Chapter Three: Heritage and Built Environment
Other links in the Interactive Local Plan:
The Importance of the City’s Heritage
3.1. Norwich is a City of European historical importance and has recently become the headquarters of the European Association of Historic to wns and Regions. For many centuries it was the second City in size and importance in England and its walls, which still survive in part, enclosed the largest mediaeval walled city by area in the country. It therefore possesses a wealth of historic associations, especially in the City Centre, which need to be managed and, where possible, preserved within the context of a growing and developing City.
3.2. The City’s historic associations are of a variety of kinds. Many of the City’s buildings are of great historic importance, and many of these have undergone some degree of alteration or improvement, either to sustain an existing use or to achieve a new use. Some of the earlier structures survive only as incomplete fragments, but these all contribute towards an understanding and appreciation of the development of Norwich. The special importance of a number of historic buildings and structures is recognised by their designation as Scheduled Ancient Monuments. However, it is, perhaps, as important to seek to retain the evidence of smaller, vernacular, domestic buildings from different periods of Norwich’s history. It is also very important to retain the outline of the historic structure of the City, where this survives, even though the physical form of the buildings has disappeared. As recommended in the English Heritage review document “Power of Place”, conservation of this historic environment should be central to renewal and regeneration plans.
3.3. In addition, it is important to relate these historic associations of the City’s built form with its cultural history contained in a wide range of otherartefacts, documents and references in a great variety of media. Planning policies cannot, in the main, achieve such conservation objectives alone, but it can support them, both through the appropriate siting of museums, libraries etc. and through the visual and written interpretation of the physical environment made available to visitors (and residents). These cultural matters are dealt with primarily in Chapter 9, whilst policies for major visitor attractions are found in Chapter 6.
3.4 The new government policy on the Urban Environment has stressed the need to achieve a high standard of design of new development, in order to create an urban renaissance. This revitalisation of urban spaces requires a strong vision of how modern development will be incorporated into the historic environment. The Urban White Paper stresses the benefits of this approach – “Refurbishment of the historic fabric can act as a catalyst for wider regeneration, tackling social inclusion and building communities.” Norwich is leading the way already with a number of well-designed schemes to bring previously developed areas back into use. This Chapter of the Plan contains policies to promote good design and to ensure the future regeneration of the City progresses in a manner which is consistent with its historic fabric.
3.5 The built environment policies of the Plan are very important in ensuring that the land use emphasis of other Chapters of the Plan achieves a sustainable urban form. In terms of Local Plan Objectives, this Chapter relates most closely to SOBJ3 (protecting heritage and character of the City) and SOBJ4 (healthy and secure environment). Conservation led change also has a vital role to play in the social and economic regeneration of areas of the City (SOBJ2) and the creation of safe, stable and sustainable communities.
Main Issues Arising from Consultation
3.6 The consultation on Issues for the Local Plan Review identified a number of issues for consideration in the review of policies on the Built Environment. These included:
The City's Archaeological Heritage
3.7 Conservation led regeneration offers sustainable solutions to the social and economic problems afflicting many historic towns and cities by fostering and permitting adaptation and change whilst, at the same time, ensuring careful integration with and retention of heritage assets and paying careful and sensitive attention to their settings. There are, however, a number of heritage assets which are a finite and non-renewable resource, in many cases highly fragile and vulnerable to damage and destruction. These include the defined Scheduled Ancient Monuments and the Areas of Main Archaeological Importance.
3.8 Since the adopted Local Plan was prepared, the City Council, in partnership with the Norfolk Museum and Archaeology Service and with funding from English Heritage, has embarked on a project to produce an Urban Archaeological Database (UAD) for the City. The UAD is a comprehensive GIS-based record of past archaeological excavations, monuments and buried archaeological remains. This information now provides a comprehensive data source, from which the archaeological importance of all areas of the City has been reassessed. The policies relating to archaeology are therefore based on this reassessment and planning decisions on archaeological matters will be informed by the records of the UAD.
3.9 The Scheduled Ancient Monuments in Norwich are listed in Appendix 10. They are protected by statutory powers under the Ancient Monuments & Archaeological Areas Act 1979. There is a presumption in national policy in favour of the protection, preservation and enhancement of such remains and any development that would be detrimental to these objectives should be refused. However, it is also important that development in proximity to these sites respects their importance and, wherever possible allows for public access and interpretation, as well as simply preserving the remains. In addition there may be other remains or structures, which become recognised as being of national importance, and should be protected before they have any statutory status
Protection of Remains in Cathedral Precinct and Other Priority Areas
3.10 The Cathedral Precinct is an important ecclesiastical artefact in itself, being one of the few surviving walled precincts for ecclesiastical areas in the country. The Precinct contains within it some of the most important archaeological remains in Norwich and is treated alongside those areas identified in the Database as having major remains in situ, which should be retained.
3.11 The areas affected by policy HBE2 are identified on the Proposals Map. They include the Cathedral Precinct and Great Hospital area, the former Blackfriars Friary area, the Castle and the Carrow Abbey area. Within these primary archaeological areas, the presumption is in favour of retaining and displaying any remains which are identified. Public access and interpretation will be of significant importance and development must allow for this (see policy TVA8). Development in the vicinity must also respect the setting of the remains.
Area of Main Archaeological Interest
3.12 The UAD has assisted in refining the definition of other areas of the City in which archaeology should also be a significant consideration. The Area of Main Archaeological Interest (AMAI) has therefore been redefined in this Review to include those areas – notably the areas known as Heigham and Pockthorpe (from mediaeval settlements of those names just outside the old City Walls).
3.13 Policy HBE3 provides the basis for judging a proposal received according to the significance of any remains likely to be found on site. PPG16 makes clear that any development in this area, which may disturb remains below ground, should be subject to an archaeological assessment and agreement on a programme of works. The assessment of archaeological significance must be prepared in consultation with Norfolk Landscape Archaeology (which is part of Norfolk County Council) or another approved archaeological contractor. The starting point for such an assessment will be the record contained in the UAD for that area and the depth of assessment will reflect the interest identified in that record. That assessment should be submitted with the application for permission.
3.14 If the assessment suggests that important archaeological remains may exist, then the developer must make provision for a field evaluation, usually through an excavation of the site (or relevant part thereof) by an approved contractor. Permission will be refused if the remains identified are of sufficient importance to be preserved in situ and cannot be so preserved in the context of the development proposed, taking account of the necessary construction techniques to be used. If the assessment suggests that remains may be found, but not of such importance as to require retention in situ, then an appropriate programme of archaeological work under the terms of policy HBE5 will normally be expected to be agreed before permission is granted (although in some circumstances the use of a condition may be possible). In all other circumstances permission will be granted subject to a condition allowing an appropriate contractor to monitor the works under archaeological supervision and control during the necessary stages of construction.
Investigation Required in Other Locations of Archaeological Interest
3.15 In some cases where the assessment of information from the UAD or other archaeological records suggests that finds below ground may be discovered, but will not warrant preservation in situ, or where a field evaluation suggests a similar conclusion, an appropriate programme of archaeological work will be requested. A planning obligation is required to ensure that an appropriate investigation under policy HBE4 is carried out and any finds or archaeological remains are appropriately treated. Policy HBE4 also requires that significant archaeological finds that should be preserved in situ are dealt with under the relevant criterion in policy HBE3.
3.16 The requirement for a planning obligation will only be triggered where development is proposed in other areas of archaeological interest and where it is not known whether there may be remains in the vicinity. Norfolk Landscape Archaeology will be consulted to confirm whether such interest warrants a full investigation and, therefore, a planning agreement. The agreement will need to specify the parties to carry out the investigation, the funding of the investigation (normally by the developer) and the extent and scope of the works involved in the investigation. It should also provide for amendments in the event that significant finds are required to be retained on the site, although this is generally an exception in such areas of the City.
Archaeological Heritage – Method of Investigation and Treatment of Finds
3.17 The archaeological policies require various levels of investigation, according to the identified priority of the area concerned. In many cases there will also be strong public interest in the process and, where possible, this should include allowance for public access or presentation of results. Wherever a site produces archaeological finds, however, there should be provision for the post-excavation treatment and display of those finds through a planning obligation, secured under s106 of the to wn and Country Planning Act. This is covered in policy HBE5.
The Mediaeval Street Network
3.18 Within the Area of Main Archaeological Interest lies the centre’s mediaeval street network. The network is still recognisable in many areas and for this reason is worth maintaining – or indeed restoring where appropriate – within the redevelopment of these areas of the centre. Additionally, the maintenance of individual historic buildings plots is considered important in retaining the diversity and scale of the street frontages in these areas.
Archaeological Heritage – Watching Briefs
3.19 Elsewhere in the City, where previous development is known or suspected, but there is no evidence of any significant archaeological interest, or where the above policies are not supported by sufficient evidence to warrant full protection and evaluation methods, provision will be made for an appropriate contractor to monitor works and record any features of interest which are unearthed.
Conservation of the Built Heritage
3.20 A key element in the Council’s approach to regeneration is the leading role it takes in promoting the conservation of the historic environment. This is achieved through the maintenance and improvement of the Council’s own substantial stock of historic buildings, support for trusts and grant aid to owners or users of historic buildings. For many years the Council has sustained and promoted a number of grant programmes with the support of English Heritage and The Heritage Lottery Fund. Recently this has been channelled through a Conservation Area Partnerships Scheme (CAPS), under which the City has received almost £1million over 7 years in grant aid for schemes within the CAPS Action Area. The successor scheme is the Heritage Regeneration Fund under which a programme of conservation works is being developed for the Magdalen Street/ St Augustine’s area.
3.21 Conservation Areas are an important part of the promotion of conservation of the historic environment. The City has 17 such areas, most of which were designated in the 1970s and 1980s. A review in 1992 led to the consolidation of the City Centre as one complete Conservation Area within the area contained by the medieval City Walls and defences. A further review of all the areas has been undertaken in 2003 and the results are shown on the Proposals Map and in Appendix 11 for the revised Conservation Area boundaries.
3.22 As part of the original designation process, brief character statements were prepared for several Conservation Areas. They have been used to provide guidance on the control of development. In accordance with government guidance (PPG15) and English Heritage advice, Conservation Area policies need to be based on a clear assessment of the special architectural or historic merit that led to their designation. These take the form of written appraisals that will provide a sound basis, defensible on appeal, for development plan policies and development control decisions and are in process of being prepared for all the Conservation Areas.
3.23 The City Council will seek to co-operate with other interested groups in carrying out the Conservation Area Appraisals. They will be applied to decisions about the nature and character of the Conservation Areas and the design of development within them.
Conservation of Standing Archaeology
3.24 Policy HBE7 seeks to ensure that, where there are substantial remnants of older buildings still standing – often incorporated into more modern buildings or much adapted and extended – the nature and importance of the historic elements of the building are taken into account before development is permitted. An independent evaluation and assessment of standing archaeology of such structures and buildings should therefore form part of the submission of an application for planning permission where there are substantial historic remains. The Council will be guided on the application of this policy by the extent of any remnants of historic structures which are known or suspected to exist. Where the remaining building elements are small, then a briefer report identifying the interest in the remaining structure will suffice. The report should take the form of an illustrated written report, which demonstrates the chronological sequence of development and the significance of the structures or buildings affected.
Development in Conservation Areas
3.25 Policy HBE8 provides the basis for control of development in Conservation Areas. The City’s Conservation Areas are listed in Appendix 11. The measures included are supported by reference to PPG15, which recognises that the character of Conservation Areas should be protected, but that some demolition of buildings of poor design or redevelopment of ‘gap’ sites is desirable to improve the townscape of the area. The policy recognises that there is both a negative and a positive side to Conservation Area development – there are issues about design of development to fit in with the character of the area, but also opportunities to remove buildings, which have come to be interpreted as detrimental to that character. Clause (iii) applies where there is a recognisable pattern of historic plot boundaries – i.e. they have retained their form over several successive generations of buildings. The Conservation Area Appraisals will specify the application of these tests and should be used to assess which elements of the townscape of the particular Conservation Area are significant to its character and appearance. The final clause requiring sufficient detail to be submitted with applications is essential, in order for the other matters identified to be controlled.
3.26 The Council will continue to promote the repair, reuse and enhancement of the setting of listed buildings and other buildings and structures worthy of retention. Demolition will be resisted, save only where the exceptional circumstances identified in paragraph 3.19 of PPG15 (Planning and the Historic Environment) apply, namely (i) the condition of the building and cost of repairing and maintaining it is excessive in relation to its importance and the value to be derived from its continued use; (ii) the adequacy of efforts to retain the building in its present or an alternative use and (iii) the merits of alternative proposals for the site. Certain listed buildings are identified as Buildings at Risk and in these cases grants and all possible efforts (including use of powers such as Repairs Notices) will be focused on measures to retain the building in beneficial use. Demolition of Buildings at Risk will not be permitted until such measures have been fully tested and exhausted. Those non-listed buildings, which are worthy of such special treatment, will be identified on the Council’s ‘Local List’ of buildings of conservation merit, which is available as supplementary planning guidance. Policy HBE9 provides for the control of development, including inappropriate modification, affecting listed buildings. Change of use is also controlled, since some changes can lead inevitably to significant changes to the building, involving loss of the features of historic or architectural interest.
Other Buildings of Historic or Architectural Interest
3.27 The Council’s ‘Local List’ is referred to above. The Council maintains its Local List of buildings of conservation merit as supplementary planning guidance. Policy HBE8 provides for control of development in Conservation Areas, which would significantly affect those buildings identified on the list. It is appropriate that this policy provides a lesser degree of control over such development than HBE9 for listed buildings but control over demolition of such buildings can still be exercised under policy HBE8, where they are defined in Conservation Areas, since they are defined as buildings which make an important contribution to the area’s character and appearance. Nevertheless, it is important that such buildings, often of historic interest, which do not merit listing in national terms, can still be protected from demolition or serious detrimental alteration and this is now recognised in the Building Regulations.
Enhancement of Buildings of Historic Interest
3.28 Whilst the City Council has a general interest in the refurbishment and enhancement of historic buildings, there are certain specific historic buildings which are the subject of ongoing projects to enhance their use and character. In the cases of the mediaeval churches these are owned and managed by Trusts, on which the City Council is represented and which it supports. It should be noted that there is a related policy in the Tourism Chapter, TVA8, which deals with interpretative facilities for visitors.
3.29 Three key areas of historic interest were identified in the 1995 Local Plan (under policy B6) and this policy retains that emphasis on the enhancement of two of these categories of historic structures. (Dragon Hall remains important, especially in the context of regeneration of King Street and is dealt with in policy CC11). The City Walls have suffered much damage over the years and it is therefore particularly important to retain and enhance those sections still standing. Norwich has 32 pre-reformation churches still standing, although most are now in other uses. The main issue for them is identifying appropriate uses. In addition the churchyards adjoining them are (in general) quiet oases within the noise of the City Centre and they are important for their archaeological significance. They should therefore be retained and enhanced as open spaces with considerable value for the community.
3.30 Enabling development is development that is contrary to established national and local planning policy, but which is occasionally permitted because it brings public benefits that have been demonstrated clearly to outweigh the harm that otherwise would be caused. The benefits are paid for by the value added to the land as a result of the granting of planning permission for its development and are principally concerned with enabling development to secure the future of heritage assets. Heritage assets are defined for the purpose of this policy as Scheduled Ancient Monuments and other archaeological remains, Historic Buildings both statutorily and locally listed, Conservation Areas or historic landscapes such as registered parks and gardens.
3.31 Most development that involves bringing heritage assets into optimum beneficial use or maintaining them in such use in accordance with policy as defined in the statutory local plan is NOT enabling development, since it is in accordance with policy. The defining characteristics of enabling development are that it is contrary to established planning policy and that the gain from contravening policy subsidises a public benefit that could not otherwise be achieved. Such proposals would only normally be entertained when funding or resources to secure the heritage asset cannot be generated in any other way. So, unlike most planning decisions, the financial consequences of the granting of permission are not only relevant but also fundamental to the decision making process. Success, therefore, depends crucially on the integrity and sustainability of the heritage asset not being materially compromised by the development, the ability of the scheme to deliver the promised result and consensus that public gain outweighs public loss.
3.32 In summary enabling development is an established and useful planning tool by which a community may be able to secure the future of a heritage asset and sometimes other benefits, provided it is satisfied that the balance of public advantage lies in doing so.
Urban Design Strategy
3.33 The Urban Task Force, under the chairmanship of Lord Rodgers of Riverside, asserted strongly that the quality of Britain’s urban areas needs to be improved, in order to promote the ‘Urban Renaissance’ which they proposed. The Urban White Paper, published in November 2000, supports this and proposes several initiatives to enhance urban design. A key component of this improvement focuses on quality of design, not just for new development, but also in order to make the best of our existing urban environments. The approach has recently been echoed in “By Design” and by the publications of CABE, to focus on policies that require attention to the context of the development within the immediate urban environment.
3.34 This approach is strongly supported by the City Council and this finds its expression in policy HBE12 below. The most important aspect of design is the relationship of buildings with the spaces and built form surrounding them, as well as the creation of attractive features and forms within larger developments. There is a variety of new techniques emerging, using modern technology, for demonstrating how these relationships will work in practice. Recent major schemes in Norwich have been presented using a ‘virtual reality’ computer model of parts of the City to provide graphic illustrations of different approaches to the development. Policy HBE12 envisages that similar techniques will become standard, certainly for larger developments. The techniques provide the means to promote the importance of design and agree what elements should be the focus for change. An Urban Design Strategy will be developed by the City Council to provide guidance on the interpretation this policy.
Height of Buildings and Corridors of Vision
3.35 Specific policies - dealing with the particular issues of the height of buildings in relation to important views of the City (HBE13), the value of enhancing the main gateways to the City (HBE14) and the importance of existing public spaces, which help to create the setting of buildings in the City (HBE15) – provide more detail of the key elements of the Urban Design Strategy.
3.36 Norwich sits below the edge of the Norfolk plateau, with broad views across the City, which contribute greatly to its townscape and sense of place. The Local Plan, therefore, seeks to control development which would intrude unduly into the major views. The form of development in these parts of the City will need to take account of the prominence of new buildings in the townscape and their appearance from particularly important viewpoints. The Council has undertaken some initial work on the major corridors of vision across the City and will provide a more definitive listing of the views considered to be important as supplementary planning guidance. Principal views concerned (at this stage) are the longer-distance views of:
This list is not intended to be exhaustive and will be added to by the study of the major corridors of vision referred to above. Figure 3.1 illustrates the main views of these features, which need to be taken into account in development heights.
Gateways to the City
3.37 In addition the Norfolk Structure Plan now refers to the need for development to “protect and enhance the setting and gateways to the City” (policy N1). This reference should be seen not only as a reference to the visual form of the edge of the urban area, but also applies to the important gateways, which frame the entry to the City Centre. Indeed, these gateways were originally defined by physical gates through the City Walls. There are important development opportunities within sight of these gateways. In addition to their visual importance, such sites are located at highly accessible points on the public transport network (in the main), and should therefore be considered suitable for fairly high density mixed use developments. This requires a high standard of design in order to integrate the mix of uses.
3.38 The appropriate form of development will differ according to the nature of the ‘Gateway’ site. Some of the gateway sites around the periphery of the City are important because they create an urban edge to the surrounding countryside. An appropriate design may therefore make a statement and provide an introduction to the urban form. Design of buildings, especially around the Harford Bridge, Eaton, Earlham and Martineau Lane gateways will need to take account of the prominence of some of the land and the landscape form of the slopes rising above the river valley.
3.39 At the gateways into the City Centre, a high standard of design will also be particularly important. Here development should seek to provide a strong statement in the design, which will assist in welcoming visitors to the Centre and reflect its importance. These locations are also consistent with policies AEC1 and TRA3 in terms of their accessibility by a range of modes of transport and hence should, where appropriate, seek to provide for visitor attractions (see also Policy TVA1). The gateways located in the river valley (A11 at Eaton; Harford Bridge (A140); Riverside/Yacht Station; Carrow Bridge; railway bridge) must take account of other policies relating to the character of those valleys and development be designed accordingly. This policy does not overrule the presumption against inappropriate development in the defined river valleys.
Urban Open Spaces
3.40 Policy HBE15 protects urban open spaces which contribute to the quality of the public realm and townscape in Norwich. These spaces will generally be hard-surfaced, pedestrian areas which allow for circulation space within an area of the City and help to create a diversity of street frontages. The City Council will encourage and promote schemes which enhance the quality of open spaces within the City, in particular through the development of a Spatial Strategy for the City. The Spatial Design Strategy will provide further detail on how this policy will apply.
Historic Colour Strategy
3.41 The application of external decorative colour to historic buildings in Norwich is a significant feature of the character of the City and expresses local identity. The natural colours of the predominant building materials used in the City – red and gault clays for bricks, red, smut or black glazed pantiles, natural slate, flints and cobbles, some imported natural stone, timber frames and renders – can be greatly complimented and enhanced by the careful and sensitive use of applied colour. The application of external colour to listed buildings can be a matter requiring listed building consent if such work affects the special architectural or historic character of the building. In order to provide guidance in such matters the City Council has developed a Historic Colour Strategy as Supplementary Planning Guidance, based on research into the historical use of colour and the range of pigments used to produce colours.
3.42 The aim of the Historic Colour Strategy is to establish a workable method for the use of colour in the City as applied to historic buildings under policy HBE12. The application of the Historic Colour Strategy will rely on the use and choice of colours from a preferred palette for the external decoration of historic buildings, wherever practicable.
3.42 Lighting can significantly enhance the quality of the built environment if handled carefully, but standardised solutions or inadequate levels of lighting can also make public spaces alienating. External lighting sources within the Conservation Areas can also have a significant and measurable effect on the character of these areas. The type and distribution of luminaires generally has the most discernible effect on character, but the level, intensity and colour of lighting can also have a far reaching impact on historic buildings individually and the character of areas of the City generally. The avoidance of light pollution is covered by policy EP22, which will prevent unnecessary glare and unsuitable lighting schemes. However, it is important that scheme design takes account of the need to reduce such pollution to a minimum. The lighting of important landmark buildings – such as City Hall, the Castle, the Cathedral and City Centre churches – will add to the appreciation of these buildings after dark and will improve security. Within new developments, the Council will expect lighting schemes to be designed to provide a safe and attractive environment, where lighting accentuates particular features of the scheme to provide a real sense of place.
Detailed Design Issues – Alterations and Extensions
3.44 There are other detailed matters which relate less to the overall townscape of the area and more to the appearance of particular buildings or streets. These are concerned mainly with alterations to buildings and street furniture, such as seating, statutory undertakers’ equipment, shop frontages, signage, telecommunications equipment, advertisements, etc. They are, nevertheless, quite significant in the overall appearance of the City and will be assessed against policies HBE17 to 19.
3.45 Extensions and alterations to existing buildings need to take account of their relationship to the building itself and to the townscape or character of the area and street. Supplementary planning guidance will be issued to assist in design of extensions, shopfronts and signs.
Detailed Design Issues – Street Furniture
3.46 Policy HBE18 provides for the Council to control aspects of the location and design of street furniture. This will generally be achieved by seeking agreement with utility operators and other bodies which have rights to permitted development. However, on occasion these will be covered within a development where the highway or other public circulation areas are designed (or altered) as part of a development. The aim will be to avoid visual clutter and to ensure that street furniture and landscaping avoid creating dangers to pedestrians or other road users. Supplementary Planning Guidance will be prepared on the interpretation of this policy.
Site Design for Safety and Security
3.46 Safety and security are important considerations in good design. Poorly designed buildings and spaces can often cause safety and mobility problems. They can also exacerbate problems for vulnerable groups, which exist in the wider society. In most cases this can be addressed by care being taken from the early stages of designing a scheme, in order to build good practice into the design. Access for people with physical and sensory disabilities will be particularly important, although it is accepted that in some circumstances where existing and historic buildings are involved, this may not be fully possible. Developers should ensure, however, that access for disabled people is addressed as far as can be done within the constraints of the particular building. Safety from sudden attack is a particular concern in relation to open spaces and landscaped areas. Consideration must also be given to access and visibility for children. These issues are covered in policy HBE19.
3.47 One aspect of security is the use of CCTV cameras in the City Centre. The City Centre has a network of security cameras now in operation, which have contributed to reducing crime in the Centre over recent years. Where such equipment requires planning permission, this should ensure that it is located so as to minimise intrusion in the street scene. The best security is to ensure that these areas are well used at all times and this aspect is referred to in several parts of the City Centre chapter. In general the Council does not accept that physical barriers to access are essential to security. However, such barriers in public places may exceptionally be necessary, where large numbers of people congregate and where there is no other method of providing security, for example to a residential development.
3.48 The attention of developers is particularly drawn (in the context of policy HBE19) to Department of Environment Circular 5/94 (Planning Out Crime), to the Police Guidance on security in design and to the consultation service of the Norfolk Police’s design consultant.
3.49 Telecommunications developments are an essential modern requirement for businesses and the general public. The significance of these developments is recognised by Planning Policy Guidance Note 8, which advises that local plans should include policies to deal with developments which are not permitted by virtue of the General Development Order. The revised PPG8, issued since the Deposit version was compiled, requires that local plans should not seek to control the health impacts of telecommunications masts, but should rely on national standards being complied with by operators. Reference to this is therefore now included in the policy. The policy seeks to minimise visual impact, with particular effect in Conservation Areas, the major nature conservation areas and on listed buildings. In these areas it is expected that masts will be disguised appropriately if they have to be located in the protected areas. Operators will be expected to share masts, where they are large enough to accommodate additional receivers.
3.50 Advertisement controls have been applied to date without any clear policy in the 1995 Local Plan. Government guidelines lay down that the main factors to be taken into account in determining applications for advertisement consent are highway safety and amenity. Policy HBE21 seeks also to control the scale and appearance of hoardings in relation to the general appearance of Conservation Areas. It is deemed inappropriate for large hoardings to be located in or adjoining historic areas, where they appear out of scale and out of conformity with their surroundings.