Core Strategy - Adopted December 2007
Section 2: Core Strategy - Key Policies
2(i) Key Spatial Strategy Policy
2.1 The role of the key spatial strategy and associated policy is to provide a clear indication of how regeneration and growth will be distributed within the Borough, and is an essential element of the Core Strategy. The spatial strategy set out below is considered to be the most appropriate and effective, within the context of national and regional policy, to make a positive contribution to delivering the required growth whilst also delivering sustainable regeneration, as set out in the Aim and Strategic Objectives in Section 1 above.
Spatial Sustainability Considerations
2.2 In drawing up an appropriate spatial strategy for the delivery of regeneration and growth in the Borough, the Council has had to have regard to a wide range of sustainability considerations, including in particular the following key national and regional policy considerations:
- the need to follow a sequential approach in the location of development, focussing that development in urban areas, making optimum use of previously developed ('brownfield') land and minimising the need to use 'greenfield' land. In attaching significant importance to this consideration, the Council has had regard to the fact that the countryside around Southend and separating it from neighbouring settlements is now extremely limited and a valuable resource for the town, whilst a Southend Urban Capacity Study has indicated significant potential for further development within the existing urban area to contribute to development needs, and to regeneration and growth in the Borough;
- the need to focus new development as far as possible on existing and improved public transport and community infrastructure facilities, in order to provide good accessibility to such facilities as a key element in achieving sustainable regeneration, social inclusion and growth;
- the need to focus new development as far as possible on the existing urban area in order to deliver an 'urban renaissance' providing a high quality urban experience, a consideration of importance to Southend where there are a number of regeneration and deprivation needs in the town;
- the need to conserve valuable amenity, biodiversity and other natural resources within the Borough. Again, in attaching considerable importance to this consideration, the Council has had regard to the fact that all the limited undeveloped land around the Borough is of high amenity value, of international, national or local importance for biodiversity, or is best and most versatile agricultural land;
- flood risk: Government policy emphasises the need for
flood risk to influence the location of development, and for
development plans to follow a 'sequential test' in relation
to the level of flood risk, directing development away from
areas at risk of flooding. Current indicative floodplain maps
identify a number of areas in the Borough to be 'at risk',
mainly from tidal flooding. However, in assessing the weight
to be attached to this consideration, the Council has also
had to have regard to the following considerations:
- excluding such areas from consideration for regeneration and growth would further limit the already limited spatial options available to the Borough to achieve such regeneration and growth, and would require other important sustainability considerations, as set out above, to be compromised;
- the current indicative floodplain maps do not take account of existing flood defences, which in Southend have been regularly and systematically improved to meet perceived levels of risk. The level of actual risk, and the areas actually remaining at risk, are therefore likely to be much lower than is indicated by these maps;
- a significant part of the Borough lying within an area indicated as within a Flood Zone (Shoeburyness Old Ranges) is already being successfully regenerated and redeveloped, incorporating effective sea defence improvements giving a high level of long-term protection;
- the recently completed Thames Gateway South Essex Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, providing more detailed and up-to-date information on actual levels and locations of flood risk indicates that flood defences within and adjacent to Southend are mainly in good overall condition. However, within part of the Shoeburyness area (Shoeburyness New Ranges) crest levels may be below the 1 in 200 year defence standard required by the Environment Agency, and significant improvement to the height and quality of those defences is likely to be required in the event of re-development. There remain small areas of the Borough where a residual risk remains in the event of a breach in the tidal defences. Any development proposals within these areas will require detailed flood risk assessment, appropriate mitigation measures, and agreement with the Environment Agency.
- vi. the overwhelming community support for the Council's 'preferred option' (on which the spatial strategy in this Development Plan Document is very strongly based) indicated through the pre-submission consultation and public participation stages.
2.3 The spatial strategy set out below represents an appropriate balance between these considerations. Equally it represents the most appropriate way forward for Southend, seeking to maximise the town's strengths and opportunities by focusing the majority of growth and regeneration on key regeneration areas, in particularly the Town Centre, Seafront (subject to the safeguarding of the biodiversity importance of the foreshore) and certain 'Priority Urban Areas', including existing commercial/industrial areas. A degree of residual flood risk remains in certain parts of the regeneration and growth areas identified, and such risk must always remain a key consideration. The strategy therefore also requires that, where this proves to be the case, development will only be permitted where a detailed flood risk assessment is prepared, which clearly demonstrates that the development is appropriate in terms of its type, siting and the mitigation measures proposed, using appropriate and sustainable flood risk management options which safeguard the biodiversity importance of the foreshore, and/or effective sustainable drainage measures.
2.4 This spatial strategy seeks, therefore, to deliver a distribution of investment and development based on the following approach:
- a town centre renewal package with an emphasis on refocusing of retail opportunities, a major expansion of town centre housing, expansion of education/'lifelong learning', culture and leisure provision, including the strengthening of Southend's position as a 'University Town' and renaissance of the sea frontage, and integration with public transport interchanges;
- fostering and reinforcing the role of key Priority Urban
Areas which have the potential to make a significant
contribution to regeneration and growth objectives.
- the District Centres of Westcliff and Leigh and the shopping centres at Southchurch Road and West Road/Ness Road in Shoebury. It will be important to ensure that these centres are vital, viable and accessible with quality local services and good public transport service;
- the industrial/employment areas at
- Progress Road
- Comet Way/Laurence/Aviation Way
- Thanet Grange
- London Southend Airport
- Prittle Brook Estate/Temple Farm/Stock Road
- Fossetts Farm
- Sutton Road
- Towerfield (including Campfield Road)/Vanguard Way, Shoeburyness
- Old Ranges, Shoeburyness
These areas have the potential to contribute fully to local employment objectives and to provide for quality environments. The regeneration of London Southend Airport and adjoining employment areas will be pursued through the preparation of an Area Action Plan to be prepared jointly with Rochford District Council (see Policy KP3);
- the Cluny Square Renewal Area. Renewal of this housing area will be achieved through the promotion of quality residential amenities and community services in this location.
- realising the full potential of land at Shoeburyness in association with the development of improved transport corridors;
- maximising the potential for higher density, mixed-use development in urban centres and at key transport interchanges, and maintaining a sustainable Green Belt around the existing and proposed urban area. Minor amendments to the existing Green Belt boundary will only be considered where this would specifically enable delivery of particular objectives and policies in this Core Strategy in a sustainable manner, and where there would be no material impact on the openness of the remaining Green Belt and its ability to continue to provide effective separation between Southend and neighbouring settlements;
- reducing and preventing flood risk through controlling the nature, location, lay-out and design of development within all areas of the Borough at risk of fluvial (water course), tidal (coastal) or surface water flooding, and through providing for appropriate and sustainable flood risk management measures as part of a comprehensive shoreline management strategy. In particular, use will be made of the South Essex Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) to identify those areas at risk and where a detailed flood risk assessment will be required to ensure that development is only permitted where it is appropriate to its location in terms of its type, siting and sustainable mitigation measures proposed.
2.5 In implementing the spatial strategy set out in Policy KP1, it is also essential that policy ensures that all development proposals not only deliver the regeneration and growth required in accordance with that strategy, but are also appropriate in terms of their detailed siting, content, design and layout, quality and impact. Key considerations include the following:
- the safeguarding and enhancement of Southend's employment, town centre, retail and leisure facilities and opportunities
- the safeguarding and enhancement of biodiversity, other natural resources, sport, recreation and green space throughout the Borough
- ensuring that European and international sites for nature
conservation on the Southend foreshore are not adversely
affected, having regard to their interest features and
particular sensitivities in relation to:
- direct physical loss,
- non- physical disturbance
- water quality deterioration, and
- biological disturbance (as set out in Section 4.5 of the Appropriate Assessment of this Core Strategy).
- accessibility and the provision of good quality transport and community infrastructure facilities;
- the provision of adequate and appropriate levels of affordable housing to meet identified needs; and
- the provision of well designed and good quality development that safeguards and enhances both the public realm and local amenity, character and environmental quality, is resource efficient and minimises its impact on climate change.
2.6 The spatial strategy set out in Policy KP1 is therefore supported by a set of additional key and core (thematic) policies (Policies KP2-3 and CP1-8) as an integral part of this Core Strategy DPD, setting out the key principles and core policy considerations with which all development, regardless of location, will also need to comply as relevant.
2.7 In addition, implementation of key aspects of this Core Strategy will be taken forward and facilitated by the preparation of more detailed local development documents also to be included in the Local Development Framework. These include in particular:
- a Planning Obligations and Vehicle Parking Standards (DPD 2), prepared as the second DPD priority following this Core Strategy, providing detailed policies and guidance to developers, landowners, the community and the Borough Council in relation to planning obligations and infrastructure contributions that may be made necessary by a development proposal, and how those obligations and contributions will be secured;
- Area Action Plans (AAP's) for Southend Town Centre, the
Seafront and London Southend Airport will be prepared for
these areas of opportunity and change to provide for
employment–led regeneration and growth that can sustainably
be accommodated in these areas.
- The Town Centre Area Action Plan (DPD 3) will contain detailed policies and site specific proposals aimed at strengthening the centre's role as a major regional retail, employment and commercial centre, cultural hub and education centre of excellence to provide for 6,500 new jobs and 2,000 additional homes. Improving the accessibility, amenity and attractiveness of the town centre will be key to achieving regeneration and delivering a renaissance of the town centre.
- The Seafront Area Action Plan (DPDD 4) will focus on improving the leisure and tourism offer of the area and enhancing the public realm to provide for 750 new jobs and 550 additional new homes. It will also seek to safeguard, conserve and enhance the significant biodiversity, green space and other environmental resources of the area, particularly ensuring the European and international sites for nature conservation on the extensive foreshore are not adversely affected by any new development.
- As the London Southend Airport and adjoining employment uses straddle the administrative boundary, the London Southend Airport Area Action Plan (DPD 5) will be a joint plan prepared by Rochford District Council and the Borough Council. It will focus on providing the detailed planning framework necessary to achieve the regeneration of the Airport and related aviation and non aviation industries adjoining it. As the majority of the area is located within Rochford District, it will provide the location for a significant part of Rochford District's job growth as set out in the East of England Plan (Policy ETG5), which is for a total indicative provision of 3,000 additional jobs. However, the new jobs will provide significant employment opportunities for Southend residents, as well as some jobs within the Borough itself, both within the Airport and on nearby employment areas. The Area Action Plan will also consider surface access issues relating to the Airport and environmental considerations. These location specific AAP's will then be followed by a Borough–wide Criteria-Based Policies and Site Allocations DPD (DPD 6). When these DPD's are adopted, the adopted Proposals Map for Southend will be revised in order to illustrate geographically the application of their policies.
- Supplementary Planning Documents will be produced to
guide development in a number of key areas in accordance with
adopted policies and proposals, namely:
- a Design and Townscape Guide SPD (SPD 1) providing a 'toolkit' for good design in the Borough to promote high quality development and assist resistance to poor quality development. The Guide has already been adopted by the Borough Council (adopted 29th June 2006) following public consultation.
- a Green Space and Green Grid Strategy (SPD 2) to provide detailed guidance on the provision of green space in the Borough and to develop the principals established in the Green Grid Strategy prepared by the Essex Thames Gateway Partnership.
- a Sustainable Transport SPD (SPD 3) to guide developers in the provision of travel plans, traffic impact assessments, cycling and walking facilities and other sustainable transport provision.
- a Supplementary Planning Document for Shoeburyness (SPD 4) to guide and promote mixed use development across a range of opportunity sites to achieve social cohesion, further housing provision and economic regeneration.
- Having regard to the location of European and international sites for nature conservation covering much of the Southend Foreshore, Appropriate Assessment will be undertaken, and the issues identified addressed, as an integral part of the preparation of the Seafront AAP, the Criteria – Based Policies and Site Allocations DPD, and the Shoeburyness SPD.
- Area Action Plans (AAPs, also DPDs) for the Town Centre and Seafront, prepared in parallel and giving more detailed consideration to how and where employment-led regeneration and growth can sustainably be accommodated in these areas. Both will contain detailed policies and site specific proposals aimed at strengthening Southend's role as a successful retail and commercial destination, cultural hub and education centre of excellence, leisure and tourist attraction, and place to live. They will also seek to safeguard, conserve and enhance the significant biodiversity, green space and other environmental resources within these areas and on the foreshore, including the issues highlighted in the Appropriate Assessment of this Core Strategy. These location-specific AAPs will then be followed by a Borough-wide Criteria-Based Policies and Site Allocations DPD. When these DPDs are adopted, the adopted Proposals Map for Southend will be revised in order to illustrate geographically the application of their policies.
Policy KP1: Spatial Strategy
As a principal basis for sustainable development in the town, development and investment will be expected to build on and contribute to the effectiveness and integration of the key transport corridors and interchanges.
The primary focus of regeneration and growth within Southend will be in:
- Southend Town Centre and Central Area – to regenerate the existing town centre, as a fully competitive regional centre, led by the development of the University Campus, and securing a full range of quality sub-regional services to provide for 6,500 new jobs and providing for at least 2,000 additional homes in conjunction with the upgrading of strategic and local passenger transport accessibility, including development of Southend Central and Southend Victoria Stations as strategic transport interchanges and related travel centres.
In addition, appropriate regeneration and growth will be focussed in the following locations:
- Seafront – to enhance the Seafront's role as a successful leisure and tourist attraction and place to live, and make the best use of the River Thames, subject to the safeguarding of the biodiversity importance of the foreshore*.
- Shoeburyness – to promote the role of Shoeburyness as a place to live and work, led by the successful redevelopment at Shoebury Garrison, regeneration of local shopping centres and existing industrial estates to secure an additional 1,500 jobs, and providing for 1,400 additional dwellings, linked to improved access, and subject where relevant to the safeguarding of the biodiversity importance of the foreshore*.
- Priority Urban Areas – these comprise:
- The District Centres of Westcliff (Hamlet Court Road) and Leigh (Leigh Broadway, Elm Road and Rectory Grove), the Southchurch Road shopping area, and the West Road/Ness Road shopping area of Shoebury;
- The main Industrial/employment areas as identified on the Key Diagram, and
- The Cluny Square Renewal Area.
The relocation of Southend United Football Club stadium to Fossetts Farm area will be supported in principle.
Successful regeneration and growth on the scale planned will require substantial improvements to transport infrastructure and accessibility in the Borough.
A Green Belt will be maintained around the urban area. Minor amendments to the Green Belt boundary may exceptionally be considered where this would enable delivery of specific objectives and policies in this Core Strategy that could not otherwise be achieved in a sustainable manner, and the openness of the remaining Green Belt and its ability to provide effective separation between Southend and neighbouring settlements are maintained.
Where the Environment Agency's Flood Zone Maps or other considerations, including the South Essex Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, indicate that a risk of flooding may remain, all development proposals shall be accompanied by a detailed flood risk assessment appropriate to the scale and nature of the development and the risk. Development will only be permitted where that assessment clearly demonstrates that it is appropriate in terms of its type, siting and the mitigation measures proposed, using appropriate and sustainable flood risk management options which safeguard the biodiversity importance of the foreshore and/or effective sustainable drainage measures.
* in particular ensuring that European and international sites for nature conservation are not adversely affected by any new development. Appropriate and sustainable flood risk management measures will be provided as part of a comprehensive shoreline management strategy.
2(ii) Key Development Principles Policy
2.8 The Spatial Strategy will provide a platform on which to base regeneration and growth in the town. However, concentrating development in urban areas like Southend requires careful consideration. Building more into a small area could damage the town and its environment, resulting in the loss of vital open spaces, increased congestion and putting services under strain. Making best use of previously developed land is not just about higher densities, it is also about quality development and putting sites and buildings to best use. It is seen as being essential, therefore, to set out key development principles through which all development activity can be encouraged to create good quality buildings and environments, and therefore to deliver sustainable development and an urban renaissance within a realistic timetable.
2.9 This Council has a commitment to mainstream 'sustainability' and the principles of 'Urban Renaissance' within all its decision making. In so doing it also recognises that sustainable development is not simply an ecological process but one that involves social, economic and other environmental dimensions. Urban Renaissance is about creating a quality of life that makes living in the town desirable – that includes quality design and development, making better use of land and other natural resources and increasing the sense of community. Quality transport infrastructure is also critical in delivering regeneration, growth and an urban renaissance.
2.10 Crime and disorder can also have a significant impact on quality of life in urban areas, and the Borough Council attaches high priority to its duty under Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to do all that it reasonably can to reduce and prevent further crime and disorder in its area. This reflects the priorities of the wider community as set out in the Southend's Community Plan.
2.11 Development and investment in Southend must contribute to creating quality urban environments where there is a diversity of activity, ease of access for everyone to a range of opportunities, and high quality urban design providing local identity and safe environments. There is a need to ensure that future development is sited, laid out and designed in such a way that it reduces the use of natural resources; promotes the use of renewable and recycled resources (including water and energy) in accordance with the Government's objectives on carbon dioxide emissions, energy and resources; avoids or adequately mitigates the risk of flooding, actual or potential pollution impacts, crime and the fear of crime; and provides enhanced environments of ecological and amenity value.
2.12 Policy KP2: 'Development Principles' provides flexible but clear principles to ensure that all development and investment activity delivers the commitment and requirements outlined above.
Policy KP2: Development Principles
All new development, including transport infrastructure, should contribute to economic, social, physical and environmental regeneration in a sustainable way throughout the Thames Gateway Area, and to the regeneration of Southend's primary role within Thames Gateway as a cultural and intellectual hub and a higher education centre of excellence. This must be achieved in ways which:
- contribute to the achievement of, and do not compromise, the Borough Council's Strategic Objectives;
- make the best use of previously developed land, ensuring that sites and buildings are put to best use;
- apply a sequential approach to the location and siting
of development, particularly having regard to the need to:
- minimise the use of 'greenfield' land;
- avoid or appropriately mitigate flood risk;
- reduce the need to travel;
- ensure good accessibility to local services and the transport network;
- facilitate the use of travel modes other than the private car; and
- safeguard and promote the vitality and viability of existing town and local centres.
- respect, conserve and enhance and where necessary adequately mitigate effects on the natural and historic environment, including the Borough's biodiversity and green space resources; ensure that European and international sites for nature conservation are not adversely affected and contribute positively towards the 'Green Grid' in Southend
- do not place a damaging burden on existing infrastructure;
- are within the capacity of the urban area in terms of the services and amenities available to the local community;
- secure improvements to transport networks, infrastructure and facilities;
- promote improved and sustainable modes of travel;
- secure improvements to the urban environment through quality design;
- respect the character and scale of the existing neighbourhood where appropriate;
- include appropriate measures in design, layout,
operation and materials to achieve:
- a reduction in the use of resources, including the use of renewable and recycled resources. All development proposals should demonstrate how they will maximise the use of renewable and recycled energy, water and other resources. This applies during both construction and the subsequent operation of the development. At least 10% of the energy needs of new development should come from on-site renewable options (and/or decentralised renewable or low carbon energy sources), such as those set out in SPD 1 Design and Townscape Guide, wherever feasible. How the development will provide for the collection of re-usable and recyclable waste will also be a consideration.
- avoidance of flood risk, or where, having regard to other sustainability considerations (see Section 2(i) and Policy KP1 above) a residual risk remains, the provision of measures to appropriately and adequately mitigate that risk. All development proposals should demonstrate how they incorporate 'sustainable urban drainage systems' (SUDS) to mitigate the increase in surface water run-off, and, where relevant, how they will avoid or mitigate tidal or fluvial flood risk;
- avoidance or appropriate mitigation of actual and potential pollution impacts of development;
- a reduction in and prevention of crime. All development proposals should demonstrate how they have used design measures to help reduce crime and create environments that are safe, secure and people friendly;
- enhancement to the ecological and amenity value of the environment where appropriate;
- would avoid areas of land instability or adequately mitigate potential harmful effects.
All development will need to have regard to the Council's guidance set out in its Supplementary Planning Documents.
2(iii) Key Implementation and Resources Policy
2.13 The successful delivery of the Strategic Objectives, Spatial Strategy, and the regeneration of the town and Thames Gateway as a whole will depend on how effectively the provisions of the Core Strategy can be delivered.
2.14 Many of the Plan's policies and proposals will be implemented through the development control process of considering planning applications and seeking developer contributions towards the provision of infrastructure related to the development proposed. However, this will not in itself achieve the Aim and Strategic Objectives of the Plan to regenerate Southend. It will be essential to ensure that adequate resources and the right business and market conditions are put into place to maximise the potential of the land and buildings in the town and to bring forward investment and the provision of quality development in its desired form.
2.15 This can only be achieved by maximising all funding opportunities and through such initiatives as partnership arrangements with private companies, and with public, voluntary and other agencies, to harness knowledge and expertise, and pool resources; the assembly of 'clean' sites to facilitate development; and positive and effective marketing of the town's facilities and opportunities to create a positive image and act as a catalyst for regeneration and growth.
2.16 The Urban Regeneration Company for Southend – 'Renaissance Southend Ltd' – will play the lead role in the delivery of regeneration and growth in the town. The key challenge for the Company will be to create the right conditions to facilitate appropriate sustainable development to meet the growth targets set out in this Core Strategy for jobs and dwellings (Policies CP1 and CP8) with associated infrastructure.
2.17 In the light of the European Habitats Directive and the 'Conservation (Natural Habitats, Etc) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2006', an Appropriate Assessment' has been undertaken which ascertains whether the Core Strategy is likely to have an adverse effect on the integrity of any European or international site, either alone or in combination with other relevant plans or projects. This Habitats Regulations assessment also sets out the sustainability framework that will need to be addressed in the Appropriate Assessment of subsequent, more detailed Local Development Documents, in particular the Seafront AAP, Criteria Based Policies and Site Allocations DPD, and the Shoeburyness SPD, and of any relevant project, scheme or development proposal.
2.18 It will also be essential that developers and investors have additional clear guidance for key areas of opportunity and growth, which set and prioritise development objectives, specify phasing, co-ordinate requirements for new infrastructure and services, and identify broad planning obligations that will be expected. More detailed guidance will also be required to elaborate upon the policy and proposals in this plan particularly with regard to design guidance, planning obligations and vehicle parking standards and will be brought forward through further local development documents in the Local Development Framework (see paragraph 2.7 above).
Policy KP3: Implementation and Resources
In order to help the delivery of the Plan's provisions the Borough Council will:
- prepare Area Action Plans and Supplementary Planning
Documents to ensure development of an appropriate scale,
mix and quality for key areas of opportunity and change,
- The Town Centre;
- Southend Seafront;
- Shoeburyness and
- London Southend Airport (joint Area Action Plan with Rochford District Council);
- enter into planning obligations with developers to
ensure the provision of infrastructure and transportation
measures required as a consequence of the development
This includes provisions such as;
- roads , sewers, servicing facilities and car parking;
- improvements to cycling, walking and passenger transport facilities and services;
- off-site flood protection or mitigation measures, including sustainable drainage systems (SUDS);
- affordable housing;
- educational facilities;
- open space, 'green grid', recreational, sport or other community development and environmental enhancements, including the provision of public art where appropriate;
- any other works, measures or actions required as a consequence of the proposed development; and
- appropriate on-going maintenance requirements.
- prepare Development Plan and Supplementary Planning
Documents, where appropriate, to elaborate upon the
policies and proposals in this plan, including more
detailed policy and guidance on:
- developer contributions and vehicle parking standards;
- achieving design excellence in all new development; and
- sustainable transport, green space and the Green Grid;
- require all development to have regard to, and in appropriate cases contribute to the delivery of, the Southend on Sea Local Transport Plan and its reviews where this relates to the development proposed;
- work in partnership with 'Renaissance Southend' (Urban Regeneration Company) to deliver sustainable regeneration and growth in the Borough;
- consider the development or use of its own land holdings or the acquisition and management of additional land, where necessary in partnership with the private sector, to bring sites forward for development;
- seek to use compulsory purchase powers in appropriate circumstances in order to assemble land to enable key development schemes and/or improvements to infrastructure to proceed;
- require ' Appropriate Assessment' where development may adversely affect national, European and international nature conservation designations;
- seek to deal expeditiously and within Government Best Value targets with all planning applications. Particular priority will be given to proposals that would generate extra jobs and which build on existing sectoral strengths and create a new enterprise culture.