Policy POTHU1: Tourism development at Hedera House, Thurne

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  1. Land at Hedera House is allocated for tourism uses, with a proportionate amount of general market housing as enabling development.  Development proposals on this site shall provide the following:
    1. The proportion of the site to be developed for general market housing shall be only that required to deliver satisfactory redevelopment, renovation or upgrading of the existing holiday accommodation. This shall be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Broads Authority, in a viability assessment of the proposed development which shall be prepared by an independent chartered surveyor;
    2. A layout, form and design which strengthens the rural character of the village and its location in a National Park equivalent area, and which reinforce local distinctiveness and landscape character and take into consideration the setting and significance of nearby listed buildings and is in conformity with the Design Guide (or successor document);
    3. Retention of mature hedgerows and provision of suitable boundary landscaping and areas of open space to retain a spacious and ‘green' approach within the site appropriate for a rural village;
    4. Demonstration that there is adequate capacity in the water recycling centre (sewage treatment works) and the foul sewerage network to serve the proposed development, and that proposals demonstrate they will not have an adverse impact on surface or ground water in terms of quality and quantity;
    5. Evidence, including a site flood risk assessment, to confirm that any development will be consistent with national and local policy in terms of both on-site and off-site flood risk;
    6. Protection of the amenity of nearby residents;
    7. Adequate vehicular access compatible with the above criteria;
    8. The scheme addresses light pollution (in line with policy PODM27);
    9. The scheme provides biodiversity net gain (in line with policy PODM15) and mitigates recreation impacts (through the GI RAMS tariff or equivalent mitigation); and
    10. Proposals must ensure no adverse effects on the conservation objectives and qualifying features of the nearby SSSI.
  2. The inclusion of ancillary facilities (for example, the retention of the swimming pool and/or games room) for the benefit of visitors or residents would be welcomed, subject to it not compromising the provision of a suitable scheme.
  3. Project Level Habitats Regulation Assessments will be needed to assess implications on Habitat Sites. Measures to mitigate for the effects of new growth may be required.

Constraints and features

  • EA mapping Flood Risk Zone 2 and 3. SFRA 2017 mapping shows part is 2 and indicative 3b.
  • Riverside pub is nearby.
  • SAC, SPA, Ramsar site to the north of the Staithe. Shallam Dyke Marshes SSSI is a component SSSI of Broadland SPA and Ramsar site and The Broads SAC.
  • A low-density site with boundary hedges, specimen trees and high levels of planting.
  • Ludham-Walton Hall Water Recycling Centre capacity issues.
  • Nearby Grade II* Listed Windpumps: Thurne Dyke Windpump and St Benet's Level Windpump.
  • Potential for previously unrecorded heritage assets. Within area of medieval and post medieval village (as shown by Faden's 1797 map). Cropmarks of enclosures, trackways and field boundaries to the north. Close to eastern end of medieval/post medieval staithe. Medieval church about 160m to the southeast.
  • Within a GI RAMS charging area
  • Area has good to very good dark skies

Reasoned justification

The site received outline planning permission in 2017 and then reserved matters in 2020, but at the time of writing has not been completed. The site has planning permission for 16 dwellings; 6 market dwellings and 10 holiday homes.

Thurne is an attractive settlement in the Broads, centrally located and easy to access from the water, and as such is very popular with visitors. Tourism is an important part of the local economy and existing visitor facilities should be protected and enhanced.

Within the centre of the village, there was a holiday complex (Hedera House), comprising 11 detached bungalows and a 7-bedroomed house. The properties were run down and did not meet modern standards for holiday accommodation, and the holiday use of the site was increasingly unviable. As such, a policy to enable appropriate redevelopment of the site was introduced in the 2014 Sites Specifics Local Plan and then included in the 2019 Local Plan for the Broads. The site has planning permission 16 dwellings; 6 market dwellings and 10 holiday homes. The buildings have been cleared away.

This policy seeks the retention of holiday accommodation on the site, while taking a pragmatic approach that allows a proportionate element of enabling development. Any application should be accompanied by a report, undertaken by an independent Chartered Surveyor, which demonstrates the viability of the scheme. The Authority will need to verify the content of such a report and may need to employ external expertise to do so. The applicant will need to meet the cost of this.

Of particular importance to Hedera House are the potential for flood risk and the quality in the design and landscaping of any scheme to reflect Thurne’s attractiveness. These factors will be taken into consideration during the viability assessment of the tourist accommodation redevelopment proposals. Proposers are encouraged to engage early with the Broads Authority about the mix of uses, site layout and design. A site-specific flood risk assessment will be required to accompany proposals.

Further, to reflect the site’s location at the edge of the settlement, proposals will need to meet the requirements of policy PODM27 as the Thurne area generally has good to very good dark skies.

The policy highlights the need for the scheme to ensure Biodiversity Net Gain in line with policy PODM15. The scheme will also need to mitigate recreation impacts, and this is most easily done through paying the GI RAMS tariff.

The design of the development shall meet the requirements of the Design Guide and design policy PODM51.

In terms of Nutrient Neutrality, the Broads Authority consider that the sites itself is outside of the Broads SAC catchment and this scheme’s foul water would drain to a Water Recycling Centre that is not within the Broads SAC catchment and so does not need to mitigate for Phosphate or Nitrates.

There may be a requirement for an evidence-based project level HRA to assess the impact of this development on habitat sites.

It is anticipated that the dwellings could be delivered around 2025/26.

Reasonable alternative options

An alternative option would be to keep the original policy (other than amending text relating to numbers as well as adding reference to BNG, GI RAMS and NN) and not mention light pollution or the design guide within the policy itself.

Another option would be to not have a policy and not allocate the site, but this site has planning permission and so that is not deemed a reasonable alternative.

Sustainability appraisal summary

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

A: Keep original policy (other than amending text to refer to BNG, GI RAMS and NN); 6 positives. 1 negatives. 0 ? Despite the negatives, there are benefits to allocating the site, as set out in the supporting text.

B: Preferred Option - amend policy to improve reference to light pollution (and add reference to BNG, GI RAMS and NN): 7 positives. 1 negatives. 0 ? Despite the negatives, there are benefits to allocating the site, as set out in the supporting text.

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

According to recent Annual Monitoring Reports, the policy has been used and the scheme was in conformity.

Why has the alternative option been discounted?

The stronger wording relating to light pollution is favoured when compared to the original to ensure the dark skies of the Broads are protected in this edge of settlement location. The other changes relating to numbers, BNG, GI RAMS and NN are factual.