6.1 These issues can be addressed through good quality, well designed developments that have a positive relationship to the waterways, and encourage greater use of the towpath areas contributing to a more secure environment by increasing surveillance.
6.2 The policies in the adopted Local Plan will need to be taken into consideration when planning applications are prepared for any new development affecting the canalside and its immediate environs. Additional policies in this document have been prepared to strengthen and contribute to the protection and potential development of the canalside.
6.3 Whilst policy BE1 of the Local Plan deals with design at a strategic level, the canals, towpaths and adjoining land have a strong character, history and identity. Combined they create a 'sense of place'. New developments or redevelopments and conversions need to reflect and build upon this character.
In its advice to developers preparing schemes for canalside sites, the CRT states that they should;
- positively address the water
- integrate the towing path and open up access to the water
- link waterside space and the waterspace
- use the waterspace itself
- incorporate access and other improvements
- engage with and tease out the qualities and benefits of being by the water
- reflect on the scale of the local waterway corridor to the wider neighbourhood.
The council supports these aims and expects to see developers taking these criteria into account when preparing schemes The following policies are intended to achieve this:
Proposals for development will address Policy BE1 Layout and Design, of the Warwick Local Plan (2011-2029) which directs the way that a sense of place can be achieved through adopting the same approach to the existing landscape, topography and townscape.
- Developments should be of an appropriate scale, height, form and massing, utilising appropriate materials and details and maintaining the strong industrial characteristics of the area where appropriate
- Where appropriate, developments should integrate with existing paths, streets, circulation networks and patterns of activity.
- Developments should reflect, respect and reinforce local architectural and historical including sympathetic materials distinctiveness, particularly where sites fall within the canal conservation area.
- Development frontages should address the canal, allowing views and providing much needed surveillance, increasing security and reducing fear of crime. In residential developments this includes maintaining an open view of the canal from residential properties and gardens.
- The surrounding area should be taken into consideration when development is proposed including the canal corridor, towpath, landscaping and other local and natural features.
- New or improved safe access to the canal is essential and should be included wherever possible, including bridges and accesses to the canal from nearby roads. Access should however be designed to ensure that opportunities for crime are reduced
- Any development of the canal will also include the provision of a towpath where suitable and desirable which will be wide enough to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users with the aim of creating a cycle/walking route alongside the canal where none exists or, where a towpath already exists, it is widened and/or improved where possible and desirable to allow access for all users, without compromising the natural environment
- The development does not have an adverse impact on water quality or increase the risk of flooding
- New residential development will be assessed against the policies of the adopted LP and the principles outlined in the council's Residential Design Guide to ensure that a high standard is attained, making a positive contribution to the local environment
Parking will be provided in accordance with the Council's adopted Parking Standards depending on the type of development. The location and setting of the parking should be sympathetic to any environmental, historic or landscape features ensuring that canalside frontages do not present the view of a car park.
Secure, undercover cycle and motorcycle parking will also be provided located where there is adequate surveillance of access points from windows and access/egress points of buildings, at a rate in accordance with the parking standards for the proposed use(s). Where access to the towpath and/ or canal, existing or proposed, is sufficiently wide enough to allow vehicular access, effective barriers will be installed by developers to prevent vehicles accessing towpaths or entering the canal.
6.4 It is important that the understanding of place and how that has developed and changed over time is acknowledged and preserved wherever possible. It may be that some of the historic context is no longer visible, but nonetheless, should be identified and recorded when new development is proposed.
An assessment of the significance of heritage assets on the development site, including their archaeological interest should be undertaken and a Heritage Statement submitted with planning applications for development. Consultation of HERS information held by Warwickshire County Council to inform the basis for this assessment is required as a minimum.
6.5 The setting of the canal and the landscape that contributes to the canal as a calm, peaceful and contemplative green corridor must be preserved and wherever possible, enhanced. The green corridor is also important to wildlife, providing a safe route away from traffic and human intrusion. In order to maintain and enhance this, the following policy must be considered when a planning application for development is assessed.
Canals provide a wide range of habitats for wildlife and for biodiversity.
Developments should incorporate features that recognise, protect and enhance the biodiversity and environmental quality of the canal corridor, by retaining, maintaining, extending and improving upon the green aspects of the canal corridor. An Environmental Impact report will be required where development directly abuts the canal or towpath or is likely to impact on the setting or environmental credentials of the canal
A detailed arboricultural survey should be carried out to establish what should be preserved within development sites and the report submitted with planning applications for development.
Environmental Impact Assessments should be prepared in compliance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive; Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations, 2017 or any update of this statement.
6.6 In response to climate change, it should be acknowledged that canals and rivers contribute to urban cooling and so reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Introducing more soft landscaping and trees in particular into the design of new developments, will not only result in a more visually appealing scheme, it will also contribute to combating climate change via the green and blue corridors.
Towpaths should be considered as telecommunication routes.
Canals and their immediate environs should be supported as an educational resource and this can be enhanced by the addition of information boards at appropriate places alongside the canal.
Canals should be recognised as a potential renewable energy resource by
- utilising canal water for heating and cooling buildings and
- for onshore hydropower where practicable and,
- improving air quality
6.7 There have been a number of planning applications for developments of PBSA alongside the canal on urban sites where there are vacant, underused or outdated buildings and land. To ensure that PBSA is located on suitable sites and to reduce the concentration of such developments in one area, the council will produce a development plan document (DPD) dealing with this specific aspect of development throughout the district. Proposals for PBSA
in close proximity to the canal should be considered in line with any emerging policy in that document or in compliance with any subsequently adopted policy brought forward through the adoption of the PBSA SPD. Linear development of PBSA along the canal resulting in an unbroken line of PBSA will not be suitable.
Proposals for PBSA will be supported where the development is in accordance with policy H6 of the adapted Local Plan and any relevant 'made' neighbourhood development plan or any subsequent review of such plans. The council will prepare a PBSA DPD which will apply specifically to PBSA in due course.
6.8 Signage to the canals from the towns and other local centres is limited and uncoordinated. This is also true along the canal itself which isn't helpful to users. In order to address this issue;
Further advice and information can be obtained from CRT when signage is to be located on towpaths adjacent to the canal, the district council where located on their land and for advertisement consent applications where required and WCC when signs are to be located on the public highway, including the sides of roads and road bridges. The CRT produce guidance on acceptable design location, size etc
New and improved directional and informational signage will be permitted where it is appropriately designed and suitably located and accords with the policies of the Local Plan and advice set out within the relevant published conservation area documents.
6.9 Other towns and cities have included art trails or encourage developers to include public art in their proposals.
The inclusion of public art in new schemes is encouraged where it makes a positive contribution to the local area and where a management scheme to ensure maintenance/replacement is put in place
Site specific policies
6.10 Sydenham Industrial Estate has already seen rationalisation and has been partially redeveloped along the canal and Sydenham Drive boundaries for new housing. Any future development therefore will be expected to complement the existing.
All development within the canal corridor will ensure that no damage occurs to the canal infrastructure and that the integrity of the canal is protected at all times before, during and after development has occurred
Any further redevelopment of Sydenham Industrial Estate for residential use will be expected to reflect and complement the existing houses and flats by;
- Reflecting and matching the existing designs, density, materials and layout
- Providing 100% low cost housing as a mix of affordable rented, private low cost and shared ownership units according to the current housing need in the area
- Providing an open aspect onto the canal to provide a soft transition between the canal and the development and good surveillance of and to the new dwellings
- Any existing public access to the canal is maintained and improved where possible and new public access is provided where there is an opportunity to do so
- The open space created immediately adjacent to the canal on the existing residential element on the site, is continued through any new development adjoining the canal
6.11 The potential site at Millers Road/Cape Road, will only come forward when demand falls off for the industrial units. This is only likely to happen when they are no longer fit for purpose. As the whole of the estate is unlikely to come into this category at the same time, some rationalisation will be required before redevelopment takes place to avoid pepper-potting residential units amongst the industrial uses. This should then provide a suitable area which can be developed in a holistic way.
Development of part or all of the land currently in use as the industrial estate at Millers Road/Cape Road for residential use will be supported provided that:
- The whole estate is assessed and rationalised if industrial uses are to be retained to enable a logical development for residential use and to avoid sporadic development of individual units
The residential development maintains an open access to the canal frontage by:
- Providing a soft, open aspect onto the canal for any residential units immediately adjacent
- Providing new public access in suitable locations
- Residential development provides at least the minimum percentage (40%) of affordable homes if not more
- New residential development takes into account the design of the existing residential properties to the west of the site and reflects the heritage of the canal and its character
- An area of green space is provided immediately adjacent to the canal to provide an area for biodiversity and wildlife habitat, including the planting of native trees and shrubs to be advised in a soft landscaping scheme submitted with a planning application
6.12 The Montague Road site has already been subject of planning applications for residential development. There have been some issues highlighted with regard to air pollution in this area and there are ongoing talks to address these before an application can be determined.
The potential development of the former school site at Montague Road provides an opportunity to provide a pleasant outlook and green area facing the canal.
Any proposed development adjacent to the canal will provide a green space by way of a linear park from the Coventry Road Bridge alongside the canal
Easy access will be provided to the canal tow path from the Coventry Road bridge and at a point along the frontage of the development next to the canal.
Residential development provides at least the minimum percentage (40%) of affordable homes if not more.
Residential development will provide surveillance of the canal by either:
- Locating residential units which front onto the canal and towpath and provide a view over the canal, or
- Providing a soft, open aspect to the canal where residential units turn their backs to the canal
Issues of air pollution and any other identified form of contamination are addressed and dealt with in a way that is acceptable to the Council's environmental health officer before a planning application is submitted and an environmental statement is included as part of the evidence base, accompanying the planning application.
6.13 Developers should refer to the Council's adopted SPD's on 'Air Quality' and 'Affordable Housing' for more guidance and detail.
6.14 It is important that any new access to the canal is connected to the existing towpath and open spaces to provide new routes and circuitous walks in the district. This will encourage the use of the canal corridor as a route and as a leisure facility.
6.15 The council encourages improvements to the canal infrastructure, access and signage. In order to achieve this, at the time of Major planning application consideration immediately adjacent to the canal, discussions will take place with the CRT regarding the need for such works and the potential for developer contributions to be required to achieve them.
e.g. Access and signage is particularly poor at Warwick Parkway railway station and developer contributions will allow this to be addressed.
6.16 Where developers propose new bridges over the canal, they should refer to the CRT advice in their document 'HS2 Design Principles' for Waterway Crossings Report', 2015.
6.17 Advice regarding the use, design and safety aspects of towpaths can be found in the CRT's advice note 'Better Towpaths for Everyone', 2015.