Draft South Pennine Moors SPA/SAC Planning Framework Supplementary Planning Document

[estimated] Ended on the 24th March 2021
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4. Developer contributions for recreation mitigation

(5) What is the developer contribution used for?

4.1 Bradford Council has a longstanding and comprehensive understanding of the access management requirements for the South Pennine Moors, and its Countryside Service either proactively manages or works in partnership with private landowners to enable public enjoyment of the moors whilst conserving the important wildlife that the moors support. The Council has duties as a public body to maintain and enhance the conservation interest of the South Pennine Moors, which are bound in legislation, national and local policies.

4.2 Developer contributions provide the means to enable development and ensure appropriate mitigation for recreation impacts can be delivered. A suite of mitigation measures for recreation mitigation has been devised using standard good practice in other strategic mitigation schemes for designated sites, and an understanding of the nature of the recreation pressure on the South Pennine Moors. A range of measures are identified that will add to the existing management of the South Pennine Moors, giving greater management capacity in recognition of the new residential growth coming forward. The measures will specifically target the protection of the sensitive habitats and species for which the South Pennine Moors are designated as European wildlife sites.

4.3 The mitigation strategy is a suite of measures to be reviewed and updated over time. The measures have been developed using discussions with Bradford Council staff, Natural England and other stakeholders at the mitigation strategy workshop and the experience and expert opinions of the Footprint Ecology team assisting the Council. Many of the measures are successfully used around the country, but the package has been chosen based on the local circumstances and needs for the South Pennine Moors within the Bradford growth context.

4.4 The mitigation package has been developed to focus on three key mitigation streams:

  • Dedicated staff
  • Promotion, education and interpretation
  • Enhancement of existing greenspaces.

4.5 Each of these mitigation workstreams is explained in turn below and the detailed measures set out in Appendix 4.

Dedicated staff

4.6 Dedicated staff to deliver a strategic mitigation scheme are essential. Their recruitment should be prioritised over the delivery of other measures, because they are fundamental to the effective delivery of those measures, A delivery officer is the minimum requirement to project manage the strategy delivery, and should be the first aspect of the strategy to be acted upon as funds are collected. Following this, on the ground ranger/warden staff are also needed to bring the specialist skills necessary to deliver the measures.

4.7 The South Pennine Moors SPA/SAC are expansive and host numerous access points and car parks. The European site is spread over several parcels around the north, west and south west of the District. Visible staff presence on the ground, and to implement the range of mitigation measures will not be possible without a new team of staff, for which it is proposed to be three full time rangers and a delivery officer. The presence of rangers/wardens along with the range of other measures has continually been shown to be effective in ensuring the successful delivery of such strategies elsewhere and a gradual positive change in visitor behaviour. The expansive and multiple site nature of the South Pennine Moors is the primary reason for the inclusion of three ranger staff. The team of staff could have discrete individual roles, depending on the skills and experience of those appointed, but will collectively deliver the strategy through their promotion of positive visitor behaviours. Essential skills will therefore be their engagement with people as well as being knowledgeable about nature conservation.

4.8 This number of rangers also has regard for the predicted increase in visitor pressure, which could potentially be between 12 and 20%, as discussed in Section 2, and some of the locations where housing growth is likely to occur. There will be a requirement for them to work unsociable hours and to potentially have some enforcement role. They will need to work across land under different ownership and their roles will need to supplement and fit alongside existing staff, for example those of the Friends of Ilkley Moor.

4.9 A mobile ranger team is a feature of other mitigation schemes such as the Solent, the South-Devon sites, the Thames Basin Heaths and the Dorset Heaths. In these examples the rangers form a mobile team that spend the majority of their time outside, talking to visitors, influencing how visitors behave and showing people wildlife. The advantage of such an approach is that the staff can focus their time at particular sites/locations as required. This means that as particular projects are set up, as development comes forward, or if access issues become a concern at a particular location, the staff can be present and target their time accordingly. Monitoring data can help inform the ranger effort and ensure their work is directly linked to where development comes forward and where there are issues. This then leaves the delivery officer to focus on overseeing the mitigation strategy and management of specific mitigation projects.

Promotion, education and interpretation

4.10 Changing visitor perceptions of the South Pennine Moors from a vast recreation space to an understanding that it is a highly sensitive and internationally important wildlife asset that needs sustainable management to retain into the long term is the aspiration of this mitigation workstream.

4.11 This workstream includes a range of education options and these will be developed by the staff, utilising an allocated budget. Key activities will include a strong website presence and communication through social media will ensure visitors can access information about the mitigation package, the work being undertaken and be made aware of particular initiatives. This will extend the reach of the rangers and help provide links to the wider conservation community in the area.

4.12 Social media/website promotion could potentially include information on events, natural history and wildlife sensitivity, where to park, where and how to see wildlife without causing disturbance, and the promotion of alternative recreation sites. This could also be supported by the development of apps to help visitors understand and interpret their surroundings. Apps would also have the potential to influence visitor behaviour by indicating when the user was in an area with sensitive nature conservation interests or directing access. Mitigation budget has also been allocated for a school education programme and resources.

4.13 An important finding from the stakeholder workshop was the need for improved signage and the mitigation package includes funding for an audit of current provision and the design of new interpretation boards. Signs direct people or inform them of how they should behave whereas interpretation provides information about the place being visited. The audit should establish what is required and have regard for the long-established honeypot sites around the South Pennine Moors. Careful thought on how signage and interpretation can be more effective in these areas is required. The audit will also need to consider existing branding and the different signage requirements of different landowners.

Enhancement of existing greenspaces

4.14 Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspaces (SANGs) is the term given to greenspaces that are created or enhanced with the specific purpose of absorbing recreation pressure that would otherwise occur at sites designated as European wildlife sites. SANGs are created, or existing greenspaces enhanced to create a SANG, in order to mitigate for the effects of new housing development, absorbing the level of additional recreation pressure associated with the new development. Within Dorset, the concept has been expanded to include a range of other recreation sites in close proximity to the Dorset Heathlands SPA/SAC/Ramsar site, which are not necessarily larger sites but provide an additional supporting function to alleviate pressure and where possible introduce positive management of any functionally linked heathland habitat.

4.15 Larger and strategic housing allocations have greater potential to provide a quantum of suitable green space within the development that can accommodate a good level of on-site recreational activity. Given the Bradford context, viability and the way in which new housing is likely to be delivered, there will be relatively few opportunities where large scale development can deliver SANGs, and land availability will be a constraint on the provision of any strategic SANGs. It is therefore proposed that, with the exception of any larger sites/urban extension sites coming forward in the future through the new site allocations, the mitigation strategy should focus on maximising opportunities for enhancing the capacity and recreation experience at existing greenspace sites.

4.16 There are a range of sites that could be enhanced to draw access away from the European sites. Map 4 shows existing greenspace sites (extracted from the Ordnance Survey national GIS data on open greenspace), with only public parks and gardens shown (i.e. excluding sports fields, allotments and other kinds of greenspace less likely to be suitable). In addition, we have also shown countryside sites (away from the European sites) that the Council are responsible for. It can be seen that there are a range of locations of a good size and in locations which will work to divert visitors away from the European sites. A review of sites and audit will be necessary in order to identify which are likely to work best and to identify a prioritised list of enhancements that will be required. We have provided costs for such an audit and a budget to fund measures as identified. Any improvements to greenspace will need to be secured and maintained in the long-term and the audit will consider how management and maintenance of the sites can be secured in-perpetuity


Map 4 Greenspace outside the European Sites

(5) Level of growth to be mitigated

4.18 The total number of houses to which this SPD will apply has been calculated using the adopted housing figures within the current Bradford Core Strategy. The total housing figure has been reduced to allow for developments that have already been completed. This SPD sets out a means of mitigating for potential recreation impacts that will be secured through S106 legal agreements. This is an updated approach to that previously used, whereby mitigation funding was provided for from the CIL.

4.19 The calculation of housing numbers will need to be updated with new figures once the Local Plan Review is adopted. This review will include an update to Policy SC8 for which this SPD provides the delivery mechanism.

4.20 It should be noted that for the Bradford urban areas the calculation is based upon how much area is covered by the SPA 7km buffer and then this proportion has been used to derive an estimated figure from the total housing delivery in the urban area.

4.21 The level of housing growth for which mitigation is required (i.e. within 7km of the South Pennine Moors SPA/SAC) is estimated to be 17,326. This provides a guideline figure to use to derive the level of mitigation required and to derive a per dwelling cost. Housing totals used to derive this overall total are summarised in Appendix 3.

(5) Cost of mitigation and per dwelling tariff

4.22 The total cost of the mitigation measures is estimated at £6,507,795 (see Appendix 4 for breakdown). The cost estimates which are indicative, drawn primarily from other mitigation strategies, discussion between the Council and the HRA consultants, and the collective experience of the costs of different works. The costs are broad estimates and allow a per dwelling cost to be identified that will ensure appropriate levels of mitigation are possible.

4.23 The number of dwellings required in the adopted Core Strategy still to come forward within the 7km zone of the SPA/SAC is calculated to be 17,326 (see Appendix 3).

4.24 The required contribution is therefore calculated to be £375.61 per residential unit and is applicable to any development with a net increase in residential units within 0.4-7km of the South Pennine Moors European wildlife sites. This sum will be index linked and subject to regular review.

4.25 This tariff is applicable until a review of this SPD is undertaken. The Local Plan Review will provide the opportunity to undertake a review and update of this SPD to take account of the most up to date information on housing growth and any necessary adjustments to the tariff will be made accordingly, in light of progress achieved at the time. Once the mitigation measures begin to be delivered, there is the opportunity to refine the measures based on how implementation progresses. A first priority is to secure the delivery officer in place, as this is a key member of staff to then progress with the other practical measures. The appointment of ranger staff should shortly follow or ideally be recruited together with the delivery officer.

4.26 Mitigation needs to be effective in the long-term, lasting as long as necessary to address any impacts. Costs have been derived assuming that mitigation will be delivered in-perpetuity[5]. Implementation of measures will be phased with housing growth, ensuring sufficient mitigation is in place before new housing is occupied. This means not all measures will be instigated at once. Not all measures are costed in-perpetuity as some will be one-off or short-term in nature. For example, the delivery officer post is necessary in the short-term to oversee the initial infrastructure delivery and other elements of the strategy (and would be one of the first mitigation elements to be funded) but the post is not required in the long-term. One ranger post has funding for 75 years, ensuring a post can run from the early years through while others (such as the post with an education focus) will have a focus in the early years of the strategy only.

4.27 Staffing levels and in-perpetuity costs should be regularly reviewed and updated with future iterations of the SPD. Overall there should be flexibility to allow funds to be directed as required to ensure mitigation is effective and a 5% contingency is included, to allow for unforeseen changes to costings and requirements and provide flexibility in the funds available and how money is prioritised.

(7) The legal mechanism to secure developer contributions

4.28 Since the adoption of the Core Strategy, measures to manage recreation access on the South Pennine Moors has been funded through the Community Infrastructure Levy. This is now changing to a more appropriate and effective means of securing the mitigation that is necessary to protect the moors from new residential development within 7km. A S106 legal agreement provides a direct means by which developer contributions can be sought that are proportionate to the increased recreation pressure risk.

4.29 The requirement for developer contributions for the South Pennine Moors will be calculated using the net increase in residential units for which planning permission is being given. The requirement will be included within the S106 legal agreement accompanying planning permissions. The legal requirement will be for the payment of the required funds on commencement of development[6].

4.30 Providing the funds on the commencement of development ensures that the funding is aligned with mitigation delivery. A key principle for mitigation delivery to prevent adverse effects is that the mitigation should be functioning prior to the completion of the development so that the mitigation is preventing an adverse effect from occurring. For the strategic mitigation package for the South Pennine Moors, delivery is primarily through the Countryside Service within Bradford Council.

4.31 The Council will prepare a standardised unilateral undertaking form which will be the legal mechanism for the tariff collection. A unilateral undertaking is a legal document made pursuant to Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. This document requires that if planning permission is granted and implemented certain payments must be paid, in the form of planning contributions.

  • A unilateral undertaking can only be entered in to by the owner of the land to be developed and therefore if the applicant does not own the land to which the application relates they will need to ask the owner to enter in to this.
  • If the land is owned by more than one person, each owner must enter.
  • In order to determine who owns or has an interest in the land, the applicant may be able to obtain the title from the Land Registry.

4.32 A standardised Unilateral Undertaking agreement will form part of the validation process for all development which will result in a net increase in residential units, located within 7km of the South Pennine Moors European sites. The form is to be completed and signed before planning permission is granted.

4.33 The Unilateral Undertaking will include:

  • The per house tariff – to be paid upon commencement of development[7], no dwellings shall be occupied until the tariff is paid.
  • An administration and monitoring fee – payable before planning permission is granted. This fee is not returnable if the planning permission expires without commencement.

4.34 The Council's intention is to introduce a fee of £100 per application to meet the Council's administration and monitoring costs associated with any drafting, checking, overseeing and approving the unilateral undertaking. This fee will be published separately on the Bradford Council website once the SPD is adopted. This fee will be subject to review to ensure it is proportionate and reasonable and reflects the actual cost of administration and monitoring.

4.35 The amount payable in terms of the tariff is set out in Appendix 5.

4.36 The Council may adopt an instalments policy which allows developers to pay their Unilateral Undertaking tariff in instalments to provide flexibility and assist with development viability and delivery by improving the cash flow of a development. Without such an arrangement, the whole charge is liable on the commencement of development. Any instalments policy will be published on the Council's website; and can be revised, or withdrawn as appropriate.

4.37 The adoption of this SPD will result in Habitat mitigation being removed from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Regulation 123 list and future Infrastructure Funding Statement to ensure the council does not 'double dip' contributions from CIL/S016 for the same item of infrastructure.

(4) Hosting of staff and delivery oversight

4.38 With an existing team of staff present within the Council managing greenspaces and countryside sites, it is logical and most resource efficient for the new mitigation strategy team to work alongside existing staff within the Countryside Service. There will be notable efficiencies with placing the staff within an established and longstanding team, line managed by the Countryside Manager who has an in-depth knowledge of the South Pennine Moors and its access management needs. The salary levels proposed within Table 3 are aligned with the Council's pay structure and the likely grades for the mitigation strategy staff. An indicative proposal for how the team might fit within the existing Countryside Service is provided within Appendix 6.

4.39 The team will establish itself over time and with on the ground experience of the South Pennine Moors SPA/SAC. The team themselves will establish what aspects of the strategy are priorities for early implementation, and this can be facilitated by developing relationships with stakeholders, including those that attended the workshop. (landowners, NGOs, statutory bodies, local authorities, existing rangers and site management staff etc.).

4.40 With the proposal to place the mitigation strategy team within an existing Council team, it is essential that the funding stream for the team remains separate and expenditure is recorded and monitored as part of the overall strategy monitoring described below. A separate cost centre may be beneficial.

Governance

4.41 A mitigation strategy needs to be implemented within a governance structure that will ensure its success. How a strategy is implemented in terms of its prioritisation and apportionment of time to activities, management of funds, resolution of issues and response to changing circumstances and opportunities is dependent upon a governance structure being in place. Whilst the staff will be hosted within the Countryside Service, it is recommended that the Countryside Manager draws together a small number of external partners to have some oversight of the strategy delivery over time. This adds transparency, and ensures that the work of the team does not get subsumed into other work of the Countryside Service. The oversight group need not be involved in daily work of the mitigation strategy team, but rather it could possibly meet on an annual basis to enable the team to report on the year's progress and give external input to key decisions and review of the strategy over time. This would include priorities for new measures as those in the initial strategy are implemented. Such a governance structure would provide the flexibility for the budget to be adjusted and the mitigation measures be targeted as relevant at the time.

(3) Monitoring

4.42 Critical to the success of a strategic mitigation strategy is its monitoring. The dedicated staff will be responsible for monitoring strategy delivery over time, and monitoring will include the following:

  • Effective delivery of measures
  • Timely delivery of measures in alignment with housing growth coming forward
  • Checking that mitigation delivery aligns with any peak locations for housing coming forward at any given time.
  • Visitor monitoring and ecological monitoring to check whether measures are effective and what additional measures may be needed over time.

4.43 These will inform the review of the strategy, which could include light touch reviews on an annual basis and more significant reviews at key points in time, which may be best aligned with the programme of Local Plan Review.



[5] We assume this to mean 80 years.

[6] Commencement of development is defined by Section 56 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as the earliest date on which a material operation is carried out. This includes any works of construction, demolition, digging foundations, laying out or constructing a road and a material change in the use of the land.

[7] Commencement of development is defined by Section 56 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as the earliest date on which a material operation is carried out. This includes any works of construction, demolition, digging foundations, laying out or constructing a road and a material change in the use of the land.

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