Policy G1: Preserving and Enhancing Green Infrastructure
Preserving and enhancing green assets (defined in para 4.62)
G1.1: Development proposals of 0.4 hectares or 10 housing units (or equivalent other type of development), or greater, will be supported if they:
- provide additional good quality green assets on site for new and existing residents’ needs; or
- provide green assets which are appropriate to the context, having regard to the landscape, townscape and ecology of the locality and where appropriate the setting of heritage assets; or
- incorporate native species and habitats, or seek to create new appropriate habitats supporting local protected and priority species; or
- contribute to the network of interlinked green routes that connect residential areas with nearby destinations and the open countryside and reduce the fragmentation of green corridors or habitat; or
- address deficiencies of green assets within Our Neighbourhood; or
- contribute to the Emerald Network, where applicable.
G1.2: Development proposals under 0.4 hectares or 10 housing units (or equivalent other type of development) will be supported if they provide additional green assets as appropriate. Such green assets would include trees, private gardens, communal gardens, and where space is at a premium, green roofs, green walls, natural water features, bat or bird boxes and roosting sites.
G1.3: Development proposals that would result in the loss of existing green assets will be refused unless:
- the affected site or feature or asset does not have a significant recreational, cultural, ecological, landscape or townscape value; or
- the affected site or asset can be demonstrated to be surplus to local requirements (with e.g. reference to the current Open Space Needs Assessment); and
- a compensatory amount of green assets of an equivalent or better quality is provided in, or adjacent to, Our Neighbourhood.
Protecting Public Rights of Way
G1.4: Development proposals that would result in the loss of, or deterioration in the quality of, existing Public Rights of Way will not be permitted, unless an equivalent alternative provision is made. Where diversions are required, new routes should be direct, convenient and attractive, and should not have a detrimental impact on environmental or heritage assets.
Protecting biodiversity, green corridors, habitats, protected species and geological features
G1.5: Development proposals that lead to the creation of islands of biodiversity, permanently severed from other areas, will be refused unless measures to ensure ecological connectivity are included in the design.
G1.6: In considering development affecting green corridors:
- development proposals that would result in the loss of, or deterioration in the quality of, green corridors will not be permitted, unless the remaining elements of the green corridors are enhanced to maintain their continued functioning and connectivity, and alternative routes are provided or enabled; and
- development proposals that are adjacent to, or encroaching upon, identified green corridors must maintain or enhance their functionality and connectivity.
G1.7: Where wildlife habitats, protected species, or features of ecological, geological and geomorphological interest have been identified on development sites, development proposals that would cause irreversible or serious damage to such habitats, or species or features will be refused unless:
- acceptable mitigation measures to minimise these adverse effects are provided; or
- compensation measures to offset any harm which cannot be completely avoided or mitigated is provided.
In order to enhance the nature conservation value of Our Neighbourhood, development proposals that create new wildlife habitats will be encouraged and supported.
Protecting trees and hedgerows
G1.8: In considering development affecting trees and hedgerows:
- development proposals which would result in the loss of ancient woodland or ancient trees will not be permitted, unless the need for, and benefits of, the development in that location clearly outweigh the loss; and
- application for tree preservation orders should be considered as required; and
- development proposals will be required to retain areas of woodland, important groups of trees, copses and individual trees and hedgerows wherever possible. If not possible, an equivalent number of trees and hedgerows will need to be planted in, or adjacent to, Our Neighbourhood.
Protecting and enhancing the banks of the River Wear
G1.9: New developments, or major redevelopments, next to the banks of the River Wear in Our Neighbourhood will be required to provide a safe pedestrian path along the riverbank, and if possible a green corridor for wildlife and cycle access, in that order of priority. Existing green corridors and dark corridors must be retained.
G1.10: Development proposals which provide additional access points to the banks of the River Wear will be supported. Existing green corridors and dark corridors must be retained.
Next section: Policy G2: Designation of Local Green Spaces