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Chapter 12
The Coast

CPZ1

Development in the Coastal Planning Zone (Part 1 Policy)

CPZ2

Coastal Protection

CPZ3

Coastal Landscape Conservation and Management

CPZ4

Coastal Park

 

Objective

To ensure that development within the Sefton Coastal Planning Zone is limited to land uses dependent on a coastal location and which maintain or enhance the special characteristics of the Sefton Coast.

 

Indicators

(Combined indicators for The Coast and Nature Conservation Chapters)

 

12.1/11.1 Area and condition of land designated as SSSIs.

 

12.2/11.2 Changes (losses and gains) in the area of designated sites of local significance as a result of development.
(Indicators for Chapter 12, The Coast, only)

 

12.3 The number and type of developments approved within the Coastal Planning Zone, and the proportion of these which are not ‘coast-dependent’.

 

Key partners

Sefton Coast Partnership

 


Introduction

The Sefton Coastal Planning Zone

12.1 The Coastal Planning Zone (figure 12.1) covers the low-lying area from the Ribble to the Mersey estuaries defined by shallow inshore waters, extensive intertidal flats, dunes and marshes landscapes.

 

12.2 The seaward boundary of the Coastal Planning Zone is defined by Mean Low Water Mark or Council ownership, whichever is the greater distance offshore. The landward boundary is defined by a combination of coastal landscape features, coast-related land-uses, and barriers such as the Southport-Liverpool rail line.

 

12.3. The Coastal Planning Zone is a complex and integrated system comprising:

 

The developed coast

12.4 There are two main areas of developed coast:

 

12.5 Southport Seafront and the Port and Maritime Zone are major locations for employment (see chapter 5 - ‘Economic Development and Tourism’). In recent years off-shore oil and gas installations have been developed, with associated bases in Sefton. A transatlantic cable also comes ashore in Sefton. These have added a new dimension to Sefton’s coast-related economy.

 

The undeveloped coast

12.6 The undeveloped coast lies between these two areas, centred around the sand-dunes and associated features at Formby Point and Ainsdale. Marshside is also undeveloped coast. The Sefton Coast Partnership brings together the agencies who own or manage most of the undeveloped coast, including Sefton Council, English Nature, the National Trust and the Ministry of Defence.

 

12.7 The Sefton Coast Partnership’s Integrated Coast Zone Management (ICZM) Plan 2006-07 is non statutory guidance and provides an umbrella for a number of strategies. It supports collaboration on the coast and helps resolve different interests, including:

 

12.8 Most of the Coastal Planning Zone is of international importance for nature conservation, and is a key environmental asset in Sefton (see chapter 11 - ‘Nature Conservation’).

 

Coastal defence

12.9 The coastal processes and landforms of the undeveloped coast create an effective defence against coastal flooding and erosion. The Plan’s land-use policies reflect the approach in the Shoreline Management Plans approved for Sefton and the neighbouring coastline.

 

12.10 Considerable investment took place between 1997 and 2002 in a new floodwall for Birkdale and central Southport. The docks and other structures associated with the Port also provide a coastal defence. A detailed strategy for Crosby to Formby Point is being prepared within the context of the relevant Shoreline Management Plan. Coastal defence will become more important through this Plan period and beyond.

 

Climate change

12.11 It is anticipated that significant impacts of climate change will be felt within the next 50 years or so - for example, rises in sea level which may put low-lying land and coastal aquifers at risk (and also the habitats and species found at the coast), and rises in average temperatures. Sea-level is predicted to rise by 200mm by the year 2030.

 

12.12 In the short-term, one element of climate change in the North West is likely to be more storms, which will affect tide levels and winds. This could affect the rate of coastal erosion and deposition. It could also lead to more and higher floods and increased risk of wind damage.

 

12.13 There could be implications for habitats and species as well as human activities, structures and trees. Plan policies in this coastal chapter aim to keep these risks as low as possible.

 

Sustainability Appraisal

New paragraphs added to introduction to deal with the impact of climatic change on species and habitats.

 

Figure 12.1 Coastal Planning Zone & Coastal Park

 

Figure 12.1 Coastal Planning Zone & Coastal Park

 

POLICY CPZ1
DEVELOPMENT IN THE COASTAL PLANNING ZONE

  1. Within the Coastal Planning Zone defined on the Proposals Map development will be restricted to uses which depend upon a coastal location. In Sefton these are:

     

    1. port-related uses within the Port and Maritime zone;

       

    2. leisure- and tourism-related uses within Southport Seafront;

       

    3. development required to assist the management of the natural areas and landscape features of the open coast or required for coastal defence;

       

    4. development related to the use of the coast for informal, countryside recreation;

       

    5. development comprising landfall facilities for off-shore installations.

       

  2. Proposals for any of these uses are acceptable in principle.

     

This is a Part 1 Policy

 


Explanation

12.14 Only coast-related development is acceptable in principle within the Sefton Coastal Planning Zone in order to protect the special characteristics of the Sefton coast. Nature and landscape conservation are important considerations when assessing the proposals in detail. Developers should show why their proposals need to be at the coast.

 

12.15 Within the Crosby Marine Park a pub-restaurant may be acceptable at the southern end of the marina or Park, as small scale leisure and tourism-related development. The key principles in determining planning applications (including those for a pub-restaurant) are this policy together with policies relating to development on urban greenspaces set out in Chapter 13.

 

12.16 Throughout the Coastal Planning Zone (including within the Port and Maritime Zone) development required for coastal defence or landfall facilities for off-shore installations (such as pipelines or cables) is acceptable in principle.

 

Implementation

12.17 This policy will be implemented through the development control process.

 

Sustainability Appraisal

No changes needed.

 

Policy Links

EDT9 The Port and Maritime Zone;
EDT15 Southport Seafront;
GBC2 Development in the Green Belt;
NC1 Site Protection;
NC2 Protection of Species;
G1 Protection of Urban Greenspace.

 

Background documents

Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for the North West, North West Regional Assembly, 2003; Sefton Coast Partnership ICZM Plan 2006-2011, Sefton Coast Partnership, 2006; Planning Policy Guidance Note 20 ‘Coastal Planning’, DOE, 1992; Action Plan for the City Region 2002-2005, The Mersey Partnership, 2001.

 

POLICY CPZ2
COAST PROTECTION

  1. Development will not be permitted which would:

     

    1. increase the risk of tidal flooding or coastal erosion through its impact on coastal processes, or

       

    2. impair the capacity of the coast to form a natural sea defence or adjust to changes in conditions without risk to life or property.

       

  2. Proposals for built development within areas likely to be affected by coastal erosion will only be permitted where erosion or landslips are not likely to occur during the lifetime of the building.

     

 


Explanation

12.18 Coast protection includes the two linked elements of coastal erosion and tidal flood risk. The defences against each are often common, for example Southport Seawall or the sand dunes.

 

12.19 This policy aims to ensure that development does not impair coastal defence and is not harmed by the erosion of the coast or the land instability which it causes. It deals with the land-use implications of the longer term Shoreline Management Plans, local strategies for coast defences and Coastal Habitat Management Plans. In most cases development proposals relating to coast protection will need to have an environmental assessment.

 

12.20 This policy relates only to the aspects of flood defence affecting the coast alone. Policy EP8 ‘Flood Risk’ covers other aspects of both coastal and river flooding, and aims to protect development from being flooded.

 

Implementation

12.21 This policy will be implemented through the development control process.

 

Sustainability Appraisal

No changes needed.

 

Policy Links

CPZ1 Development in the Coastal Planning Zone;
CPZ3 Coastal Landscape Conservation and Management;
EP8 Flood Risk.

 

Background documents

Coastal Defence Issues and Strategy, Sefton MBC, 2000; Climate change impacts in NW of England, Sustainability North West, 1999; Shoreline Management Plans for Sub-Cell 11A (Llandudno to Formby Point) and 11B (Formby Point to Fleetwood), both Shoreline Management Partnership, 1999; Sefton Coast Partnership ICZM Plan 2006-2011, Sefton Coast Partnership, 2006.

 

POLICY CPZ3
COASTAL LANDSCAPE CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT

  1. Development which is likely to significantly harm the coastal landscape will not be permitted.

     

  2. Development which is likely to significantly harm the quantity and quality of the groundwater in the dune aquifer and the ecological features it supports will not be permitted.

     

  3. Development within or affecting the Coastal Planning Zone will be expected to support the integrated management of the coastal landscape as a corridor which allows wild species to migrate, disperse and breed successfully. Development which significantly harms these interests will not be permitted.

     

  4. Planning conditions or legal agreements may be used to secure any of the above.

     


Explanation

12.22 In this policy landscape means soil, topography, coastal and geomorphological processesG, the self-contained dune aquifer, vegetation, habitat and species, general landscape character and how they link together. How significant the harm is will depend on the combination of the size of the impact and the value of the coastal landscape affected.

 

12.23 Regulation 37 of the 1994 Habitats Regulations states that development plan policies can cover the management of features of the landscape which are of major importance for wild plants and animals, such as ‘linear and continuous structure[s which are] essential for the migration, dispersal and genetic exchange of wild species’.

 

12.24 The coastal landscape is such a linear and continuous feature. The policy aims to protect and support it and prevent it being broken up, for example through parts being lost or by the erection of barriers. This will allow the wild animals and plants there to migrate, disperse, live and breed successfully. This support will usually be through the landscape being enhanced or managed. How much enhancement is required will depend on the type, size and location of the development. This policy does not apply to proposals for house extensions in Hightown, as these will not have a significant impact on the coastal landscape.

 

12.25 There is a self-contained aquiferG within the dunes which discharges eastwards into the peat moss and westwards to the intertidal area and the Irish Sea. This dune aquifer is crucial to the ecology of the dunes and surrounding areas, affecting both habitat and species. Also it is an important seasonal source of water for several golf courses in the area.

 

Implementation

12.26 This policy will be implemented through the development control process.

 

Sustainability Appraisal

No changes made as it would be too difficult to specify all of the types of development which could have an impact on the dune aquifer.

 

Policy Links

NC1 Site Protection;
NC2 Protection of Species;
NC3 Habitat Protection, Creation and Management;
GBC6 Landscape Character.

 

Background documents

The Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc) Regulations 1994 (commonly known as the ‘Habitats Regulations’), 1994; Sefton Coast Candidate Special Area of Conservation, Conservation Strategy, Sefton Coast Life Project, 1999; Southport and Sefton Water Resource Evaluation, ENTEC UK Ltd, 1999; Beach Management Strategy, Sefton MBC, 1991; North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan, North Merseyside Biodiversity Group, 2001; Sefton Coast Partnership ICZM Plan 2006-2011, Sefton Coast Partnership, 2006.

 

POLICY CPZ4
COASTAL PARK

  1. Within the Coastal Park, as identified on the Proposals Map, planning permission will not be granted for development that would significantly harm:

     

    1. existing or proposed informal recreational uses; or

       

    2. public access to or within the Coastal Park; or

       

    3. the tranquillity and quiet enjoyment of the Coastal Park.

       

  2. Development within the Coastal Park shall support or enhance the informal recreational use of the Park. Planning conditions or legal agreements may be used to secure this.

     


Explanation

12.27 The open area of coast extending north from Seaforth beyond Southport Seafront to Marshside Reserve and the Ribble estuary is defined as a Coastal Park (figure 12.1). In this area informal countryside recreation and nature conservation are important.

 

12.28 The Sefton Coast has long been a major recreation resource for Sefton, Merseyside and the wider area. This includes opportunities both for enjoying nature and for environmental education.

 

12.29 This policy sets out the most important land-use issues relating to the recreational use of the Coastal Park. The requirements of nature and landscape conservation or enhancement are other key considerations. The extent to which a proposal may harm the Coastal Park will depend on the combination of the size of the impact and the value of the recreational resource being affected.

 

12.30 Proposals that enhance the informal, countryside recreation function of the Coastal Park include development associated with existing links golf courses and small-scale farming. Access means access for everybody.

 

12.31 Support for or enhancements to the Coastal Park should relate to the type, scale and location of the development being proposed. Enhancements may include sign-posting, new paths, information boards, landscape enhancements or other things which help people to enjoy nature. Further new golf courses are unlikely to be acceptable.

 

12.32 Protection of land through its purchase for public ownership will take place where this is judged to be appropriate.

 

12.33 The strategy for the overall management of the area is guided by the Sefton Coast Partnership’s (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) Plan, the Mersey Forest Plan and the Sefton Coast Special Areas of Conservation Strategy.

 

Implementation

12.34 This policy will be implemented through the development control process, guided by the documents referred to in 12.33 above.

 

Sustainability Appraisal

No changes needed.

 

Policy Links

GBC2 Development in the Green Belt;
GBC6 Landscape Character;
NC1 Site Protection;
NC2 Protection of Species;
NC3 Habitat Protection, Creation and Management.

 

Background documents

Mersey Forest Plan, Mersey Forest Partnership, 2001; North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan, North Merseyside Biodiversity Group, 2001; Action Plan for the City Region 2002-2005, The Mersey Partnership, 2001; Sefton Coast ICZM Plan 2006-11, Sefton Coast Partnership, 2006; Sefton Coast Candidate Special Area of Conservation Strategy, Sefton Coast Life Project, 1999.

 

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