6. Design

6.1.

Introduction

Urban design is one of the fundamental elements for our quality of life and in the realisation of a sustainable lifestyle. Design will effect the way in which we live, the way in which we work and in the way we perceive the District as a whole.

6.2.

The Government’s promotion of higher density developments on brownfield sites in urban areas means that the achievement of high quality design solutions is even more essential. Good design will also be an essential element in the regeneration of Thanet. To provide real opportunities for people to want to live and work in urban areas, it is crucial that new developments correspond with the principles of good design so that our towns and villages are not only safe and attractive but also provide environments that people will respect and be proud of.

6.3.

By 2020 the Council’s vision is that the commitment to quality and creativity in the way new buildings are designed will have had a significant beneficial impact on the Thanet’s built environment. Following Government Guidance and guidance in Kent Design, better urban design will have been achieved through positive management, meaningful collaboration and the right skills.

6.4.

Designs of new buildings will have set new standards not seen in Thanet for many years. Quality is the key word to describe new building over the last twenty years. Whether it is the materials used or the inspiring detailing on the finished building, people will notice and approve of the new developments that, whilst modern, are sympathetic to their surroundings. All new buildings will be more ‘sustainable’ in both the way they are built and in their designs.

6.5.

Diversity and choice will have been promoted in the towns through a mix of compatible developments and uses to create viable places that respond to local needs. The improvement of public squares and areas will also have benefited town life in Broadstairs, Margate and Ramsgate.

6.6.

However, grand, modern designs are not the only reason for future civic pride in Thanet. Locally distinctive patterns and the best examples of past styles will have been safeguarded and enhanced. This is especially true in the towns where their old charm will still be evident and just as popular.

6.7.

Where possible, new residential developments would have been focused in the urban areas, along main transport routes and are of a higher density than in the last 20 years of the 20th century. However, higher density has not meant a lower quality of life. Designs will have incorporated innovative detailing, open spaces, ‘green roofs’ and other techniques that have increased the interest of the buildings for everyday life.

6.8.

This chapter sets out this Council’s policies for achieving and maintaining the principles of good urban and rural design so that the vision can be realised. The main objectives of the Plan are as follows:

OBJECTIVES

  1. TO ENSURE THAT NEW DEVELOPMENT IS OF A HIGH STANDARD OF QUALITY AND DESIGN;
  2. TO ENHANCE ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AND SUSTAINABILITY THROUGH INNOVATIVE DESIGN SOLUTIONS;
  3. TO ENSURE THAT NEW DEVELOPMENT CREATES PLACES THAT HAVE THEIR OWN IDENTITY AND ARE SAFE AND ATTRACTIVE ;
  4. TO ENSURE THAT NEW DEVELOPMENTS RESPECT AND ENHANCE THE LOCAL CHARACTER OF EXISTING AREAS AND BUILDINGS, ESPECIALLY CONSERVATION AREAS AND LISTED BUILDINGS;
  5. TO ENSURE THAT THE NEEDS OF PEDESTRIANS AND CYCLISTS ARE GIVEN PRIORITY OVER VEHICLES IN NEW DEVELOPMENT;
  6. TO SAFEGUARD AREAS AND FEATURES, INCLUDING OPEN SPACE AND VEGETATION, WHICH CONTRIBUTE TO THE QUALITY OF THE LOCAL ENVIRONMENT;
  7. TO ENSURE THAT THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE WITH MOBILITY OR SIGHT DIFFICULTIES ARE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT IN DESIGN.
6.9.

The Importance of Design, Environmental Quality and the Architectural and Historic Heritage

The importance of good design has recently been given greater emphasis in Government Planning Policy Guidance Notes (PPGs) and in the Regional Guidance for the South-East (RPG9). Design is seen as a vital element in the pursuit of sustainability, in maximising the opportunities for renewal and in striving for a greater mix of building types, land uses and tenures, and in seeking to optimise density. The Government also identifies the need to embrace innovation whilst at the same time protecting the best of the Region’s cultural and natural heritage.

6.10.

Good design is a major element of the final report of the Urban Task Force, chaired by Lord Rogers of Riverside, ‘Towards an Urban Renaissance’. This report considers urban regeneration founded on the principles of design excellence, social well-being and environmental responsibility within a viable and legislative framework.

6.11.

The Kent and Medway Structure Plan gives recognition at strategic level to the importance of conserving and enhancing the quality of the built and natural environment both for its effect on the quality of life and for the support it gives in stimulating new investment. The Structure Plan points out the quality of the built environment is of growing importance not only for the concentrations of people who live there but also for the cultural, leisure and retailing functions in such locations, which underpin their economic well-being.

6.12.

Thanet Context

There is an extensive and rich variety of building forms and character within the built-up area of Thanet. The urban areas range from the "urban villages", such as Pegwell and St Peter’s, to the 1970s town centre and bright lights of Margate, the ‘leafy’ residential areas and special atmosphere of Broadstairs to the historic harbour, lively marina and cross-Channel port of Ramsgate. There is also a diversity of pleasant character and built form throughout Thanet's villages.

6.13.

The District Council is committed to safeguarding and enhancing the quality of the built environment so as to maintain and improve quality of life and the attractiveness of the District to residents, visitors and investors. It will therefore seek to promote the highest standards of design in exercising its development control function.

6.14.

There are four broad areas in this chapter. The first considers the general ‘Design Principles’ that will apply to all new developments in the District. The second considers ‘Enhancement & Special Character Areas’ such as ‘Areas of‘ High Townscape Value’ and ‘seafront architecture’. The third and fourth deal with more specific issues of considerations for the elderly and agricultural buildings respectively.

6.15.

Design Principles

In amplification of Government guidance and of the relevant Structure Plan policies, the following principles are considered to be important in developing design concepts that will safeguard and enhance environmental quality. The District Council has, as a partner in the process, adopted ‘Kent Design’, produced by the Kent Association of Local Authorities, as Supplementary Planning Guidance. This guide promotes sustainability and good design through various principles and objectives and is a material consideration in the determination of planning applications. It also complements and expands upon the principles and on Policy D1 set out below and should be referred to during the preparation of any planning application. In 2006 a new ‘Kent Design Guide’ was published. This replaces ‘Kent Design’ and will be adopted in due course.

6.16.

The District Council has also adopted Supplementary Planning Guidance with regard to ‘Shopfront Design’, ‘Shopfront Security Shutters’, ‘Conservation Areas’ and ‘Conversion of Shops to Residential Accommodation’.

6.17.

The principles set out below will not be treated as prescriptive requirements but will be applied flexibly and appropriately to safeguard and enhance environmental quality.

6.18.

The need to create and safeguard attractive and distinctive places

The design, scale and grouping of existing buildings, the spaces between them, the texture, type and colour of materials, uses, enclosure, vegetation, land contours and views all contribute to the character and identity of a place. Where a satisfactory sense of place exists, new development should respect, complement and preferably enhance it.

6.19.

Where development is proposed in an essentially undeveloped location, retention of existing characteristics including land contours, vegetation, footpaths and attractive or open views beyond the site can help to retain or create an attractive sense of place. When these are not present or are not in themselves strong features the design should endeavour to ‘create’ a sense of place through design reflecting the scale and proportions of local ‘place’.

6.20.

Innovation in Design

Proposals that incorporate innovative design in the pursuit of sustainability will be encouraged. This can include the way in which the development is constructed, the materials used or the methods used to reduce consumption from non-renewable energy sources. For example the use of ‘green roofs’ (the use of flora on the roof) will not only add to the visual appeal to a building, but also reduce surface run off, improve insulation and increase biodiversity. Another example of how design can help the environment is that of water conservation. Larger recycling systems, such as those that recycle rainwater, as well as innovative small scale measures, such as water-efficient toilets, can make a significant contribution. Good modern design where sensitive to its surroundings, even in Conservation Areas, should be promoted. It is recommended that the advice given in the Kent Design Guide should be considered.

6.21.

Mixed Uses

Mixed-use developments will be encouraged. The diversity of activity provided for by mixed use will not only make an area more attractive through the diversity of activity but will also reduce the need to travel by car as more people could live within walking distance to the main services. Single-use developments can produce areas with little or no social interaction and thus create desolate areas with unfriendly and unsafe environments. Mixed-use developments can apply to towns, neighbourhoods, streets and to large developments with the relevant mix of uses for those areas. Careful planning, design and siting should be used to resolve any conflicting interests.

6.22.

Density

Whether for residential or for commercial use, when density levels are increased, the land take for new development reduces. Higher densities can also contribute to social interaction, be more viable for public transport and provide opportunities for energy efficiency. However, designs need to be properly considered so that the development does not fail through, for example, the loss of privacy or increases in noise. Higher density developments, that have carefully considered other aspects of design, will therefore be encouraged by the Council, especially within town centres or areas accessible to good public transport routes.

6.23.

The impact of high density development on the surrounding townscape will be an important material consideration, but PPG3 explains that the overriding objective is to ensure the more efficient use of land. In other areas carefully considered variety in design and density can enhance identity and character. PPG3 clearly expects that poor design should be rejected.

6.24.

The density of residential developments is not prescribed in this Plan, as, in all instances, the compatibility with the character of the area and the mix of housing to meet local needs or demand will influence design and layout. However, the Council envisages that densities of up to 50 dwellings, or more, per hectare net may be achieved with careful design. A mixture of dwelling type and size can provide variety in a development. Developments of less than 30 dwellings per hectare net on any site will usually require special justification. Policy H1 will also apply.

6.25.

In respect of proposals for conversion to flats, Policy H9 will apply. Supplementary guidance is provided in the adopted Conversion to Flats Guidelines, which sets out comprehensive standards relating to design and layout of accommodation, amenities, and parking requirements, which the District Council would expect to be achieved. It is important to note that buildings that have an overall floor area of less than 110 square metres (1184 square feet) are considered unsuitable for conversion to smaller units. These guidelines are taken into account when determining applications for conversion of buildings to flats. The guidance relating to refuse storage/collection and clothes drying is also applicable in respect of new build flat developments.

6.26.

Natural Light

Sufficiency of natural light is an important factor to amenity, health and energy efficiency, and has significant design implications. The District Council generally commends the guidance contained in the Building Research Establishment Report "Site Layout Planning For Daylight And Sunlight - A Guide To Good Practice" in relation to sufficiency of daylight and sunlight to buildings, gardens and amenity areas etc.

6.27.

Form

The function of a building is a major determinant of its built form. However, a principal aim in designing new development should be to respect and complement the merits of existing built and natural features including landscape, while still expressing and accommodating the function of the building through design.

6.28.

Shopfronts have an impact on the form of a building. They are a dominant visual feature in shopping locations and, if designed poorly, will have a detrimental affect on the perceptions on the area. The District Council intends to use its planning powers to safeguard well-designed and traditional existing shopfronts in sensitive locations and to promote new shopfront design that is appropriate to its location. The District Council have adopted Supplementary Planning Guidance Notes (No.1 Shopfront Design & No.2 Shopfront Shutters) amplifying the design principles it seeks to promote. Another Supplementary Planning Guidance leaflet is also available with regard to the ‘Conversion of Shops to Residential Accommodation, external design alterations’ (leaflet No.4). Policy H9 will also apply.

6.29.

Scale

Some buildings (e.g. public buildings) need to be of larger scale than others. However, the scale and proportion of existing development should generally be respected. It may be possible to break down the bulk of a large building (e.g. by insertion of horizontal design features) to present a satisfactory appearance in relation to adjoining plot widths and proportions and to break bland expanses down to a scale sympathetic to that of existing buildings.

6.30.

Detail

Materials should normally be of a local type and harmonise with those of adjoining development (where these present a satisfactory appearance). Architectural style should respect, but not copy or mimic, that of other development in the locality. Innovation in decoration can, if sensitively considered, enhance the identity and character of a building and place.

6.31.

While listed buildings, and, to some extent, buildings in conservation areas represent the most important assets in the District’s built-environment heritage, the wider townscape and built environment of the urban areas and villages have an important role to play as far as perception of the District is concerned. The District Council is anxious to avoid cumulative erosion of pleasant and unspoilt character that can be caused by certain alterations. Property owners should be also made aware that insensitive home "improvements" could actually reduce property values both on an individual and area basis.

6.32.

A guidance leaflet in respect of repairs and alterations to buildings has been prepared by the District Council. Another Guidance leaflet, No.3, is also available for advice on repairs to dwellings in Conservation Areas. In exercising its planning powers, the District Council will aim to ensure that extensions to dwellings do not adversely affect the amenity enjoyed by neighbouring property occupiers nor have an adverse visual impact on the wider environment.

6.33.

Functional Requirements

The functional requirements (e.g. car parking, service areas and access) of a development should form an integral part of the initial design concept. In line with government guidance, the needs of the pedestrian and cyclist should be given priority over the car. This will not only encourage the use of cycling and walking, but also reduce the potential for accidents and promote social interaction between neighbours. The report, Towards an Urban Renaissance encourages the use of ‘Home Zones’ where “…pedestrians have absolute priority over cars…” and the Council will seek to implement such schemes where viable, and in agreement with the local community.

6.34.

New developments will be required to provide adequate provision for dustbin storage and refuse collection. The Council will require that a carry distance for refuse collection should not exceed 25 metres. Residential developments should also make appropriate provision for adequate clothes drying facilities.

6.35.

Increases in car ownership and intensification of use of buildings are two factors that can result in the use of front garden areas for parking. This often gives rise to a run-down and sterile appearance resulting from partial demolition of walls, large expanses of bland hard surface, removal of vegetation, and the presence of parked vehicles themselves. Where several front gardens in close proximity are used for parking, the effect can be even more detrimental, even having a negative effect on property values as well as environmental quality. Guidance on softening the impact of front-area parking (including use of planting and surface materials) is contained in the Conversion to Flats Guidelines (supplementary guidance available from the District Council). With regard to ‘tandem development’ (see above) extra consideration should be given to a satisfactory separate means of pedestrian and vehicle access. 

6.36.

Safety & Security

Safety and security are also important considerations that will have design (including landscaping) and spatial implications and should be taken into account in the design process. The District Council has a duty under Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act to exercise its various functions with regard to the likely effect of those functions on crime and disorder in its area. Such functions include planning decisions as these can have significant implications for crime and disorder. Crime can be reduced through careful design; for example, footpaths can be improved through good lines of visibility or good lighting. The careful combination of security fences and appropriate landscaping cannot only enhance security but do so in ways that are not visually damaging.

6.37.

Accessibility

The Council commissioned David Couttie Associates to examine housing needs in Thanet. They produced a document, ‘Thanet Housing Needs and Empty Property Survey’, which suggested that 18.6% of households contained a disabled person. Therefore, the District Council wishes to ensure that as far as possible, disabled or mobility limited people have the same opportunities as other members of the public.

6.38.

An important consideration for access that will effect the planning process is the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. This Act is the first legislation in the UK to address discrimination against disabled people and has implications for the design of access to and within buildings. The Act is being brought into force in stages. Employers are now already responsible for access in the workplace for their employees and service providers are responsible for making the service accessible by ‘…other means...’. However, from 2004 service providers are responsible for making physical, and therefore permanent, changes to their premises to make their services more accessible. The Code of Practice on Access to Goods, Services and Facilities is available from HMSO.

6.39.

The 1995 Act also affects access provision into and within Listed Buildings that are open for public use. The Council would advise consultation with the Conservation Department at the earliest possible time in the proceedings to give the best possible consideration on this matter.

6.40.

Developers also have a responsibility to comply with the regulations set out in Part M (1999 edition) of the Building Regulations 1991. These Regulations now cover access considerations for dwellings as well as for other buildings. In addition, developers have an obligation under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Act 1970 to make provision for the needs of disabled people in respect of premises to which the public are to be admitted.

6.41.

The District Council is required to draw to the attention of developers the relevant provisions of the above Act and to the British Standards Institution Code Of Practice for Access for the Disabled to Buildings (BS 5810: 1979) and, in respect of educational buildings, to the Department of Education and Science Design Note 18 "Access for the Physically Disabled to Educational Buildings".

6.42.

Clearly access arrangements can have amenity implications relevant to determination of planning applications. The District Council wishes to ensure that where buildings and areas are proposed to be accessible to the general public, full account is taken of the needs of people with mobility or sight difficulties at the design stage.

6.43.

Whilst the Acts are generally non-prescriptive in methods of access, it would be preferable to aim for ‘Inclusive Design’. This is an approach to design that sets out to include as many people as possible rather than to look for the lowest common denominator or to reconcile all the needs of every possible minority group in society. By considering inclusive design for access, perceived barriers and exclusion can be broken down.

6.44.

Even where there may be no statutory obligation to provide for the needs of disabled people, the District Council may consider the desirability in planning terms of attaching conditions requiring such provision to be made, e.g. before a change of use is implemented. In such circumstances, impact upon listed buildings and conservation areas will be an important consideration in determining whether to attach such conditions.

6.45.

Public Art

Public art can enrich our lives by enhancing our awareness and enjoyment of our built and natural environment. It can bring interest and a sense of place to new and old developments by creating a local distinctiveness that in turn can engender civic pride and enhance tourism. Commissions can also provide opportunities for local artists in the flourishing artistic community in the Thanet District.

6.46.

The Council will encourage the inclusion of public art in new developments and/or improvement projects. Public art commissioned should be of a high quality and specific to their site. It can encompass a wide variety of elements including individual artworks, street furniture, signing, lighting, entrance features and working with developers on the design of the actual buildings. Different media may also be considered such as sound, projection and lighting, though this will depend upon surrounding uses.

6.47.

The commissioning of public art is best integrated by involving artists as early as possible within the design and development process. Thanet District Council has an agreed methodology of selecting, appointing and commissioning artists and public art. The Council itself has produced ‘A Public Art Strategy for Thanet’ and will pursue a programme of public art linked to regeneration initiatives.

6.48.

Landscaping & Trees

Landscaping can soften the impact of new buildings, lend a sense of maturity to new development, and help to establish a sense of place. It also has a crucial role in terms of wildlife habitat creation and improving the biodiversity of urban areas. However, landscaping should always form an integral part of the design. It should not consist of ‘offcuts’ of leftover land, or be used simply to camouflage poor design. The future maintenance of landscaping is also an important issue. Landscaping designs should, in the first instance, be related to each plot of land so that each future owner would be responsible for its upkeep, thus reducing the burden on the Council resources. If this is not possible or desirable, commuted payments through legal agreements may be negotiated in appropriate circumstances. Accordingly, landscaping matters should be considered at the earliest stages of the design process. It is, however, accepted that buildings of particular merit deserve an uninterrupted view.

6.49.

The District has relatively few trees. The Council will therefore seek to retain existing trees as part of any proposed developments through the making of Tree Preservation Orders and through use of planning conditions where appropriate. British Standard BS5837: 2005 (Guide for Trees in Relation to Construction) gives guidance regarding the best approach to new site development in relation to existing trees. The Council will also seek to retain hedges and other semi-natural habitat, such as ponds and species-rich grassland, together with new planting, as they lend maturity to a development and can safeguard/enhance habitat.

6.50.

The District Council, when considering new developments, especially for residential, will seek to resist the loss of trees and hedges, and will encourage new planting. New landscaping proposals in new developments will also be judged in relation to Policy D2 below.

6.51.

Further requirements for landscaping are required on sites adjoining farmland. Agricultural land is farmed right up to the edges of Thanet's urban areas. The intensive nature of agricultural production has precluded the introduction of buffer zones to prevent casual access onto farmland. This has resulted in a measure of trespass and vandalism to crops. New landscaping, to prevent such access and to soften the edge of the urban area, would form an integral part of this requirement.

6.52.

Habitat Creation

The District Council considers that any potential advantages to nature conservation, which may arise in connection with development proposals, should be explored fully when dealing with such applications. The Council will therefore, support initiatives or development designs that incorporate the creation of suitably sited new habitats and/or corridors. However, relocation or re-creation of existing habitats will not normally validate a proposal, which would result in a loss of habitat where that loss itself constitutes an objection to the development.

6.53.

Long-term management is a consideration, but this may actually mean less maintenance or management than if, for example, land was given over to open space. The District Council may seek the advice of Kent Wildlife Trust in respect of particular proposals or opportunities.

6.54.

The District Council will therefore encourage the use of legal agreements, such as Section 106 of the Town and Country planning Act, or Section 39 of the wildlife and Countryside Act, to safeguard habitats and wildlife, and improve the management of landholdings for nature conservation purposes.

6.55.

In its pursuit of good design in all new developments, the Council will not grant permission to proposals deemed to be of a poor standard, based on the provisions above or in ‘Kent Design’ and on the following policies.

POLICY D1 - DESIGN PRINCIPLES

  1. ALL NEW DEVELOPMENT IS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE HIGH QUALITY AND INCLUSIVE DESIGN, SUSTAINABILITY, LAYOUT AND MATERIALS.
  2. A NEW DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL WILL ONLY BE PERMITTED IF IT:
    1. RESPECTS OR ENHANCES THE CHARACTER OR APPEARANCE OF THE SURROUNDING AREA, PARTICULARLY IN SCALE, MASSING, RHYTHM, AND USE OF MATERIALS APPROPRIATE TO THE LOCALITY;
    2. IS COMPATIBLE WITH NEIGHBOURING BUILDINGS AND SPACES AND DOES NOT LEAD TO UNACCEPTABLE LOSS OF AMENITY THROUGH OVERLOOKING, NOISE OR VIBRATION, LIGHT POLLUTION, OVERSHADOWING, LOSS OF NATURAL LIGHT, OR SENSE OF ENCLOSURE;
    3. INCORPORATES WHERE PRACTICABLE A HIGH DEGREE OF PERMEABILITY FOR PEDESTRIANS AND CYCLISTS AND ALSO CONSIDERS ACCESS FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORT;
    4. INCORPORATES PROVISION FOR DISABLED ACCESS;
    5. RETAINS OPEN SPACES, GAPS IN DEVELOPMENT, MATURE TREES, OTHER VEGETATION AND ANY OTHER FEATURES THAT CONTRIBUTE TO BIODIVERSITY AND THE QUALITY OF THE LOCAL ENVIRONMENT;
    6. INCORPORATES NEW LANDSCAPING AS AN INTEGRAL PART (AS SET OUT IN POLICY D2); 
    7. INCORPORATES, WHERE APPROPRIATE, WILDLIFE HABITATS, WILDLIFE CORRIDORS AND INITIATIVES FOR THEIR LONG TERM MANAGEMENT;
    8. INCORPORATES MEASURES TO PREVENT CRIME AND DISORDER, PROMOTES PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY AND THE PERCEPTION OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY;
    9. INCORPORATES, WHERE PRACTICAL AND APPROPRIATE, HIGH QUALITY INTEGRATED PUBLIC ART WHICH IS RELEVANT TO THE SITE AND LOCALITY;
    10. PROVIDES SAFE AND SATISFACTORY MEANS OF PEDESTRIAN AND, WHERE PROVIDED, VEHICLE ACCESS;
    11. PROVIDES FOR CLOTHES DRYING FACILITIES AND REFUSE DISPOSAL¹ OR DUSTBIN STORAGE; AND THANET LOCAL PLAN - June 2006 163
    12. INCORPORATES SUSTAINABLE DRAINAGE SYSTEMS.

¹ Satisfactory provision for refuse disposal means a carry distance for refuse not to exceed 25 metres.

POLICY D2 - LANDSCAPING

THE FOLLOWING ELEMENTS WILL BE REQUIRED AS PART OF LANDSCAPING PROPOSALS FOR ANY NEW DEVELOPMENT:

  1. THE ENHANCEMENT OF THE DEVELOPMENT SITE IN ITS SETTING;
  2. THE RETENTION (AND PROTECTION DURING SITE WORKS) OF AS MANY OF THE EXISTING TREES, HEDGES AND OTHER HABITAT FEATURES ON SITE AS POSSIBLE;
  3. ON SITES OF ONE HECTARE OR MORE, THE SETTING ASIDE OF 10% OF THE DEVELOPMENT SITE FOR THE PLANTING OF NATIVE TREE SPECIES, EITHER WITHIN OR AT THE BOUNDARY OF THE DEVELOPMENT SITE;
  4. THE MAXIMISING OF NATURE CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITIES WHERE DEVELOPMENT IS PROPOSED IN PROXIMITY TO EXISTING OPEN SPACE OR WILDLIFE HABITATS, AND
  5. WHERE BOTH APPROPRIATE AND POSSIBLE, THE PROVISION OF LANDSCAPING IN ADVANCE OF NEW DEVELOPMENT TO FACILITATE THE ASSIMILATION OF NEW DEVELOPMENT INTO THE LANDSCAPE. 

THE DISTRICT COUNCIL WILL REQUIRE TO BE SATISFIED THAT THE DEVELOPER HAS MADE ADEQUATE ARRANGEMENTS TO ENSURE CONTINUED MAINTENANCE OF LANDSCAPING, AND MAY SEEK TO SECURE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THIS PURPOSE BY ENTERING INTO A PLANNING AGREEMENT. 

Explanations:

6.56.

The District Council will make Tree Preservation Orders to protect trees which have amenity value, or which the Council considers to be under threat.

6.57.

The District Council also wishes to persuade landowners (primarily farmers, but also commercial and private landowners) not only to conserve as many existing trees as possible, but also to include new tree planting as part of the management of their land.

6.58.

In considering new development, the District Council will wish as many trees as possible to be retained on the site, as part of the Council's wider strategy to restore trees in large numbers to the Thanet landscape. Thus proposals which include the retention of existing trees and the planting of additional landscaping will be given more favourable consideration. British Standard BS5837: 2005 (Guide for Trees in Relation to Construction) gives guidance regarding the best approach to new site development in relation to existing trees.

6.59.

As a result of their size at maturity, the planting of additional native trees within the developed part of the site could have undesirable consequences. There is likely to be pressure for their removal in the medium term for a number of reasons: physical presence, loss of light to residential properties, and possible damage to building services and infrastructure. The District Council therefore believes that, in the interests of the long-term survival of landscaping, a different approach is required. Thus, on development sites of 1ha or more, the District Council will usually require the setting aside of one-tenth of the site solely for native-tree planting. This may be at the boundary of the site (as at the urban fringe) or elsewhere within the site.

6.60.

The retention of trees referred to in the Policy not only relates to shortterm retention during construction work, but also to longer-term protection from pressure for removal of trees once buildings are occupied.

6.61.

Extensions to Dwelling Houses

In exercising its planning powers, the District Council will aim to ensure that extensions to dwellings neither adversely affect the amenity enjoyed by neighbouring property occupiers nor have an adverse visual impact on the wider environment. Supplementary guidance ‘A Guide to Extending your Home’ is available separately from the District Council. This contains the relevant considerations to which the Council will have regard in assessing the impact of individual proposals.

(POLICY NOT SAVED) D3 - EXTENSIONS TO DWELLING HOUSES

IN CONSIDERING PLANNING APPLICATIONS FOR EXTENSIONS TO DWELLING HOUSES, THE DISTRICT COUNCIL WILL:

  1. AIM TO ENSURE THE PROPOSALS WOULD NOT ADVERSELY AFFECT THE AMENITY ENJOYED BY NEIGHBOURING PROPERTY OCCUPIERS; AND
  2. HAVE REGARD TO THE DESIGN OF THE EXTENSION IN RELATION TO THAT OF THE MAIN PROPERTY, AND ITS WIDER VISUAL IMPACT
6.62.

Design Statements

For large, complex or sensitive sites (such as in Conservation Areas) the Council will expect a design statement to be submitted with any planning application. A design statement will help the District Council in the assessment of the application and to ensure that the applicant has fully considered the submitted design solution, reflecting the specific features, which control the development of the site in an analytical and positive way. For further advice please see the DTLR document, ‘By Design’ as well as PPS1.

(POLICY NOT SAVED) D4 - DESIGN STATEMENTS

FOR LARGE, COMPLEX OR SENSITIVE SITES, A WRITTEN DESIGN STATEMENT, INCLUDING ILLUSTRATIVE MATERIAL, WILL BE REQUIRED PRIOR TO DETERMINATION OF THE APPLICATION. THE STATEMENT SHOULD SHOW THE APPROACH OF HOW, WHAT AND WHY THE DEVELOPMENT HAS BEEN DESIGNED IN RELATION TO ALL ISSUES AFFECTING THE SITE. THIS SHOULD ENCOMPASS:

  1. AN APPRAISAL OF THE NATURAL AND BUILT FORM OF THE SITE AND ITS CONTEXT;
  2. IDENTIFICATION OF CONSTRAINTS AND OPPORTUNITIES OF THE SITE;
  3. IDENTIFICATION OF THE DESIGN FACTORS THAT HAVE BEEN TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION, INCLUDING JUSTIFICATION;
  4. DESIGN OBJECTIVES;
  5. CONSIDERATION OF DESIGN OPTIONS THAT REFLECT LOCAL CHARACTER;
  6. THE RATIONALE BEHIND SITING AND MASSING;
  7. AN EXPLANATION OF PROPOSED ELEVATIONAL AND SPATIAL TREATMENTS.
6.63.

Advertisements

Local planning authorities' regulatory powers to control advertisements can be exercised only in the interests of amenity and public safety. These two interests, and the extent, to which they necessitate restraints upon advertising, are difficult to define in general terms because so much depends on particular circumstances. In some surroundings, advertisements form an integral part of the street scene to which they lend gaiety and colour, in other situations advertisements can be alien, obtrusive and discordant.

6.64.

It is not possible to lay down specific rules in the form of a policy statement about what sort of advertisements may receive consent. Individual circumstances will be the deciding factor. However, the District Council has adopted a set of Advertisement Control Guidelines that it will seek to implement through development control and Listed Building Consent procedures. These guidelines, which are intended as supplementary planning guidance, are available separately from the District Council. In exercising its powers to control advertisements, the District Council will be guided by the general principles set out in these adopted Advertisement Control Guidelines.

6.65.

Certain advertisements can ordinarily be displayed without the need for express consent but which, in some circumstances, may prove harmful to amenity or public safety. The District Council has powers to seek discontinuance of the display of certain advertisements not normally subject to planning control. It will use these powers to seek discontinuance of display of advertisements where considered expedient to safeguard the amenity of a locality or to remove a public danger. 

6.66.

The District Council also has a duty to consider whether to seek designation of Areas of Special Control For Advertisements (ASCAs) in the district. Such designation increases the level of control that can be exercised over certain types of advertisements. The District Council will consider designation of ASCAs in any part of the district where such special control is considered expedient in the interests of amenity.

POLICY D5 - ADVERTISEMENTS

APPLICATIONS FOR ADVERTISEMENTS WILL BE CONSIDERED IN RELATION TO THEIR EFFECTS UPON AMENITY AND PUBLIC SAFETY. REGARD WILL BE PAID TO THE SURROUNDING LOCATION, MANNER OF ILLUMINATION (IF PROPOSED), MATERIAL COMPOSITION, DESIGN AND RELATIONSHIP TO THE LAND, BUILDING OR STRUCTURE TO WHICH THEY ARE TO BE AFFIXED. ADVERTISEMENTS SHOULD NOT DOMINATE BUT SHOULD BE IN BALANCE WITH THE CHARACTER, TOWNSCAPE AND ARCHITECTURE OF THE BUILDINGS ON WHICH THEY ARE SITUATED.

IN AND ADJOINING CONSERVATION AREAS THE DISTRICT COUNCIL WILL REQUIRE THAT THE DESIGN AND SITING OF ADVERTISEMENTS DOES NOT DETRACT FROM, AND PREFERABLY MAKES A POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION TO, THE CHARACTER AND/OR APPEARANCE OF THE AREA.

6.67.

Satellite Antennae (Dishes)

There are certain technical requirements regarding the siting and orientation of satellite antennae (dishes). However, insensitive and prominent siting can result in the antenna actually dominating the building and presenting an obtrusive appearance in the street scene. Such impact can be compounded so as to adversely transform and dominate the character of an area particularly where a number of antennae are installed in close proximity. The degree of harm will depend upon the visual sensitivity of the area. 

6.68.

With the exception of Listed Buildings (where control exists through the need for Listed Building Consent), the erection of a satellite antenna can in some instances be carried out without the need for planning consent. However, this is still conditional upon the antenna being sited in a way which minimises its impact upon the external appearance of the building, and upon the antenna being removed when no longer needed. Most commonly, visual impact can be minimised by siting behind the existing building where an antenna may be totally obscured from general view. However, optimum siting will vary according to individual circumstances.

6.69.

The General Permitted Development Order for development within the curtilage of a dwelling house (Class H Part 2 (a)) permits the installation of antennae. However, this is subject to the siting which should “...minimise its effect on the external appearance of the building…”. Therefore, where the District Council considers that a dish, for which planning consent is not needed, has been poorly sited, it may ask the owner to resite it at their own expense.

6.70.

The need for consent should always be ascertained with the District Council before any commitment is made to rental, purchase or installation. It is also strongly advisable to discuss selection of type of dish and its siting and appearance with the District Council, whether or not planning and/or listed building consent is needed. The District Council also commends the (free) planning guide "A Householder's Planning Guide For The Installation Of Satellite Television Dishes" to anyone contemplating installation of a satellite dish.

6.71.

The District Council will use its planning powers to resist installations that would be harmful to visual amenity. In instances where consent is not necessary for erection of satellite antennae, the District Council may consider the use of Article 4 Directions, where for example the presence or proliferation of antennae could threaten the character or appearance of a Conservation Area.

(POLICY NOT SAVED) D6 - SATELLITE ANTENNAE (DISHES)

PROPOSALS FOR SATELLITE DISHES AND SUPPORTING STRUCTURES THAT REQUIRE PLANNING PERMISSION WILL ONLY BE PERMITTED WHERE THE SITING, DESIGN, SIZE AND COLOUR DO NOT RESULT IN AN INTRUSIVE OR DISCORDANT IMPACT ON THE APPEARANCE OR CHARACTER OF THE AREA.

6.72.

Enhancement & Special Character Areas

Enhancement

Enhancement of environmental quality is now widely recognised as an equal partner to other initiatives that aim to stimulate investment and foster economic health. Most of Thanet's built environment heritage, although often "tarnished", remains largely intact and is capable of restoration and reinstatement. However, this can only be effectively achieved through positive schemes of enhancement.

6.73.

The District Council has a duty to formulate and publish proposals for the preservation and enhancement of its conservation areas and is keen to embrace this duty. However, in the case of many areas, effective enhancement and positive action to bring about improvement of environmental quality will not be realised without a significant input of resources as a catalyst for further investment from other sources. The IMPACT initiative (formerly operating in Ramsgate), and Thanet 2000 have illustrated effective targeting of resources to direct improvement action to upgrade the local environment and stimulate further investment from other sources.

6.74.

The District Council has a duty to formulate and publish proposals for the preservation and enhancement of its conservation areas and is keen to embrace this duty. However, in the case of many areas, effective enhancement and positive action to bring about improvement of environmental quality will not be realised without a significant input of resources as a catalyst for further investment from other sources. The IMPACT initiative (formerly operating in Ramsgate), and Thanet 2000 have illustrated effective targeting of resources to direct improvement action to upgrade the local environment and stimulate further investment from other sources.

6.75.

Areas and Sites of High Townscape Value

There are parts of Thanet which are considered to possess certain characteristics meriting special recognition. These Areas of High Townscape Value are defined on the Proposals Map. The character and features of these areas vary, but the separation between buildings, the open form of development and the contribution made by landscaping, will often be the essential characteristics. It is planning policy to ensure that any development respects and enhances the special local character in such areas.

6.76.

The areas identified in Policy D7 may be seen as areas conferring a high degree of amenity. This protection is in accord with the plan's aim to safeguard the built-up areas from "town cramming" and loss of established character. However, other parts of the district, not strictly applicable to this policy, may also possess sensitive, established or otherwise valuable character, (e.g. areas of attractive unspoilt Victorian housing), or provide stability or breathing space which it is desirable to protect from harmful development in the interests of the functioning and amenity of the area.

6.77.

The existence of Policy D7 should not be taken to imply any weakening of the importance of environmental considerations in other locations including the provisions of Policy D1. The District Council will also seek to protect any other areas of valuable character and amenity from harmful development through its planning powers, even though they may not fall within the criteria for Policy D7.

POLICY D7 - AREAS OF HIGH TOWNSCAPE VALUE

THE FOLLOWING AREAS AS DEFINED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP ARE DESIGNATED AS AREAS OF HIGH TOWNSCAPE VALUE:

  1. CALLIS COURT ROAD, BROADSTAIRS;
  2. HOLLY LANE, NORTHDOWN;
  3. CANTERBURY ROAD, WESTGATE;
  4. PALM BAY AVENUE, CLIFTONVILLE;
  5. NORTH FORELAND, BROADSTAIRS;
  6. ROYAL ESPLANADE/PRINCE EDWARD'S PROMENADE, RAMSGATE;
  7. SOUTH CLIFF PARADE AND WESTERN ESPLANADE, BROADSTAIRS;
  8. KINGSGATE AVENUE, BROADSTAIRS;
  9. PARK AVENUE, BROADSTAIRS ;
  10. SEA ROAD, WESTGATE;
  11. AREA INCLUDING SHAKESPEARE ROAD, CONSTABLE ROAD, WILKIE ROAD, NASMYTH ROAD, COLMAN’S STAIRS ROAD & SPENCER ROAD, BIRCHINGTON; AND
  12. CLIFF ROAD & THE PARADE (PART), BIRCHINGTON.

WITHIN SUCH AREAS, AND SITES IMMEDIATELY ADJOINING, THE CONSERVATION OR ENHANCEMENT OF THE LOCAL CHARACTER WILL BE THE PRIMARY PLANNING AIM. IN FURTHERANCE OF THIS AIM, DEVELOPMENT WILL BE ALLOWED ONLY WHERE THE DESIGN, SCALE OF DEVELOPMENT, SEPARATION BETWEEN BUILDINGS, USE OF MATERIALS AND LANDSCAPING ARE COMPLEMENTARY TO THE SPECIAL CHARACTER OF THE AREA. 

6.78.

Seafront Architecture

The historical development of the Thanet towns as seaside holiday resorts is reflected in much of the District's architectural heritage. While that traditional style holiday industry has contracted markedly, "purpose-built" seaside architecture is increasingly appreciated. A well-preserved resort with its own historical identity can attract visitors and enhance regeneration on a wider economic base. In addition to purpose-built seaside architecture, many of the established dwellings and hotel buildings that occupy clifftop/promenade locations also have design characteristics reflecting Thanet's seaside location and resort role. For example, such buildings are typically of substantial proportions and often possess ornate detail, belvederes, balconies and other window arrangements designed to maximise sea views. The District Council wishes to ensure that the "lively" and evocative seaside image projected by such design characteristics is respected, and where possible reinforced.

(POLICY NOT SAVED) D8 - SEAFRONT ARCHITECTURE

IN EXERCISING ITS PLANNING POWERS, THE DISTRICT COUNCIL WILL SEEK TO SAFEGUARD, REINSTATE AND ENHANCE SEAFRONT ARCHITECTURE REFLECTING THE INDIVIDUALITY AND HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE THANET TOWNS AS SEASIDE HOLIDAY RESORTS. THE COUNCIL WILL EXPECT PROPOSALS FOR NEW DEVELOPMENT TO RESPECT AND PREFERABLY ENHANCE SUCH ARCHITECTURE.

IN AREAS CHARACTERISED BY DOMESTIC/HOTEL BUILDINGS OF A SCALE/DESIGN REFLECTING THANET'S SEASIDE LOCATION/RESORT FUNCTION, NEW DEVELOPMENT WILL BE EXPECTED TO BE DESIGNED SO AS TO RESPECT SUCH CHARACTERISTICS. DESIGNS THAT INCLUDE DETAILING AND USE OF MATERIALS THAT WOULD REINFORCE THESE QUALITIES WILL BE PERMITTED.

6.79.

Accommodation for Elderly Relatives

Where it is intended that an elderly relative is to reside with the family household, self-contained/part-self contained accommodation may be proposed through internal rearrangement or extension to the dwelling. Normal planning considerations will apply in relation to such proposals*. Such arrangements are, however, rarely suited for occupation as separate living accommodation unrelated to the household occupying the main dwelling unit for a variety of reasons, including lack of self-containment, inadequate separate access and amenity space, and lack of privacy.

6.80.

Therefore, where the alteration/extension or other works are permitted to enable accommodation for an elderly relative to be provided, planning permission will normally be subject to a condition that the host property remains as a single dwelling notwithstanding that the accommodation provided may, in effect, be occupied as separate accommodation by that relative. The District Council will normally expect such proposals to demonstrate that the accommodation proposed for independent occupation is easily capable of assimilation into the dwelling (e.g. lockable door) when no longer needed. In order to safeguard such use as a single dwelling, occupation of the accommodation independent from the host dwelling will usually be limited by condition to a named person.

6.81.

Provision of such accommodation in freestanding buildings within the curtilage of a dwelling will almost inevitably cause problems of loss of privacy and open character. When no longer required for that purpose, additional planning objections relating to access and amenity space arrangements would arise if proposed for use as separate residential accommodation. Such accommodation would not lend itself to use as living accommodation as part of the host dwelling by reason of physical separation. Such freestanding accommodation will not normally, therefore, be acceptable. The conversion of existing outbuildings, able to revert to their original purpose when no longer required may, however, be acceptable in some instances.

POLICY D9 - ACCOMMODATION FOR ELDERLY RELATIVES

PROPOSALS TO PROVIDE ACCOMMODATION FOR AN ELDERLY RELATIVE AT AN EXISTING DWELLING WILL ONLY BE PERMITTED WHERE SUCH ACCOMMODATION IS PHYSICALLY LINKED TO THE EXISTING DWELLING UNIT AND WHERE THERE IS NO CONFLICT WITH OTHER LOCAL PLAN POLICIES.

Operational Note:  

6.82.

* Policy D3 applies in respect of extensions to dwellings. Supplementary advice in respect of design of extensions to dwellings is contained in the House Extension Guide, which will be available shortly from the District Council.

6.83.

Agricultural Buildings

New agricultural buildings are now subject to a prior notification procedure, which requires the farmer to notify the District Council of the intention to erect new agricultural buildings. The District Council then needs to respond to that notification within 28 days if it wishes to comment on the siting, design or external appearance of the proposed building.

6.84.

The General Development Order establishes the principle of generally allowing such development. However, as stated in the Countryside and Coast Chapter, local landscape character issues also need to be given full weight in the consideration of development proposals. It is often the details of a proposal, location and siting, materials, colours and so on, that can make a proposal acceptable or not.

(POLICY NOT SAVED) D10 - AGRICULTURAL BUILDINGS

PROPOSALS FOR NEW AGRICULTURAL BUILDINGS WILL BE CONSIDERED AGAINST THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:

  1. THE SITING, SCALE, MATERIALS, AND COLOUR OF NEW BUILDINGS SHOULD BE DESIGNED SO AS TO MINIMISE THEIR VISUAL IMPACT IN THE LANDSCAPE, AND, WHERE POSSIBLE, THE NEW BUILDING SHOULD BE LOCATED SO AS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF NATURAL SCREENING OR LOCAL TOPOGRAPHY;
  2. WHERE NECESSARY NEW LANDSCAPING SHOULD BE PROVIDED TO FURTHER REDUCE THE VISUAL IMPACT OF THE NEW BUILDING; AND
  3. WHERE MORE THAN ONE PREFABRICATED BUILDING IS INVOLVED, THE RESULTING GROUP OF BUILDINGS SHOULD POSSESS A COMPLEMENTARY APPEARANCE AND CHARACTER IN KEEPING WITH THEIR SURROUNDINGS AND THE LANDSCAPE.

Explanation: 

6.85.

The Thanet landscape is gently undulating, with relatively little natural vegetation cover. New large farm buildings are therefore likely to have a significant impact on the rural landscape.

6.86.

The District Council believes it is necessary to exercise careful control over the scale, location, materials, colour, relationship to other buildings, landscaping and other aspects of the development, to reduce its impact in the rural landscape. However, the size of a proposal will not in itself prevent sympathetic consideration of it.

6.87.

The Council considers that this is in the interests of both the farm environment itself, and the wider landscape considerations of this Plan.

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