Below is a refusal of an application for Planning Permission for the importation of waste. The amount of waste involved, 35,000 cubic metres, was a small scheme in comparison with other Jack Barker proposals; for example, it is little over a tenth of what is proposed for Basildon. It is not clear to us why the reasons for the rejection of the proposals for Rother Valley have not been applicable when applications have been considered at other sites.

RB2001/0587
Landscaping and earthworks to improve existing golf course and driving range at Rother Valley Golf Course Mansfield Road Wales for Rother Valley Golf Course Centre Ltd
RECOMMENDED: REFUSED
Reasons for Refusal:
01
The proposal represents an inappropriate development in the Green Belt and no exceptional circumstances have been advanced to justify overriding the presumption against such forms of development set out in national policy on Green Belt (PPG2) and the adopted Rotherham UDP.
Such development would adversely impact on the character and undermine the function of the Green Belt and as such conflicts with policies ENV1; ENV1.7; CR2.3 and CR2.5 of the plan.
02
The proposed tipping operation would for its duration have an obtrusive and detrimental visual and general impact on the character and quiet enjoyment of the Country Park both from the viewpoint of visitors to this popular and major recreational amenity as well as in the general
perception from surrounding public vantage points beyond the park boundaries.
03
The disturbance which the proposed development would inevitably cause to the locality in terms of HGV traffic, noise, dust and visual intrusion cannot be justified in terms of either the need for
inert tipping capacity nor any recreational (golfing) benefits achieved. As such the development conflicts with Policies CR2.3; CR2.5 and WM1.2 of the adopted UDP.
04
The development would produce an 'engineered' landform in an otherwise gently rolling landscape and would be in conflict with advice contained in PPG17 "Sport and Recreation" which advises that golf courses should be designed to be in harmony with the surrounding countryside
and to conserve the national environment.
>Notes for RB2001/587
Background
The application as originally submitted was for the importation of inert waste materials onto Rother Valley Golf Centre to create mounding on and around the existing driving range, the 9- hole golf course and two adjacent holes on the 18-hole course comprising some 15 hectares of
land. Following discussions the scheme has been reduced in terms of area (to 9 hectares and will now include works to the driving range and 9-hole course only); height of the mounding;quantity of material required, and timescale of the operation.
The applicant states that it has become necessary to upgrade these facilities to a higher standard because of increasing competition locally, which threaten the viability of the current pay
and play facility.
UDP Allocation and Policies
The site is within the Green Belt and forms part of Rother Valley Country Park. Policy ENV1 of the UDP applies whereby there is a general presumption against development in the Green Belt unless it is appropriate to a rural location where special circumstances apply. Under Policy CR2.3 the Council will continue to enhance and encourage the development of appropriate sport and recreational activities in the countryside generally, and particularly on sites of major
recreational opportunity within the Borough, subject to other policies in the Plan being met.
UDP Waste policies WM1.2, WM1.3 and WM1.8 apply in terms of assessing the impact of such development on landscape quality and impact on the environment and traffic and the control of such development by appropriate conditions.
Site Description
Rother Valley Golf Centre is located at Rother Valley Country Park. The application site of 9 hectares is located immediately to the west of Mansfield Road and to the north of the Country Park access road. The land rises away from the access road and therefore the site will be
clearly visible to people entering the park. Vehicular access to the site is by the park entrance then turning north into the Golf Course car park. A public footpath runs north south across the site.
Proposal
The proposal has been designed to upgrade and improve the existing driving range and 9-hole par three course to the higher standards now demanded by the more discerning golfer. The par three course is to be constructed at varying levels of elevation increasing the interest of playing the course. It is also anticipated that the works will reduce the amount of time the fairways will be waterlogged which leads to closure of the course. The scheme proposes to landscape the
trees, provide mounding between the fairways and remodel the driving range mound to create a more challenging course. This will involve the importation of 35,000 cubic metres of inert material, root zone and gravel for construction of the tees and specialist sand for use in the
bunkers. This represents a substantial reduction to a third of the volume of materials that it was originally intended to import onto the larger 15 hectare site.
HGV trips are anticipated to average fifty-one loads (102 HGV movements) per week, each lorry carrying approximately 20 tonnes. Intended hours of working would be 0700 to 1800 hours
Monday to Friday and 0800 to 1400 hours on Saturdays with no working on Sundays and public holidays. It is anticipated that the scheme would be completed within twelve months (though this would clearly be dependent on ready availability of suitable bulk materials, and prevailing
weather conditions).
Publicity
The application has been publicised in the press and by means of site notices. No letters of objection have been received from the general public.
Consultations
Transportation Unit
No objections subject to adequate measures to prevent mud being deposited on the highway and warning signs being erected on Mansfield Road. An earlier proposal to construct a new temporary HGV access to A618 Mansfield Road to avoid use of the Park entrance road has been
deleted in the reduced scheme now before Members for determination. All HGV access will therefore be via the Country Park access from Mansfield Road which is considered preferable in road safety respects.
Countryside Agency
No observations.
Environment Agency
No objection subject to the attachment of appropriate conditions related to the protection of surface and ground water.
NE Derbyshire District Council
No objection subject to controls being imposed over lorry movements through Killamarsh.
Derbyshire County Council
No objection, subject to the agreed routeing of vehicles and suggested revisions to tree species to produce more appropriate landscaping proposals. The Local Planning Authority will however wish to satisfy itself as to whether the proposal comprises necessary development in the Green Belt.
Sport England
Welcomes the development as an improvement to local facilities for golfers.
Environmental Health
No objection subject to the attachment of appropriate conditions related to dust minimisation and to restrict working times.
Culture, Leisure and Lifelong Learning
The proposals would enhance the attractiveness of the facility from a commercial standpoint,though concerns remain as to whether such considerations are such as to outweigh Green Belt; the wider Country Park, and general countryside issues.
Wales Parish Council
Holding objection lodged to the original scheme pending further details on need for tipping,measures to prevent mud on road, and concerns about contamination checks on loads. Views on revised (reduced) scheme will be reported verbally to the meeting.
Appraisal
It is considered that there are four main tests which Members need to assess with the proposed development:
(i) Does it comprise appropriate development in the Green Belt and if not are there special circumstances to justify overriding the normal presumption against development?
(ii) Does the scheme adversely affect the openness of the Green Belt in this location?
(iii) Has a "need" been demonstrated for waste infilling in the context of (i) and (ii) above?
(iv) Can environmental considerations be adequately covered by the imposition of planning conditions?
The site lies within the approved Green Belt where there is a general presumption against inappropriate development. Policy ENV1 of the Unitary Development Plan permits essential facilities for outdoor sport and recreation, however the waste importation element of the
development must be particularly assessed. Government Guidance in PPG2 "Green Belts" recognises that engineering operations and the making of material changes in use of land are inappropriate unless they maintain openness and do not conflict with the essential purpose of
including land in the Green Belt. PPG10 "Planning and Waste Management" and PPG17 "Sport and Recreation" both advise special care in dealing with developments in open countryside in order to conserve the natural environment and avoid landforms being permitted which could be
incongruous in the landscape.
Owing to the immature nature of the landscape at this location, most activity is readily visible from the surrounding area, particularly from the Park's main access route. Government guidance
in PPG10: Planning and Waste Management acknowledges that "landraising operations may be conspicuous from surrounding areas if not carefully designed" and suggests that "attractive and open rural areas should normally be avoided for most types of (waste management) facility".
The proposed development will create a landscape that is inconsistent in character with the local area. The slopes of the proposed mounds are unacceptably severe and risk appearing wholly unnatural; they may also be liable to erosion. PPG17: Sport and Recreation advises that golf
courses should be "designed to ensure harmony with the surrounding countryside and to conserve the natural environment". The Countryside Agency, in its Advisory Booklet Golf Courses in the Countryside (CCP 438), suggests that "Of all the features of a new golf course,
mounding is often the most alien to the landscape setting. Large-scale earthmoving in the form of mounding, either in height or to cover a large area, will nearly always be inappropriate and should be resisted".
Having regard to the above local and national policy guidance it is considered that the revised scheme would still detract from the openness of the Green Belt and should be regarded as
inappropriate. The following circumstances support this conclusion:
Although the scheme has been reduced in the amount of material to be imported the engineered mounds would still detract from the openness of the Green Belt in this area which consists of a gently rolling landscape.
The application site lies at the entrance to a well used Country Park and not only would the development be a visual intrusion to visitors but the HGV movements and the earthmoving operations would cause inconvenience and general disturbance.
The Public footpath which crosses the site would be in a "valley" type feature between two of the constructed mounds, this could cause drainage problems but in addition reduces visibility of
golfers and footpath users and therefore increases the danger to pedestrians from golf balls.
The main justification for the works is to allow the course to compete commercially with nearby golf courses rather than to address any structural problems and therefore cannot be viewed as being essential.
Though resolution of drainage problems on the course is also addressed as part of the argument
of "need" for the development, it is considered that other options are available which would not
necessitate major earthmoving activity.
For the above reasons, the proposed development is in conflict with policies in the adopted Rotherham Unitary Development Plan and under such circumstances there must be a presumption against the development, unless a special case can be made for departing from the
approved development plan. At the present time it is not considered that such a case has been made. The potential for damage to the landscape and amenity of the Park outweighs any suggested 'benefits' to the golf course. It is therefore recommended that planning permission be refused for the reasons set out above.