Development Management Policies DPD

Ended on the 30th April 2010
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Housing, Character of Place and Residential Amenity

(2) Vision

In five years…

  • New sustainable, residential developments are planned that are well related to infrastructure, community facilities, and play space. These have begun to be implemented. A number of residential developments, along with additional infrastructure, have been completed and are meeting the needs of local communities.
  • The Council has adopted a Local List which has afforded additional protection to locally significant buildings.
  • Work has begun on implementing the Conservation Area Management Plans which is having a positive impact on the character and appearance of the District’s Conservation Areas.

By 2025…

  • A range of high-quality, sustainable new dwellings that meet the needs of local people of all social groups are in place and integrated into communities.
  • The vast majority of the District’s Green Belt remains undeveloped.
  • New infrastructure has accompanied new residential development, meeting the needs of local communities.
  • The District’s distinctive character and historical built environment has been retained.
  • New development has been implemented which contributes positively towards the District’s character.

(1) Objectives

  1. Ensure the delivery of an adequate supply of sustainable dwellings to cater for the District’s growing demand, as per the requirements of the East of England Plan and a 15 year housing land supply.
  2. Deliver a balanced strategy for the distribution of housing, directing housing growth to the most sustainable locations having regard to social, economic and environmental considerations.
  3. Ensure the District’s settlements remain viable and that rural services can be sustained.
  4. Prioritise the redevelopment of appropriate brownfield sites for housing, to minimise the release of Green Belt land for development.
  5. Ensure the delivery of housing which caters for the needs of all communities in terms of tenure, type and location.
  6. Ensure that appropriate infrastructure accompanies new housing development.
  7. Ensure that new development respect and make a positive contribution towards the built environment.
  8. Support and enhance the local built heritage.

(2) Introduction

The emerging Core Strategy contains key policies to ensure the efficient use of available land for housing through the utilisation of previously developed land, and identifies general locations which could accommodate appropriate sustainable extensions to the residential envelope to ensure a 15 year supply of housing in line with the East of England Plan (2008). Whilst ensuring the required quantum of housing and gypsy and traveller accommodation in the District is sustainably delivered, the emerging Core Strategy also seeks to ensure the appropriate mix of housing tenure and dwelling types, and requires compliance with the Lifetime Homes Standard to ensure that new dwellings are capable of meeting the District’s changing demographic needs. Partnership working and consultation with the Council’s Housing Strategy Team is required to ensure that this is achieved.

The protection and enhancement of the District’s distinct settlement characteristics are also key issues which are covered in the emerging Core Strategy. It is important to ensure the high quality design of new developments and regard must be had to local design guidance. The Core Strategy also recognises the importance of protecting locally significant buildings which are of historic and architectural importance, through the appropriate management of the District’s Conservation Areas and the reintroduction of the Local List.

This chapter elaborates on the core strategic issues by providing policies on specific housing issues and the protection of the historic environment. The design, scale and form of new dwellings, or modifications to existing dwellings within existing settlements can impact on the character of the streetscene and the surrounding built environment. It is important to ensure a positive impact on the surrounding environment and a coherent and interesting character through following good design principles and using locally distinct settlement characteristics. The design of new developments must also be considered with respect to the wider implications of such development on the form, flow and character of the built environment and its impact on sustainability objectives.

Protecting and enhancing the existing character and individual identities of the District’s settlements is a key objective of the emerging Core Strategy. Therefore new development both within, and on the periphery of, existing settlements is encouraged to have regard to the character of the established streetscene in addition to the District’s dwelling type requirements.

Reducing the District’s carbon emissions and planning to adapt to climate change is an important theme running through the Sustainable Community Strategy (2009), and this is reflected in the emerging Core Strategy. Planning can play an important role through ensuring the sustainability of new developments and alterations to existing buildings, whilst seeking to increase the energy efficiency of existing dwellings, as appropriate.

The historic environment of the District contributes to the unique character and history of individual settlements, as well as the established local streetscene. The significant historic townscapes are protected through Conservation Area designation and the most nationally important buildings are protected through Listed Building status. It is, however, also important to consider the impact of development and change on the wider area beyond the boundary of protected areas and on locally important unlisted buildings which are cherished by the local community.


(3) Design of New Developments

The design of new developments, whether major1 or small-scale, can impact on the character of an area. It is important that additions or alterations to the residential envelope are in-keeping with the local characteristics and reflect the distinctiveness of the District’s towns and villages to ensure the cohesion of new communities into existing settlements.

The planning of sustainable extensions to the residential envelope will be design-led and community focused to secure high quality sustainable development. This will require the appropriate integration of the means of access for pedestrians, cyclists, cars etc. and allowing sufficient functioning of the Council’s recycling scheme. This will also require the integration of public open space, historic features, landscaping, public art and habitat creation, recreational facilities and educational provision, community facilities, including the provision of primary health care, as appropriate, and housing of mixed size and tenure within the new and adjoining communities. The provision of public open space within any proposed development should have regard to the findings of the Open Space Study.

It is also important to promote and support the enhancement of the environmental quality of the District’s countryside and settlements. As such, regard should be had to the landscape character areas, which define the different geographical regions with a recognisable pattern of landscape characteristics, which create a distinct sense of place. We will also encourage the preparation of Village Design Statements and Parish Plans by local community groups throughout the District which will provide developers with guidance on the local character of individual settlements and help ensure that developments are sensitive to the local area and designed in a way that would be acceptable to the local population. Village Design Statements will be expected to have been produced in consultation with the public to ensure that they reflect local opinions and must be endorsed by the Council before they can be used. It is also important to have regard to the findings of the District’s Historic Environment Characterisation Project (2006). This will enable the sensitivity of landscapes and the characteristics of local places to be fully considered in the context of individual planning applications.

We are concerned about the potential impact of climate change and will therefore expect developers to implement appropriate initiatives to mitigate the impact of new developments. The design and construction of buildings can directly affect the environment in terms of energy use and the generation of greenhouse gases and the subsequent impact on climate change through global warming. This will also affect the consumption of non-renewable natural materials. The implementation of appropriate measures to reduce the consumption of energy and natural resources will help achieve the wider objective of securing more sustainable forms of development within the District.

We will therefore expect that all new buildings are well designed, fit-for-purpose, appropriate for the site and its setting and adaptable for long-term use. New buildings should achieve high environmental standards through energy and resource efficient sustainable design and make best use of sustainable construction techniques. All dwellings must achieve the required Code for Sustainable Homes and Lifetime Homes Standards and non-domestic buildings must aspire to achieve the appropriate BREEAM rating. Further information on the Code for Sustainable Homes, Lifetime Homes and the BREEAM rating can be found in the emerging Core Strategy.

Whilst aspiring for sustainable construction of new buildings, we also actively encourage the provision of well designed high quality places, which is pivotal for both major and small-scale developments. Schemes should have a safe, inclusive layout with legible and well planned routes, blocks and spaces, integrated residential, commercial and community activity, safe public spaces and pedestrian routes without traffic conflict, secure private areas, attractive buildings and landscaped spaces.

All developments should consider the concept statements which will be prepared by the Local Planning Authority, where applicable. These will outline the appropriate design principles for a particular site in order to deliver the best possible social, economic and environmental benefits for the community.

(10) DM1 Design of New Developments – Preferred Option

The design of new developments should reflect the character of the locality to ensure a positive contribution to the surrounding built environment and residential amenity.

The design and layout of proposed development should, in particular, consider:

  1. Accessibility;
  2. Boundary treatment;
  3. Car parking
  4. Density;
  5. Local open space requirements including the provision of greenspace, play space, private and communal gardens, allotments and other types of open space, as appropriate;
  6. Landscaping;
  7. Relationship to existing and nearby buildings;
  8. Scale and form;
  9. Village Design Statements and Parish Plans, where applicable.

Design briefs for major developments must show that they consider and reflect the identity of the surrounding area, and must allow for the effective running of the Council’s recycling scheme. 

Proposals should have regard to the detailed advice and guidance on the design and layout of new developments as set out in Supplementary Planning Document 2 – Housing Design, as well as to guidance in the Essex Design Guide for Residential and Mixed Use Areas, and the Open Space Study for open space provision.

(4) DM1 Design of New Developments – Alternative Options

Option Why is it not preferred?
Add to/delete criteria listed in the policy. The Council believe that this is a comprehensive list of issues which should be considered when determining planning applications.

(3) Density of New Developments

The density of new developments is critical to the efficient and appropriate use of available land in accessible and sustainable locations. However, it is also important to create high quality environments with sufficient public open space, parking and other amenities to promote good quality of life for new and existing communities. 

Planning Policy Statement 3 (PPS3 – Housing) provides guidance on the provision of high quality, sustainable housing, with a mix of housing tenures which reflects local needs, ensuring the effective use of existing housing stock, and providing enough homes in appropriate locations through the effective and efficient use of land. It gives the Local Planning Authority flexibility in setting appropriate densities to specific localities, through encouraging a minimum density of 30 dwellings per hectare as a national minimum standard to ensure that available land is appropriately utilised.

Density can impact on the character and form of development, and as such, we will maintain a flexible approach towards the appropriate density of new developments to reflect the individual identities of each area. It is recognised in the emerging Core Strategy, however that some locations are more sustainable in terms of infrastructure and amenities, and can thus accommodate higher density development.

We therefore do not seek to be overly prescriptive with regard to density but will encourage appropriate densities which reflect the character, scale and form of the locality to create cohesive, sustainable environments. 

(8) DM2 Density of New Developments – Preferred Option

Proposals for residential development must optimise the capacity of the site in a manner that is compatible with the use, intensity, scale and character of the surrounding area and the size of the site.

The precise density for any individual site will be determined by its immediate context, on-site constraints, the type of development proposed and the need to provide an appropriate mix of dwellings to meet the community’s needs.

(2) DM2 Density of New Developments – Alternative Options

Option Why is it not preferred?
Prescriptive density. It is not appropriate to set an overarching density for the whole of the District. Density should be site specific to reflect the character, scale and form of the surrounding built environment.
Allow the market to determine density. Density should be site specific to reflect the character, scale and form of the surrounding built environment. Whilst allowing the market to determine the density of new developments would make efficient use of available land, it may not provide sufficient open greenspace, civic spaces, parking and other local amenities or the appropriate housing tenure and dwelling mix to meet the needs of local communities. New developments must also make a positive contribution to the character of the local area.
Higher minimum density to help deliver greater quantums of housing. Density should be site specific to reflect the character, scale and form of the surrounding built environment. Whilst it is important to make the best use of available land and deliver greater quantums of housing, sufficient open greenspace, civic spaces, parking and other local amenities must be provided to ensure a high quality environment. New developments must also make a positive contribution to the character of the local area.

(4) Infilling and Residential Intensification

Infilling can be defined as filling the small gaps between existing groups of dwellings with new development. We consider the limited infilling of existing settlements to be acceptable where the development conforms to the existing street pattern and density of the immediate locality. We will also permit an appropriate level of residential intensification within town centre areas where permitted densities are higher due to their sustainable locations, which will help safeguard Green Belt land in the District. The suitable density for town centre locations is 75 dwellings per hectare as set out in the emerging Core Strategy. However, the appropriateness of infilling in residential areas will be determined on a case by case basis primarily having regard to residential intensification, ‘town cramming’ and the impact on the character of the streetscene.

A restrictive approach is appropriate as infilling and residential intensification can have a negative impact on the amenity and character of settlements, and lead to increased traffic generation, and ‘town cramming’. As such, we will seek to avoid these adverse effects.

‘Backland’ development is where development is proposed to the rear of existing residential dwellings in large back gardens, or where several smaller plots can be amalgamated into one. ’Backland’ development may be inappropriate due to the loss of private amenity space, residential intensification, the detrimental impact on the character of the streetscene and the amenity of neighbouring dwellings. Such development can often create problems of overlooking and loss of privacy as well as issues with inadequate access and parking. Generally such development is undesirable, although it may be considered appropriate in some circumstances. Thus the suitability of proposals will be determined on a case by case basis.

(3) DM3 Infilling and Residential Intensification – Preferred Option

Proposals for infilling, residential intensification or ‘backland’ development will be assessed against the following criteria:

  1. the design of the proposed development in relation to the existing street pattern and density of the locality;
  2. the number and type of dwellings being proposed are appropriate to the locality;
  3. the contribution to housing need, taking into account the advice and guidance of the Housing Strategy Team;
  4. an assessment of the proposal’s impact on residential amenity;
  5. the loss of important open space which provides a community benefit and visual focus in the streetscene;
  6. the loss of private amenity space for neighbouring dwellings;
  7. the adequate provision of private amenity space for the proposed dwelling as set out in Supplementary Planning Document 2: Housing Design; and
  8. the availability of sufficient access to the site and adequate parking provision.

Whilst providing a mix of dwelling types within new developments is supported in the emerging Core Strategy, we seek to resist the loss of existing dwelling types, which can impact on the character of the streetscene in the District’s existing settlements. Therefore the replacement of dwellings should usually be on a one-to-one basis, as appropriate. However, if it can be demonstrated that an alternative dwelling type would be more appropriate and ensure better utilisation of a site, without creating undue residential intensification and ‘town cramming’ e.g. the replacement of one bungalow on a wide plot of land with a pair of semi-detached houses, then this may be considered acceptable. We will determine whether the loss of an existing dwelling type is appropriate and applicants should consult the Council’s Housing Strategy Team for advice and guidance. The demolition of individual dwellings to be replaced by multiple dwellings e.g. the replacement of a bungalow with a block of flats, is not supported.

DM3 Infilling and Residential Intensification – Alternative Option

Option Why is it not preferred?
Allow ‘backland’ development in all circumstances. This type of development is often considered inappropriate because it can have a negative impact on the character of the streetscene and residential amenity, and as such, proposals should be considered on a case by case basis having regard to the criteria identified to ensure that development is appropriate to the locality and would not result in inappropriate residential intensification or ‘town cramming’

(3) Habitable Floorspace for New Developments

The habitable floorspace of a dwelling is considered by the Council as encompassing the floor area covered by any bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens and spare rooms which are used for these purposes. The term ‘habitable floorspace’ in this context also encompasses large rooms greater than 20sq.m, which could be subdivided, and as such, will be counted as two habitable rooms. Habitable floorspace, however, does not include any bathrooms, separate toilet facilities, cupboards, landings, hallways, or conservatories.

We recognise the importance of ensuring high quality development in addition to providing enough dwellings to meet the District’s housing needs. Dwellings, whether comprising housing or flats, which are market or affordable, should be of an appropriate size and layout to provide suitable and comfortable accommodation for modern living.

Dwelling size must be proportionate and sufficient to meet the needs of the potential number of inhabitants and all habitable rooms must have an adequate size, height, and shape, with plentiful natural lighting and ventilation. An adequate dwelling size can also increase the adaptability and flexibility of the District’s housing stock, accommodate features of the Lifetimes Homes Standard and give greater choice, whilst supporting the needs of the population.

The internal floor area of a dwelling should comply with the minimum guidance standards set by the Homes and Communities Agency2 to ensure that the District’s future housing stock is flexible and that all dwellings are of an adequate size to be utilised for affordable housing as appropriate. The Agency use Housing Quality Indicators (HQIs) to measure the quality of housing schemes funded through the National Affordable Housing Programme, however, these indicators score the internal dwelling area by bedspace rather than number of bedrooms, which from a development management perspective is considered to be impractical to implement. As such other standards have been sought, by number of bedrooms, which would meet the Homes and Communities Agency’s requirements. In 2007, English Partnerships (which is now part of the Homes and Communities Agency) produced a quality standards document3 which identified minimum internal floor areas according to the number of bedrooms and occupancy. 

The table below sets out English Partnership’s minimum internal floor area according to the Homes and Communities Agency standards based on bedspaces. As such, the former standards are considered to comply with the current standards of the Homes and Communities Agency.

Table 1 – Homes and Communities Agency floorspace standards compared with those of English Partnership

Unit Type
(Number of bedspaces and storeys)
Homes and Communities Agency:
Internal Floor Area
English Partnerships:
Minimum Internal Floor Area
1 bedspace 30 to 35 sq.m
2 bedspace 45 to 50 sq.m 51 sq.m (1 bedroom/ 2 person homes)
3 bedspace 57 to 67 sq.m 66 sq.m (2 bedroom/ 3 person homes)
4 bedspace 67 to 75 sq.m 77 sq.m (2 bedroom/ 4 person homes)
5 bedspace (1 storey) 75 to 85 sq.m 93 sq.m (3 bedroom/ 5 person homes)
5 bedspace (2 storey) 82 to 85 sq.m
5 bedspace (3 storey) 85 to 95 sq.m
6 bedspace (1 storey) 85 to 95 sq.m 106 sq.m (4 bedroom/ 6 person homes)
6 bedspace (2 storey) 95 to 100 sq.m
6 bedspace (3 storey) 100 to 105 sq.m
7 bedspace (2+ storey) 108 to 115 sq.m
7+ bedspace add 10 sq.m per bedspace

It is possible, not to mention desirable in respect of implementation, to translate standards relative to bedspaces into standards relative to number of bedrooms. 

Table 2 combines standards set by HCA with those of English Partnerships to provide a workable and relevant standard for development management.

Both market and affordable housing should aspire to meet minimum approved standards for internal floor area. Each dwelling should comply with the minimum acceptable floorspace standards as defined below in Table 2.

Table 2 – Minimum Floorspace Standards

Unit Type
(Number of bedrooms)
Minimum Internal Floor Area (sq.m.)
Studio flat 32.5 sq.m
1 bedroom flat 51 sq.m
2 bedroom flat 66 sq.m
2 bedroom house 77 sq.m
3 bedroom dwelling 93 sq.m
4 bedroom dwelling 106 sq.m

In addition to the minimum floorpsace standards above, all habitable rooms should have a minimum floor to ceiling height of 2.5 metres4 (8.2 feet) and be of an appropriate width to accommodate their proposed uses/function. All non-habitable rooms should have adequate size, height and shape, with sufficient natural lighting, and be ventilated directly by external air via a window. These standards will apply to all dwelling types and both market and affordable housing.

Whilst dwellings should be reasonably sized, they must also have a suitably designed internal layout to ensure comfortable habitation for potential occupants. Therefore we will not only have regard to whether the minimum standard has been applied to all dwellings within the development, but will also determine if the internal layout is appropriate and fit for purpose.

(8) DM4 Habitable Floorspace for New Developments – Preferred Option

New dwellings must have adequate habitable floorspace with well-designed and planned rooms which are suitable for modern living.

New dwellings (both market and affordable housing) must adhere to the minimum habitable floorspace standards set out in Table 2 and have a good internal layout with reasonably sized habitable and non-habitable rooms.

(1) DM4 Habitable Floorspace for New Developments – Alternative Option

Option Why is it not preferred?
Do not set habitable floorspace standards for dwellings. It is important that the Local Planning Authority ensures not only an appropriate quantity of dwellings, but also that dwellings are of a sufficient quality. In addition, requiring space standards in line with the Homes and Communities Agency ensures that all dwellings within a new development would be an acceptable size should they be required for affordable housing. Previous developments have provided dwellings, which initially intended for market housing, do not meet the minimum standards for affordable housing required by the Homes and Communities Agency, and so could not be accepted as such.

(3) Light Pollution

Inappropriate lighting can create light pollution which can affect rural, coastal and urban areas. The pollution can have a detrimental impact on ecology and wildlife, obscure vision of the stars, and introduce a suburban feel into rural areas which can thus affect local character and cause stress and anxiety for those adversely affected.

Light pollution can take several forms including:

  • Sky glow - the glow seen above urban areas caused by stray artificial light being scattered by dust particles and water droplets in the sky.
  • Glare - the uncomfortable brightness of a light source when viewed against a darker background.
  • Light trespass - light spilling beyond an area intended to be lit.

There is a need to minimise the adverse impacts of illumination by avoiding unnecessary lighting, ensuring the level of lighting in new developments (including roads) is the minimum necessary for public safety, is energy efficient and respects the character of the locality. In some cases, full horizontal cut-off (the prevention of light spillage into adjoining areas) and other forms of containment of the light source may be required to prevent spillage and glare.

(4) DM5 Light Pollution – Preferred Option

Details of any lighting scheme required as part of any new development must be submitted as part of the planning application. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate that the scheme proposed is the minimum needed for security and working purposes.

Proposed schemes must demonstrate that they will not have an adverse impact on residential and commercial areas, important areas of nature conservation interest, highway safety and / or the night sky.

(2) Telecommunications

The implementation and maintenance of effective telecommunications networks such as telephone and radio masts within the District are essential to the development of the local economy and for the benefit of the local community.

Planning Policy Guidance 8 (PPG8 – Telecommunications) recognises the need to ensure the continued functioning and extension of existing telecommunications systems and the development of new networks whilst balancing the need to protect visual amenity and minimise environmental impacts. As such, we will seek to ensure that, particularly in the more rural areas of the District, there are adequate telecommunications systems (either through the maintenance or extension of existing networks, or the provision of new networks). Adequate provision will be balanced against ensuring that there are no unacceptable effects on the built and natural environment (in particular sites of national and international importance, or historic significance such as Conservation Areas), and the impact on visual and residential amenity is minimal.

Where environmental improvements are to be encouraged, especially in the District’s Conservation Areas, and other town and village centres, we will seek the co-operation of telecommunication providers in ensuring wherever possible that telephone cables are provided underground and that telephone boxes are sensitively designed and appropriately sited. Providers will be encouraged to dismantle all disused overhead lines.

The siting of substantial masts, which are essential to the operations of the various mobile phone companies, must be carried out with great care to ensure that sensitive areas do not suffer a loss of residential or visual amenity. Regard must be had however, to the limitations imposed by the nature of the telecommunications network and the technology that can constrain operators' choice of sites. A balance, therefore, needs to be struck.

Where the erection of a mast requires planning permission, their siting should be avoided in the sensitive areas of the District, as appropriate. These areas include Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), the Coastal Protection Belt, Conservation Areas, Ancient Woodland, Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), Special Landscape Areas (SLAs) and the Upper Roach Valley. There is also a need to assess whether masts will affect any bird migration patterns and consultation will be undertaken with Natural England to assess this risk.

Furthermore, there is a clear need to ensure communication between the different companies to avoid the need for the erection of duplicate masts. Careful consideration needs to be given to the potential for mast sharing and also the placing of masts on existing buildings where their overall impact can be less than for a freestanding structure.

(2) DM6 Telecommunications – Preferred Option

Where planning consent is required, proposals for the development of telecommunications networks, including the proposed equipment and associated structures, will be considered acceptable provided that:

  1. if located on an existing building, mast or other structure, telecommunications equipment is sited and designed to ensure that there is minimal impact to the external appearance of the structure;
  2. if sited in an undesirable location (including Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), the Coastal Protection Belt, Conservation Areas, Ancient Woodland, Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), Special Landscape Areas (SLAs) and the Upper Roach Valley), it has been clearly demonstrated that there are no suitable alternative sites for the development of telecommunications systems available in the locality, the development is essential, it is to the benefit of the local community and it would not have a negative impact on local landscape character. Such evidence should accompany any application made and should be to the Council’s satisfaction;
  3. evidence is provided along with applications which propose the siting of a new mast, to demonstrate that the possibility of erecting telecommunications equipment on existing buildings, masts or other structures has been fully explored. Where it can be proved that this is not possible, telecommunications development requiring an application for prior approval of siting and appearance will only be considered acceptable where the equipment is of a design, height, material and colour, and where appropriate is screened, so as to minimise visual intrusion. Proposals should also consider the impact on the topography and natural vegetation, the proximity to areas of nature conservation interest or other sensitive areas, its relationship with other existing masts, structures or buildings; and its relationship to residential property, educational and healthcare facilities, employment and recreational sites; and
  4. if proposing development in a sensitive location, it should be clearly demonstrated there would not be a negative impact on these areas. Such evidence should accompany any application made.

When considering applications for telecommunications development, we will have regard to the operational requirements of telecommunications networks and the technical limitations of the technology. Additionally, arrangements will be put in place to ensure that, if such development falls into disuse, any structures are removed and the land restored to its condition before development took place or other agreed beneficial use.

Character of Place

(3) Local List

The new Local List, which is being reintroduced through the emerging Core Strategy, identifies individual buildings, groups of buildings or items of street furniture which are of local historic, architectural or visual importance, are locally distinctive or are considered to be character enhancing.

We recognise the importance of such buildings which contribute to the distinctive character of each area within the District and enhance the local environment. The setting of such buildings is considered to be of particular importance. We do not want to be overly restrictive but aim to provide guidance and criteria which will help to protect special characteristics of locally listed buildings or street furniture and encourage sensitive alterations and modifications, where appropriate.

(2) DM7 Local List – Preferred Option

Alterations to buildings included on the Local List must be sensitive to the individual character of the building or group of buildings and retain important features or characteristics which make the building(s) worthy of local listing. The descriptions of the buildings which highlight the important features should be taken into consideration when alterations are proposed.

Extensions should be in-keeping with the character and visual balance of the building, having regard to its overall appearance. Items of street furniture should not be altered unless this would improve their condition.

We will work with owners of buildings included in the Local List at all stages of the planning process, and encourage them to avoid demolition, unsympathetic alterations or changes which will diminish the value of their buildings in historic, architectural or townscape terms.

We expect owners to consider the retention, restoration and / or replacement of:

  1. Important architectural and character features such as weatherboarding, modillions, bargeboards, existing roof material, cornerstones and ridge tiles, although this is not an exhaustive list; and
  2. Original windows for example sash windows should be retained and replaced with similar windows. The use of plastic PVC windows should be avoided.

If the building is part of a group then alterations should be consistent with the character or uniform appearance of the group.

(1) DM7 Local List – Alternative Options

Option Why is it not preferred?
Take a less restrictive approach to the protection of locally listed buildings. Locally listed buildings are recognised for their historic, architectural or townscape value. Significant alterations or the loss of such buildings can negatively impact on the character of the District’s settlements.
Adopt a more restrictive approach to the protection of locally listed buildings. We recognise that locally listed buildings do not have statutory protection and, as such, it is necessary to take a positive and flexible approach to the management of any development to them.

(1) Demolition within Conservation Areas

Conservation Areas, as designated by the Council, are areas of special architectural or historic interest where we have a statutory duty to preserve or enhance their character and appearance. The character of an area derives from a number of elements; these can include the siting and design of its buildings, open spaces, views and features such as walls, the landscape, streetscene, materials and the activities that take place there.

We have control over the demolition of most buildings (including walls and structures) within Conservation Areas by virtue of Section 74 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

The prime consideration when assessing such applications will be the desirability of preserving or enhancing the appearance of the area. The contribution made by the building to the architectural and / or historical interest of the area, and the wider implications of the building's demolition on its surroundings and on the Conservation Area as a whole will be taken into consideration.

Consent for the demolition of any building will not be granted unless there are acceptable plans for the future use of the site. In cases where redevelopment of the site is proposed, consent for the demolition will not be granted until full planning permission has been approved for the redevelopment scheme, and no demolition may occur until a legal agreement between Rochford District Council and the developers for redevelopment is in place.

DM8 Demolition within Conservation Areas – Preferred Option

Consent for the demolition of a building in a Conservation Area will only be granted in cases where all of the following criteria are met:

  1. the building to be demolished is of no architectural or historical interest and does not make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of the Conservation Area;
  2. detailed plans for the after-use of the site have been submitted to, and approved by, the Local Planning Authority. (In cases where the after-use of the site includes development requiring planning permission, such permission must have been applied for and granted in order that the terms of this criterion be met).

Additionally we will require the signing of a legal agreement between Rochford District Council and the developers before permission for demolition is granted, requiring the redevelopment of the site within an agreed timeframe, and no demolition may occur without a contract to redevelop the site.

DM8 Demolition within Conservation Areas – Alternative Option

Option Why is it not preferred?
Allow the demolition of existing buildings in the Conservation Area if the replacement is of significant architectural quality. Conservation Areas are designated to protect areas of special architectural or historic interest. Within Conservation Areas it is important to consider the group value of buildings. Even though a replacement building may be of greater architectural quality it may not have a positive contribution to the overall quality and character of the Conservation Area.

Development on the edge of Conservation Areas

Conservation Areas are designated to protect the character and important value of particular townscapes. Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plans have been produced to aid their protection and enhancement, and Conservation Areas are protected through national guidance and legislation. Development in areas adjacent to Conservation Areas can have an impact on the visual amenity, character and value of those areas which are protected and so will seek to ensure that they do not have a negative impact on the Conservation Area.

(2) DM9 Development on the edge of Conservation Areas – Preferred Option

Developments on the boundaries of Conservation Areas must have regard to their impact on the overall streetscene, individual buildings or groups of buildings on the edge of the Conservation Areas.

Developments should consider the impact of changing building materials, window alterations, extensions and alterations to the buildings appearance on the adjacent Conservation Area.

DM9 Development on the edge of Conservation Areas – Alternative Option

Option Why is it not preferred?
Take a more restrictive approach to development on the edge of Conservation Areas. Development on the edge of a Conservation Area can impact on its character. However, it would be inappropriate and detrimental to the surrounding area to be overly restrictive. A balance therefore needs to be struck.

(1) Are there any other issues which should be addressed within this chapter?

1 The Council considers major development as defined within the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) (Amendment) (England) Order 20062 Housing Quality Indicators (HQIs) available from  3 Place, Homes, People Policy Guidance – English Partnership’s Quality Standards Delivering Quality Places. Revised: from November 2007 available from  4 Housing Quality Indicators Form (updated April 2008) which identifies design and quality standards for affordable dwellings – available from
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