Response from Mr Stephen Hedley, Natural England, North West Region
1. Mr Stephen Hedley, Natural England, North West Region : 22 Dec 2005 12:54:00
1. Do the vision and the priority themes set out in Section 3 provide a sound basis for the vision and strategic objectives to be contained in the Local Development Framework? Are additional land use/spatial elements required for the LDF?
In relation to Question 1, we welcome of course the recognition of South Lakeland's distinctive chatacter and environment in the South Lakeland Community Strategy, and the inclusion of 'quality environment' as a priority theme. In relation to our own remit, we would particularly wish to see specific recognition of the landscape and the opportunities for sustainable access and recreation as parts of the 'distinctive character' and 'quality environment'.
2. Do you consider that the nine principles for development identified in Section 4 will contribute towards sustainable forms of development? What further principles for development are required in the LDF?
Turning to Question 2, we believe that there is much in the principles for development that will contribute towards sustainable development in South Lakeland.
However, we query whether P4 is fully in accordance with the policy on the ise of agricultural land in PPS7, paragraph 28. The PPS recognises that land quality is one, but only one, of the sustainability considerations and not necessarily over-riding. The PPS therefore recognises taht there may be circumstances where the achievement of sustainable development meains that some better quality land may need to be developed.
We would also welcome a new principle, perhaps allied to P5 and P6, taht 'development should respect and enhance the character and quality of the landscape'. This would be in accordance with the sustainability objectives in the Sustainability Framework for Cumbria drawn up earlier this year.
In relation to P9, we take the view that policy shoudl always strive for a net environmental gain and that there should be a net gain and no significant losses from developpment, as set out in our planning principles document 'Planning Tomorrow's Countryside'. Our view is therefore that P9 should be re-cast so that the aim is to achieve NET GAIN through the integration of social, economic and environmental policies. However, where there are unavoidable adverse impacts, we agree that these should be mitigated or compensated.
3. Do you think the list in Section 5 contains the main spatial planning issues in the area? Are further issues prevalent that need to be addressed in the LDF?
The main spatial planning issues, we endorse the importance of accommodating visitors in ways that are sustainable, incorporating quality design in new development (including the principles of sustainable design and construction) and the conservation of the area's environment and heritage. Landscape could be specifically mentioned here along with other features of the environment and heritage.