Development Management Policies Consultation Draft

Ended on the 7th September 2017
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6. INFRASTRUCTURE

(11) Introduction

6.1 The Infrastructure Policies aim to manage the provision of local highway infrastructure in new developments including vehicle, pedestrian and cycle access, and to provide advice and standards for parking and criteria based policies for the provision of broadband and telecommunications equipment and other infrastructure.

6.2 The Policies aim to promote sustainable transport modes in order to influence travel behaviour and to reduce the carbon footprint of the district. The policies also set criteria for ensuring that developments have suitable access and servicing and are safe and well-connected.

6.3 The Local Highway Authority is responsible for maintaining and repairing the highway network, which includes roads, cycleways, walkways, footpaths and bridleways. The Highway Authority also protects the highway network for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods. The Council will consult Highways England and the Local Highway Authority and, where appropriate, neighbouring authorities on proposals which affect public highways, footpaths, cycleways, bridleways and Public Rights of Way, and for proposals which cross the administrative boundary.

6.4 Essex County Council has prepared several guidance documents and manuals to assist those constructing new highways, footpaths, cycleways and bridleways. These should be read in conjunction with the national policies and guidance documents before submitting development proposals.

6.5 The County Council's Parking Standards, which provide guidance on parking provision in new developments, should always be consulted, unless otherwise indicated elsewhere in the Local Plan. It is recognised, however, that parking provision may be reduced in sustainable locations.

6.6 Other infrastructure such as education, healthcare, leisure, community uses, utilities and Green Infrastructure are covered by other policies in the Local Plan.

6.7 This chapter and the policies contained within it will help deliver the following Corporate Priority:

  • Regeneration and a thriving economy

6.8 This chapter and the policies contained within it will help deliver the following Local Plan Strategic Objectives:

  • Objective 12 – Ensure that development is fully supported by providing the necessary infrastructure including education, healthcare and other community facilities
  • Objective 13 – Reduce the need to travel by vehicle by ensuring new development is sustainably located
  • Objective 14 – Improve transport links, for all modes of transport, to community facilities

(5) IN1 Development and Sustainable Modes of Travel

1. Sustainable Accessibility

All development should have regard to the modal hierarchy as set out in the Strategic Policies.

New developments including redevelopments, changes of use and Town Centre and transport interchange improvements will be required to provide the following:

(a) safe and direct cycleways and footpaths within the development;

(b) where appropriate, contributions to improve and develop cycleways and  footpaths serving the development;

(c) where appropriate, links to the existing cycleway and footpath network;

(d) safe, secure and convenient cycle storage/spaces in accordance with current  parking standards;

(e) where appropriate, other facilities for cyclists such as employee showers, lockers  and information and maintenance points.

2. Provision of Electric Charging Points for Vehicles

Development must provide electric vehicle charging points (EVCPs) in accordance with the latest government guidance.

Justification

6.9 The provision of sustainable transport modes in the district has a number of positive benefits. Using trains, buses, cycling and walking to access employment, education, services and facilities can help reduce the number of vehicles on the road thereby easing congestion levels and improving the effects of climate change by reducing carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions. Cycling and walking to services, particularly facilities within a radius of 1 to 8 km, can improve public health, physical activity and quality of life.

6.10 To enable people to choose more sustainable modes of transport, the services must be safe, secure, adequate, direct, frequent and affordable. Local Plan policies ensure that the options for sustainable modes continue well into the future, and to facilitate this, the Council will bring forward major infrastructure improvements with rail and bus operators and the Local Highway Authority.

6.11 This policy provides detailed advice on the provision of appropriate and adequate infrastructure which is necessary to enable those who wish to use walking, cycling and public transport as an alternative way of moving in and around the district. It also provides options for providing other sustainability initiatives to reduce the use of the car and to reduce the emittance of carbon dioxide, such as encouraging the use of electric cars through the provision of new charging points.

(1) Implementation

6.12 As highlighted in national policies and guidance, applicants for development that generates significant travel movements should submit a transport assessment or statement and travel plan setting out how the proposal has aimed to meet this policy.

6.13 New development proposals should investigate ways to reduce the use of the car and promote alternative ways to travel and this should be detailed in a supporting Travel Plan. For residential development, applicants should look at the viability of car sharing schemes as well as electric charging points.

6.14 For employment developments, the use of shuttle buses and walking and cycling connections should be investigated as well as opportunities to use railway spurs and river channels and canals. New educational facilities should also investigate ways to promote cycling and walking through a school travel plan.

6.15 This policy will be applied proportionately to the size of the development being proposed. For example it would not be reasonable to expect proposals for householder developments to provide new cycleways or footpaths. However all development must consider the modal hierarchy.

6.16 Those applications which involve definitive Public Rights of Way, as defined by the Local Highways Authority, should refer to the latest DEFRA guidance on planning permission and rights of way.

(5) IN2 Impact of Development on the Highways Network including Access and Servicing

Development will be supported where it meets all the following criteria:

(a) it would not cause a significant detrimental impact on road congestion and  movement;

(b) it would not cause a detrimental impact on the safety of all road users including  pedestrians, cyclists and powered two-wheelers; and

(c) the development provides for adequate, safe and convenient loading and  servicing arrangements, access points and drop-off areas and consideration has  been given to the movement and turning of emergency vehicles and refuse  vehicles.

Justification

6.17 This policy will be used to determine whether or not the development has an impact on the existing highway network and, therefore, whether the proposal should be considered appropriate in transport terms. It also provides guidelines on the provision of adequate access and servicing for development.

(2) Implementation

6.18 In accordance with national policies and guidance, it may be necessary for an application to be accompanied either by a Transport Assessment (TA) or Transport Statement (TS) depending on the degree of the proposal's impact on highway users and movement in the local area generally. It will be for the applicant to demonstrate that the impact of the development on highway users is either minimal or can be mitigated by appropriate measures.

6.19 These documents assess and mitigate the negative transport impacts of development in order to promote sustainable development. TAs are thorough assessments of the transport implications of development, and TSs are a 'lighter-touch' evaluation to be used where this would be more proportionate to the potential impact of the development. Further guidance on the preparation of TAs and TSs can be found in national policies and guidance.

6.20 The Council will consult with the Local Highway Authority and other bodies on the Transport Assessment or Statement. If there is inadequate justification for the proposal or if the impact of the development is too great then it will be refused.

6.21 It is recommend that any TA and/or TS be agreed with the Highway Authority and the Highways Agency (where the development proposal impacts on the trunk road network) prior to submission of the same to the Council.

(2) IN3 Parking Standards

Vehicle parking must be provided in accordance with the adopted Essex Vehicle Parking Standards, unless otherwise indicated elsewhere in the Local Plan and/or supporting documents.

(2) Justification

6.22 The 2011 Census revealed that 75 per cent of households in Harlow had access to at least one vehicle. There is a balance between reducing the reliance on the car and promoting more sustainable modes of travel whilst ensuring that on-street parking issues are not created, particularly around key destinations such as strategic employment sites, the Town Centre and railway stations.

(1) Implementation

6.23 This policy, through reference to the Essex Vehicle Parking Standards, provides a flexible approach to the provision of parking. It allows the Council to secure more spaces in areas that already experience parking problems or accept fewer parking spaces in areas of good public transport accessibility.

6.24 The Essex Vehicle Parking Standards also set out the requirements for adequate parking provision for the needs of disabled people and for bicycles and powered two-wheelers. The flexibility that may be considered appropriate to car parking provision, in locations with good public transport access, does not apply to car parking provision for disabled people. Such provision will not be reduced and any additional provision will be supported. If a reduction in overall parking provision is accepted by the Council then an increase in provision for bicycles and initiatives to support public transport will be expected to be provided.

6.25 There will be some developments that will not fall into any of the use class categories set out in the Essex Vehicle Parking Standards. In such cases, the Council will consider the proposal on its own merits in consultation with the Local Highways Authority. However, applicants will need to demonstrate the level of parking provided is appropriate and will not lead to problems of road congestion and movement and on-street parking on the adjacent highway network.

(1) IN4 Broadband and Development

1. Broadband Provision in Major Development

Major development should contribute towards the provision of infrastructure suitable to enable the delivery of high-speed broadband services across the Harlow area.

2. Broadband Infrastructure Development

Broadband infrastructure development will be supported where a report is submitted which meets both the following criteria:

(a) any adverse impacts on the environment and communities have been minimised; and

(b) opportunities of sharing infrastructure between utilities have been addressed in  order to minimise disruption, reduce installation costs and increase the viability  of service provision.

(1) Justification

6.26 The development of high speed broadband technology and other communications networks play a vital role in enhancing the provision of local community facilities and services. High quality communication is also essential for sustainable economic growth and to help attract businesses to the district. The Council is working with Essex County Council to roll out 'Superfast Essex', a programme which will see 95% of Essex having access to high-speed broadband networks by 2019, thereby boosting the economy of the County and enabling businesses to work more effectively in new ways and reach out to new customers. 

6.27 'Superfast Essex' does not cover new build properties and therefore the Council needs to ensure that broadband in new developments is considered at the outset along with other important utility infrastructure provision such as water pipes and gas mains. This is easier to implement during the construction phase rather than retrospectively. The purpose of this policy is to secure the delivery of fibre broadband as part of new developments.

Implementation

6.28 Major developments will need to provide a strategy that can demonstrate that fibre optic connection can be achieved to the site proportionate to the size of the development.

(1) IN5 Telecommunications Equipment

Development of telecommunications equipment will be supported where it meets both the following criteria:

(a) evidence has been provided to show that opportunities have been explored to  share existing masts or sites with other providers; and

(b) where equipment has become redundant it is removed before it is replaced, or if  not replaced it is removed within a time period to be agreed with the Council.

Justification

6.29 Telecommunications networks require the provision of aerials, masts and cables which can cause conflict between the needs of a company to site equipment on operationally advantageous sites and the need to protect sensitive areas. This policy aims to balance the need for expanding communications equipment whilst protecting the district's environment.

Implementation

6.30 Generally, planning permission is only required for certain sized masts and, therefore, the Council encourages early pre-application discussions on the provision of new telecommunication equipment. This policy will be used to determine equipment which requires planning consent; however the Council can only determine a proposal on the grounds of design and amenity and not on health aspects.

6.31 Telecommunication equipment must conform to the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines taking into account the cumulative impact of all operators' equipment located on the mast/site where appropriate. Government advice states that all telecommunications proposals should be submitted with an ICNIRP Certificate.

(2) IN6 Planning Obligations

Planning permission will only be granted for development if the provision is secured for related infrastructure, affordable housing, services, facilities and environmental protection which are necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms, directly related to the development, and fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind.

The provision of such requirements shall be secured either as part of development proposals, through the use of conditions attached to planning permissions, or through planning obligations. Where it can be demonstrated that provision on site is not feasible then provision elsewhere, or a contribution towards this provision, will be required.

Where a planning application extends beyond the district boundary, prior agreement for the provision and location of any necessary obligations will need to be obtained from relevant parties.

Justification

6.0 All development has the potential to impact on the environmentand place pressure on local infrastructure and services. The planning system can be used to ensure that new development contributes positively to the local environment and helps to mitigate any adverse impacts on infrastructure.

6.1 Section 106 agreements are a very effective means of ensuring that public services keep pace with private sector development and will play an important role in implementing the Local Plan. They can ensure relevant infrastructure and facilities are provided, the quality of a development is enhanced and schemes are enabled to go ahead that would otherwise be refused planning permission.

Implementation

6.2 Planning obligations are negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Where developers believe that viability is an issue, applicants will need to make a submission to the Council which should include the following:

  • A financial viability appraisal
  • A statement outlining the benefits and risks of not meeting the policy requirements and the site being delivered immediately.

Further guidance will be available in an Adopted Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document (SPDs).

6.3 Development can create a need for the provision of services, facilities and infrastructure both on-site and off-site. This provision may include:

  • affordable housing
  • open spaces and Green Infrastructure
  • communications infrastructure
  • public art
  • community and social facilities
  • transport improvements
  • culture and recreation facilities
  • utility services
  • education and health facilities
  • emergency service requirements
  • measures to protect and enhance amenity or the environment, including biodiversity and wildlife habitats

6.4 Requirements for individual developments will depend on the nature of the proposals, specific site circumstances and on the requirements laid out in any adopted SPDs produced by the Council.

6.5 If the necessary requirements generated through a development cannot be achieved through negotiations or condition, they will normally be secured as planning obligations under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) in association with a grant of planning permission.

6.6 In addition to securing necessary infrastructure, services and facilities, planning obligations may involve measures to ensure development takes place in an agreed way, for example, by setting out the appropriate phasing of development, and measures to meet other policies and objectives, such as the protection of the environment.

6.7 New development can have wider impacts, such as development generating additional traffic movements outside the district or a larger application straddling the administrative boundary. In these cases, agreement may also be required with the adjoining Council and also Essex and/or Hertfordshire County Councils, as the Highway Authorities, as part of a Section 106 agreement.

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