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Flintshire County Council Unitary Development Plan 2000-2015
Adopted 28th September 2011

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Chapter 7

Landscapes

Relevant Strategic Aims
e. Natural environment
Policy Objectives
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Policy List
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  1. RURAL LANDSCAPES - to protect and enhance the countryside
  2. GREEN SPACES - to protect valuable open space in settlements
  3. LANDSCAPE DISTINCTIVENESS - to protect and enhance the local distinctiveness of landscape
  4. DEGRADED LANDSCAPE - to promote and support environmental enhancement

L1 Landscape Character

L2 Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

L3 Green Spaces

L4 Common Land

L5 Environmental Improvement Schemes

L6 The Undeveloped Coast

Indicators of Policy Performance
Targets
  1. Area of publicly accessible open space gained/lost
  2. Application permitted contrary to policy in countryside/green barrier/AONB/undeveloped coast
  3. Area of green space per 1000 population in urban areas
  4. Amount and type of new development in the open countryside/green barriers/AONB,/ undeveloped coast
  5. Number of environmental enhancement schemes
  6. Applications where a landscape assessment is included
  7. Landmap assessment
 

 

7 Landscapes

Introduction

7.1 The quality of much of the landscape of Flintshire is an asset which should be protected. It reflects the ecology, culture and heritage of the area and contributes to people's quality of life and a sense of place. Flintshire has a great variety of landscapes ranging from the shores of the Dee Estuary, through tracts of agricultural land, open common land, small wooded valleys to the slopes of the Clwydian Range. This range of landscapes provides considerable variation over a short distance, and in places affords extensive views across the County and Dee Estuary over to the Wirral and beyond. The policies in this chapter seek to protect the character and local distinctiveness of the landscape by retaining its inherent features and where possible encourage its enhancement through the planning process.

 

National Planning Policy

7.2The Welsh Government sets out in para 5.1.2 of Planning Policy Wales the following objectives for the conservation and improvement of the natural heritage:

7.3 Section 5.4 of Planning Policy Wales requires that development plans must set out the locational policy framework for the conservation and enhancement of the natural heritage and seek to conserve and enhance the natural heritage in ways which bring benefits to local communities and encourage social and economic progress. Development plans should encourage the appropriate management of features of the landscape which are of major importance for flora and fauna. Policies should attach appropriate weight to statutory and non-statutory landscape designations and devise criteria against which development will be assessed. The conservation and, where appropriate, enhancement of landscape outside designated areas should also be sought.

 

Flintshire Context

7.4 In assessing the landscape impact of proposals, the Plan will take into account the Landscape Strategy for the County prepared in 1996. The Strategy identifies 12 different landscape types and describes individual landscape features that make up their distinctive characters. This has been updated by LANDMAP which is now available to provide a database of landscape character areas and give more detailed evaluation of landscape quality.

7.5 The Clwydian Range was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1985, which is national recognition of the special quality of this upland area. In terms of landscape protection the AONB has the same level of status and protection as the National Parks. Traditional landscape features and buildings will be retained and new development should contain vernacular detailing and use local construction materials and appropriate planting to the area. Smaller important landscape areas in and around settlements have been designated "green spaces" and will be protected from development. Although 159 have been identified the list is not exhaustive and similar areas not currently identified and meeting the selection criteria will also be protected. Landscape improvements in association with proposals and planned programmes will also be encouraged. Due to the special character of the coastal landscape and the natural processes of the sea upon it, the last policy in the chapter addresses coastal issues and the means of dealing with development pressures in this particular location.

7.6 Landscape policies in this plan should not be considered in isolation but as part of a package of measures including the Countryside Strategy, Biodiversity Action Plan and the AONB Management Plan.

 

Policies

L1 Landscape Character

New development must be designed to maintain or enhance the character and appearance of the landscape.

7.7 Flintshire’s landscape is the result of centuries of past human activity and as such is a non renewable resource which should be safeguarded for future generations. All landscapes including undesignated landscapes are important, and Plan policy will seek to ensure that the particular character and features of each landscape will be protected from development or to ensure that those identified character features are protected or retained within new development. Attractive rolling farmland or degraded land on the urban fringe can have significant local value, though in the case of the former the emphasis will be on protection and on enhancement with the latter. Urban fringe locations are those which are most likely to be developed, and it is therefore important to consider landscaping buffer areas to reduce the effect of new development on the countryside around settlements. This will generally take the form of native trees and shrub planting and protection of existing vegetation.

7.8 This policy seeks to ensure that new development takes into consideration features within the landscape which make up its character and local distinctiveness. These will vary between localities and may include for example, undulating farmland interspersed with hedgerows, small woodlands, ponds, dry stone walls or the flat coastal saltmarsh of the Dee Estuary. In this regard the landscape setting and the potential visual intrusion from distant viewpoints will be important considerations. Where the Local Planning Authority considers it appropriate, applicants must demonstrate that a landscape appraisal has been carried out and taken into consideration in development proposals. In these cases the effect of the development on the surrounding landscape and also a landscaping scheme associated with the design of the development, should be addressed.

7.9 The Flintshire Landscape Strategy (1996) covers the whole of Flintshire and identifies landscape types in the County and their individual landscape characteristics. The strategy will be used to assess the impact of development on individual landscape features as well as the wider implications for landscape character. The Council has updated this strategy with the LANDMAP system. This is a landscape assessment methodology which evaluates landscape in various ways such as visual and sensory, biodiversity and history and archaeology to develop an information database which forms a basis for management, conservation and policy decisions. The LANDMAP system is being adopted for landscape management throughout Wales.

 

Other key policies:

 

L2 Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Development within or affecting the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will be permitted only where:

  1. it maintains and where appropriate enhances the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage and preserves the natural tranquillity of the AONB; and
  2. it will be designed to a high standard using traditional materials and planting.

Major developments within the AONB will be the subject of rigorous examination and will not be permitted unless there is an overriding need in terms of proven national interest and there are no alternative sites.

7.10 The Clwydian Range has been designated an AONB because of the quality of its landscape which contains distinctive and contrasting types of upland scenery including moorland, limestone crags, woodland and rolling farmland. Only a small part of the total area of 61 square miles is within the Plan area. The principal planning objective of this policy is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the Clwydian Range AONB for the national good. AONB’s are of equal status to National Parks in terms of landscape and scenic beauty. Emphasis will be placed on retaining and extending traditional landscapes, materials and local vernacular buildings. Flintshire County Council is part of the Joint Advisory Committee of the Clwydian Range AONB which has produced an AONB Management Plan for the designated area. The Management Plan, prepared as a statutory requirement of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, sets out the policy framework within which objectives for the AONB will be achieved. It also includes useful advice on a range of issues in relation to the AONB.

7.11 Particular regard will be paid to permitting sustainable forms of well designed development respecting local vernacular and using traditional local building materials such as stone and slate. Proposals normally allowed in the open countryside should be designed in such a way as to minimise visual, noise or other forms of intrusion such as light pollution. Developments outside, but likely to adversely impact on the AONB will also be considered under this policy.

 

Other Key Policies

 

L3 Green Spaces

The sites listed below have been designated as green spaces on the proposals map:

Settlement

Ref. no.

Green Space

Alltami

1

Common land within settlement boundary

Afonwen

2

Old Railway

Bagillt

3

Adj. St. Mary’s Church

 

4

Adj. Bryn Merllyn School

 

5

Land between Wern Ucha and Bryn Dyrys 

 

6

Llys Maesteg

 

7

Victoria Road

Bretton (and Broughton retail park)

8

Broughton Park landscape buffer

 

9

Village Green at Bretton Road/ Bretton Lane Junction

Broughton

10

Areas around Broughton Hall Road underpass

 

11

Landsdown Road

 

12

Brookes Avenue

 

13

Ffordd Cledwen

Brynford

14

Adj. St Michael’s Church

Buckley

15

Mount Pool

 

16

West of Elfed Park

 

17

East of The Beeches

 

18

Common land within the settlement boundary

 

19

Etna Park

 

20

West of Elfed Drive

 

21

Mill Lane

 

22

Princess Avenue

 

23

West View

 

24

Laurel Drive / Hawthorne Avenue

 

25

Lane End Cricket Club

 

26

Chester Road

 

27

Forest Walk

 

28

Forest Walk (2)

 

29

Meadow View, Little Mountain

 

30

The Flash

Burntwood/Drury

31

Land adjacent to Daulwyn Road

 

32

Land between Burntwood Road and Meadow Avenue

Caerwys

33

Adj. To St Michael’s Church

Carmel

34

Adj. Celyn Farm

 

35

Carmel Road

 

36

Tan y Coed

Coed Talon/Pontbodkin

37

Areas around Byr Brook

Connah’s Quay

38

Former Prince’s Tip

 

39

Land to rear of Ffordd Llanarth / Maengwyn Avenue

 

40

North of Church Street

 

41

Land at Barmouth Close

 

42

West of Wepre Drive and Richmond Road

 

43

Granby Court

 

44

Central Park

 

45

Adj. Broadoak Wood

 

46

Land to rear of Bryn Road Cemetery

 

47

Llwyni Drive

 

48

Ffordd Cae Llwyn

Ewloe

49

Village Green, St. David’s Park

 

50

Parkland between business park and housing

 

51

Disused railway cutting north of Chester Road

 

52

East of Level Road

 

53

West of Level Road

 

54

Chester Road pond

 

55

South of Bronte Grove

 

56

West of Longfellow Avenue

 

57

Site East of Level Road (opposite Village Green)

 

58

Former Railway Trackbed

 

59

Carlines Avenue

 

60

Maple Crescent

Flint

61

Swinchiard Brook

 

62

Off Henry Street

 

63

Chapel Street

 

64

Knights Green

 

65

Tudor Avenue

 

66

Pen Goch Hill

 

67

Opposite Chester Road School

 

68

Pentre Recreation Ground

 

69

Croes Atti Lane

 

70

London Road Greenspace

 

71

Windsor Drive

Flint Mountain

72

Village Green

 

73

School Lane / Y Waun

Garden City

74

Off Kingsley Road

Gorsedd

75

Adj. Vicarage

Greenfield

76

Adj. Post Office

 

77

Adj. Glan y Don

 

78

Park Hall Road

 

79

Tan y Felin (2)

 

80

Cairnton Crescent

 

81

Bagillt Road

Gronant

82

Land at east end of village

 

83

East of Gronant Hill

 

84

Bethesda Street

Gwaenysgor

85

Land adj. To St. Mary’s Church

Gwernaffield

86

Opposite the Miners Arms

 

87

Cae Rhug Lane

Hawarden

88

Overlea Drive

 

89

Truemans Hill / Motte

Halkyn

90

Village Centre

Higher Kinnerton

91

The Chase

 

92

Main Road Football Pitch

Holywell

93

Fron Park

 

94

Pen y Maes Road

 

95

North of the Beeches

 

96

Top of Greenfield Valley

 

97

Pistyll

Leeswood

98

Adj. To Ffordd Siarl

 

99

Maes y Meillion

 

100

Llys Ann

 

101

Sycamore Drive

Lixwm

102

Adj. Capel y Berthan

Mancot

103

Leeches Close

 

104

Hawarden Way

 

105

Mancot Way

 

106

Leaches Lane

Mold

107

East of Park Avenue

 

108

Bailey Hill

 

109

Alyn Meadow

 

110

Parc Alun off King Street

 

111

North of Gas Lane

 

112

Adj. Maes Bodlonfa

 

113

West of Ffordd Dolgoed

 

114

Upper Bryn Coch Lane

 

115

Land between Llys y Foel & Bromfield Ind. Estate

 

116

East of Synthite

 

117

Maes Gwern

 

118

County Hall

 

119

Ffordd Dolgoed

 

120

Victoria Park

 

121

Gas Lane

 

122

Maes y Dre

 

123

Railway Line and River Alyn Meadows

Mostyn (Maes Pennant)

124

Y Gerddi, Maes Pennant

 

125

Ffordd Ysgubor

Mynydd Isa

126

North of Bryn Road

 

127

Adj. To Bryn Road

 

128

Moelwyn  Close

 

129

Wat’s Dyke Infants School

 

130

Vale Drive

 

131

Chamber’s Lane & Alyndale Avenue

 

132

South of Moel Gron

 

133

Heol Fammau Park

New Brighton

134

Land adjacent to A494

Northop

135

South of Vicarage

 

136

Ffordd Gwynedd

Northop Hall

137

Llys y Wennol

Pentre Halkyn

138

Community Centre

 

139

Lon y Fron

Penyffordd & Penymynydd

140

Green Park

 

141

Melwood Close

Rhes y cae

142

Adj. Ebeneezer Chapel

 

143

South of School House

Rhosesmor

144

East of Mold Road

Rhydymwyn

145

North of St. John’s Church

Saltney

146

Chester Road and the drainage channel

 

147

Park Avenue

 

148

Balderton Brook

 

149

Tegid Way

Sandycroft

150

Factory Road

 

151

Crofters Park

Shotton/Aston

152

Alexander Street

 

153

North Street

 

154

Central Drive

 

155

Shotton Lane

Sychdyn

156

North of Vownog

 

157

Bryn Hyfryd

Treuddyn

158

Queen Street

Ysceifiog

159

Opposite Fox Inn


Within these areas, development will only be permitted which does not unacceptably harm their function or value as a green space nor threaten their value to the community.

7.12 Green spaces are areas of publicly accessible open space and other private land of value to the local community in and immediately adjacent to settlements. They add to the character of towns and villages and to the enjoyment of local residents. Such areas can be important for wildlife or general recreational value, or simply as the only green area in an otherwise urbanised environment. The main reasons for designating such areas are:

7.13 159 areas of green space have been identified in the Plan and they will be protected from any form of development likely to affect their function as a green space. However, there are likely to be other spaces, the value of which may come to light during the Plan period. Where these spaces would satisfy one or more of the above criteria, steps will be taken to protect them from any development which would undermine their special qualities.

 

Other key policies:

 

L4 Common Land

Development on common land will be permitted only where:

  1. it retains and enhances its appearance, open character, nature conservation and historic value; and
  2. it maintains public access where appropriate.

7.14 Generally speaking, common land is land owned by one person over which another person is entitled to exercise rights of common e.g. grazing their animals. It is registered under the Commons Registration Act 1965 and is also subject to special statutory protection. Common Land has value to different sectors of the community, comprising an important part of Wales’ agricultural economy, a valuable recreational resource and a vital component of its natural and historical resource. A Register of Common Land and village greens is kept by the County Council, whose chief function is to maintain the register for public inspection, to conduct searches of the registers in response to applications from the public and conveyancers and to handle applications for amendments to the register. There is a particular concentration of common land in the Halkyn Mountain Area, where in the past, extensive lead mining has created a unique landscape. The public currently have a right of access nationally to around 20% of common land and there is informal access to many other commons. The public has a right of access on foot to all registered common land in accordance with the CRoW Act 2000 although in some areas there will be restrictions in order to protect the interests of land management or wildlife. This policy seeks to preserve this status quo and encourage the proper management of common land when the opportunity arises. Some works affecting common land lie outside the planning system but are regulated by the Law of Property Act 1925 and require the consent of the Welsh Government.

 

L5 Environmental Improvement Schemes

Proposals for landscape enhancement schemes will be permitted provided they are:

  1. sensitively designed; and
  2. sympathetic to their setting, and any biodiversity or historic interests.

7.15 This policy seeks to improve the appearance of degraded or under-used land. The Council will pursue a programme of urban and rural environmental improvement, and support forms of development that enhances the environment in the worst affected areas.

7.16 There is a particular need for environmental enhancement of the Dee Estuary corridor where improvements could be incorporated into developing coastal walks or cycleways along the banks of the Dee. Clearance of intrusive derelict sites, restoration schemes and landscape improvements will be encouraged. In urban areas particular attention will be paid to improving the quality of open spaces including temporary improvements to areas that cannot immediately be redeveloped.

 

Other key policies:

L6 The Undeveloped Coast

Within the undeveloped coast development will only be permitted where:

  1. it can be demonstrated a coastal location is essential;
  2. it conserves and enhances the open character of the coast;
  3. it would not unacceptably harm areas of nature conservation, landscape or biodiversity;
  4. extensive coastal protection measures are not required; and
  5. it would not be potentially at risk of flooding nor unacceptably increase erosion or flooding or interfere with natural coastal processes.

7.17 For the purpose of this policy the undeveloped coast is regarded as being the undeveloped land and estuary to the north of the A548. This road runs parallel with the coastline. New development will only be permitted where it can be proven without doubt that a coastal location is essential and the activity cannot be carried out elsewhere. The Plan area has a coastline of some 13 miles along the banks of the Dee Estuary where traditionally industry and housing has been located to take advantage of flat land. By its nature, the undeveloped coast is often at risk of flooding and proposals for development along the coast will therefore also be considered under the guidance contained in TAN 15 - Development and Flood Risk (July 2004).

7.18 Most of the land adjacent to the estuary is protected by an embankment. However in the north of the Plan area the dune system at Talacre forms a natural sea defence barrier. This is part of the last remaining semi-natural dune system on the North Wales coast. It is therefore particularly important to ensure its function is not impaired by any new proposals within or in the vicinity of the dunes. The meeting of the Irish Sea and the River Dee result in particularly complex natural processes of erosion and sedimentation in the Dee Estuary.

7.19 Relevant plans and environmental assessments, such as the Dee Estuary Strategy, the Cell 11 Shoreline Management Plan and seascape assessments, should be taken into account in considering proposals for the undeveloped coast as the impacts of some activities can be great and may relate to pressures for inappropriate development.

 

Other Key Policies:

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