Jeff Ayre , Sedgedon

Graham McDarby , GRADONARCHITECTURE

Please refer to attached document

1.0 Introduction This report explores the performance of a potential mixed character residential development of the Butterwick site which lies between Beacon Lane and Butterwick Road in Sedgefield , County Durham.

The site was included in Durham Council's Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) and was given an "Amber" classification as a site which the Council's planners consider unsuitable for housing - although with a provision for the classification to be revisited in certain circumstances. On this basis the site is currently not allocated for development in the Council's County Durham Plan Preferred Options document.

This report considers the performance of the site and its proposed development in relation to Policy 16 of the Preferred Options document which relates to the consideration of development of sites not allocated in the Plan. This report demonstrates a high level of performance against the criteria in this policy. As such the report forms an important part of supporting material for a forthcoming application for Planning Consent for the development of the site.

The report at this stage however is being submitted as a response to consultation on the County Durham Plan Preferred Options to make the point that this site should be allocated in the County Durham Plan.In addition to detailed consideration of this site, the report includes some coverage of the sites actually allocated in the Preferred Options document against some key criteria in that document's Policy 16 and indicates that these sites appear to perform less well than the Butterwick site.

Should there be limited capacity for development in Sedgefi eld this outline evaluation indicates that the allocation of sites in the town should be reconsidered with stronger preference being given to the allocation of the Butterwick site.

Sections 3 - 12 of this report consider the Butterwick site against criteria B-K of Policy 16

Section 13 considers the character of envisaged proposals for its development against criterion A of Policy 16 which is related to the appropriateness of the scale, design and location.

Section 14 considers the deliverability of the development proposed for the site including its phasing and relationship to infrastructure capacity, it also outlines our clients wider aspirations for the future development of sedgefi eld to which proposals for the Butterwick site could make an early contribution

Section 15 is a desktop comparison of the Butterwick site with the sites allocated within the SHLAA the county Durham plan preferred option document.

Section 16 is an executive summary which outlines the conclusions reached and the key points made and aspirations for the development of Sedgefi eld of which proposals for the Butterwick site form a part.

2.0 Summary of policy 16 of County Durham Preferred Options Plan. An extract from the document states:

Development on Unallocated sites

All new development (including retail, offi ce and industrial uses with fl oorspace of less than 1,000sqm) on sites that are not allocated in the County Durham Plan or in a neighbourhood Plan, will be permitted provided the development:
a) Is appropriate in scale, design, and, location to the character and function of the settlement;
b) There is not an unacceptable impact on the landscape;
c) Helps to consolidate the built form of the settlement;
d) Helps support or improve the sustainability of the area;
e) Does not result in the merging or coalescence of settlements;
f) Does not result in the loss of an ‘asset of community value' without having been through the correct procedure;
g) Is compatible with adjacent sites and land uses, ensuring adequate standards of amenity for existing and future occupiers;
h) Includes satisfactory arrangements for disposing foul and surface water discharge;
i) Includes appropriate provision for vehicle access and parking;
j) Includes satisfactory arrangements for remediating contamination and ensuring the site and any existing buildings are stable; and
k) Is in accord with the Sustainable Development Principles and all other policies of the plan.

The following sections consider the Butterwick site against the above criteria.

3.0 Impact on landscape Policy 16 Development on Unallocated Sites "B. There is not an unacceptable impact on the landscpe" Sedgefi eld is a distinct and separate settlement set in the mature gently rolling South Durham landscape. The prime landscape feature is the setting of the village viewed from the A689 passing to the south and the A177 approaching from Stockton. From both these routes the town is largely screened by mature tree belts - with a sense of its presence flowing mainly from the church tower rising above the tree belts. This is a feature of the setting which is recognised and specifi cally protects the settlement edge in the current Sedgefield Borough Local Plan. Images 3.0.1 an 3.0.2 depict the context in which any proposed development on the Butterwick site will be viewed approaching Sedgfi eld from the A689 heading west. The importance of preserving the setting of Sedgefi eld is acknowledged and demonstrated in diagram 3.0.3 which identifes upon approach in relation to the topography. Diagram 3.0.4 shows proposed residential cluster areas taking account of the impact upon the setting of the settlement. The substantial tree lined boundary to Beacon Lane would be preserved, minimising the appearance of the residential development beyond. The existing watercourse running east-west across the site would be preserved and incorporated within a sustainable drainage solution. Hedgerows existing within the site would be retained and act as a natural boundary and defi nition to individual residential clusters. Overall, the development would be shaped and defi ned by the exsiting landscape and topography.

4.0 Consolidate Settlement Form Policy 16 Development on Unallocated Sites "C. Helps to consolidate the built form of the settlement" Diagram 4.0.1 shows how the proposed development site will integrate within the context of Sedgefi eld. The Butterwick site represents a logical extension to the urban fabric to accommodate the requirement for new homes and growth of the area. The site borders Sedgefi eld Community College to the north, existing residential to the west, and proposals will be designed to preserve the settlement form upon approach to Sedgefi eld. The diagram indicates how future residents of the development would be encouraged to interract with Sedgefi eld town centre, utilising the existing routes to fl ow through the town centre and encourage growth and sustainability.

5.0 Sustainability Policy 16 Development on Unallocated Sites "D. Helps support or improve the sustainability of the area." Due to its location and its highway connections the Butterwick site looks inward to Sedgefi eld town centre rather than outwards to the A689 and areas beyond. Through its proximity the site supports both the town centre and the college and helps make Sedgefi eld a more sustainable settlement.

6.0 Merging of Settlements Policy 16 Development on Unallocated Sites "E. Does not result in the merging or coalescence of settlements." Diagram 6.0.1 locates Sedgefi eld within the context of County Durham and demonstrates it's position as a clearly defi ned settlement. The proposed Butterwick development site indicated in red does not cause any merging of settlements nor erosion of the distinct identity of Sedgefi eld as a settlement.

7.0 Loss of Community Asset Policy 16 Development on Unallocated Sites "F. Does not result in the loss of an ‘asset of community value' without having been through the correct procedure' Our understanding of this criteria is that it is intended to relate to community assets such as playing fi elds, local services and facilities such as pubs, community buildings, post offi ces etc. Development of this site has no such impacts. We highlight here how the proposed development actually adds assests of community value. Diagram 7.0.1 shows the exisiting natural landscape assets which are all proposed to be retained within any new developement. The site is currently agricultural use and as such offers minimal community asset in terms of amenity. There would be no loss of visual amenity to the residences beyond the east boundary due to the mature landscape making up the site boundary. The proposals would create additonal amenity for both the residents and the wider community by offering useable green areas running through the site in a ‘ribbon' arrangement. These spaces would incorporate playspaces and the opportunity for wildlife to fl ourish within a sustainable ecology which includes a watercourse and a village pond. It is propopsed that a residential / extra care facility is included at the heart of the development along with a small amount of supporting convenience retail outlets.

8.0 Compatible With Adjacent Sites Policy 16 Development on Unallocated Sites "G. Is compatible with adjacent sites and land uses, ensuring adequate standards of amenity for existing and future occupiers." Diagram 8.01 shows the adjacent land uses. Development of the site primarily for residential use would not impact upon these uses and is compatible with them. Diagram 8.02 illustrates the existing landscaped screening to the western boundary of the Butterwick site. Exisiting occupiers of the residential area to the west have their standards of ammenity protected by the substantial mature tree belt and hedgegrow defi ning the westen edge of the site. Views out to the open countryside offer high levels of amenity to future occupiers. Respect would be paid to existing adjacent dwellings fronting onto Butterwick Lane at the north west area of the site, with all necessary spacing in place to protect the amenity of the residents.

9.0 Foul and Surface Water Policy 16 Development on Unallocated Sites "H. Includes satisfactory arrangements for disposing foul and surface water discharge" Diagram 9.01 shows the form of an existing watercourse on the site and how this is used as the core of a sustainable urban drainage scheme (SUDS) for the site. This SUDS scheme will incorporate a village pond as a feature and become a positive feature and heart for the site, such as diagram 9.02 The design approach across the site will attenuate surface water runoff from the site. Foul water will discharge to existing drainage systems which will be proved to have capacity to accommodate the related flows.

10.0 Vehicular Access and Parking Policy 16 Development on Unallocated Sites "I. Includes appropriate provision for vehicular access and parking" Diagram 10.01 shows how the site is accessed from Beacon Lane to the south and Butterwick Road to the North. Roads within the site will connect these northern and southern access parts allowing movement through the site by both accesses. Detailed discussion with Durham County Council Highways will address any issues of junction capacity in either access route. Car parking within the site will be provided to meet Durham County Council standards.

11.0 Satisfactory Remediation. Policy 16 Development on Unallocated Sites "J. Includes satisfactory arrangements for remediating contamination and ensuring the site and any existing buildings are stable The site is currently in agricultural use and has no previous development history. Localised remediation will address any identifi ed pollution issues related to current and past agricultural use. There are no buildings currently on the site and initial desk top studies suggest no history of contamination.

12.0 Sustainable Development Principles. Policy 16 Development on Unallocated Sites "K. In accord with the Sustainable Development Principles and all other policies of the plan" In a County Durham context, Sedgefi eld is viewed as a Sustainable Settlement with a capacity for further development. Earlier sections of this report have indicated the contribution that development of this site can make towards enhancing the sustainability of Sedgefi eld. In a local context which lacks opportunities for brownfi eld site redevelopment, this site represents a sustainable location for further development. Its proximity to the town centre, Sedgefi eld Community College and public transport reinforces it's sustainability. A forthcoming planning application and subsequent details will be developed in discussion with the Council to maxmise deliverable sustainability in layout and building performance, this will be achieved through a balance of quality external areas and building forms and will include design features such as on site renewables and reuse of rainwater. The designs will be benchmarked against the Building For Life national standards for well designed homes and neighbourhoods. Given the opportunity, the appointed design team would welcome the opportunity to work hand in hand with Durham County Council in order that the site can become a recognised exemplar for Building For Life

13.0 Scale and Design Policy 16 Development on Unallocated Sites "A. Is appropriate in scale, design, and, location to the character and function of the settlement." Diagrams 13.01 and 13.02 overleaf indicate the broad approach being taken in the development of proposals in a forthcoming planning application for the site. They indicate the broad distribution of various types of housing across the site. Subsequent pages provide a fl avour of the scale and design character envisaged for the various types of housing. These will all be developed in more detail in the application and clearly be the subject of local consultation and discussions with the council. Earlier coverage in this report underlines the appropriateness of the location of the site to the character and function of Sedgefi eld. The illustrations in this section are opening indications of our aspiration to secure similar appropriateness in the scale and design of development. They refl ect a quality which have achieved gold or silver standard in Building For Life evaluations.

13.1 Masterplaning The design approach is guided and shaped by the bespoke nature, character and topography of Sedgefi eld and the Butterwick site with the intergration of the Building For Life criteria. A north-south access spine, connecting both points of entry would be provided in a manner which directs access and traffi c fl ow from surrounding areas into the site via the town centre. An area to the south east where the site nears the A689 would be left undeveloped and assigned as amenity / play space for the residents, to preserve the landscape setting of Sedgefi eld. The topography of the site would be utilised in establishing where it is appropriate to develop. At the heart of the site, it would be possible to create a sustainable drainage solution which would also provide visual amenity and a wildlife habitat fed by the existing watercourse. In this area, it would also be appropriate to have small elements of retail and service to support the development and strengthen the sense of place. Retaining the natural hedgerows and boundaries as indicated establishes areas for clusters of development that could be clearly defi ned and exhibit individual character and arrangement. Diagram 13.02 shows how the clusters may be formed from different types of housing based upon established requirements of the town. It is considered that the site could comfortably accommodate over a low to moderate density, approximately two hundred dwellings, which would also be appropriate in the local context.

13.2 Character Areas Low density homes It is critical that the dwelling types, density and surrounding spaces are appropriate for the requirements of the town and that the architectural style is both comfortable and invidual. Pockets of differing architectural languages and styles add to and enrich the development, but require a unifying theme. The images indicate styles and density which would be contextually appropriate for areas 1 and 5 diagram 13.01. Image 13.03 indicates an example of how ranging styles may cluster within a low density coverage.

13.3 Character Areas High density homes The style of dwelling types and density shown opposite would be considered suitable for Area 2 and Area 3 within the context of Sedgefi eld. Areas of higher denisty require careful thought to design in order that the dwellings have individuality but combine to create a sense of place. Careful attention to incurtilage external spaces and high quality public realm is similary essential to the creation of a successful and comfortable overall environment.

13.4 Character Areas Self-build homes An area designated for self build homes will enable the development to have diverse dwellings with individual character. Self-build will help to stimulate local trade and economy and encourage individual ownership. This in turn helps create a sustainable development.

14.0 Deliverability and Aspirations The Butterwick site is currently within several ownerships controllled by option agreements which will readily facilitate and bring forward a single development optimising arrangement which will ease deliverability of the project. The landowners are Sedgefi eld residents and are passionate about preserving and enhancing the town with appropriate and sustainable growth. Our clients aspirations are for a phased mixed use, sustainable development comprising of 26 hectares of which the Butterwick Site, subject of this report is Phase One. This land has been donated by local landowners David and John Adcock to facilitate the proposals. The Butterwick site can be the subject of phased development, image 14.01 shows how existing infrastructure can support early stages of development from Beacon Lane and Butterwick Road. The central section can then be developed following any necessary enhancement of infrastructure. A proposed second stage of development, Phase Two site is accessed via Salters Lane and is referred to as "Salt Lane". This has likewise been donated by landowner Phil Shan. Further measures are in place which secure adjacent land and improve linkages from the existing Town Centre into the site. The proposals upon completion can deliver the required number of new residential dwellings to Sedgefi eld, encompassing social housing through to new open market aspirational and executive homes, delivered predominantly by one of the leading house builders within the UK. As noted in Section 13, it is also proposed that there will be Self-build opportunities together with a residential care facility which will be incorporated within the Butterwick Site. Some retail/food and beverage opportunities are to be included within PhaseTwo, attracting A rated high street brands who are currently exploring the potential established by this proposal. There will be a signifi cant improvement in local amenity with the inclusion of recreational areas and sport facilities to benefi t the community including a purpose built running track for Sedgefi eld Harriers. It is envisaged that growth in all areas of the Sedgefi eld service sector will result in encompassing all aspects of legal and fi nancial business. It is also envisaged that up to 600 new jobs and apprenticeships will be created within the fi rst two years of the proposed development. These jobs will be varied and skilled throughout the service industry and will provide a further platform for growth and up to 1200 within year 5 of the proposed development. Employment opportunities for the 18 to 24 year old market that are currently restricted are considered to be paramount, together with reintroduction to employment for all ages, with the necessary investment in training. Working with Durham County Council, to design and engineer a quality award winning design solution, implementation of the development will begin immediately upon securing the necessary permissions.

15.0 Sedgefield Development Capacity Evaluation It is understood that there is a requirement in the order of four hundred and fi fty new homes for Sedgefi eld to enable necessary growth. Images 15.0.2 and 15.03 illustrate an extract from Durham Council's Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) showing sites considered for residential developement in Sedgefi eld, and colour coded in terms of assessed suitability.

The Butterwick site was included in Durham Council's Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) and was given an "Amber" classifi cation as a site which the Council's planners consider unsuitable for housing - although with a provision for the classifi cation to be revisited in certain circumstances. On this basis the site is not allocated for development in the Council's County Durham Plan Preferred Options document.

It is however noted that the "Green" allocated areas identifi ed as priority sites contradict their classifi cation within the Sedgefield Borough local Plan, Image 15.0.1 where they are categorised as "Green Wedge".

Policy E4 Proposals for built development will normally be refused in the following green wedges which provide the setting of towns and villages: North of spennymoor; East, West and North of Newton Aycliffe; North of Shildon; South of Sedgefi eld village; And South and West of Aycliffe Village.

Reasons for policy Green wedges comprise the open areas around town and villages and between parts of settlements which maintain the distinction between the countryside and built up areas, prevent the coalescence of adjacent places and provide a rural setting to development.

They can also provide a link between the countryside and built up areas and can be a valuable recreation and wildlife resource. The wildlife value of open space can be enhanced by modifying their management and through planting.

In order to fulfi l these functions, green wedges must be resisted. The type of land uses that the council wil encourage in green wedges include: agriculture, horticulture, foresty, outdoor leisure uses, wildlife reserves and other appropriate open space uses. Essental builot development connected to such open uses that has to be located in green wedges may be granted planning permission.

To compare and contrast the allocated sites to Butterwick site, subject of the report, it is appropriate to evaluate the allocated sites by the relevant areas of the Policy 16 criteria of which this report does

In response to Policy 16 Development on Unallocated Sites: "B. There is not an unacceptable impact on the landscape" Photos 15.0.5 and 15.0.6 show how the development of the allocated sites would bring the built edge of the town into the areas in front of the screening belt of trees at the edge of the settlement - undermining the subtle green landscpe setting which the Sedgefi eld Local Plan recognises and protects. Policy 16 Development on Unallocated Sites "D. Helps support or improve the sustainability of the area." Diagram 15.0.4 indicates comparative linkages of each of the sites with existing Sedgefi eld. It is clear that the allocated sites are more strongly connected away from Sedgefi eld than our proposal, by means of the main road network, and more weakly connected to Sedgefi eld Town Centre. They are therefore less supportive of Sedgefield as an individual town and offer less contribution to its sustainability. Should there be limited capacity for development in Sedgefi eld this outline evaluation indicates that the allocation of sites in the town should be reconsidered with stronger preference being given to the allocation of the Butterwick site.

16.0 Executive Summary This report indicates very clearly the strength of the performance of this site against the criteria in Policy 16 of the Durham County Plan preferred options document. This performance would appear to justify consent in principle for the development proposals being developed in a forthcoming planning application but also to justify the allocation of this site in the Durham County Plan. The apparent stronger performance against criteria B and D of policy 16 compared with the sites allocated in the County Plan preferred options suggest that the site should be allocated and developed in preference to the existing proposed allocations. In terms of the ownership and development infrastructure resource availability the Butterwick site is both available and capable of early delivery. Working with local residents and Durham County Council we are ready and waiting to deliver!

Thank you for your representation in relation to SHLAA site ref: 7/SF/110. I note the information that you have submitted in relation to the site and your request for the sites allocation within the Plan. After a full site assessment, the site has not been allocated in Policy 30 (Housing Allocations) of the County Durham Plan. Development of the site would create a substantial incursion into the open countryside. This would have a significant adverse residual impact on the