Policy POCAN1: Cantley Sugar Factory

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  1. This site is defined as an employment site for the purposes of Broads Local Plan Policies on general employment ().
  2. Development on this site which secures and enhances the sugar works’ contribution to the economy of the Broads and wider area will be supported where this also:
    1. Protects and where appropriate enhances wildlife and habitats
    2. Meets the requirements of Biodiversity Net Gain, where appropriate;
    3. Protects or enhances the amenity of nearby residents;
    4. Does not negatively impact on the neighbouring pub (The Reedcutter – see policy POSSPUBS );
    5. Avoids severe residual impacts on highway capacity or safety;
    6. Improves the appearance of the site, particularly in views from the river and other receptors in the locality, through design, materials and landscaping and have regard to the setting of the nearby designated heritage assets;
    7. Retains and does not impact the tree belt along the eastern edge of the track to the river;
    8. The lighting associated with a scheme is fully justified, and if needs to be put in place, designed in line with the dark skies/light pollution policy . Opportunities to reduce the current impact of the lighting would be supported;
    9. Uses the disposition, bulk and location of buildings and structures to avoid extending the built-up part of the site into the open areas around or more prominent in the skyline;
    10. Can be demonstrated to be in conformity with local and national policy on flood risk;
    11. Protects and where possible enhances public access to the staithe and slipway;
    12. Results in minimal additional carbon dioxide emissions and uses best available technology to reach highest technically achievable reduction of emissions;
    13. Enables appropriate adaptation and resilience to climate change;
    14. Uses water efficiently, with potential for water re-use;
    15. Takes into account and accommodates Anglian Water’s assets (water main);
    16. Appropriately manages any risk of water pollution; and
    17. As appropriate, enables the use of zero emission technology for vehicles supplying the site.
  3. Proposals may be required to undertake a project level Habitats Regulation Assessment, as appropriate.
  4. Renewed use of the railway or river for freight associated with the plant would be particularly encouraged.
  5. Employment uses other than that associated with the sugar works will be supported only where they do not prejudice the future of that use (and associated waste operations) and also meet the above criteria.

Constraints and features

  • A prominent riverside location.
  • Flood risk (zones 1, 2 & 3 by EA mapping; zones 1, 2 & indicative 3b by SFRA 2017 mapping).
  • Site is close to SPA, SAC, SSSI and Ramsar designated areas.
  • Public footpaths cross the site.
  • Tree belt along the eastern edge of the track to the river.
  • Cantley Staithe.
  • Near to Reedcutter Pub.
  • The policy area is within the consultation zone of a waste operation associated with the sugar works.
  • Nearby designated heritage assets, specifically the Langley Conservation Area, and the two Grade II* Churches of St Botolph at Limpenhoe and St Margaret at Cantley, as well as the grade II listed Hardley Mill.
  • The discovery of artefacts and the sites of two drainage mills within the area of the sugar factory, plus the recovery of Iron Age to medieval objects in the wider area, suggests some areas of the sugar factory have potential to contain undisturbed archaeological remains.
  • A heavy water user and a significant carbon dioxide emitter, although this is recognised by British Sugar.
  • A water main is within the site area.
  • Cantley Water Recycling Centre has limited capacity.

Reasoned Justification

The Cantley sugar works is a major contributor to the local economy and supports jobs and agriculture (beet production) over a wide area. Around 120 people are employed on the site, but many more are employed seasonally and in the sugar beet supply chain.

The policy continues the long-standing approach of supporting the continuation and upgrading of the works, while encouraging this to happen in a way that minimises adverse impacts and makes the most of opportunities for improving the local environment and amenities.

The works are, though, a major emitter of carbon dioxide within the Broads, and the heavy road freight associated with the works has negative impacts on residents’ amenity, and on highway safety and capacity. The policy recognises that Cantley is a significant emitter of carbon dioxide in the area and seeks betterment and that schemes should be designed with minimal carbon dioxide emissions in mind.

Cantley Sugar factory receives substantial amounts of raw material from local farms, requiring substantial amounts of HGV movements. These will be required by law to move to zero-emission vehicles, potentially Battery Electric or Hydrogen powered. As these vehicles may have shorter range than existing diesel vehicles, new refuelling equipment may be needed at the site.

There is potential to use the water for moving goods to and from the site. This would reduce the impact on road travel and as such, the Authority encourages suitable and appropriate use of the river for freight. Although there is no immediate prospect of this being achieved, it remains an aspiration should circumstance permit.

Habitats Regulations Assessment identified that any development on the site should be subject to assessment under the Habitats Regulations at the planning application stage. This is secured through the Habitats Regulations and Local Plan policy PODM14.The policy also seeks biodiversity enhancements on site and the Biodiversity Enhancements Guide[161] should be used to inform schemes.

The risk of water pollution needs to be mitigated where new development is undertaken, and on an ongoing basis to ensure the water environment is protected. The Environment Agency highlights the need to address the risks of water pollution for waterside sites in industrial use.

Parts of the site are vulnerable to flood risk (and have experienced flooding), but the precise extent of different levels of risk in the immediate area could not be ascertained by the Broads’ SFRA. A site flood risk assessment will be needed to demonstrate the level of the risk associated with any future proposed development.

The Authority acknowledges the work undertaken to reduce light pollution, which gained an award in 2010 for sky friendly night-time exterior lighting and restricting light above the horizontal. The requirement to address light pollution remains in the policy to reflect the good dark skies in the area, particularly when further away from the works. The Authority would like to see further reduction in light pollution to improve the dark skies of the area as a whole.

The policy requires improvements in the water efficiency of the site. This is an area that British Sugar have made improvements and seek to do more[162].

Where the policy seeks to address water usage, carbon dioxide emissions and lighting, it is important to note that this does not have to be restricted to the industrial processes; provision for staff such as staff rooms, restrooms etc could be an area that could be improved.

Part of the site covered by this policy is near to the Reedcutter Pub and any proposal must ensure it does not negatively impact that pub.

British Sugar have requested that the area to which the policy applies, be extended. The maps that follow show the proposed extension, as well as the existing policy area.

Specific Question 3: Do you have any specific comments on the extension to the area to which this policy applies?

Reasonable alternative options

Please note that the extension to the policy area is not included as an option as it seems a logical extension and there seems to not be any reason not to include this area as part of the policy area. This area is already an integral part of the functioning of the factory.

The original policy, with no amendments.

An alternative option could be to have no specific policy relating to Cantley Sugar Beet Factory; any application would be considered using existing policies. To not have a policy is considered a reasonable alternative option in this instance as the various criteria listed are addressed in other policies.

Sustainability appraisal summary

The following is a summary of the assessment of the policy and alternative(s).

A: No policy: 0 positives. 0 negatives. 12 ?

B: Keep original policy : 9 positives. 0 negatives. 2 ? Overall, positive.

C: Preferred Option - amend policy: 10 positives. 0 negatives. 0 ? Overall, positive.

How has the existing policy been used since adoption in May 2019?

According to recent Annual Monitoring Reports, the policy has been used and applications have been determined in accordance with the policy.

Why has the alternative option been discounted?

Cantley Sugar Beet is an important employment site in the area. It employs many on site, but also in the supply train and servicing of the site. It is in a prominent area of the Broads, and has its impacts in terms of carbon emissions, transport, water usage and light pollution. By setting out the key considerations, the policy supports appropriate change at the site. The preferred policy is favoured as it emphasises the importance of dark skies, carbon emissions, water usage and transport.

This map shows the proposed extension to the policy area.

Map showing the proposed extension for POCAN1 in detail

This map shows the entire area to which the policy will apply.

Map showing the proposed extension for POCAN1