5.1 JCS policies cover the city centre in policy 11 and the remainder of the Norwich urban area (including the suburbs and fringe parishes outside the city boundary) in policy 12. To reflect the difference in JCS policy approach, the proposed allocations in this document are organised into two main sections: sites proposed for development in the city centre, and sites in the remainder of the city. The scale of new development proposed in the city as a whole aims to deliver the growth proposed in the JCS whilst balancing this against the need to protect the city’s character and environment. The JCS requires urban intensification in Norwich, with the effective use of brownfield sites for housing, whilst at the same time accepting there is a need to retain land for city centre retail, commercial and leisure uses, other forms of employment and green infrastructure. The Site allocations plan therefore makes best use of available land in the city, with mainly higher density housing and mixed use development in the city centre and around district centres, local centres and public transport corridors, and medium density housing elsewhere. In order to promote biodiversity, and to ensure good local access to recreation and employment opportunities, considerable areas of the city are protected as open spaces and employment areas.
Overview of city centre site allocations
5.2 This plan allocates 31 sites in the city centre as defined in the DM policies plan. These are numbered CC1 – CC30, with CC17 in two parts (CC17a and CC17b). Overall, these sites will help to deliver the policies of the JCS by promoting a vibrant city centre, which will continue to function as the main focus in the sub-region for retail, leisure and office development. For information on those sites previously proposed but not carried forward into the adopted plan please see appendix 1.
5.3 Most of the sites proposed for development in the city centre will deliver mixed use development, which will contribute to the vibrancy of the city centre and strengthen the city‘s sub-regional role. Housing is a key element in many of these allocations, along with office and commercial uses, and retailing and other uses as appropriate. A number of allocations, such as at Rose Lane/Mountergate and at St. Stephens, propose the redevelopment of poor quality outdated offices for a mix of uses, including grade A offices and flats. Such redevelopment will lead both to an intensification of uses and to the provision of the high quality office accommodation in the most sustainable location in the area, as required by the JCS. For the most part, the site specific policies in this plan do not specify the type and size of housing to be achieved on individual sites; policy DM12 in the DM policies plan states that proposals should provide for a mix of dwellings in terms of size, type and tenure, including a proportion of family housing where the size and configuration of the site makes this practicable and feasible. In some allocations in this plan, family housing is considered to be particularly suitable, such as in the northern city centre area, and this is reflected in the relevant site specific allocation policies. The allocated sites will deliver in the region of 927 additional dwellings to 2026.
5.4 The majority of proposed mixed use allocations are focused in the south and south-east of the city centre. These include major allocations to achieve comprehensive regeneration in the Rose Lane area including the Rose Lane / Mountergate site (CC4) and St Anne’s Wharf (CC6). The Rose Lane area is identified in the JCS as being a major focus for commercial-led mixed use development, with major improvements to the public realm.
5.5 Other comprehensive regeneration areas identified in the JCS include the St Stephen’s area and the northern city centre. The latter is covered by the adopted NCCAAP which contains a number of allocations including the redevelopment of Anglia Square; some further allocations are proposed in this Site allocations plan in the northern city centre area which are additional to those in the area action plan.
5.6 The JCS specifies that the St Stephen’s area will be developed in accordance with the St Stephen’s Street area outline masterplan, to promote retailing, offices and housing, and to create an improved pedestrian environment. The Site allocations plan will allocate a number of sites in this area; the individual site specific policies for these sites have been informed by the masterplan.
5.7 The JCS has identified the need to build on the city centre’s importance for key economic sectors including financial and general insurance services, retailing and creative and media services, and on maintaining its successful role as one of the top 10 retail centres in the UK. Most of the sites proposed for development in the city centre will deliver mixed use development. Housing is a key element in many of these allocations, along with office and commercial uses, and retailing and other uses as appropriate. The DM policies plan identifies an office priority area in the city centre (policy DM19) in which new office development will actively be encouraged – all proposed allocations over 0.25 hectare within this area seek to deliver a proportion of office floorspace as part of the mix of development.
5.8 The city centre area also includes some allocations which are solely for housing. These are located mainly towards the edge of the centre, in the Oak street area and in the Ber Street / King Street area and, along with the mixed use sites referred to above, will help to deliver the JCS housing requirement for the city centre (2,750 units 2008 - 2026, which takes account of committed development as well as new allocations). Undeveloped sites allocated in the NCCAAP, committed sites with consent and additional windfall sites emerging over the plan period will also contribute to achieving the overall target. Between 2008 and March 2013, 482 new dwellings were completed in the city centre.
Overview of proposed site allocations in the remainder of the city
5.9 The Site allocations plan allocates 42 sites in the remainder of the city (site references R1 – R42, outside the defined city centre area. Their development for a range of uses including housing (in the region of 2215 new dwellings to 2026), employment, and open space, will help deliver the JCS targets for new housing and employment. JCS policy 12 focuses on the existing suburbs (and urban/rural fringe) which are home to significant numbers of people businesses and environmental assets. They provide a wide range of opportunities for redevelopment regeneration and environmental enhancement.
5.10 The sites proposed for allocation in this plan include the strategically important east Norwich sites, including the Deal Ground and Utilities sites, identified as a priority for regeneration in JCS policy 12. These sites present major physical regeneration opportunities for mixed use development and enhanced green linkages from the city centre to the Broads, which require area wide coordination. Also included are sites in the west of the city around the University of East Anglia, and in the northern part of the city, stretching from the northern city centre to Mile Cross and New Catton.
5.11 The plan contains some sites which were previously in employment use (or proposed for employment use in previous local plans) but are now allocated for other uses. Such reallocations are generally for other purposes which will retain employment as part of a mix of uses and can secure wider regeneration benefits, such as the Deal Ground (R9) and Mile Cross Depot site (R39).
Policy cross-reference in site specific allocation policies
5.12 The proposed site allocations are in accordance with the broad policy approach set out in the NPPF and with the local policy approach set out in the JCS, the NCCAAP and the DM policies plan. In general, the site-specific policies do not repeat relevant policies in higher level documents or material covered in other plans, but focus chiefly on the specific policy requirements as they apply to each site. This means that the Site allocations plan must be read in conjunction with other relevant local plans making up the development plan for Norwich as a whole.
5.13 Development proposals must therefore have regard to the detailed policies within the DM policies plan and the JCS, and the NCCAAP if located in that area.
5.14 Although not mentioned specifically in the site policies set out below, many JCS policies are relevant to individual site allocations. These include:
- JCS policy 1 which addresses climate change and protection of environmental assets, and defines the green infrastructure network for the greater Norwich area;
- JCS policy 2 which seeks a high quality of design for all new development;
- JCS policy 3 which requires renewable and low carbon energy and water efficiency in all major development. To achieve this, it requires major schemes to provide at least 10% of their energy requirements from decentralised low carbon and renewable energy sources and for other proposals to demonstrate that they have taken opportunities to maximise the contribution of such sources. It also requires new housing development to achieve Code for sustainable homes Level 4 for water efficiency and for schemes over 500 dwellings to achieve level 6 by 2015;
- JCS policy 4 which seeks to achieve a proportion of affordable housing on all sites, dependent on the number of units of housing proposed;
- JCS policy 5 which seeks to address the needs of small, medium and start-up businesses by requiring a range and choice of small and medium employment sites to be retained;
- JCS policy 6 which requires concentration of development close to essential services and facilities to encourage walking and cycling as the primary means of travel, with public transport for wider access;
- JCS policy 11 which focuses on Norwich city centre: in order to support its integrated approach to economic, social, physical and cultural regeneration in the city centre, the JCS promotes improvements to the public realm, improved open spaces and green linkages, improved walking and cycling provision, and sustainable transport links in accordance with NATS;
- JCS policy 12 which focuses on the remainder of the Norwich urban area including the suburbs, and identifies regeneration priorities such as the east Norwich area
5.15 The majority of policies in the DM policies plan will be relevant to the site-specific allocations set out in this plan. Some of these key policies are set below (this is not an exhaustive list):
- Policy DM2, which is concerned with protection of amenity;
- Policy DM3, which sets out design principles applying to new development, including layout, density, scale and massing, green infrastructure and landscaping, energy efficiency and climate change;
- Policy DM4, which encourages renewable energy schemes as part of new development;
- Policy DM5, which is concerned with issues around flooding and sustainable drainage;
- Policy DM6 which covers the protection of natural environmental assets;
- Policy DM12 which sets out principles for residential development, encouraging mixed use development on individual sites where practical and achievable as part of a sustainable approach to the use of land. To accord with this policy (and to deliver the numbers of homes provided for on specific allocations in this plan), housing densities in the city centre are generally expected to be high, to make the most efficient use of land in a sustainable and accessible location. Some of the proposed allocations fall within the northern city centre area, and are therefore subject to the policies of the NCCAAP which promotes family housing on certain sites, especially in the Oak Street area, to meet a shortfall of such housing in the area overall;
- Policy DM28, which encourages and promotes sustainable transport and accessibility.
5.16 Other DM policies which will be relevant in specific cases, dependent on scale or location of development, include: DM5, where a flood risk assessment is required for sites over 1 hectare in size, in flood risk zones 2 or 3, or identified Critical Drainage Catchments; DM8, which requires on-site provision of publicly accessible open space as an integral part of the landscaping and design of development on larger sites; DM9 which sets out principles for the protection and enhancement of heritage assets (relevant where allocated sites include, or will have an impact on, such assets) and DM19 which requires an element of new office development on sites over 0.25 hectare in size. Most sites within the city centre fall within the City Centre Conservation Area and the Area of Main Archaeological Interest (both subject to DM9), as defined on the proposals map. Policy DM32 encourages car free or low car housing subject to a number of locational criteria.
Approach to allocating sites with planning consent
5.17 The site allocations in this plan include some sites with current planning permission where development has not yet commenced. As there is no guarantee that sites with planning permission will be developed, particularly in the current economic climate, the general approach taken is that such sites are included in this plan as proposed allocations in order to establish the principle of development that will be acceptable on them, should consented schemes not proceed.
5.18 The nature of the site-specific allocation in such cases, in terms of proposed uses, number of units etc., may or may not reflect the content of existing consented schemes. Other factors are also taken into consideration if they indicate that the consented scheme is not likely to be deliverable (if for example significant time has elapsed since the permission was granted, during which time land and property values may have fallen to an extent that is likely to make a consented scheme unviable, In these circumstances a different use may be considered more appropriate in the future in the event that a planning permission is not taken up.
5.19 Sites with planning permission where development has commenced are normally excluded from the final allocation list as they are no longer available for development. However for a small number of sites, where development has technically commenced, for example where a trench has been dug, or foundations laid, but there does not seem to be any prospect of the site being fully developed for the consented scheme, this site will be considered to be available for the purposes of this plan. Such judgements are made on the merits of individual sites and planning consents.
Requirements for new development proposals
5.20 The allocations in this plan set out a number of site specific requirements which will vary depending on the location, scale and nature of development. These may include, for example, the requirement for an archaeological investigation if the site falls within the Area of Main Archaeological Interest, or where there is some known archaeological interest. They may also include the requirement for a flood risk assessment taking account of specifically identified risks (for example from surface water flooding), or the need for site investigation to appraise ground stability, subsidence risk or land contamination, where appropriate. Such requirements will generally be referred to in the explanatory text rather than the policy.
5.21 However it is important to note that there will be additional information and documentation required to support individual development proposals. The council’s validation checklist, which is available on its website, sets out details about the information and documentation required to support planning applications, so it is important that this is referred to (in addition to the site-specific requirements set out in this plan), to ensure that development proposals are fully supported by the necessary documentation.