New Forest District Council: Dan Wilden is pleased to finally have received consent for two bungalows on a backland garden site in Ringwood, Hampshire.

The approval has been long awaited. Back in February 2020 we had an appeal decision where the Inspector accepted our arguments that the development was acceptable and would do no harm to the character of the locality but dismissed the appeal on technical matters relating to habitat mitigation. Whilst we resubmitted an identical applicaiton immediately, this was caught by the effective embargo on new development within the River Avon catchment due to additional phosphates from new development and lack of any suitable mitigation schemes.

It has taken over two years for a workable phosphate mitigation scheme to become available and on the back of this NFDC are able to issue planning permissions for new residential development within the Avon Catchment – with a planning condition requiring the agreed mitigation scheme to be in place before development can progress. It is far from an ideal situation however at least planning consents can be issued again.

The Government are attempting to ease matters for developers (and Councils) with regards nutrient mitigation, both phosphates and nitrates. They are trying to set up a central scheme of mitigation credits, which hopefully will add more certainty and consistency to the present ramshackle arrangements. In addition there is supposed to be an amendment forthcoming to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which will push some of the onus back onto the water companies by making it a statutory requirement to upgrade wastewater treatment plants within the catchments of the affected habitats sites to a certain level by 2030. If the Bill is enacted with such an amendment next year it should reduce the level of mitigation necessary and in the case of phosphates could eliminate the need for any other mitigation entirely.

If you have a potential development site within the nutrient mitigation areas why not speak to Pure Town Planning for advice.