whether a solution involving Urban Greening techniques can be found instead of hard or engineered solutions. Thus the use of plants and trees should be considered an integral part of every development.

(1) 3.31 The Thames Gateway South Essex Greengrid Strategy and the Government’s Sustainable Communities: Greening the Gateway Implementation Plan seeks to achieve a living system threading through the urban and rural landscapes. This vision places landscape at the heart of the development process and is further emphasised by the Thames Gateway Parklands Vision (2008), which seeks to guide and support the regeneration and development of urban and rural open spaces which are connected together to create an accessible and coherent landscape. Urban greening will contribute to this objective by incorporating measures that create a positive sense of place, provide environmental protection for local communities and enhance quality of life. Furthermore it contributes to the emergence of a continuous linked network of varied landscapes that begins at the ‘front door’ and connects with the wider area.

Retrofitting

3.32 The East of England, together with London and the South East, is expected to experience the most significant climate change impacts in the UK. The vast majority of the existing housing stock was built without consideration of climate change and consequently needs to be adapted to enhance its long-term sustainability. Retrofitting, that is the fitting of climate adaptation measures to existing premises, may be a cost effective means of adapting existing stock to ensure it is upgraded to cope with the current climate and future climatic changes.

3.33 There are a number of key benefits to retrofitting including: improving resilience to flooding; improving water and energy efficiency through the introduction of cost-effective measures that save water, energy and carbon alike; and addressing the issue of overheating without constituting a significant increase in carbon dioxide emissions. These measures will make the internal environment of existing buildings more comfortable and will ensure fewer resources are consumed, thus reducing costs and reducing carbon dioxide emissions and thereby make an important contribution to sustainable development. The Council will therefore expect the BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment 2012 scheme ‘Very Good’ standard to be met within development proposals for conversions, extensions and/or alterations of existing buildings, where viable or feasible.

Energy Assessments

3.34 All major planning applications must be accompanied by an Energy Assessment that demonstrates how passive and energy efficient measures have been incorporated into a proposal and the extent to which these measures have reduced energy demand, including the relevant Code or BREEAM Interim Certificate as appropriate. The Energy Assessment will also have to demonstrate how the measures incorporated into the scheme will ensure it meets the relevant local and national standards. In other cases, where a Design and Access Statement is required, a section should be included that addresses how these measures have been met.

(9) Policy DM2 – Low Carbon Development and Efficient Use of Resources

To ensure the delivery of sustainable development, all development proposals should contribute to minimising energy demand and carbon dioxide emissions in accordance with the energy hierarchy and address the following:

New Development

1. All new development should be energy and resource efficient by incorporating the following requirements:

  1. Applying passive and energy efficient design measures; and
  2. Prioritising the use of sustainably sourced material, and adopting sustainable construction methods that minimise the use of raw materials and maximise the recovery of minerals from construction, demolition and excavation wastes produced at development or redevelopment sites; and
  3. Where viable and feasible, achieving a minimum Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3, and move towards zero carbon by 2016 for all residential developments; or achieving a BREEAM ‘very good’ rating, and move towards zero carbon by 2019 for all non-residential developments. Applications should include Interim Code or BREEAM certificates based on the design stage assessment. Planning conditions will require submission of final Code certificates and post-construction BREEAM certificates, as appropriate; and
  4. Water efficient design measures that limit internal water consumption to 105 litres per person per day (lpd) (110 lpd when including external water consumption). Such measures will include the use of water efficient fittings, appliances and water recycling systems such as grey water and rainwater harvesting; and
  5. Urban greening measures and promoting biodiversity from the beginning of the design process. Urban greening design measures include, but are not limited to: provision of soft landscaped open space; tree planting; green roofs; living walls; nest boxes; and soft landscaping.

Alterations and extensions to existing development

2. High standards of energy and water efficiency in existing developments will be supported wherever possible through retrofitting. Conversions, extensions and/or alterations of existing buildings should meet BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment ‘very good’. Where this is not technically feasible or viable, appropriate sustainability measures should still be incorporated.

Core Strategy Linkage:
Objectives Policies

Strategic Objective 15

Policy KP2: Development Principles

Strategic Objective 17

Policy CP4: The Environment and Urban Renaissance

Strategic Objective 18

Policy DM3 – The Efficient and Effective Use of Land

3.35 With a population density of 41.6 persons per hectare in an area of 4,176 hectares (Census, 2011), Southend is a densely populated urban Borough. In contrast to its immediate neighbours of Castle Point and Rochford which, with population densities of 19.5 and 4.9 persons per hectare respectively, can be described as being less intensively built-up. The predominant land use in Southend is residential, and this dominates the Borough.

3.36 The Core Strategy seeks to secure a major refocus of function and the long term sustainability of Southend as a significant urban area. In order to realise this there is a need to maximise the potential of the Borough’s land and buildings, whilst ensuring a balanced and managed approach is achieved. Given the constraints and urban characteristics of Southend it is essential that existing land is used in an efficient and effective manner that contributes to the sustainable objectives set out in the Core Strategy, whilst protecting and positively promoting a high quality of life and standard of amenity for the Borough’s residents.

Density

3.37 A design-led approach to the density of a development proposal is necessary to balance the efficient use of land with the promotion of local distinctiveness. Proposals for high density development will need to ensure that increased densities will optimise the use of the site, without having a detrimental impact upon the amenity and character of the surrounding area, including local facilities and transport networks. Where required, Design and Access Statements should set out the rationale for the density selected, in particular its impact on the capacity of the site to meet other necessary policy requirements, and how it relates to local physical and environmental characteristics (including the rhythm/grain and massing of existing buildings), its relationship to surrounding buildings and occupiers as well as the location's sustainability, or potential to be made sustainable, with regard to accessibility, transport and infrastructure capacity, and provision of or proximity to local services.

Backland and Infill

3.38 Backland development refers to the development of land to the rear of existing buildings whilst infill sites are development sites on the street frontage between existing buildings. The NPPF includes recognition of value of residential gardens and enables local planning authorities to consider the case for resisting inappropriate development of residential gardens, particularly in cases where development would cause harm to the local area. The Council recognises that backland and appropriate infill sites have made an important contribution to the delivery of housing in Southend. Nevertheless a balance needs to be struck to ensure that development does not intensify the use of a site to such an extent that it causes a detrimental impact for its intended occupiers, its neighbours and the surrounding area. It is also necessary to consider the relationship of the site to the surrounding area in terms impact on local character, ecology and the general environment. The Borough Council will therefore resist backland and infill development where any of these matters are detrimentally affected. The Design and Townscape Guide SPD provides further detail on how backland and infill development may be successfully achieved in Southend.

Conversion of Existing Dwellings

3.39 The conversion of existing single dwellings into self-contained flats (in combination with a rise in provision of new build flats) over the last 20 years has led to a higher proportion of 1-bed and 2-bed dwellings in Southend. Indeed, the Thames Gateway South Essex (TGSE) Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) 2013 identifies that Southend has a higher proportion of flats/maisonettes (36%) relative to the English average and other authorities within the TGSE housing market area (ranging from 9% in Castle Point to 23% in Thurrock). Furthermore, Southend has a housing stock comprised of a greater proportion of 1-bed units (20% in Southend in contrast to an average of 11% across the other TGSE local authority areas) and a higher level of smaller properties (less than 50sqm), a consequence of which is that there is a lower percentage of accommodation of a suitable size for families in Southend, (52% 3+bed dwellings compared to an average of 61% 3+bed dwellings across the other TGSE local authority areas).

3.40 The conversion of existing dwellings can, where appropriately justified, be an effective way of meeting local housing demand and offer opportunities for enhanced sustainability through retrofitting, as set out within Policy DM2. Nonetheless, conversions of single dwellings to more than one self-contained unit can also give rise to a number of problems within an area. These include contributing to pressure on on-street parking capacity, changes in the social and physical character and function of an area. It is also important that conversions do not result in a poor quality internal environment that detrimentally impacts upon the intended occupiers’ quality of life. The cumulative impact from multiple conversions in an area on population growth and high activity can also put pressure on local services and infrastructure that is not immediately recognised as part of an individual planning application. Applicants wishing to convert an existing property will therefore be required to demonstrate how the proposals will create a high quality internal layout and will not, on its own and in association with other conversion schemes, impact detrimentally upon the surrounding area.

Bungalows

3.41 The 2011 Census highlights that Southend has a higher proportion of older people when compared to the national average. Notably, Southend has more adults aged 75 or over, including those aged 90 or over, comparative to England (SHMA, 2013). Population projections indicate that the proportion of older people in Southend is expected to rise.

3.42 As suggested by the SHMA (2013), the Council aims to ensure that older people are able to secure and sustain their independence in a home appropriate to their circumstances and to actively encourage developers to build new homes to the ‘Lifetime Homes’ standard so that they can be readily adapted to meet the needs of those with disabilities and the elderly as well as assisting independent living at home.

3.43 Indeed, many of Southend’s older residents want to remain living in their own home and community as long as possible within accommodation that helps them to feel safe and secure. Data from the 2011 Census indicates that 78% of Southend’s population aged 65 and over live in their own home compared with an average of 75% in England. The Southend-on-Sea Older People’s Accommodation & Support Needs Strategy 2008 – 2011 states that 81% of residents aged 55-64 and 50% of people aged 85 years and over live in a house or bungalow; it is evident therefore that this type of accommodation continues to be important in meeting the housing needs of Southend’s older residents.

3.44 To ensure that homes and neighbourhoods are sustainable it is necessary to provide accommodation that allows people to remain in their own home as their physical and social needs change. There is a growing pressure in Southend to redevelop bungalow dwellings for higher density housing schemes. However, with the projected increase in the older people’s population in Southend, who do not require specific care assistance and seek to remain in their home, it is evident that there is a pressing need to conserve bungalow dwellings in the Borough as this house type, being single storey, often detached and usually on a larger plot size than other types of housing is the most suitable and adaptable as a person’s physical and social needs change.

3.45 The Southend Borough Wide Character Study 2011 notes that one of the key distinguishing features of Southend is the high degree of variation found from plot to plot. Areas and neighbourhoods developed in this way contain a wide range of building types including a mix of bungalows in amongst the two and sometimes three storey houses. However, there are a number of streets within Southend where the prevailing character is for single storey dwellings. The nature of these streets and the presence of bungalows in the streetscene is a distinctive feature of Southend and as such this local distinctiveness and type of accommodation should be conserved to meet the needs of the Borough’s older population, to allow them to continue to live within their own homes and community. Indeed, where there are areas of bungalows, which create a consistent scale and defined character, this might easily be broken through insensitive development, including an increase in height. Proposals involving the redevelopment of bungalows will therefore need to demonstrate that specific bungalow design advice contained within the Design and Townscape Guide has been adhered to, setting this out within a Design and Access Statement where required.

Additions and Alterations

3.46 Alterations and additions to an existing building is a common way in Southend of adapting existing building stock to the changing needs of a household, business or other use. A well designed and well integrated extension can complement and even enhance an existing property, whereas a poorly designed addition can easily destroy the original character and have a detrimental effect on the streetscene. The Design and Townscape Guide SPD provides detailed guidance on how to successfully integrate an alteration or addition with the original building. All alterations and additions, in accordance with guidance set out within the Design and Townscape Guide SPD, will be required to make a positive contribution to the character of the existing building and the surrounding area.

(3) Policy DM3 – The Efficient and Effective Use of Land

1. The Council will seek to support development that is well designed and that seeks to optimise the use of land in a sustainable manner that responds positively to local context and does not lead to over-intensification, which would result in undue stress on local services, and infrastructure, including transport capacity.

2. All development on land that constitutes backland and infill development will be considered on a site-by-site basis. Development within these locations will be resisted where the proposals:

  1. Create a detrimental impact upon the living conditions and amenity of existing and future residents or neighbouring residents; or
  2. Conflict with the character and grain of the local area; or
  3. Result in contrived and unusable garden space for the existing and proposed dwellings; or
  4. Result in the loss of local ecological assets including wildlife habitats and significant or protected trees.

3. The conversion of existing single dwellings into two or more dwellings will generally be resisted. Exceptions will be considered where the proposed development:

  1. Does not adversely impact upon the living conditions and amenity of the intended occupants and neighbouring residents and uses; and
  2. Will not harm the character and appearance of the existing building or wider area or set a precedent that will lead to a material change of street’s character and function; and
  3. Meets the residential standards set out in DM8 and the vehicle parking standards set out in Policy DM15.

4. The conversion or redevelopment of single storey dwellings (bungalows) will generally be resisted. Exceptions will be considered where the proposal:

  1. Does not create an unacceptable juxtaposition within the streetscene that would harm the character and appearance of the area; or
  2. Will not harm the balance of housing types evidenced as being essential to meet the needs of Southend’s residents.

5. Alterations and additions to a building will be expected to make a positive contribution to the character of the original building and the surrounding area through:

  1. The use of materials and detailing that draws reference from, and where appropriate enhances, the original building, and ensures successful integration with it; and
  2. Adopting a scale that is respectful and subservient to that of the original building and surrounding area; and
  3. Where alternative materials and detailing to those of the prevailing character of the area are proposed, the Council will look favourably upon proposals that demonstrate high levels of innovative and sustainable design that positively enhances the character of the original building or surrounding area.
Core Strategy Linkage:
Objectives Policies

Strategic Objective 4

Policy KP1: Spatial Strategy

Strategic Objective 14

Policy KP2: Development Principles

Policy CP4: The Environment and Urban Renaissance

Policy DM4 – Tall and Large Buildings

3.47 Tall and large buildings should be part of a strategic approach to regeneration at key locations within the Southend Central Area where such buildings would not have an unacceptably harmful impact on their surroundings. Appropriately sited, attractive and well-designed tall buildings in sustainable locations can make a strong and positive contribution to the skyline of Southend, by attracting investment, assisting in way finding, and acting as a catalyst for regeneration. In order to reinforce local distinctiveness, it is important that the impact of tall buildings is critically assessed through the planning process and that only proposals which pass a rigorous examination are put forward for approval.

3.48 For the purposes of this policy tall and large buildings are defined as buildings that are significantly taller and/or bulkier and out of scale with the prevailing built form of the surrounding area and/or have a significant impact on the skyline.

3.49 Southend already has a number of tall and large buildings. The Southend Borough Wide Character Study 2011 notes that these buildings tend to be focused in the Southend Central Area and along the Seafront. The Southend Central Area is the focus for a significant cluster of tall buildings, both in the core of the town centre but also in the Civic Quarter to the north of Southend Victoria Station. In addition, there are a number of residential towers located in the Borough, mainly in the central and eastern half of the town. These are typically the product of public sector housing development in the 1960s and are located amongst conventional low rise development. Such areas are generally low rise and therefore would be sensitive to further tall buildings. Some of the more recent examples of tall and large buildings along the Seafront, by virtue of their bulk and massing, have resulted in a loss of historic grain and character and are often constructed in locations which do not necessarily require a significant landmark, or indeed do not constitute a positive and distinctive landmark feature.

3.50 Along the Seafront therefore, it is considered that tall buildings should normally only be brought forward in appropriate locations in the Southend Central Area. Beyond this such buildings will only be considered acceptable in locations within the street block of an existing cluster of tall buildings and where it can be demonstrated that the tall building would not be incongruous with the character and function of the Seafront. The existence of a tall building in a particular location will not, itself, justify its replacement with a new tall building on the same site, or a new tall building in the same area, and will require due consideration to be given to the function and character of the area. In addition tall buildings will be resisted either within, or immediately adjacent to, any of Southend’s heritage assets where they would visually impinge on the setting of these assets, in accordance with policy DM5.

3.51 Retaining and enhancing key views and vistas by ensuring that any tall and large buildings are sensitively located is a key objective for the Borough Council. Tall buildings should complement, not compromise, important views and vistas in the Borough and respect significant local views, particularly in regard to the view of the Seafront and Thames Estuary but also how the town is viewed from the River Thames and views of its heritage assets. Tall buildings can be used to positively reinforce landmarks or significant gateways but they should not be developed in isolation without any consideration to context or the sustainability of a location, including access to and provision of local services and public transport.

3.52 It is necessary for tall and large buildings to be located close to existing public transport infrastructure that has the ability to absorb the impacts related to increases in urban density brought about by such developments. Applications will be required to demonstrate their proximity to existing public transport infrastructure, as well as set out a travel plan that clearly describes the measures that will be implemented to reduce car use by occupants of the building. Opportunities for promoting a mix of uses within a tall or large building, which are appropriate to the setting and location, should also be considered where this could provide on-site facilities that reduce the need to travel.

3.53 The principles of sustainability, as set out in other local policies, including DM2, should form the basis of proposals for all new tall and large buildings in the Borough. Tall and large buildings have a significant role to play in improving building performance, reducing energy consumption, water management and sustainable materials selection, as well as offering the potential for Combined Heat and Power (CHP) infrastructure. Applicants will therefore be expected to demonstrate how proposals will exceed the Code for Sustainable Homes or BREEAM standards as set out within Policy DM2, unless it can be demonstrated that this is not viable or feasible.

3.54 Applicants must also provide 360 degree evaluations of the potential visual impact of the proposal on the urban context with their planning application. This may be illustrated through visually verified montages and contextual models that analyse impacts on:

  • The built and natural environment;
  • Key strategic views, approaches and points of arrival;
  • Conservation settings and listed buildings; and
  • Local views.

3.55 Given the potential impact tall and large buildings could have on the local area, the Council will expect applicants to consult with planning officers and the local community at pre-application stage and demonstrate how this has informed the evolution of the design process.

Policy DM4 – Tall and Large Buildings

1. Tall and large buildings are by definition significantly taller and out of scale with the prevailing built form of the surrounding area and/or have a significant impact on the skyline. Tall buildings will only be permitted in appropriate locations in the Southend Central Area and will only be considered outside this area in exceptional circumstances, as outlined in the supporting text. All development proposals involving tall buildings will require early and extensive discussions with planning officers and where appropriate the involvement of third parties in order to evolve designs to take account of the views of the community. Tall and large buildings will be considered acceptable where:

  1. They are located in areas whose character, function and appearance would not be harmed by the scale, mass or bulk of a tall or large building; and
  2. They integrate with the form, proportion, composition, and character of surrounding buildings, urban grain and public realm (including landscape features), particularly at street level; and
  3. Individually or as a group, form a distinctive landmark that emphasises a point of visual significance and enhances the skyline and image of Southend; and
  4. The highest standards of architecture and materials are incorporated; and
  5. The latest regulations and planning policies for minimising energy use and reducing carbon emissions over the lifetime of the development are exceeded, where viable and feasible; and
  6. Ground floor activities provide a positive relationship to the surrounding streets; and
  7. They are located in a sustainable area with frequent public transport links, and where local services are accessible by foot and bicycle

2. Tall and large buildings will not be acceptable where:

  1. They adversely affect their surroundings in terms of character, microclimate, wind turbulence, overshadowing, noise, reflected glare, navigation and telecommunication interference; or
  2. They impact adversely on local views that make an important contribution to the character of the area; or
  3. They adversely impact upon the skyline of Southend as viewed from the foreshore and other important viewpoints and vistas within and outside the Borough; or
  4. They adversely impact upon London Southend Airport; or
  5. They detrimentally impact upon the setting of heritage assets.
Core Strategy Linkage:
Objectives Policies

Strategic Objective 4

Policy KP1: Spatial Strategy

Strategic Objective 14

Policy KP2: Development Principles

Policy CP4: The Environment and Urban Renaissance

Please refer to the Policies Map where applicable for land use designations related to Policy DM4.

Policy DM5 – Southend-on-Sea’s Historic Environment

3.56 The historic environment provides a sense of place that draws links with the past and contributes to local character and distinctiveness. Southend has a rich heritage, comprised of a range of heritage assets that includes conservation areas, listed and locally listed buildings, frontages of townscape merit, scheduled ancient monuments and sites of archaeological importance. All designated heritage assets will be a material planning consideration in accordance with their significance. Heritage assets also include undesignated sites and features and the effect of a proposed development on the significance of such assets will also be taken into account in the determination of planning applications.

3.57 The Borough Council will seek to conserve and enhance Southend’s built and landscape heritage and ensure that it continues to provide benefits to the Borough’s economy, cultural offer and quality of life for its residents now and in the future.

3.58 Southend comprises a number of former villages and small settlements, including the medieval villages of Prittlewell and Leigh, absorbed by the rapidly expanding town of Southend during the late 19th and early 20th Century, and Shoebury Garrison which has many listed buildings and special architectural and historic interest in its own right.

3.59 The careful treatment of the setting of a heritage asset is therefore also vital to ensuring that new development complements and enhances its surroundings. The Borough Council will require explanation of how the potential implications for heritage assets, and their setting, of any development proposals are to be appropriately addressed in accordance with the asset’s significance. Due consideration will be given to the benefits of any proposed enabling development where it can be adequately demonstrated that this use is compatible with the asset and surrounding townscape, and that it will secure its future conservation.

Conservation Areas

3.60 Conservation Areas are areas of special architectural or historic interest where the Borough Council has a statutory duty to preserve or enhance their character and appearance. The boundaries of the Borough’s Conservation Areas are shown on the Policies Map. To conserve and enhance the character and quality of the Conservation Areas, development proposals, both traditional and modern, will have to be carefully considered and demonstrate a high quality design that not only integrates with the surroundings but also conserves and enhances its intrinsic character and distinctiveness. High quality redevelopment of existing buildings within conservation areas which are considered to be of no architectural quality will be encouraged. Development adjoining these areas will also have to demonstrate that it does not detrimentally impact the setting of the Conservation Area.

Listed Buildings

3.61 The statutory list for Southend was first published in 1974 and there are to date around 150 historic buildings and structures in the Borough included on it. These important assets are links to Southend’s past, which the Borough Council will seek to ensure are conserved and enhanced to protect local heritage and promote a sense of place.

3.62 When considering proposals affecting listed buildings, local authorities have a statutory duty to have special regard to the desirability of conserving the building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest. There is a clear presumption against proposals for the total or substantial demolition of any listed building, or for any alteration or extension that would adversely affect its special architectural or historic character. Proposals which affect the setting of a Listed Building will also be appropriately assessed.

Locally Listed Buildings

3.63 A Locally Listed building is a building or other structure which is deemed to be of local architectural or historic interest and is included on the Local List drawn up by the Borough Council. The Borough Council locally lists buildings in order to give them the recognition they deserve. Locally Listed buildings do not have the statutory protection afforded to Listed buildings but nonetheless make an important contribution to Southend’s historic character and distinctiveness and consequently need to be conserved. A building’s Locally Listed status will be a material consideration for all planning applications affecting it and, as with Listed Buildings, there will be a clear presumption against its demolition.

Frontages of Townscape Merit

3.64 There are a number of buildings in the Borough whose street frontages, while not protected by statutory designations, nevertheless contribute significantly to the historic quality of the local townscape in shopping streets or commercial areas through their architectural character, either individually or as part of a group, and owing to their prominence in the streetscene. These frontages often have decoration at upper levels and attractive windows or balconies that are key to their special character. Such frontages are identified by the Council on the Policies Map as Frontages of Townscape Merit. They are situated in parts of the Central Area and the district centre of Hamlet Court Road. The Council intends that such frontages are retained. Where considered acceptable in principle, development proposals that affect a designated frontage should ensure that their architectural character is complimented by appropriately designed replacement shopfronts, fascias, signage, materials and other alterations that respect their form and function.

3.65 Unlike other designations Frontages of Townscape Merit only affect the main frontage(s) of the building, which is usually the front elevation only, except where the building is on a corner and has a dual street frontage.

Archaeology and Scheduled Ancient Monuments

3.66 Southend contains numerous sites of archaeological importance, including six Scheduled Ancient Monuments. They constitute a finite and non-renewable resource and are in many cases highly fragile and vulnerable to damage and destruction. Many locations within the Borough have sites that may have archaeological potential but have no statutory protection. Where development affects sites of archaeological significance, or potential significance, the Council will require an archaeological investigation that sets out appropriate measures to protect and record historic remains. Developments close to/in the vicinity of a Schedule Ancient Monument will be expected to ensure that the Monument and its setting are preserved and enhanced. Guidance should be sought from the Council on the scale and nature of information required.

Policy DM5 – Southend-on-Sea’s Historic Environment

1. All development proposals that affect a heritage asset will be required to include an assessment of its significance, and to conserve and enhance its historic and architectural character, setting and townscape value. Development proposals that lead to the substantial harm of a heritage asset will normally be refused.

2. The total or partial demolition of a listed building, locally listed building or a building within a conservation area will be resisted, unless exceptional circumstances are shown to outweigh the case for retention. High quality redevelopment of existing buildings within conservation areas which are considered to be of poor architectural quality will be encouraged.

3. Development proposals, including replacement shopfronts, that impact upon the ‘Frontages of Townscape Merit’ will be required to pay regard to the preservation and restoration of features which contribute to the special character of their frontage, including form and function. Special attention will be paid to the quality of replacement shopfronts and associated signage to ensure that their design and materials are appropriate to the historic character of the building.

4. Any alterations and additions to a heritage asset will need be evidenced. They should be informed by a heritage statement explaining the significance of the building, including any contribution made by its setting, giving a justification for the works, and clearly identifying their impact on the building’s fabric and character in a manner appropriate to the significance of the heritage asset. Where appropriate this may be incorporated in the Design and Access Statement.

5. Where development might affect archaeological deposits an evaluation should be carried out beforehand so that it is possible to assess the likely impact of the application on the deposits, and that provision is made for them to remain in situ, or for their investigation and recording.Developments that are close to or in the vicinity of a Scheduled Ancient Monument will be expected to ensure that the Monument and its setting are preserved and enhanced.

Core Strategy Linkage:
Objectives Policies

Strategic Objective 14

Policy KP2: Development Principles

Policy CP4: The Environment and Urban Renaissance

Please refer to the Policies Map where applicable for land use designations related to Policy DM5.

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