Site Specific Allocations

Adopted January 2011

LOW9 - Monckton Avenue Nursery, Lowestoft

Allocation: Housing with Allotments and Open Space


2.105 LOW9 is currently used by Waveney District Council as a nursery. It is divided into 2 separate areas by a road access and footpath from Monckton Avenue. The main part of the site is located north of Monckton Avenue. A footpath runs between the gardens of Monckton Avenue and the boundary of the site. Another footpath runs north from the entrance along the eastern boundary. The site is bordered by housing on Kesgrave Drive and Hadleigh Drive on its western boundary and part northern boundary. To the north and west is Kesgrave Drive open space, pond and play area.

2.106 This part of the site is currently used for horticulture and the storage of plants, bins and vehicles. Much of the site is grassed but there are some gravel drives, greenhouses, brick buildings and offices in portacabins, mainly concentrated on the eastern side. The site is mainly hedged, with a line of fairly young trees planted along a fence on the eastern boundary. It is fairly flat, but slopes gently down to the north.

2.107 The second area is situated to the east of Monckton Avenue, and wraps around the sides and rear of Nursery Cottages. The northern part of this site, to the north and rear of Nursery Cottages, is currently used for the storage of green waste (tree clippings, logs etc), woodchip and soil. It is flat and surrounded by trees. Part of this site, to the south of Nursery Cottages and fronting Normanston Drive, is currently designated as open space. It is a wooded area with scrub and some mature trees, and there is a pond near the western edge. At the Monckton Avenue end this area is lower than the rest of the site, and there is a bank rising up to Nursery Cottages.

Proposed Development
2.108 The site is mainly brownfield land within the physical limits of Lowestoft. It has good access to services and facilities, and is well connected to existing pedestrian, cycle and public transport routes. The accessibility of this site makes it a good location for housing development.

2.109 In total, the site is 2.3 hectares and it is proposed that the northern part of the site (1.61 ha) is developed for housing, which could include sheltered housing. This part of the site could accommodate approximately 48 dwellings at 30 dwellings per hectare. 35% of these should be provided as affordable housing. This percentage requirement was established through a site specific viability assessment[1] which took into account known abnormal costs and site specific requirements. The requirement for affordable housing will only be reduced in exceptional circumstances where it can be demonstrated that a lower percentage of affordable housing is needed to ensure the site remains financially viable when taking into account unforeseen development costs.

2.110 The Highway Authority has confirmed that there are no highway safety issues in relation to the junction with Normanston Drive for the amount of housing proposed, although some realignment of the access road to the site may be necessary. Given the nature and scale of development proposed on this site, the developer will be required to undertake a Transport Assessment.

2.111 The County Archaeologist considers there is high potential for archaeological remains to be defined at this location, given its proximity to several Neolithic find spots and the large size of the site. It is recommended that a condition relating to archaeological investigation is attached to any planning permission.

2.112 This part of the site is located in close proximity to the Neeves Pit former landfill site. Therefore, the Council commissioned investigative work to assess the site for contaminants and landfill gas. The findings indicate that raised levels of landfill gas were confined to the area allocated for allotments and open space. However, as a precaution gas protection measures should be implemented where necessary. The site also lies over a principal aquifer and therefore there is the potential for the contamination of controlled waters. In accordance with Planning Policy Statement 23, further site investigation work will be required to support any future planning application on the site. This work should be accompanied by a risk assessment and a remediation method statement. There is also a possibility of land drainage issues in this location, and a Flood Risk Assessment should be submitted as part of any application.

2.113 The accessibility from surrounding residential areas also makes this a good location for the provision of allotments to meet increasing levels of demand. The Allotments, Cemeteries and Churchyards Needs Assessment (July 2007) reported that the average waiting list for allotments in Lowestoft is around 2 years and likely to increase due to an upsurge in interest in sustainable lifestyles and locally grown food. The eastern part of this site provides an opportunity to provide an area of allotments as part of the development of the whole site. These should be provided in addition to the usual open space requirements set out in the Development Management Policies DPD. It is proposed that these allotments should be located on the land to the north and east of Nursery Cottage. Access should be from the existing entrance, north of 2 Nursery Cottages.

2.114 The Open Space Needs Assessment identified a shortage of amenity greenspace in north Lowestoft. The existing open space area to the south of Nursery Cottages should therefore continue to be protected and public access improved. This area of open space also has some wildlife value, which has the potential to be improved with management. The Lowestoft Biodiversity Audit reported that the site provides some good habitat for a range of fauna. The site contains wet woodland and ponds, both of which are Biodiversity Action Plan habitats. The mature trees potentially provide opportunities for roosting bats and birds and invertebrates. The woodland also enhances the character of the area and links between habitats, as areas of woodland exist all around the Normanston Drive roundabout, and are typical features of the Normanston area. As bats have been recorded in the vicinity, a bat survey will need to be undertaken to ascertain whether bats are present on the site and identify any appropriate mitigation measures, prior to the submission of a planning application.

2.115 The Highway Authority requires that the existing footpaths around the boundary of the site are retained at least at their present width. It would also be desirable to provide cycle access along these routes. A new pedestrian and cycle access from the north of the site to Kesgrave Drive should be provided as part of any development to maximise opportunities for walking and cycling.

Policy LOW9

Monckton Avenue Nursery, Lowestoft, (2.3ha), is allocated for housing (48 units) with allotments and open space. The site will be developed in accordance with the following site specific criteria:
• A mix of housing of different sizes and tenures should be provided on the main part of the site (1.61 ha) and developed at a density of approximately 30 dwellings per hectare. This could include a development of very sheltered housing.
• 35% of the housing should be provided as affordable housing with the mix to be based on the findings of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment and agreed with the District Council Housing Officer. The affordable housing requirement will only be reduced in exceptional circumstances to ensure the site remains financially viable when taking into account unforeseen development costs.
• The triangular area south of Nursery Cottages and along Normanston Drive should continue to be protected as open space, made publicly accessible and managed (approximately 0.35 ha).
• The area of land to the north of the open space and wrapped around Nursery Cottages should be laid out as allotments (approximately 0.35 ha) with access from the existing site entrance along the boundary of 2 Nursery Cottages.
• The housing development should make a financial contribution towards the provision of allotments.
• A bat survey will be required prior to submission of a planning application.
• A condition relating to archaeological investigation should be attached to any planning permission.
• A Flood Risk Assessment should be prepared as part of the application process to assess and mitigate the risk of flooding from surface water drainage.
• A full Site Investigation Report should be completed and submitted with any planning application, along with a risk assessment and remediation method statement to ensure the protection of controlled waters.
• Development should incorporate ground gas protection measures where necessary.
• Existing footpaths should be retained and upgraded to shared pedestrian/cycle paths where possible.
• Shared pedestrian/cycle access should be provided from the north of the site to Kesgrave Drive.
• A Transport Assessment will be required.

2.116 This development will be delivered by a developer. Development of the site is dependent on the relocation of the existing nursery which should take place in the early part of the plan period.