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GR5  Landscaping and New Development  Policy

In order to secure the protection and enhancement of visual amenity the Local Planning Authority will require applicants to submit full landscaping proposals before full planning permission is granted. Proposals should:

(i) include a clear specification of landscaping proposals indicating the species mix, the location, height and density of new planting, as well as areas of new ground modelling or other land features proposed;

(ii) be appropriate in terms of the nature and location of the development proposed, the visual prominence of the site, the potential visual impact of the development and the character of the surrounding area;

(iii) provide for new planting and for the protection, replacement or enhancement of existing features such as ponds, trees, bushes, shrubs or hedges including, where relevant, appropriate boundary treatment and provision for the protection of wildlife; and

(iv) take full account of the effect of proposals on visibility at access points, the effect of local climatic influences and the potential for misuse or erosion which may affect the appropriateness of landscaping proposals.

Layouts that would leave landscaped areas which are not easily supervised or which would prejudice the supervision of other sensitive areas of the site will be resisted.

Planning permission will be subject to conditions relating to the protection of existing features specified for retention, the timing and aftercare of new planting including provision for the replacement of stolen, damaged, diseased or dead plants or trees throughout the period until newly planted stock is established and capable of normal unaided growth.

Reasoned justification :

8.24 Landscaping is one of five matters that are to be specifically addressed when considering applications for planning permission and the Local Planning Authority can require appropriate landscaping as a condition of planning consent. The Local Planning Authority also has a legal duty to provide for improvements to the physical environment and to provide for the conservation of the natural beauty and amenity of the area. Policy GR5, therefore, sets out the considerations that the Local Planning Authority will take into account in the exercise of these powers.

8.25 Landscaping is particularly important in relation to regulating the visual impact of new development and requires careful assessment on a site by site basis. Policy GR5, therefore, requires detailed landscaping proposals to be submitted as part of all applications for full permission. This will enable landscaping requirements to be properly considered together with other matters relating to the siting, layout and external appearance of the development, and will prevent landscaping considerations being deferred to some time after consent has been issued.

8.26 Policy GR5 also sets out the main considerations that the Local Planning Authority will take into account in assessing the adequacy of landscaping proposals. These primarily relate to the individual circumstances of the site, the location and the nature of the development proposed, and the protection of any characteristic greenspace features already present on the site or within the locality. Special attention will, therefore, be given to landscaping where the site is particularly prominent, where the development would be particularly intrusive or where it is important in order to preserve the character of the site or the area in which it is located.

8.27 Special attention will also be given where landscaping is required as a "buffer" to protect the amenity of adjacent property or to protect other features of importance such as water courses, nature conservation sites, wildlife corridors, Conservation Areas, archaeological sites or distinctive landscapes. Control over the species mix within proposals will also be necessary in the vicinity of areas with value for nature conservation, especially where they may introduce invasive or exotic species which may pose a threat to the continued conservation value of the site. Special care will also be applied where landscaping needs to be more robust to prevent misuse or erosion. Fencing or other suitable boundary treatments must be appropriate to the setting of the area.

8.28 Further guidance in relation to landscaping is contained within Supplementary Planning Guidance Note 16. The Merseyside Police Architectural Liaison Officer can also offer advice to ensure that landscaping contributes towards an environment which discourages crime.