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Preferred Options Local Plan

Representation ID: 2994

Received: 16/09/2016

Respondent: Environment Agency

Representation Summary:

We welcome the current reference to waste and recycling facilities, but note there is no reference to this issue in Policy DM12. New developments should include easy recycling systems for the householder, but also recycling on the go in public areas. This should also be included either in this section, or all waste and recycling requirements moved to fall under Policy DM25.

Full text:

Thank you for the consultation on your draft Local Plan. We have provided our comments below in the same format as the draft Plan for ease.
Part 1
1 North Essex Authorities
Paragraph 1.19 - No reference is made in this section to the Strategic Flood risk Assessment (SFRA) update as a key evidence base document. As highlighted further on in this response, the SFRA will have an essential role in ensuring that the flood risk Sequential and Exception test have been appropriately applied to the Local plan. The Water Cycle Study is referred to, but is not available in the webpage of accessible evidence base documents. Paragraph 1.22 suggests that all of this evidence base is publically available, but this does not currently appear to be the case.
Policy SP4 - Infrastructure and Connectivity
Whilst we acknowledge that this policy currently focuses principally on transport and broadband, we would highlight that there is no similar overarching policy that addresses other 'environmental' infrastructure requirements. For example, there is no reference to the need to provide further waste water or flood risk infrastructure to help accommodate the proposed growth. We suggest that the need for similar overarching policy references are considered.

Policy SP5 - Place Shaping Principles
We support the inclusion of this policy, and would take this opportunity to highlight the positive role that a comprehensive design approach (in the form of development frameworks and master-plans) can have in helping to deliver well designed and multifunctional green infrastructure. Public open space and green infrastructure can serve to provide benefits such as sustainable drainage, amenity and ecological habitat improvements. It would be useful for reference to such multiple benefits to be included in the bullet points.
The inclusion of areas of ditches and watercourses within areas of public open space (as opposed to putting these within or bounding property curtilages), will help to ensure that these features are retained. This will ensure that the benefits that they can provide, in terms of managing surface water, enhancing ecology and amenity etc., can continue to be realised through on going management into the future. There also is likely to be lesser potential for watercourse related problems if the site layout allows for these features to be incorporated within land areas that are to be maintained by management companies or community trusts or organisations, rather than being the responsibility of individual property owners.
Policy SP7 - Development and Delivery of New Garden Communities in Essex
We welcome Policy SP7 and the aspiration for the new Garden Communities to be climate resilient and water neutral, for there to be net gains in biodiversity and high standards of innovation, water efficiency and waste management. We look forward to engaging on these issues further as the design of these communities' progresses.
We particularly support point iv) of this policy, which states that 'Sequencing of development and infrastructure provision (both on-site and off-site) to ensure that the latter is provided in tandem with or ahead of the development it supports.' The addition of 30-40,000 new homes in total will influence the quality and capacity of existing waste water treatment works and we would expect to be consulted further in future planning phases to discuss potential impacts on the water environment and any potential upgrades to existing infrastructure. In particular, early consultation with ourselves and Anglian Water is strongly recommended regarding the foul water treatment arrangements of the three new garden communities. It is likely that they will need either complete new works, or substantial upgrades to existing works.
We are disappointed, however, that there is no specific text to support the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems and the multifunctional use of green space to provide areas for recreation and flood risk management. We do, however, note that the provision of sustainable drainage systems is mentioned in Policies SP8, SP9 and SP10.
Policy SP8 - East Colchester / West Tendring new garden community
Policy SP9 - West of Colchester / East Braintree new garden community
Policy SP10 - West of Braintree new garden community
We are very supportive of these policies, which are specific to each proposed New Garden Community.
We are also pleased to see that a high proportion of green infrastructure is planned for the East Colchester/West Tendring New Garden Community, with a country park planned around Salary Brook. We would advise that the outer boundary of the new country park should be commensurate with the outer boundary of Flood Zone 2 to
assist the Council in its duty to demonstrate compliance with the required flood risk sequential approach.
When producing a masterplan for the development of this area, both Councils should consider flood risk from all sources, using the Strategic Flood Risk Assessments (SFRA), the Flood Map for Planning, and surface water flood risk maps from the Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP) and/or our published Risk of Surface Water Flooding maps as useful evidence base documents.
We support the specific references to the provision of sustainable surface water drainage measures. As above, we would highlight the potential multiple functions of such systems which can form part of public open space or other green-grid infrastructure, and provide biodiversity benefits if well designed.
In respect of foul drainage capacity, the minimum provision scheduled for the east and west new settlements up to 2033 can be accommodated within the current capacity of Colchester WRC. As has correctly been identified, upgrades and a new permit will at some point be required to serve the entire planned development. However, this is a much better option, both environmentally and in terms of permit restrictions, than trying to direct the waste water from these developments to smaller works. New discharges from smaller works will be subject to permits with extremely tight discharge limits, which would be very difficult and expensive to achieve. Upgrades to Colchester WRC are much more achievable and we are therefore supportive of this approach.
Part 2 Local Plan for Colchester
3. Vision and Objectives for Part Two
Section 3.13: Sustainable Growth
We support the references to new development addressing the causes and potential impacts of climate change and of focusing development at sustainable locations. This is very important in the context of flood risk, both in the broad-scale siting of development and the chosen land use as well as in the final design of the development. The SFRA should be used as evidence base to help inform the conformity of both the LPA and developers to this objective through the application of the Sequential Test.
Where new development and re-developments will benefit from existing flood defence infrastructure, you should consider seeking contributions (directly or through CIL), to ensure that this type of infrastructure can be renewed or raised as required in future. New developments (post Jan 2012), built within recognised flood risk areas cannot be included in the cost benefit and outcome measure calculations used for determining investment from Central Government's Flood Defence Grant-in-Aid.
(See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/flood-and-coastal-resilience-partnership-funding)
Section 3.14: Natural Environment
We support the inclusion of objectives to protect the countryside and coast, and to ensure that new development avoids areas of flood risk and seeks to reduce future flood risk where possible. The SFRA, Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP) and the published Flood Maps are the key evidence base documents to help inform this objective.
We also fully support and welcome the objective to "protect and enhance ...biodiversity, green spaces...water quality and river corridors".
4. Sustainable Growth Policies
The Spatial Strategy, and in turn allocated sites for all development proposals, must be informed by the application of the flood risk Sequential Test as part of the plan making process. The Exception Test should then also be applied as necessary and to the degree required for a Local Plan allocation. We note the reference to the Sequential Test in policy DM23, but currently we have not seen any evidence that the Sequential or Exception Tests have been applied to and informed the emerging plan. This evidence will need to support the submission version of the plan for it to be sound. The SFRA will have a key role in informing this process. It must also be ensured that appropriate regard is given to future flood risk (flood risk is considered throughout the lifetime of any proposed development), and that the latest climate change allowances are used to assess this.
Sustainable Settlements
We are pleased to see that flood risk was one of the environmental constraints that was assessed when developing the list of sustainable settlements (although see comments in respect of the Sequential Test, above).
In communities where specific development locations will be decided through the evolution of Neighbourhood Plans, we would hope to see the evidence base of the SFRA, SWMP and the Flood Map for Planning and Risk of Surface Water Flooding Map used to influence those decisions. We would welcome early engagement to help with interpretation of the flood risk evidence base, and to be consulted on early draft Neighbourhood Plans where flood risk is a key issue.
Strategic Infrastructure Policy
Paragraph 4.57 and Policy SG6: Strategic Infrastructure
We are pleased to see and support the inclusion this policy. We welcome the consideration of flood risk management and resilience, and water quality within the categories of infrastructure covered in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan and highlighted in 4.57. "Necessary infrastructure" as stated in the policy should include all of these infrastructure types, and this should be made clear.
We would also highlight the Government Policy on Flood Defence and Partnership Funding, and the potential need to support the construction of new or replacement flood risk management infrastructure with local contributions as the full funding of schemes from central government finances may not be applicable in all cases.
Neighbourhood Plan Policy
Policy SG7: Neighbourhood Plans
We would welcome the opportunity to assist the LPA in providing advice to those communities producing Neighbourhood Plans, where flood risk is identified as a constraint within the boundaries of the Plan area. Early engagement would be beneficial to all parties.
Developer Contributions and Community Infrastructure Levy Policy
Paragraph 4.65 & Policy SG8: Developer Contributions and Community Infrastructure Levy
We would welcome the opportunity to contribute to CIL and developer contribution considerations. Where new development and re-developments will benefit from existing flood defence infrastructure, it is important that the Council seeks contributions (directly or through CIL) to ensure that this type of infrastructure can be renewed or raised in future. As mentioned above, new developments (post Jan 2012) built within recognised flood risk areas, cannot be included in the cost benefit and outcome measure calculations used for determining investment from Central Government's Flood Defence Grant-in-Aid.
New development on sites that have passed the Sequential test and are proposed on land without an adequate standard of flood protection will have to fund improvements in wider flood defence infrastructure or alternatively will be expected to develop and fund their own independent flood defences.
5. Environmental Assets Policies
Natural Environment Policy
Paragraph 5.4 & 5.5: While we welcome the inclusion of this text, there should also be reference to taking opportunities to enhance and improve the natural environment, to enable Strategic Objective 5 from the Sustainability Appraisal to be met and to further support the implementation of Policy ENV1. We welcome the reference to "conserve and enhance" the natural environment in ENV1, but would suggest the use of "providing net gains for biodiversity" to better reflect the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework.
Specific reference should be made within the Plan to the Water Framework Directive (WFD). WFD objectives and local River Basin Management Plan actions should be used to inform the Local Plan making process, to ensure that waterbodies are protected and wherever possible improved. We are happy to discuss this with you further.
WFD requires EU member states to divide up the water environment into management units called water bodies. Environmental objectives are set for each water body to help protect and improve its quality. Each water body has an objective to achieve 'good status' and to protect the water body by preventing deterioration in its status.
Colchester Borough falls within the Combined Essex Catchment within the Anglian River Basin Management Plan (2015). Environmental objectives have been set for each of the protected areas and water bodies in the River Basin District. They were identified through a process involving technical and economic appraisals and formal public consultation. Achieving the objectives will optimise the benefits to society from using the water environment. These are legally binding. All public bodies must have regard to these objectives when making decisions that could affect the quality of the water environment. Policies that could be included refer to de-culverting, removal of redundant structures from main rivers, creation and maintenance of wildlife-rich corridors to buffer watercourses, appropriate planting with native species and removal of non- native species.
The environmental objectives of the WFD are:
* to prevent deterioration of the status of surface waters and groundwater
* to achieve objectives and standards for protected areas
* to aim to achieve good status for all water bodies or, for heavily modified water bodies and artificial water bodies, good ecological potential and good surface water chemical status
* to reverse any significant and sustained upward trends in pollutant concentrations in groundwater
* the cessation of discharges, emissions and loses of priority hazardous substances into surface waters
* progressively reduce the pollution of groundwater and prevent or limit the entry of pollutants
Coastal Areas Policy
Paragraph 5.12: We agree that the coastal area is an extremely valuable asset. This section should also include mention of the Blackwater, Crouch, Roach and Colne Estuaries Marine Conservation Zone.
Paragraph 5.13: We support the inclusion of this text. Paragraph 071 of the NPPF PPG (7-071-20140306) suggests that a coastal change management area should be identified by a Local Plan. This is described as an area which is likely to be affected by physical change to the shoreline through erosion, coastal landslip, permanent inundation or coastal accretion. Furthermore, paragraph 072 (ID 7-072-201403060) states 'A Coastal Change Management Area will only be defined where rates of shoreline change are significant over the next 100 years, taking account of climate change. They will not need to be defined where the accepted shoreline management plan policy is to hold or advance the line (maintain existing defences or build new defences) for the whole period covered by the plan, subject to evidence of how this may be secured.' The Essex and South Suffolk Shoreline Management Plan section 4.6 provides a plan summary for Management Unit E (Mersea Island). The variance in policy can be seen on policy maps 4-17 to 4-20 and includes areas of 'managed realignment' and 'no active intervention'. You therefore may wish to consider the definition of coastal change management areas at Mersea Island.
Paragraph 5.15: We note the restrictions on development due to the Coastal protection belt. We would also highlight that where development is proposed in these areas (where flood risk is also a constraint), it must be an appropriate land use with regard to the flood zone in which it is proposed to be sited and to the flood vulnerability classification.
Policy ENV2: Coastal Areas: We would suggest that bullet point (ii) includes the addition of "Is a land use type that is appropriate to the Flood Zone, will be safe from flooding over its planned lifetime and will not have an unacceptable impact on coastal change;"
Green Infrastructure Policy
Para 5.22 and Policy ENV3: Green Infrastructure - We support the protection of green spaces and links along river corridors within the Borough. We would like to see specific mention of the use of green infrastructure that contributes to protecting and enhancing water bodies. This could include policies to require de-culverting, creation and management of ecological buffer strips and new wetland areas to help manage flood risk and reduce diffuse pollution.
Climate Change Policy
Paragraph 5.37: We would highlight that the preference should be to avoid development in areas that are considered to be most vulnerable to future flood risk rather than looking to mitigate against future risks; i.e. preference for avoid rather than mitigate wherever possible. Mixed use sites should look to direct land uses with the lowest vulnerability to flooding in the areas that are known to be more susceptible to future flooding as a consequence of climate change.
Paragraph 5.38: We would suggest that flood risk, as above, should also be referenced within this section, as should water efficiency. In respect of water efficiency, it should be noted that 5.5% of UK greenhouse gas emissions arises from hot water for cooking and showers (this does not include space heating). 89% of the total CO2 emissions are associated with heating water in the home, while 11% is associated with the emissions resulting from abstracting, conveying and treating domestic water outside the home. Installing simple water-saving measures, such as water-efficient taps and showers, therefore saves both water and energy by minimising heated water. All saving of water helps to reduce greenhouse gas emission in the UK as well as reduce the use of this resource.
The Local Plan should also highlight the importance of identifying and using opportunities to help wildlife to adapt to climate change through design. This may be through use of sustainable drainage systems, wetland creation and restoration, promoting urban green space, protecting new wildlife corridors and developing new corridors which ideally link in with existing sites.
Paragraph 5.44: We would suggest that the long standing problems of surface water sewer and ordinary watercourse flooding in the area of the Hythe would need to be resolved prior to establishing a heat network scheme in that area.
Policy CC1: Climate Change - We would wish to see some reference to flood risk relative to climate change in respect of locating developments, to water resource efficiency and to biodiversity improvements.
Section 6. Places
Central Colchester
Town Centre
Paragraph 6.9: With reference to the residential allocation for the Britannia Street car park, we would draw your attention to the published 'Risk of Flooding from Surface Water' maps which suggest that there is a frequent surface water flooding risk to that site in its current form. We would advise that discussions are held with Essex County Council with regard to the existing flood risk at this site and the surrounding St Boltolph's area and establishes whether there are any potential flood alleviation measures that are proposed relative to the Action Plan/Preferred Options of the Colchester Surface Water Management Plan which the developer and the Borough Council might look to support.
Policy TC1: Town Centre Policy
Policy TC3: Town Centre Allocations
Significant parts of the St Boltolph's , Middleborough and Town Centre fringe areas have been identified to be at risk of flooding from surface water (Flood Modelling and
mapping for both the Colchester Borough Surface Water Management Plan and the Risk of Surface Water Flooding maps shows these risks).
Essex County Council and Colchester BC have identified Action Plans and Preferred Options for addressing and reducing the current flood risk from surface water in "Critical Drainage Areas" (CDAs) within the Borough and we would advise that the council and developers look to support flood risk reduction projects (potentially through developer contributions or the adaption of useful land for flood management purposes) that will benefit both these sites and existing developments in the surrounding areas.
North Colchester
Policy NC1: North Colchester and Severalls Strategic Economic Area
Some of the land within zones in the policy area are shown to be at risk of surface water flooding and care should be taken with development designs to avoid those areas.
We would advise that the LPA and prospective developers enter into discussions with Essex County Council's Flood Management team with regard to addressing the existing flood risk at these sites and to bring about opportunities to support schemes to reduce flood risk through the adaptive use of land for flood management infrastructure or to seek developer contributions towards solutions that will address this (to the benefit of the site) on lands elsewhere.
Any existing watercourses should be located ideally in open space without residential plot curtileges extending to the banks or centreline of the watercourse. The benefits of this will be to prevent residents from culverting or modifying the channel in future. Maintenance will be easier if a watercourse is left visible in open space.
Policy NC2: North Station Special Policy area and adjacent existing mixed use commercial areas north of Cowdray Avenue.
No consideration is currently given to fluvial or surface water flooding issues. The Risk of Flooding map for Surface Waters shows flooding along Cowdray Avenue. North Station Special Policy Area is partially located in Flood Zone 2 & 3. For all locations, the flood risk Sequential Test should be applied. This should consider all sources of flooding.
We would advise that the LPA and prospective developers enter into discussions with Essex County Council's Flood Management team with regard to addressing the existing flood risk at these sites and to bring about opportunities to support schemes to reduce flood risk through the adaptive use of land for flood management infrastructure or to seek developer contributions towards solutions that will address this (to the benefit of the site) on lands elsewhere.
There is Main River at St Botolphs Brook with housing development shown adjacent (NGR TL9748927334). As above, this site must be sequentially considered in line with the NPPF. There is currently 'J-flow' flood modelling only at this location, which means that further detailed modelling should be carried out prior to site development. This is to establish detailed flood extents and to assist the LPA in advocating a sequential approach to flood risk, avoiding the areas shown to be at highest risk of flooding from the Brook.
Policy NC3: North Colchester
We would suggest that there may be a need to support Preferred Scheme options for existing Surface Water flooding issues (as identified in the Colchester SWMP) as developer contribution either through CIL or through S106 obligations. This should be discussed in detail with Essex County Council who are the lead Flood Risk Management Authority for the delivery of Surface Water Management Schemes.
We are pleased to see the references to avoiding areas of land at St Boltophs Farm shown to be within Flood Zone 3, but the developer and LPA may need to rely on more detailed modelling to fully understand fluvial flood risk extents on the sites near to St Boltolphs Brook as our flood map for planning relies on a very simplistic modelling techniques for that area.
East Colchester
Knowledge Gateway and University Strategic Economic Area (East Colchester)
Policy EC1: Knowledge Gateway and University of Essex Strategic Economic Area: We would recommend reference made to the avoidance of built development within the flood plain of the Salary Brook.
East Colchester/Hythe Special Policy Area
Paragraphs 6.49 & 6.50: We welcome recognition and reference to the existing surface water and ordinary watercourse flooding and infrastructure issues. We would recommend that these are addressed through infrastructure improvements between Colchester BC, Essex County Council and Anglian Water. You should consider developer contributions or CIL levied to support infrastructure schemes that will resolve the existing problem and provide capacity in the drainage network for incoming developments and regeneration.
Paragraph 6.51: We would have concerns that the use of tidal flows to generate power may increase fluvial flood risk in the town given that such schemes require the maintenance of a high upstream head of water. Flood Modelling will be required to develop this beyond a very outline concept as there could be large flood risk management infrastructure implications associated with power generation through the potential restriction of tidal inflows and outflows.
A flood risk activity permit would most likely be required from us in advance of any such works, and early engagement is recommended. In addition to flood risk, other issues such as maintaining fish and eel passage would need to be addressed.
The bridging of the river would also require a permit and need careful consideration to ensure that flood flows are not impeded within the river channel and that access to flood defences and the river's edge is maintained. We would wish to seek early dialogue with the Borough about outline ideas for such a crossing.
Paragraph 6.54: We appreciate the inclusion of this paragraph, and again would reference the importance of the flood risk Sequential and Exception Tests. We would also highlight that currently the most frequent flood risk in this area is from surcharging of the surface water sewers. It would be useful to identify this within the supporting text as this is where investment in infrastructure is a vital requirement to support the aspirations for regeneration.
There are significant constraints in this area due to flooding from various sources. Engagement of ECC as the LLFA /CBC and AW should be carried out in order to strategically inform this development area.
Policy EC2: East Colchester - The Hythe Special Policy Area
While we support many parts of this policy (for example maximising opportunities to enhance biodiversity), we are unsure of the inference in the bullet point with the wording "Manage flood risk pragmatically, further to Flood Risk Management policy DM23". We would welcome further discussions on this point.
Residential moorings, referenced in the final bullet point, should also consider any flood risk implications. This should include for example access to the moorings from land in a flood scenario. We would be happy to discuss this issue further.
The final paragraph of this policy should make reference to the need for development to contribute towards infrastructure that is currently needed to provide adequate capacity for surface water management (and not just responding to constraints).
East Bay Mill
Paragraph 6.59: Please note that it is not the "Environment Agency's exception test for development" in flood risk areas. The Exception Test is a DCLG test laid down within the NPPF to be addressed through the planning process. Additionally, the first requirement is always to satisfy the Sequential Test. We welcome the specific references that development will have to adequately address flood risk issues.
Policy EC3: East Colchester
If deemed necessary, replace reference to "Environment Agency exception test" with "the NPPF Exception Test". However, this test is to be applied to all development proposals as indicated in Table 3 of the Flood Risk and Coastal Change section of the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG).
Sustainable Settlements
Boxted and Langham are both served by Langham Water Recycling Centre (WRC). The WRC is over capacity by a figure equivalent to roughly 133 houses. This must not be exacerbated by further connections. Either upgrades need to be undertaken by Anglian Water and a new permit applied for, or sufficient capacity needs to be created by reducing infiltration into the system. In the latter case, bear in mind that the volume of capacity that will be created cannot be predicted in advance, and in order to plan for a specific amount of development the cost and difficulty of upgrades and a revised permit will need to be considered and quantified. Development must not occur until it has been demonstrated that there is adequate wastewater treatment and sewerage infrastructure capacity in the catchment. This isn't currently referenced in the plan.
Chappel and Wakes Colne
Paragraph 6.123: we welcome the reference to water infrastructure capacity constraints within this section and within Policy SS4.
For information, there is a fluvial flow path from an ordinary water course flowing to Colne adjacent to proposed residential area at grid ref TL8947628069. There is also a potential constraint of a culvert near the development.
Copford and Copford Green
Paragraph 6.132: we welcome the reference to water infrastructure capacity constraints within this section. Copford and Copford Green (and Marks Tey) are all served by Copford WRC. The WRC is over capacity by a figure equivalent to roughly
500 houses. This must not be exacerbated by further connections. Either upgrades need to be undertaken by Anglian Water and a new permit applied for, or sufficient capacity needs to be created by reducing infiltration into the system. In the latter case, bear in mind that the volume of capacity that will be created cannot be predicted in advance, and in order to plan for a specific amount of development the cost and difficulty of upgrades and a revised permit will need to be considered and quantified. Development must not occur until it has been demonstrated that there is adequate wastewater treatment and sewerage infrastructure capacity in the catchment.
For information, fluvial flood risk from Roman River could impact on development. We currently only have J-flow data so further detailed flood modelling will be required to inform the siting of development within the site.
Dedham & Policy SS6: Dedham Heath Housing Sites
Dedham currently shows sufficient capacity for the development allocated. However, last year indications showed that the WRC was at over-capacity for the existing settlement. For additional security we would recommend that the infiltration into this network is investigated and reduced by Anglian Water, otherwise there may not be capacity for new developments to connect to once they are completed.
Eight Ash Green & Policy SS7: Eight Ash Green
There is an un-modelled Main River running through existing developed areas. We would wish to seek early engagement with the Parish and the LPA over the preferred locations of development when these are considered during the evolution of the Neighbourhood Plan. This is to help the community to avoid siting development in areas that may potentially be at risk of flooding.
Great Horkesley
For information, there is a tributary of Black Brook running to the rear of the identified residential development area on School Lane TL9832929404. This is currently un-modelled Main River and the degree of flood risk is therefore unknown. We do, however know that there is a very small and restrictive culvert which takes the ditch under the conservatory of Yew Tree Cottage and there have been flooding problems in this area historically. The Updated Map for Surface Water shows some water out of channel in this area.
Marks Tey & Policy SS13: Marks Tey
Please see comments above in respect of waste water capacity at Coptford WRC (Coptford and Coptford Green). Those comments also apply to Marks Tey.
No specific development site options are shown on the plan. Main River and surface water constraints must be considered as part of the strategic planning for this development area. The Main River - 'Roman River' will require detailed modelling to be carried out to fully understand the fluvial flood risk and inform a sequential approach to the siting of development and the design requirements. We would seek to work with the Parish in the consideration of development site options during the evolution of the Neighbourhood Plan.
Mersea Island
Residential development of up to 150 dwellings at Dawes Lane, is shown in an area of Surface water flooding TM0222413585 this site should be considered sequentially. The Updated Map for Surface Water shows a significant proportion of the proposed development area is subject to surface water flooding.
Policy SS17b: Coast Road
We support the presumption against residential development in the Coast Road area.
Caravan Parks
Paragraph 6.228: We welcome reference to flood risk and waste water infrastructure requirements. We would also suggest that reference is included to the requirement (in the NPPF) that sites must have adequate flood warning and evacuation arrangements for them to be acceptable. The reference to these required measures is however in the policy (Policy SS17c).
Housing development proposed immediately adjacent to Main River. The defended flood source shown on our mapping is tidal. However the undefended fluvial main river at this location (the Birch Brook) has only got a J-Flow outline and therefore we would suggest that further modelling be carried out to understand the fluvial flood risk, this will need to take into account new climate change allowances.
We would welcome the opportunity to work closely with the Borough and Tiptree Parish Council to ensure that flood risk is not increased elsewhere as a consequence of growth in Tiptree
West Bergholt
We would welcome the opportunity to be involved with the strategic development of the Neighbourhood Plan.
We would wish to be involved with the strategic development of the Neighbourhood Plan. There are flood risk issues with regard to the location of development, including access to the Colne Flood Barrier, an essential element of infrastructure for the whole Borough.
Section 7. Development Management Policies
Policy DM5: Leisure & Tourism
Given the vulnerability to flood risk of visitor accommodation in particular, we recommend that flood risk is highlighted as a significant constraint. Public safety and emergency planning will be key issues in relation to some of these sites.
Housing Standards
Paragraph 7.57: We welcome the current reference to waste and recycling facilities, but note there is no reference to this issue in Policy DM12. New developments should include easy recycling systems for the householder, but also recycling on the go in public areas. This should also be included either in this section, or all waste and recycling requirements moved to fall under Policy DM25.
Policy DM12: Housing Standards: We would suggest that this policy is more closely linked to Policy DM25, or is revised. There is some overlap with water efficiency and waste in particular.
Policy DM13: Domestic development: Residential alterations, extensions and outbuildings
We note that for replacement dwellings in the countryside, the rebuild should be "on a one-for-one basis and the property to be demolished is a permanent lawful dwelling". This will have potential flood risk benefits as there have been past cases
where uninhabitable former dwellings on plots with high flood risk have had applications for rebuilds where there had been no residential occupancy of the former property for years.
Policy DM14: Rural Workers Housing
A reference within the policy to avoid the siting of rural workers housing in recognised flood risk areas would be welcomed. This is particularly with regard to temporary housing which tend to have the same vulnerabilities and safety issues, in flood risk terms, as static caravans and Park Homes. These are deemed, by the NPPF, to be inappropriate development within Flood Zone 3 and can only be sited in Flood Zone 2 after the Exception Test is passed and that there are adequate warning and evacuation arrangements.
Policy DM17: Retention of Open Space and Recreation Facilities and Policy DM18: Provision of Public Open Space
We support the inclusion of these policies protecting green links. We would welcome the inclusion of existing ditches and watercourses as specific protected features within both policies. This is to ensure that such features can continue to be maintained and serve as drainage and biodiversity features.
Flood Risk and Water Management
Some updating of the text and policies within this section is required, and there is scope to provide further detail relevant to development in Colchester Borough. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with you, but have provided some initial comments below:
Paragraph 7.133: This paragraph is one of several parts of this section that refers to the NPPF Technical Guidance. This is no longer current, having been replaced by the Flood Risk and Coastal Change section of the Planning Practice Guidance. The flood zones quoted are in relation to tidal and fluvial flood risk. They do not show surface water flooding and are not shown on the surface water flood maps.
Paragraph 7.134: This text requires some re-working. The text currently does not accurately define the process for applying the Sequential Test. Application of the Sequential Test is a pre-requisite before any other flood risk considerations apply. It should consider all sources of flooding and development should only be further considered once it has been shown to have been passed.
Paragraph 7.138: We support the inclusion of this paragraph.
Paragraph 7.140: Reference could be made to the Environment Agency's 'Risk of Surface Water Flooding' maps to help identify surface water flooding constraints in areas of the Borough not covered by the SWMP. Reference could also be made to the potential need for new developments to support the provision of the SWMP CDA preferred management options, possibly through developer contributions (particularly where the development will benefit from such the construction of flood alleviation infrastructure/measures).
Paragraph 7.141: While we feel that this is a useful paragraph, we would suggest that it may be clearer if 'flood risk' and 'water management' were separated? Water management in this context would appear to be more appropriate in the Renewable Energy, Water, Waste and Recycling section.
Policy DM23: Flood Risk and Water Management
We support the reference in this policy to the Sequential Test. However, we have not seen evidence of it being applied to the preparation of the Local Plan. As mentioned
above, this is a key issue for all proposed allocations and must be demonstrated for the plan to be deemed sound.
As above, we would suggest that the current policy text requires some updating and rewording for clarity. We would welcome the opportunity to assist with this.
We would also add at this time that the use of CIL to support future interventions for tidal and fluvial flood management should not be overlooked and should relate to any new development located in defended flood plain areas where there will be future investment required to renew or raise existing flood defences.
There is also the potential for future small flood defence projects at Dedham and Ford Street, Aldham to proceed following project appraisal. The ability to deliver such schemes is likely to depend upon partnership funding contributions to supplement Central Government Flood Defence Grant-in-Aid and CIL or developer contributions can help the Council to support projects that lower flood risk in these communities.
Policy DM24: Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems
As above, this policy would also benefit from some re-wording and we would welcome the opportunity to contribute to that. While the LLFA lead on managing surface water flooding, it is essential that run-off does not have the potential to pollute receiving surface or groundwaters. Further text in relation to required treatment steps should be added to the existing policy. We would also add at this stage that all new developments should be required to include SuDS, not just major development as stated. Many small scale measures are available, but we would not consider water butts to be a SuDS measure. We welcome the reference to integrated SuDS and biodiversity improvements.
Renewable Energy, Water, Waste and Recycling
Paragraph 7.150 & Policy DM25: Renewable Energy, Water, Waste and Recycling: We note and welcome that developers are to be encouraged to meet higher than minimum standards for water efficiency. We would suggest that you may wish to consider requiring the higher water efficiency standards for new development through the Local Plan. The 'Water supply, waste water and water quality' section of the Planning Practice Guide identifies this as an option. We would be happy to discuss this further, including the evidence required to pursue this approach. You may also wish to consider adding further guidance as to how residential and non-residential developments can voluntarily achieve further efficiency gains, and the benefits (environmental and economic) of doing so.
Please also note our comments on waste recycling facilities in new developments made in respect of Housing Standards, above. It may be more appropriate to address those points in this section.
We trust this advice is useful, please contact me if you would like to discuss any aspect of this response further.