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LAN1  Principles For Landscape  Strategic Policy

In considering proposals for development, the local planning authority will have regard to the visual impact upon the local and wider landscape and will in particular:

(i) protect landscapes of special character, identified as areas of special landscape value; and

(ii) promote the improvement and enhancement of damaged landscapes, identified as areas requiring landscape renewal.

Proposals will not be permitted where their visual impact would be inappropriate, in terms of the character, appearance and landscape setting of the surrounding area.

Reasoned justification :

14.1 The Wirral landscape, based upon the formal landscapes created by former large country estates and rural areas, natural coastal scenery, and wooded slopes related to Wirral's sandstone ridges, forms an essential part of the peninsula's natural beauty. The landscape is not, however, important in terms of visual values alone. Landscape quality also has special significance for the general image of the Borough and especially in terms of the promotion of tourism and the attraction of new investment.

14.2 The Local Planning Authority has a legal duty to provide for the conservation of the natural beauty and amenity of the Borough and to provide for improvements to the physical environment. Policies for landscape conservation and landscape renewal make an essential contribution to fulfilling this responsibility. Policy LAN1, therefore, sets out the general approach the Local Planning Authority will apply in order to regulate the impact of development upon the landscape.

14.3 National planning policy indicates that the countryside should be protected for its own sake, and the Local Planning Authority is required to highlight particularly important features of the countryside which should be taken into account in planning decisions. Policy LAN1, therefore, requires special attention to be given to preserving the character and appearance of landscapes which are considered to be amongst the most outstanding within the Borough, and to upgrading landscapes which are considered to be the amongst the worst. Within these identified areas, landscape conservation and landscape renewal will be considered to be a priority.

14.4 Policy LAN1 does not, however, only apply to these specially identified areas. It also extends to all proposals which are likely to have an impact upon the character and appearance of the local and wider landscape. Neither does Policy LAN1 only include proposals located outside the urban area. Even within the urban area development proposals can often introduce intrusive features which can be visible across a wide area, detract from an adjacent area of high landscape quality or lead to an erosion of the characteristic landscape setting of the urban area itself. Indeed, in areas such as Noctorum, Mountwood, south Heswall and Poulton/ Spital, the character of the urban area forms an important part of the attractiveness of the wider landscape.

14.5 Policy LAN1, therefore, provides for proposals which would be intrusive within the local or wider landscape or which are otherwise poorly integrated within the setting of the area to be refused. This will also be held to apply to proposals which fail to provide adequate landscaping or which would result in the loss or erosion of existing landscape features without making appropriate replacement provision.