Newark & Sherwood District Council
Chapter 2.0 - Aims & Strategy
2.1 The strategy for the distribution of development in the District is derived from the main aims of the Plan and the overall strategic guidance contained in the Nottinghamshire Structure Plan Review. This chapter describes the Plan's aims, explains the relevant points in the Structure Plan, and concludes with a summary of the Local Plan strategy.
2.2 All the policies and proposals in the Plan have been drawn up in the light of a number of guiding aims. These are set out below and represent general statements of those matters which the District Council considers to be important in planning the area's future.
2.3 While the Plan will make an important contribution to the achievement of these aims, planning powers are limited, and prescribed by legislation. Many other parties and organisations, with different powers and responsibilities have a vital role to play in the successful achievement of these aims. As an example, the satisfaction of the District's housing needs will involve, not only the Local Planning Authority, but the Council's Community Services Committee, central government, housing associations, house builders and developers, landowners, landlords, parish councils and local people.
2.4 The seventeen aims identified below cover most topics and areas of concern. It is apparent that not all the aims are wholly compatible with each other, and that there are some inherent conflicts. The Plan seeks to reconcile these conflicts as far as possible but in preparing certain policies and proposals more weight may have been given to certain aims than to others. As planning is concerned with making choices, often between competing interests, this is unavoidable. The Plan does however seek to make the reasons for these choices clear and explicit.
Aim 1
To encourage sustainable development.
2.5 The need to ensure that new development does not irreparably damage the environment and compromise the quality of life for future generations has always been a fundamental aim of the planning system. This aim has been given additional weight by recent Government policy and advice on the need to ensure that new development is environmentally sustainable. PPG12 "Development Plans and Regional Planning Guidance", makes it clear that development plans can contribute to ensuring that development and growth are sustainable. Local Plan policies can promote sustainable development in a number of ways including:
  • promoting settlement patterns and locating development to minimise the need to travel;
  • steer development towards previously developed land, particularly derelict and damaged areas;
  • locating development where there is access to a choice of methods of transport;
  • safeguarding scarce resources, such as high quality agricultural land;
  • ensuring that land is used efficiently, for instance, by seeking to ensure that housing development takes place at as high a density as is compatible with the characteristics of a site and its surroundings;
  • protecting and enhancing key environmental assets, such as areas of mature landscape, wildlife habitats and the historic environment;
  • sympathetically considering proposals for renewable energy development;
  • encouraging energy efficient forms of development through the control of design, siting, orientation and layout;
  • ensuring that people have a good standard of life including access to housing, jobs and recreation; and
  • encouraging more habitat creation, tree planting and a "greener" environment.
  Many of the policies in the Plan are designed to achieve these ends.
2.6 The District Council wishes to emphasise that some environmental features are of the utmost value and irreplaceable. They must not be destroyed or harmed by development. In other instances, damage to less significant environmental assets may be unavoidable if the benefits of development are substantial and no other sites are available. Any effects should be minimised and compensatory measures taken to replace losses.
Aim 2
To enable new employment opportunities to be created and to retain existing jobs.
2.7 Colliery closures, coupled with the rationalisation of the manufacturing sector, has meant that large numbers of jobs have been lost in the District in recent years. There is an urgent need to create further employment opportunities, diversify the District's economy and, wherever possible, safeguard existing jobs. The Plan's main responsibility in the employment field is to ensure that sufficient, readily available employment land is identified to meet anticipated needs. The Plan identifies a number of sites which are well located in terms of the highway network and the work force, and contains policies to encourage the expansion of existing businesses.
Aim 3
To help satisfy the housing needs of the District.
2.8 One of the main functions of the Plan is to identify land for new housing development. Numerous housing sites are identified in the Plan. To provide maximum choice for developers and prospective occupiers a wide range of housing sites have been identified, including a large former hospital site capable of accommodating a new community, land for redevelopment in the urban area, small sites in villages and larger sites in Newark. There are also several policies designed to encourage lower cost housing.
Aim 4
To protect and improve the living conditions and amenities of existing and future residents.
2.9 Development proposals often affect existing residents. There are a number of policies in the Plan which seek to ensure that the quality of life currently enjoyed by people is not prejudiced by new development or that adequate safeguards are introduced. In determining planning applications for new dwellings, care will also be taken to ensure that the living conditions created for future residents are of a good standard.
2.10 Other policies in the Plan, for instance on the protection of public open space and the removal of bad neighbour uses, will all help to safeguard and upgrade the local environment.
Aim 5
To encourage good design and the creation of attractive and high quality environments.
2.11 The District Council will endeavour to improve the overall quality of the environment. New development schemes will be expected to be well designed by paying careful attention to setting, character, local tradition and materials. There are a number of general policies on design and appearance, as well as more specific policies in the Conservation and Natural Environment chapters.
Aim 6
To regenerate urban areas and secure the re-use of derelict, vacant and underused sites and buildings.
2.12 Land is a scarce resource that needs to be carefully managed. As a result the fullest possible use must be made of sites and buildings that have previously been developed or lie within existing built-up areas. There are extensive areas of derelict and vacant land within and around the main settlements in the District. Such an approach will also help to minimise the loss of greenfield sites, and steer development towards areas where there are existing facilities and infrastructure.
Aim 7
To protect the character, setting and separate identity of existing settlements and neighbourhoods.
2.13 Many of the District's settlements and neighbourhoods have a distinctive and varied character. There are a number of policies in the Plan on such matters as density, design, open space, Conservation Areas, listed buildings and mature landscape areas which will all help to safeguard the special qualities of individual villages and neighbourhoods.
2.14 There are a number of villages close to Newark which have their own character and identity. The Plan seeks to protect their distinctive qualities and prevent development which would absorb them into a wider urban area.
Aim 8
To protect and enhance the built and natural heritage of the District.
2.15 The built and natural heritage of the District is precious to many people. As this heritage is under pressure from development, there are numerous policies in the Plan on its protection and enhancement. Examples of such policies include those which seek to protect Conservation Areas, listed buildings, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, mature landscape areas and protected species. There are also policies in the Plan which emphasise the importance of area enhancement, including environmental improvement and woodland planting schemes.
Aim 9
To safeguard and promote the vitality and viability of existing town and village centres.
2.16 Town and village centres contain shops and businesses which provide a range of goods and services which are accessible to all sections of the community. Their prosperity helps to ensure continued investment in the built fabric, which is particularly important in older centres where there are a multitude of buildings of architectural or historic interest. Policies in the Plan seek to ensure that existing centres continue to flourish.
Aim 10
To assist in the reduction of road congestion, improve highway safety and provide good access to employment sites.
2.17 There are a number of villages and residential areas in the District where through traffic causes congestion, traffic dangers and pollution. There are a number of policies and proposals in the Plan which safeguard by-pass lines and road improvements in order to alleviate these problems. In addition, there are policies designed to ensure that employment sites have good access to the highway network.
Aim 11
To assist in meeting the transportation needs of residents, whilst minimising the need to travel.
2.18 It is important to ensure, that all sections of the community have access to means of travel. PPG13 "Transport" emphasises that development plans should aim to reduce the need to travel, especially by car. The Plan should ensure that development is located where it is accessible by alternative means of transport other than the private car and foster forms of development which encourage walking, cycling and public transport use. Consequently the Plan seeks to locate development in areas which are readily accessible to centres of population and do not generate increased car usage.
2.19 It is accepted that there are policies in the Plan dealing with new road schemes and the protection of car parking spaces in towns, which favour the car user. However there are also policies seeking to encourage better facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport which more closely accord with the sentiments of PPG13.
Aim 12
To help satisfy the recreation and sporting requirements of residents and visitors.
2.20 Good recreation and sporting facilities are essential when there is increasing time available for leisure pursuits. A complex web of recreation and sporting facilities already exists throughout the District. There are several policies in the Plan which seek to ensure that various outdoor facilities are retained, and further areas are developed.
Aim 13
To contribute to the realisation of the District's tourism potential.
2.21 Tourism provides jobs and brings revenue into the area. There are numerous attractions around the District and opportunities for the creation of more. Much of the appeal of the District is dependent on its heritage and special character. Policies which conserve these assets are therefore combined in the Plan with policies which seek to encourage appropriate tourist uses.
Aim 14
To help to maintain and enhance the range and availability of education, health and community facilities.
2.22 Residents should have convenient access to as wide a range of services and facilities as possible. There are several policies in the Plan which reserve suitable sites for such uses together with more general policies on the protection of existing provision and the location of new facilities.
Aim 15
To steer development away from areas where it is inappropriate or undesirable.
2.23 There are many locations where new built development will not be acceptable. For instance, it would not be sensible to allow new buildings within areas that are liable to flood or near to hazardous installations. Similarly it is important to protect areas of attractive or historic landscape, or land which is well used for recreational purposes.
Aim 16
To ensure that all development is provided with adequate services, infrastructure and facilities.
2.24 All development proposals should include suitable arrangements for sewage disposal, drainage, water supply and highway infrastructure. Where services or infrastructure are inadequate to serve a proposed development but reasonably capable of improvement, then the necessary improvements should be in place before development proceeds. Developers will also be required to provide those recreation and community facilities which are needed as a result of their developments.
Aim 17
To protect the countryside, including good quality agricultural land.
2.25 The countryside of the District is extremely valuable and needs to be sensitively managed and nurtured. It is important not only for agriculture and food production, but for a variety of recreation purposes and for its visual qualities. Furthermore it contains a rich variety of habitats for plants and wildlife and has potential for further tourism and leisure pursuits. There are a number of policies in the Plan which deal with the protection and enhancement of the countryside.
2.26 These aims form the basis for the definition of objectives. The objectives are more specific and detailed and determine the content and direction of the policies. The objectives are listed near the beginning of each topic chapter.
2.27 To assess the success of the Plan in achieving its aims and objectives it will be necessary to collect information at regular intervals during the Plan period. The information that will be collected is described in the Monitoring Chapter.
  Nottinghamshire Structure Plan Review
2.28 The overall strategy for the scale and general location of new development in the County is set out in the Nottinghamshire Structure Plan Review (1996).
2.29 For the purpose of strategic planning the Structure Plan identifies three broad areas within the County sharing common characteristics. These are South Nottinghamshire, centred on the Greater Nottingham conurbation; the coalfield and largely urbanised west and north-west; and the more rural east of the County. Based on this division, five sub-areas have been identified relating to the main travel-to-work areas of Nottingham, Mansfield/ Ashfield, Worksop, Retford, and Newark. Newark and Sherwood District is divided between three of these sub-areas. The strategy for development within the District does therefore contain variation between the three sub-areas.
  South Nottinghamshire Sub-Area
2.30 The South Nottinghamshire sub-area is centred on the Greater Nottingham conurbation (pop. 646,700). It also includes substantial rural areas including the south-western part of Newark and Sherwood which contains the settlements of Southwell, Farnsfield and Lowdham (pop.17,400).
2.31 The Structure Plan makes it clear most housing and employment development will be concentrated in the Nottingham conurbation, subject to safeguarding open land and the Green Belt. New building on vacant or redeveloped sites will be a major thrust of policy, but new greenfield sites for housing and employment will also have to be found.
2.32 With regard to the south-western part of Newark and Sherwood District, the Structure Plan envisages that the scale of new development will be very small. Particular attention is drawn to conserving the unique character of Southwell.
  West Nottinghamshire Sub-Area
2.33 West Nottinghamshire (pop. 217,500) includes Mansfield, Mansfield Woodhouse, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, as well as the mining settlements in the north-western part of Newark and Sherwood District (pop. 35,600).
2.34 The Plan emphasises the severe decline in traditional industries, such as coal mining and textiles, and the urgent need for further employment diversification. The closeness of the western part of the sub-area to the M1 is likely to give it good prospects for industrial development.
2.35 The area has a large supply of land for future residential development and consequently no need for additional housing land is identified. It is anticipated that most housing development will take place in and around Mansfield and Sutton-in-Ashfield.
2.36 The Structure Plan Review Strategy seeks to make maximum benefit of areas with economic potential by proposing development in accessible locations close to existing or proposed transport links particularly the M1, A38, the Mansfield western and southern by-passes and the Robin Hood Line. The Review also draws specific attention to the fact that the villages in the western part of Newark and Sherwood have been badly hit by job losses and consequently some employment provision on the A614, well related to these villages, would be appropriate. The need for a prestige employment site on the A614 is identified and the need to improve east-west links between this area and the national highway network is also stressed.
  Newark Sub-Area
2.37 The Newark sub-area coincides with the eastern side of the Newark and Sherwood District (pop. 50,700).
2.38 Large numbers of jobs were lost in the manufacturing sector in the 1980s in this sub-area and consequently a need to diversify the economy and realise the potential of the area is recognised.
  The Structure Plan Review Strategy seeks to provide for significant growth in employment and housing within the Newark sub-area. The Structure Plan makes provision for housing requirements arising from the local population and for a substantial number of people moving into the area.
2.39 Most development will be directed towards the Newark urban area where a wide range of good facilities and existing infrastructure are concentrated. It is anticipated that people will be attracted to the area as a result of economic development, brought about by Newark's excellent communications and the attractions of living in a small historic market town.
2.40 The Structure Plan Review envisages that the population of the Newark sub-area will grow from 50,700 in 1991 to 63,700 in 2011 - a growth of over 25%.
2.41 The Plan highlights the importance of protecting the outstanding historic character of Newark and the need to make use of the extensive areas of vacant and derelict land in and around the town. In view of its excellent communications Newark is seen as being a suitable location for prestige employment sites.
2.42 The importance of road improvements for the future prosperity of the sub-area including the dualling of the A46 is highlighted.
  Local Plan Strategy
2.43 Two principal themes can be identified from the aims of the Plan and the overall strategic guidance in the Structure Plan Review. The Local Plan strategy endeavours to balance these two themes, which are:
  • the promotion of development which will bring benefits to the area, particularly jobs; and
  • the protection of the environment in all its aspects.
  PPG12 "Development Plans and Regional Planning Guidance" stresses that development plans must make adequate provision for development and at the same time take account of the need to protect the natural and built environment. The Local Plan strategy endeavours to strike an appropriate balance between these two themes.
2.44 Based on the Structure Plan Review sub-areas, the District Council has been split into three separate areas for the purpose of the Local Plan: (i) Newark Area; (ii) Western Area; and (iii) Southern Area (see figure 2.1). These areas are referred to throughout the Local Plan, particularly in relation to the distribution of housing and employment land.
2.45 Most of the growth and development provided for in the Plan is proposed to be located in the east and north-west of the District, in and around the larger settlements where homes, jobs, facilities and infrastructure are already concentrated. The main housing and employment sites identified are therefore in and around Newark and Balderton and the colliery villages. In the other, generally smaller, settlements new development will be expected to be of a size and scale appropriate to their character. Most forms of development in the countryside will not be appropriate and strict control will be exercised over all types of development in the Nottinghamshire Green Belt. This approach endorses the principles included in "PPG13 Transport" by minimizing car journeys and reducing CO2 emissions. Such an approach will also regenerate urban areas, secure the beneficial use of redundant and derelict sites, optimise the provision of services and protect the countryside.
2.46 The main problem facing the west of the District is the loss of jobs brought about by the run down of the mining industry. The District Council has adopted a positive approach to revitalising this area by providing a wide choice of employment and housing sites and advocating improvements to the road system. As there are a number of colliery settlements, all with sizeable populations and all experiencing economic decline, the District Council has chosen to allow some housing and employment development in and around most of these settlements.
2.47 There is a pressing need to diversify Newark's economic base from an over reliance on manufacturing and engineering to other industrial and commercial activities. Newark has many positive characteristics which will be attractive to potential developers. It has an important strategic location at the intersection of national lines of communications, good facilities and access to a relatively skilled workforce. Furthermore, the outstanding architectural and historic heritage of Newark, particularly its town centre and its setting within pleasant countryside, all contribute to the town's appeal.
2.48 While new development is to be encouraged in the colliery settlements and Newark, the Plan also seeks to ensure that such development does not encroach upon sensitive or inappropriate areas. Consequently recreational land, amenity space, open breaks between settlements, areas of landscape importance, Conservation Areas, areas of good quality agricultural land and washlands are all protected by policies in the Plan. Around Newark, for instance, it is important to ensure that the open breaks which currently exist between the main built-up area of the town and the neighbouring communities of Farndon, Winthorpe and Coddington are kept free from development. This will retain the separate identity of these settlements and ensure they are not submerged into one large urban area.
2.49 In the region of 4,810 new dwellings are provided on sites in Newark and Balderton, and in the other settlements on the eastern side of the District. Most of this new housing is concentrated in and around Newark and Balderton. In the west, 1850 dwellings are distributed around the colliery settlements, with significant housing provision in Bilsthorpe, Blidworth, Clipstone, Edwinstowe, Ollerton and Rainworth. Only 1100 new dwellings are provided in the whole of the southern part of the District, including Southwell and the surrounding villages, where various constraint policies, such as the Green Belt, apply. Village envelopes have been drawn around the majority of settlements defining the main built-up areas. These envelopes are designed to control and limit expansion in order to protect the character of the villages and to avoid the intrusion of development into the surrounding countryside. In the smaller villages, which do not have village envelopes, housing developments will be limited to conversions and infill.
2.50 In accordance with PPG3 "Housing", the Local Plan provides a choice of housing sites in terms of both size and distribution. Urban sites have been identified as well as greenfield sites and sites in villages. The largest single housing allocation is the proposed new community on the redundant Balderton Hospital site to the south-east of Balderton which has the capacity to accommodate over 1000 dwellings, with development extending beyond 2006. This new community will have a similar relationship to Newark as Farndon, Coddington and Winthorpe, and will have a range of facilities including a primary school.
2.51 The Plan identifies over 250 hectares of land for employment development, of which some 115 ha are located in the colliery settlements of Bilsthorpe, Blidworth, Boughton, Clipstone, Ollerton and 135 ha in the Newark area.
2.52 A range of employment sites is identified, in accordance with guidance in PPG4 "Industrial and Commercial Development and Small Firms" and PPG12, to enable new jobs to be created. There are still extensive areas of land to be developed adjacent to Newark's Northern Road Industrial estate and at Boughton Industrial Estate. In addition, large prestige employment sites are identified at South Airfield Farm (43 ha) and adjacent to Balderton Hospital (16 ha) in the Newark area and on the A614 at Bilsthorpe (13ha) and Ollerton (21 ha). Some 20 hectares of employment land, together with over 300 dwellings, have also been identified on land to the north of Clipstone. A number of smaller sites are identified in Bilsthorpe, Blidworth and Rainworth. Provision is also made for employment development in villages which is in accordance with their size and character. The land made available for employment use provides for a level of development considerably above rates achieved in the past. While acknowledging that all this land may not be fully developed within the Plan period, it will offer maximum choice and the opportunity to meet the differing needs of industry and commerce.
2.53 The Plan contains a number of policies on highway schemes which are designed to make road conditions better, provide convenient access to employment sites and improve environmental quality. The dualling of the A46 is the responsibility of the Highways Agency. Most of the County Council schemes are designed to improve east-west routes and include village by-pass schemes for Rainworth and Kelham. In addition, there are schemes to by-pass Southwell and Collingham. There are also policies in the Plan which promote rail and bus services and seek their improvement.
2.54 Recreational, leisure and shopping facilities will be encouraged in the larger settlements. Shopping
  provision will continue to be concentrated in established centres such as Newark, Ollerton and Southwell. Proposed shopping developments which threaten their health or prosperity will be resisted. Efforts to improve the attractiveness of town and village centres through the provision and retention of convenient car and cycle parking, environmental enhancement schemes and comprehensive public transport provision will continue. Local shopping provision in villages and neighbourhoods will be encouraged.
2.55 In the countryside, the Plan seeks to promote a healthy rural economy whilst maintaining and enhancing the pleasant and diverse nature of the countryside. Farming will continue to be a major element of the rural economy. The creation of new, or the consolidation of existing, agricultural enterprises will be given sympathetic consideration provided there is a sound agricultural justification and sensitive locations are avoided. Farm diversification projects in keeping with the character of the area will be encouraged.
2.56 Tourist and recreational uses which are appropriate to a rural area, of benefit to local people, and are well integrated into the landscape are likely to be acceptable. Particular care, however, will be taken to ensure that areas of mature landscape, SSSIs, local nature reserves, wildlife habitats and the amenities of local people are not prejudiced by development.
2.57 Extensive areas of woodland around the District are safeguarded in the Plan. Worthy of particular note is the need to protect the recreational and ecological value of Sherwood Forest and Stapleford Woods. Certain areas suffer from heavy use by tourists including the country parks at Sherwood and Rufford. Efforts to divert pressure away from these areas, possibly by providing alternative attractions, will be considered. The River Trent and its banks are used for a variety of recreational purposes and there are policies in the Plan which seek to safeguard and enhance their appeal.
2.58 Two specific and far sighted schemes in the west of the District are designed to increase woodland cover. The Sherwood Initiative is designed to restore the traditional landscape of Sherwood Forest. The Greenwood Community Forest is meant to create new areas of woodland to improve the environment and create new opportunities for recreation, education and employment.
  Figure 2.1 Newark & Sherwood Local Plan Areas
Newark & Sherwood District Council