Chapter 10 - UTILITIES

UTILITIES - GENERAL

Design and Layout

10.1 The nature and appearance of buildings and installations required by the gas, electricity, telecommunications, and water industries is extremely diverse. Many minor works are, however, not subject to planning control and enjoy the status of "permitted development". Despite the general presumption that such services and facilities should be readily available, many of the buildings or structures required, such as sewage treatment works, pumping stations, and electricity pylons, are regarded as "bad neighbours" by nearby property owners, and as a result some new proposals can be controversial matters. For this reason particular care is required to minimise the visual impact of proposals which could potentially be obtrusive features in either the urban or rural environment.

Policy Ut 1

Operational development which is necessary to meet the requirements of the Local Plan, extensions and alterations to public utility plant and equipment, will normally be permitted in appropriate locations; but in order to maintain and enhance the natural and built environment of the Borough all proposals for new buildings or installations for utility purposes will normally be required to:-

(i) make the best use of the physical characteristics of the site, views into and out of the site and aspect; existing trees, vegetation and other interesting features will be expected to be retained;
(ii) be of a scale and form which would respect the general pattern of development in the area;
(iii) comprise a layout and design which does not adversely affect the amenities of adjoining properties;
(iv) be designed to a high standard incorporating elevational treatments, roofscape and building materials which complement the character of the area;
(v) incorporate additional landscaping, where appropriate, which should be considered at an early stage as an integral part of the overall design;
(vi) comply with the currently adopted standards for highway design, parking and servicing provision, where appropriate.

The Borough Council will seek to ensure that the visual impact of transmission lines, aerials, dishes and other development associated with telecommunications or the distribution of energy, is minimised. In particular it will seek to secure the placing underground of lines transmitting energy or telecommunications in Conservation Areas and in other areas where this is considered necessary in the interest of visual amenity. Satellite TV receiving dishes will also be subject to Policy Ho 11 of this Plan.

Amplification

(1) The Borough Council will normally require applications to be supported by a thorough site survey assessing the quality of and effect of the proposed development on existing features. The survey should include reference to levels, aspect, views into and out of the site, trees, hedges, shrubs and other landscaping features, and to neighbouring properties. Applicants will, where appropriate, be expected to undertake a comprehensive tree survey identifying the location, species and condition of all trees on the site. Trees not only form a natural feature which it is impossible to replace immediately, but also can be used to reduce the visual impact of new development. Developers will be required to observe a strict code of tree protection during the construction period (see Policy Pc 4).
(2) Landscaping means the treatment of land for the purpose of enhancing or protecting the amenities of the site and the area in which it is situated, and includes screening by fences, walls or other means, planting of trees, hedges, shrubs or grass, formation of banks, terraces or other earthworks, layout of gardens or courts, and other amenity features. Plans of proposed additional landscaping will be required at the detailed planning application stage so as to assess the quality of the proposal in its finished form.
(3) Traffic aspects will be evaluated in relation to any internal road layout meeting approved standards and the effect of the completed development on the existing highway network. Proposals will need to demonstrate that a satisfactory means of access can be provided to approved standards, without causing an increase in danger to road users and pedestrians, and without giving rise to undesirable visual impact upon the street scene, e.g. loss of important trees or hedges.
(4) Development proposed in Conservation Areas and other special areas will require more sensitive treatment and regard must be given to the use of traditional building forms and use of traditional finishing materials.
(5) Policy Ho 11 of this Local Plan is concerned with satellite dishes on houses and flats, but similar principles apply to other locations, including shops, offices, industrial/commercial premises and hotels.

New Provision

10. 2 The Borough Council will encourage early liaison with utility agencies considering acquisition of new sites and routes in order to select that which is most appropriate in relation to their particular needs and the policies of this Plan, and to minimise the environmental impact which such proposals can have. In its role as local planning authority, the Borough Council is often aware of land and premises which could be of relevance to agencies involved in site searches.

Communication Masts

10. 3 Because of its elevated position, land in the northern part of the Borough has attracted communications masts for use in broadcasting, public utility and private business purposes. Although some of these facilities may be necessary, the Borough Council is concerned at the impact of such development, particularly in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the following policy will be used in determining future proposals.

Policy Ut 2

Proposals for communications development including masts and aerials will normally only be permitted if the Borough Council is satisfied that:-

(i) there are no other less obtrusive sites available for the development;
(ii) there is no possibility of combining the proposal with any existing installation; and
(iii) the appropriate design criteria as set out in Policy Ut 1 are met in full.

The Borough Council will normally seek agreements with developers that any new installations will be available for shared use with any other organisations which may require similar facilities.

Amplification

(1) The Borough Council will also have regard to the national guidance in PPG 8 - Telecommunications (2001).

SEWERAGE AND FLOODING

Foul Sewerage and Sewage Treatment

10. 4 During and since 1986 problems of flooding of foul sewage led the Borough Council to adopt a policy whereby it would not normally permit development in a specific catchment area until it was satisfied that resources had been made available to remedy the problem. The provision of increased capacity is now deemed to be met by the application by Thames Water Utilities Limited (TWUL) of the flat rate infrastructure charge for each new connection into the system, under s.146 of the Water Industry Act 1991. However, as it will not always be possible for TWUL to provide increased capacity straightaway, the Borough Council will seek to ensure that existing and potential problems are remedied by the imposition of conditions which require the development to be phased, so as not to overwhelm the sewerage system, until the necessary works have been carried out.

Policy Ut 3

In an area defined by the Borough Council as having a problem in terms of flooding or potential flooding of foul sewage, or lack of capacity at a sewage treatment works, the Borough Council will:

(i) normally permit development in circumstances where the improvement scheme which remedies the problem is programmed to occur within the life of any permission granted, but subject to the condition that the development should be phased until the necessary off-site works have been completed; or
(ii) not normally permit development in circumstances where the scheme is programmed to occur outside the life of any permission which otherwise might have been granted.

Amplification

(1) This policy shall apply in those areas which the Borough Council shall from time to time define, after consultation with TWUL, and should normally be applied throughout the defined catchment area of a sewer, irrespective of whether the proposed loads initially gravitate to a pumping station or not, or a sewage treatment works.
(2) For the purposes of this policy, development shall be deemed to include any development which adds to the foul water load of the system in an area, and the policy should normally be applied to any site within the defined catchment area that attempts to increase density by means of phased planning applications or otherwise.
(3) If a developer wishes to carry out development within a shorter time-scale than that envisaged by TWUL in respect of the improvement scheme, then he may wish to exercise his rights under s.98 and 99 of the Water Industry Act 1991 and requisition the necessary works to enable his development to be completed sooner. If such a requisition would result in the start date for the scheme being brought forward by TWUL to a date which will occur within the life of a permission, then planning permission will normally be granted subject to a condition of the type envisaged by this policy. If such a requisition would not bring the start date for the scheme to within the life of the permission, then planning permission will normally be refused.

Surface Water Sewerage

10. 5 The Banstead area is predominantly drained utilising soakaways, whereas the rest of the Borough achieves drainage using ditches, watercourses and other surface water sewerage infrastructure. Responsibility for drainage through surface water sewerage lies with TWUL, and any proposals affecting sewers should be discussed with them. Where drainage is to open surface watercourses then on-site storage may be required as part of the drainage system. Assessment of the need for storage will be done on an individual basis at the detailed planning stage, rather than by general policies in this plan.

Flooding

10. 6 New development in river floodplains is likely to be at risk from flooding. The Environment Agency holds information identifying many of the areas known to be at risk. Development can also have the effect of reducing the storage capacity of the floodplain, and/or impeding the flow of water, thereby increasing the risk of flooding elsewhere. It is essential, therefore, that development (including redevelopment) in floodplains should be avoided. There is therefore a presumption against new development in areas liable to flood. This has particular relevance to the catchment areas of the River Mole and the Burstow Stream within the Borough.

Policy Ut 4

New development and land raising will not normally be permitted in areas at risk from flooding. Appropriate flood protection and mitigation measures will generally be required as part of development in areas at risk from flooding.

Likewise, on other sites where the National Land Drainage Authority (Environment Agency) and/or the local Land Drainage Authority (Reigate and Banstead’s Engineering Services Unit) have indicated that there may be drainage problems, if adequate flood risk information is unavailable developers will be required to evaluate the extent of that risk and to implement all necessary measures approved by the Borough Council.

Amplification

(1) This Policy should be read in conjunction with the indicative 1 in 100 year flood event for main rivers in the Horley area as shown on the Proposals Map, and is based on the Horley Flood Study (January 2004). In addition the Proposals Map also shows the worst case historical flood extent in areas of Horley which may have been subject to flooding from other sources including sewer, groundwater and/or surface water flooding, and from other watercourses, such as minor tributaries, not modelled as part of the Horley Flood Study. Elsewhere in the Borough other less detailed information is used and included in Appendix 5.
(2) In Horley, any buildings or landraising should be outside the 1 in 100 year event floodplain envelope. Between the 1 in 100 year event floodline and the 1 in 100 year plus 20% floodline appropriate flood protection and mitigation measures will be required, to take into account the impact of climate change in particular. Further details are included in the Flood Risk Development Brief in the Horley Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document.
(3) Under the Land Drainage Act 1991, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council has authority to take on powers, within their area, which are generally undertaken by the Environment Agency. These ‘Local Land Drainage’ responsibilities are undertaken by the Borough Council’s Engineering Services Unit, and include advising the Development Control and Planning Policy Units of the Council on drainage issues relating to sites of less than 50 dwellings.

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