«Bosworth Battlefield: The Way Forward Final: August 2013 Alison Farmer Associates 29 Montague Road Cambridge CB4 1BU af in ...»
Registered Battlefields Registered Battlefields do not offer statutory protection to an area of landscape.
However, the inclusion of land within the Registered Battlefield by English Heritage confers a 'material planning consideration’ status on the area.
Local Wildlife Sites Local Wildlife Sites are the most important places for wildlife outside legally protected areas such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Within the study area there are a number of Local Wildlife Sites (LWS), which include mesotrophic grassland along the area’s green lanes and are important wildlife corridors in an often intensively farmed landscape. They include verges along Mill Lane and Shenton Lane East and West.
A larger area of LWS also exists at Brook Farm (south and west of Stoke Golding) and includes an extensive meadow area between the disused railway and canal and the farm pond.
Enterprise Zone To the south west of the Battlefield area lies the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA), which was established in 1946 on the site of the former RAF aerodrome. It became a centre of excellence for the research resources of UK car manufacturers of the time.
The MIRA facility now comprises some 340 hectares of land and includes 53 miles of test track (known as the Proving Ground), specialist research and development buildings and testing facilities within a secured estate (see page 62 for the extent of the estate).
MIRA Technology Park houses both MIRA’s operations and a large number of leading engineering companies working in the field of transport-related research and development. The growth and success of both MIRA and attraction of new companies has led to the proposed growth of the Technology Park through the development of a master planned expansion of operations on site. Planning permission was granted in Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council - Stoke Golding Conservation Area (Jan 2008), Shenton Conservation Area Appraisal (Jan 2008), Sutton Cheney Conservation Area Appraisal (Jan 2008) and Ashby Canal Conservation Area (Dec 2009).
March 2012 for the development of a 71 hectare Business Technology Park comprising replacement MIRA headquarters, office, research and manufacturing facilities, hotel and local facilities including retail/cafe/restaurant facilities.
The majority of development is proposed within the centre and the south of the estate;
however the remaining area to the North West, in closest proximity to the Battlefield area comprises testing grounds and areas for Ministry of Defence activities. Given the sensitive nature of some of these testing activities, extensive landscape boundaries already exist at the perimeter of the site, which helps to contain the MIRA site in the wider landscape setting.
The continued operation of the MIRA site and its future expansion is supported through the Hinckley and Bosworth Local Plan and its award of Enterprise Zone status by the government. The national and local aspiration is to promote MIRA as the most advanced transport technology development in Europe, with the potential to generate more than 2,000 jobs over the next ten years.
The continued development of this site is important to the local economy and should be supported. However it is important that the development is sympathetic to the wider landscape and Battlefield Area and that it is brought forward in association with landscape belts and features in order to buffer and screen commercial activities.
Biodiversity Action Plan/Priority Habitats The Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) was published in 2010.
There are 19 habitats which are priorities for conservation and restoration; these are
listed in Appendix 5. The following are relevant to the Bosworth Battlefield area:
broadleaved woodland, field margins, hedgerows, lowland wood pasture and parkland, neutral grassland, reedbed, wet woodland, floodplain wetland, roadside verges, springs and flushes. There are also a number of protected species relevant to the Battlefield area including badgers, barn owls, bats, birds, Great Crested Newts and water vole. The BAP also provides guidance on the creation of new wildlife habitats and an extract of this can be found in Appendix 5.
National Policy Localism Act The Localism Act was given Royal Assent on 15th November 2011. This Act, in part, seeks reforms which make the planning system clearer, more democratic and more effective. One of the central tenants of the Act was the introduction of Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDPs). These changes have potentially far reaching effects for planning within the Bosworth Battlefield area.
National Planning Policy Framework On 27 March 2012, the Government published the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) superseding all previous Planning Policy Statements. Importantly, the Framework largely carries forward existing planning policies and protections in a significantly more streamlined and accessible form. It also introduces the presumption in favour of sustainable development, and makes adjustments to some specific policies.
Local Policy Core Strategy and Local Plan The Hinckley and Bosworth Core Strategy was adopted in 2009 and provides the strategic context and policies to guide development in the borough. The following
Core Strategy policies are relevant to the study area:
• Policy 5: Transport Infrastructure in the Sub-Regional Centre • Policy 7: Key Rural Centres • Policy 11: Key Rural Centres Stand Alone • Policy 13: Rural Hamlets • Policy 14: Rural Areas: Transport • Policy 20: Green Infrastructure • Policy 23: Tourism Development These policies stand alongside the save policies of the existing Local Plan (2001) which shape and inform day-to-day planning decisions. The following saved Local
Plan (2001) policies are relevant to the study area:
• BE7: Development in Conservation Areas
• BE12: Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Nationally Important Archaeological Sites
• BE13: Initial Assessment of Sites of Archaeological Interest and Potential
• BE14: Archaeological Field Evaluation of Sites
• BE15: Preservation of Archaeological Remains in Situ
• BE16: Archaeological Investigation and Recording
• BE17: Historic Battlefields
• NE5: Development in the Countryside
• NE6: Sites of Special Scientific Interest
• NE7: Sites of County and Local Nature Conservation Significance.
These saved Local Plan policies are due to be fully replaced by the development management policies with the Site Allocations and Development Management Policies Development Plan Document. These will be replaced upon adoption of this document, expected in December 2014.
In addition this document allocates land across the borough for various uses including housing, open spaces, employment and will also include the boundary for the battlefield.
Supplementary Planning Guidance Landscape Character A landscape character assessment for the Hinckley and Bosworth Borough was carried out in 2006 and adopted as supplementary planning guidance. More detail can be found in Section 5.2 of this report and in Appendix 6.
Green Infrastructure In 2008, a green infrastructure strategy for Hinckley and Bosworth was undertaken and adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance.
The Bosworth Battlefield area falls within the Western Zone of the study. Within this zone four green infrastructure priorities have been identified and a plan showing their location can be found in Appendix 7.
Biodiversity Assessment This document, produced in March 2009, provides a baseline assessment of the biodiversity and nature conservation interest of the borough. It includes maps illustrating key habitat areas and nature conservation designations.
Other Heritage Initiatives English Heritage - National Heritage Protection Plan The overwhelming majority of people in England value and appreciate the historic environment and they want to see it appropriately protected. The National Heritage Protection Plan sets out a new framework which English Heritage believes will ensure this happens more effectively. It covers the period April 2011 to March 2015.
English Heritage - Heritage Crime Initiative Crimes and anti-social behaviour that damage England’s historic environment will for the first time be tackled in a much more coordinated way through a new initiative launched by English Heritage from February 2011. Further information can be found in Appendix 8. There are opportunities to consider these in the context of the development of the CP and the proposed action plan.
Remit of the Conservation plan2.4
The remit of the Conservation Plan is particularly pertinent in the context of planning applications and the recently updated Registered Battlefield. The following seeks to clarify this situation and also touches on other matters relating to conservation areas, agricultural regimes and access and rights of way.
Registered Battlefield and Planning Policies English Heritage, as the body responsible for the stewardship of our heritage has a statutory obligation to respond to the new archaeological evidence and to revise the boundary of the Registered Battlefield. This process has now been completed (June 2013).
The Register of Battlefields entails no additional statutory controls but it is recognised as a material consideration for the local planning authority when determining planning applications which stand within the Battlefield or have the potential to affect its setting.
This means that when in receipt of a planning application in the area, the local planning authority is obliged by national policy to take into account the historic significance of the site to inform a decision-making. It is also required by central government to incorporate protection for battlefield sites when preparing local development plans.7 This is the same regime as currently exists.
The Conservation Plan, together with the Registered Battlefield designation, will assist the local planning authority in assessing the significance of the Battlefield. It provides the evidence base for Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council about where there are areas of sensitivity, and others which are not. There is currently a saved (2001) Local Plan policy BE17: Historic Battlefields which is used in determining planning applications within the designated Battlefield area (now extended).
This policy seeks to ensure that the character and setting of the battlefield is not adversely affected by proposed development. This only applies to development which requires planning permission i.e. nothing within the permitted development rights of householders or agricultural holdings.
This policy will remain active until the adoption of the Site Allocations and Development Management Policies DPD expected in early 2015, following public consultation in late 2013 and independent examination in 2014.
However, it is noted that the majority of the objectives and policies in the document Bosworth Battlefield: The Way Forward (see sections 9 and 10) cannot be directly enforced through the planning system as they stand out of its remit. Rather that the local planning authority is supportive of a partnership approach to achieving a sustainable future for the Battlefield area.
Implications For those who have been living with the Registered Battlefield area since 1995, it means that there will be little significant change – developers are already required to consider the implications of their developments on the Battlefield area as part of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
For those who are newly included in the Registered Battlefield area, they will be obliged to identify the battlefield’s significance and the effect of the proposals on that significance which is a requirement of the NPFF and cannot be avoided.
However, it is not the intention of the local planning authority for proposals to be curtailed by excessive survey requirements. The demonstration of impact upon the significance should be proportional to the scheme being proposed. For example a barn would be required to be accompanied by a short statement highlighting what lighting will required as part of the development, what daily activities are expected to be undertaken and the height and mass of the building.
In relation to wind turbines, planning applications will be rigorously assessed on their landscape impacts, noise, overshadowing and effect on birds (amongst other material considerations) no matter where they are in the Borough. There may be additional sensitivities within the Registered Battlefield which will be considered in this context.
Letter from English Heritage on revised designation (7.6.13) The benefit for all parties (developers and planning authorities) is that all the heritage significances relating to the Battlefield are now contained within the Conservation Plan and this information can be drawn upon to aid that process. It is also a body of evidence and document that Natural England will recognise and that can help those landowners wishing to pursue future stewardship schemes Conservation Areas The Conservation Plan is not proposing that a Conservation Area is created for the Battlefield area under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
Conservation Areas are designated for their special architectural and historic interest i.e.
their built heritage and are mostly designated by the local planning authority. This is usually based on policies which clearly identify the features of the area that should be preserved or enhanced, and set out this can be done.8 It may be that at some future point the local planning authority and other stakeholders develop additional conservation areas based on the heritage and other significances identified in this report (see Section 8).
Agricultural Regimes The Conservation Plan outlines some of the physical factors that can impact on the archaeological evidence including those which can potentially result from agricultural regimes such as ploughing, use of fertilisers or drainage of land (see page 59).