Serving the people of Kirk Langley

Planning Application Objection AVA/2023/0006

Kirk Langley Parish Council has submitted the following objection to the planning application for 53 dwellings at land off Ashbourne Road, Kirk Langley.

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Planning Application No:AVA/2023/0006

Objection to PLANNING proposal from Kirk Langley Parish Council

Kirk Langley Parish Council objects to the proposed development of 53 houses on the South side of Ashbourne Road. This is due to the impact on the local area in terms of infrastructure and services; the loss of heritage and the environmental harm. There are also issues relating to road safety and broader concerns relate to the loss of productive green fields and the impact on food security and climate change. All these issues, taken together, mean this development is not sustainable and should be rejected.

Infrastructure and services

The Design and Access Statement does not address the principle of development on this site. Although similar applications have been granted recently, this was in the face of strenuous opposition from the local population and the Parish Council. The problems highlighted then have not gone away and will be made significantly worse by adding additional urban housing to the mix. This is not only because the concerns previously raised are still valid, but also because the sustainability argument has become more pressing in the light of increased pressures on local infrastructure.

This area has now reached a tipping point in relation to local infrastructure and services; in particular the provision of GP services. Sitting on the boundary of three district councils (Amber Valley, Derbyshire Dales and South Derbyshire), and the unitary authority of Derby City, the small Parish of Kirk Langley is affected not only by development within its own boundaries but also by the impact of development which surrounds it. Brailsford, some three miles away, contains our local GP services. In response to a recent proposal for an additional 100 homes in the village, Brailsford Parish Council's initial response contained the following points:

"The future of the GP surgery in Brailsford, Ednaston and Hulland Ward has been a concern for residents for almost two years. The management Group. South Dales Health are clear that the practice cannot continue satisfactorily without a new building and facilities – estimated cost c£2m. They believe a new build can only be funded from S106 development monies.

Brailsford Parish Council also makes the point that their village has tripled in size since 2013 and that their local primary school, (rebuilt in the light of this rapid expansion of the village) is "already overcrowded". Our local primary school at Kirk Langley has undergone expansion recently, and cannot grow further due to a current housing development ( AVA/2020/1226 – 35 dwellings) which renders it landlocked. Our local secondary school is similarly constrained.

This situation is going to get worse. Phase 3 of the Peveril development is not finished and groundworks for the Moor Lane development (35 homes) have just begun. All these additional homes will generate additional demand for doctors' services. There has been a notable decline in the quality of these local GP services[1] which lacks capacity to take more patients. Any additional proposal to place more housing in this area must be accompanied by a proper assessment of the impact. It is submitted that "breaking point" has been reached and further development, in the absence of considerable investment, is simply unsustainable. This argument is directly relevant to the planning decision and has recently been the subject of parliamentary debate:[2]

"...Local plans are not the only means of improving services and building that vital infrastructure. There are clear regulatory frameworks for local authorities and developers to follow. The national planning policy framework, for example, states that local plans should aim for sustainable development, which means that new schools, hospitals and local services such as GP practices should be factored in from the outset. Proposed development should be shaped by effective engagement with the local community, so that planners and developers know what is really needed. In some areas, it might be new roads, bridges or bus depots, but in others it will be new nurseries or GP surgeries. That engagement should extend to relevant health bodies too, such as NHS trusts and the clinical commissioning groups, to ensure that any development helps rather than hinders local strategies to improve health and wellbeing...

...In closing, I reiterate that I have heard loud and clear the concerns of hon. Members. The frustration of our constituents when large-scale new developments are green lit and local services become increasingly congested is palpable for us all..."

Until and unless these issues are addressed, there should not be any further housing development in this area. The S106 developer contribution is bound to be exhausted in trying to ensure a sufficiency of school places at secondary and primary level for the new population. There will simply be nothing left in the pot to fix local GP services. It follows that there will also be no money left to enhance our very limited local village facilities. These are all we have to try to maintain a sense of community amidst such overwhelming challenges.

Infrastructure: Travel

Jenny Raggett, researcher at Transport for New Homes, said: "We were appalled to find so many new housing developments built around the car with residents driving for almost every journey. "As those cars head for our towns and cities they clog up existing roads. Commuter times get longer and longer. Car-based living of this kind is not good for our health or quality of life."..."The problem is that planners are measured by whether they hit their targets for new housing," she said. 'At the moment they just approach developers who are sitting on greenfield sites and end up peppering housing round towns without any regard to whether the land is accessible or not."

Kirk Langley has no shops, and no doctor's surgery. Additional development creates more and more car journeys. The only bus service is poor. An hourly bus (two-hourly evenings and weekends) will not tempt anyone out of the car and so the number of car journeys inevitably increase as the population rises. This is the impact locally: increased road noise in a location recognised as a noise hot spot by AV's own noise assessments, increase on traffic on the A52, increase in traffic on unsuitable minor and unclassified roads. This development should be considered in the light of permissions already granted, development underway and new homes built in the last five years in the local area. Simply piling more and more houses into the West of Derby without a proper assessment of the overall impact is not sustainable. Urban sprawl is simply extending west and destroying our community.

The NPPF describes the importance of sustainability in this way:

NPPF para 10" ...Significant development should be focused on locations which are or can be made sustainable, through limiting the need to travel and offering a genuine choice of transport modes..."

Para 122. Planning policies and decisions should support development that makes efficient use of land, taking into account:

...c) the availability and capacity of infrastructure and services–both existing and proposed – as well as their potential for further improvement and the scope to promote sustainable travel modes that limit future car use;

This requires a thorough evaluation of the pressures on our local area. Without substantial investment in infrastructure, this area cannot sustain additional housing. We have passed the tipping point.

Highway safety

The highway safety report[3] lodged in the planning portal, identifiesthe highway works required, including a new access road on the southern side of the A52 Ashbourne Road. The proposals also include an "uncontrolled pedestrian crossing facility across Ashbourne Road located immediately west of the proposed development access" and a new 2m wide footway along the southern side of Ashbourne Road connecting the main access to a secondary pedestrian access serving the proposed development at the western extent of the site. It also highlights some concerning road safety issues.

Issues highlighted include;

  • speeding traffic "The survey results also confirm that the 85th percentile speeds were 45 mph eastbound and 44.3mph westbound direction along Ashbourne Road."
  • Poor illumination of the carriageway which "may increase the risk of collisions particularly during the hours of darkness".
  • The layby on Ashbourne Road west of proposed development access, if occupied by HGVs " As a result, the visibility splay to the west from the proposed development access will be compromised when the layby is occupied by two or more vehicles". "There is concern that restricted visibility to and from the development access may increase the risk of turning collisions occurring at the development access."
  • Road safety is further compromised by the provision of an indirect route for pedestrians to access the westbound bus stop, as a result pedestrians are likely to walk along the layby where the risk of being struck by a vehicle will be greater.
  • Potential risk of sideswipe or head-on collisions associated with limited carriageway width at the proposed development access. The vehicle swept path analysis for refuse vehicles accessing the site indicate that they will overrun the opposing carriageway when negotiating the turning movements into and out of the development. Consequently, the proposed layout of the site access may increase the risk of sideswipe or head on collisions between large vehicles entering and exiting the development simultaneously
  • Potential risk of pedestrians struck by vehicles "Observations during the site inspection noted that the existing footway along Ashbourne Road is located along the northern side. However, the proposed layout indicates that a footway is to be provided along the eastern side of the development access road which terminates at the development access. There is concern that this may encourage pedestrians to walk along the southern side of the Ashbourne Road where no footway is provided where the risk of being struck by passing traffic will be greater".

This development requires an entry/exit point onto the A52, at the top of the hill leading into the village. It also requires some form of crossing point to aid pedestrian movement. However, in the light of the attitude of Derbyshire County Council Highways towards the idea of a pedestrian crossing in Kirk Langley, it is unlikely ever to be built. So, an additional access road onto the 40mph A52 simply increases the risk to pedestrians, turning and through traffic. Vehicle movement on the A52 has increased considerably and will continue to do as a consequence of the residential and commercial development along that route. These road safety issues are sufficient alone to halt this development. At the very least, there should be a detailed assessment of risk and agreement between the district and county councils relating to appropriate counter-measures. Without that clear agreement, any S106 contribution, or planning condition is meaningless.

Loss of Heritage and environment

The site was assessed as suitable for development during the "call for sites process". At that time it was promoted as suitable for 120 dwellings. The formal LA assessment of the SHELAA (site 0013) by AV states:

"Of significant importance though, it is considered that the large scale and nature of the proposal for 120 dwellings is disproportionate (relative to the size of Kirk Langley) and would negatively impact on the character of the area. Accordingly, this extent of development is not considered to be suitable".

However, a more modest proposal for approximately 30 dwellings within the northern part of the site (c.1.5 ha) would better relate to the existing settlement and adjacent housing development which will be coming forward following the granting of planning permission. Therefore, such a reduced development proposal is considered suitable".

This assessment has not been addressed by the developer. If a "more modest proposal" of 30 would "better relate" to the existing settlement, why are 53 dwellings promoted with no further argument? This would amount to an 88% increase and must surely adversely affect this relationship. The adjacent development on Moor Lane has permission for up to 35 homes and reserved matters have been recently approved. How would the proposed Ashbourne Road development relate to it? How does it, when taken as a whole and bearing in mind the 109-house development across the road (phases 1,2 and 3), demonstrate how (they) recognise, protect and enhance the historic landscape and local character?[4]

Policy ENV2 of the KLNP also requires the maintenance of an open rural "feel" and protection of views from footpaths and roads. The only concession made by the applicant is to create a shield by planting trees on the southern boundary. This does not address the impact felt when using footpaths, especially those from an elevated position. From these vantage points, the impact will be the most noticeable.

This policy (ENV2) continues, by stating

"In order to evaluate the potential impact of development proposals, an applicant shall submit a landscape strategy demonstrating the extent and effectiveness of the proposed hard and soft landscaping at 10 years maturity in near and distant views of the proposed development from the principal public vantage points".

The proposal does not comply with the requirements of this policy because the applicant has not demonstrated the medium to long-term impact of the development. Additional work is required in order to comply.

Land use

Policy ENV4: To use land efficiently and to preserve high quality agricultural land


To be supported proposals for the development of best and most versatile agricultural land must demonstrate the public benefit outweighs the economic and other benefits of the existing use.

This is a restriction on building on agricultural land, to be balanced against "public benefit". This is grade 2 agricultural land. Not only will it be lost to food production and food security if the development proceeds, but also to carbon capture. The bulldozing of good farming land must be a last resort. A report in The Guardian 16 Jan 22:

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said: "Making the most of previously developed land is a government priority to protect our cherished countryside"

The public benefit therefore needs to be carefully weighed against the permanent loss of "our cherished countryside". The loss of green fields is an important matter because this is not an infinite resource. It has an intrinsic economic value for food production, at a time when threats to food supply are very real. So, the public benefit should be weighed not just in terms of the short-term boost to the economy and the benefit of "more homes" generally, but the specific impact of this development, with its impact on Kirk Langley and potential harm to an area of ecological, historic and environmental value and loss of food production capacity. We do not need more homes to serve our local population and we have more than provided a contribution towards Derby City's unmet need for more houses. These locally-unneeded homes will also put further pressure on our creaking infrastructure.

The 2018 Government environment plan 'A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment', sets out what the government will do to improve the environment, within a generation. This does not include bulldozing perfectly productive green fields, to add to the thousands of lost hectares removed from the western edge of Derby City. Kirk Langley does not need more homes. It has fulfilled its planning target[5] of 54 homes up to 2032 many times over.

"Sustainable agriculture is at the heart of the UK's ambitious commitment to leave the environment in a better state than it was inherited. Agriculture is important to the UK economy, has environmental value and supports UK supply chains"[6].environment

a better state than it was inherited. Agriculture is important to the UK economy, has environmental

11.1 Heritage

The application site affects the setting of Kirk Langley Conservation Area (CA). The impact on 'setting' as a contributor to the CAs significance, namely its special interest, is a material consideration in planning terms. A study of the Conservation Area is included as part of the KLNP. It is considered that the special historic interest lies in the form of the village being recognisable for its medieval and post-medieval development. The CA contains a large number of heritage assets relative to its small size and this contributes towards its special interest. The rural setting of the village is also a contributor to the significance of the CA and its listed buildings. The report says this about its rural setting:

3.1 Kirk Langley is in the Needwood and South Derbyshire Claylands National Character Area, as defined by Natural England, with the settlement lying in a transitional area located in both 'Estate Farmlands' and 'Settled Farmlands' designations. The land-use in this Character Area is predominantly dairying and stock rearing on improved permanent pasture and leys. The wooded character is reinforced by dense lines of trees along watercourses, typically alder and willow but also the occasional oak or ash. Together the trees combine to restrict or filter views through the landscape. Most of these settlements have grown relatively little, although modern infill development is beginning to modify their original loose knit character.

3.2 Typical of the Needwood and South Derbyshire Claylands National Character Area, the village of Kirk Langley is surrounded by farmland, with arable, sheep, dairy and beef farms in the neighbourhood. The rolling fields are bounded by mixed hedgerows, now largely cut mechanically and thus dense and broad as a consequence. The topography is such that the village by the church is often lost into the folds of the landscape, particularly when the trees are in leaf. There are however long views towards the village from key points in the Conservation Area (see section 6).

Kirk Langley CA is significant not only for its buildings but also for the farmland which surrounds them and the Conservation Area as a whole. The original "loose knit character" has been affected or "modified" by modern development. This is a reference to the 8 homes of Barrington Close. This review was undertaken before the building of Phase 1 and 2 and 3 on the northern aspect of Ashbourne Road and the 35-home development on Moor Lane. The impact of yet another large development to the east of the Conservation Area, which removes yet more arable land from the immediate setting of the Conservation area can only cause significant harm.

"We have identified already that Kirk Langley has built-up areas of different character, separated by looser development and generous open space, a defining characteristic of the Conservation Area. Along the A52, terraces of cottages are huddled towards the centre of the village..."[7]

National policy is set out in Para 192 and para 193 NPPF:

" In determining applications, local planning authorities should take account of:

a) the desirability of sustaining and enhancing the significance of heritage assets and putting them to viable uses consistent with their conservation;

b) the positive contribution that conservation of heritage assets can make to sustainable communities including their economic vitality; and

c) the desirability of new development making a positive contribution to local character and distinctiveness

Para 193 When considering the impact of a proposed development on the significance of a designated heritage asset, great weight should be given to the asset's conservation (and the more important the asset, the greater the weight should be). This is irrespective of whether any potential harm amounts to substantial harm, total loss or less than substantial harm to its significance.

Neighbourhood Plan

HER2 Protecting the Conservation area, listed buildings and other heritage assets

"To be supported development proposals must demonstrate regard for the Conservation Area and any heritage asset identified in Appendix 4 and Appendix 6 (as updated throughout the plan period) where they or their setting may be affected by the proposal. Development will be required to be designed appropriately, taking account of local styles, materials and detail. Account must be taken of the distinctive character areas, as described in Appendix 7".

In view of the fact that the space around the CA is vital in creating its context, it has not been demonstrated how this development will "sustain and enhance" the significance of the conservation area.The decision about phase 1 was decided on the basis of a 30-house development, confined to one field. Historic England expressed concern over the scale of development then, and stated it did not follow the "historic pattern" of development.However, the entire development (phases 1-3) now amounts to 109 dwellings, with the adjacent Moor Lane development of a further 35 homes. If permitted, the current proposal will add a further 53 houses. This is not capable of being related to any comparable area of historic development within Kirk Langley. The effect of such a large modern housing development/estate has not been fully assessed. Any extension to the already permitted development will create a significant adverse impact on the wider landscape which is out of place. It is wholly wrong to keep adding to new development and keep on thinking it does not matter. It does. The cumulative effects of development, particularly to the east of the CA cannot be ignored. If small infill development is "beginning to modify the CA character", the impact of larger development can only be regarded as overwhelming it. This cumulative effect of development which is out of scale with the village and which alters the context of the conservation area as a whole must harm its significance.

On a global scale, the UK is quick to burnish its credentials as a world leader in pushing the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development for the period to 2030. These address social progress, economic well-being and environmental protection and are referenced in the NPPF; "Achieving sustainable development". These are our relevant international commitments, which are being failed:

Commitment 13

Enhancing beauty, heritage and engagement with the natural environment

"We will conserve and enhance the beauty of our natural environment, and make sure it can be enjoyed, used by and cared for by everyone. We will do this by:

  • safeguarding and enhancing the beauty of our natural scenery and improving its environmental value while being sensitive to considerations of its heritage..."

Mitigating and adapting to climate change

We will take all possible action to mitigate climate change, while adapting to reduce its impact. We will do this by:

  • continuing to cut greenhouse gas emissions ...

The government's climate change commitments mean that we cannot continue to bulldoze fields when we need to maintain our green spaces to meet our climate commitments.

In its 2019 review, reference is made to the UK supply chain for food production and the global context, which all "require consideration". In addition:

"Sustainable agriculture is at the heart of the UK's ambitious commitment to leave the environment in a better state than it was inherited. Agriculture is important to the UK economy, has environmental value and supports UK supply chains. Land managers are also uniquely placed to address some of the most significant environmental challenges"

Commitment 11

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

"Across the UK, local communities are working hard to make the places they call home happy, safe and prosperous.

The UK is determined to help make this happen. More homes are being built, more public transport is being made accessible for all and communities are being given the tools they need to improve their local areas and safeguard their heritage. Attention has turned to improving air quality in cities and developing the green spaces that enhance environments."

Inclusive planning and supporting community cohesion (11.3, 11.a)

"Helping residents take control of planning and management in the places they live is essential; they have the knowledge and enthusiasm to shape, design and improve their neighbourhoods and more and more communities are stepping up to this".

This is a clear reference to neighbourhood planning. However, the reality, despite this clear and laudable international commitment, is very different. Despite the hard work of our community in creating a plan and the overwhelming local support it garnered, it has been largely ignored by the planning authority. This took over three and a half years and was a very difficult and arduous task for our community to undertake. This is not lost on the people of Kirk Langley and, it is fair to say that there is an over-whelming frustration and disappointment as to how the KLNP has been regarded. The most important aspect of "taking control" of planning, is the ability to influence scale. Without that ability, how can it be stated that we have capacity to "shape, design and improve"? The key provision in the KLNP is policy HOUS1, which sets the target of 54 homes for the plan period. It was within that context that the remaining policies were developed. However, the attitude of the planning authority is to completely ignore this number when approving large-scale development in the village. Not only does this render the specific policy meaningless, but also the other provisions aimed at protection of the environment and heritage. The protection of the environment and heritage is predicated on keeping growth proportionate and organic.

Homes England's Chair, Peter Freeman, has addressed the Inside Housing Development Summit 9 June 2021, reflecting on the impact of the pandemic, he said this:

...As we start to recover from the pandemic and rebuild a more productive economy, we are learning that the "new normal" will be very different from the past.

We must make progress towards a zero-carbon society. We are realising that our children, and their children, will not thank us if we continue to build poorly designed homes and places. We are recognising that the way we develop neighbourhoods, towns and cities is key to our health and well-being.

As we look to the future, building the homes the country needs to unlock opportunity and growth will be crucial, but the pursuit of thoseambitions can't be just a numbers game.

We are more likely to win the argument for new, extended and rejuvenated settlements across the country precisely by promoting well-designed, connected, vibrant places where people can prosper through the different stages of their lives.

...The pandemic has brought clarity around the importance of place. It made us realise how much people treasure their space; the familiarityof their community, green spaces, and amenities to enjoy on their doorstep, not a train or car ride away".

If permitted, this development will underline the fact that "place" is unimportant in the planning process.

The fact that permission has been granted in the past which threatens our existence as an historic farming village and our heritage, should not simply give the green light to continued developer-led urbanisation. Our village is being turned into a car-dependent extension of Derby City, but without City infrastructure. This is not sustainable.

[1] CQC report : practice "requires improvement" -see link on Brailsford and Hulland Ward surgery website

[2] Parliamentary debate Stuart Andrew Minister for Housing: Hansard volume 711 debated 29 March 2022

[3] Doc 1252412

[4] Policy ENV2 Kirk Langley Neighbourhood Plan


[6] taken from pg 39 UK voluntary National review: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development "in

[7] Para 8.1 CA Character Description

Posted: Thu, 30 Mar 2023 14:37 by Clerk

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