and Chapter 13: Summary tables Glossary

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1 Non-technical summary (NTS) Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: Site description and development proposal Chapter 3: Environmental issues and methodology Chapter 4: Natural heritage Chapter 5: Landscape and visual effects Chapter 6: Cultural heritage Chapter 7: Traffic and transport Chapter 8: Air quality Chapter 9: Noise and vibration Chapter 10: Ground conditions and the water environment Chapter 11: Community, social and economic effects Chapter 12: Chapter Land 12: use Land and use agriculture and Chapter 13: Summary tables Glossary 12

2 12 Land use and agriculture Introduction 12.1 Terence O Rourke Ltd undertook the assessment of overall land use impacts and N.A. Duncan and Associates undertook an agricultural land classification of the site, which was then used to inform the land use assessment. The data sources and references used in the assessment are shown in table Taunton Deane Borough Council, 2004, Local Plan (adopted) Taunton Deane Borough Council, 2011, Published Plan Core Strategy N.A. Duncan and Associates, 2004, Soil and Agricultural Land Classification Survey at Longforth Farm, Wellington, Somerset Table 12.1: References and data sources Legislation and policy Agriculture 12.2 The land use planning context for the consideration of effects on agriculture is provided by the national policies for development involving agricultural land that are set out in Planning Policy Statement 7: Sustainable Development in Rural Areas (PPS7, 2004). This emphasises the need to protect natural resources and to take account of the quality of agricultural land when considering planning applications The key feature of agricultural land use policy is ensuring that appropriate weight is given in the planning process to the presence of best and most versatile agricultural land (grades 1, 2 and 3a in the agricultural land classification system), alongside other sustainability considerations. Land use 12.4 The site is not covered by any land use policies in the adopted Taunton Deane Local Plan (2004). It is identified in the Published Plan Core Strategy (2011) as a potential site for a strategic mixed use development. Methodology Baseline 12.5 A desk-based study was undertaken by Terence O Rourke Ltd to establish the existing land uses on site and in the surrounding area. A detailed soil and agricultural land classification survey of the site was undertaken in 2004 by N.A. Duncan and Associates in accordance with Agricultural Land Classification of England and Wales: Revised guidelines and criteria for grading the quality of agricultural land (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, 1988).

3 12.6 The agricultural land classification system provides a framework for classifying land according to the extent to which its physical or chemical characteristics impose long term limitations on agricultural use. The limitations may affect the range of crops that can be grown, the level of yield, the consistency of yield and the cost of obtaining it. The main factors influencing agricultural production are climate, site and soils. These factors result in varying degrees of constraint on agricultural production and the grade or subgrade of the land is determined by the most limiting factor present. The grades and subgrades are described in table Grade Definition 1: Excellent Land with no or very minor limitations to agricultural use. A very wide quality range of agricultural and horticultural crops can be grown and commonly includes top fruit, soft fruit, salad crops and winter harvested vegetables. Yields are high and less variable than on land of lower quality 2: Very good Land with minor limitations that may affect crop yield, cultivations or quality harvesting. A wide range of agricultural or horticultural crops can usually be grown, but on some land of this grade there may be reduced flexibility due to difficulties with the production of the more demanding crops, such as winter harvested vegetables and arable root crops. The level of yield is generally high, but may be lower or more variable than grade 1 land 3: Good to Land with moderate limitations that affect the choice of crops, the moderate quality timing and type of cultivation, harvesting or the level of yield. When more demanding crops are grown, yields are generally lower or more variable than on land in grades 1 and 2 Subgrade 3a: Land capable of consistently producing moderate to high yields of a Good quality narrow range of arable crops, especially cereals, or moderate yields of a wide range of crops, including cereals, grass, oilseed rape, potatoes, sugar beet and the less demanding horticultural crops Subgrade 3b: Land capable of producing moderate yields of a narrow range of crops, Moderate quality principally cereals and grass, or lower yields of a wider range of crops, or high yields of grass that can be grazed or harvested over most of the year 4: Poor quality Land with severe limitations, which significantly restrict the range of crops and / or the level of yields. It is mainly suited to grass, with occasional arable crops (eg cereals and forage crops), the yields of which are variable. In moist climates, yields of grass may be moderate to high, but there may be difficulties in utilisation. The grade also includes very droughty arable land 5: Very poor Land with severe limitations, which restrict use to permanent pasture or quality rough grazing, except for occasional pioneer forage crops Table 12.2: Agricultural land classification grades (MAFF, 1988) 12.7 The importance of the identified land uses has been classified using the criteria in figure Impact assessment 12.8 The impact assessment identified potential effects that may arise as a result of the proposal. The following issues were considered:

4 The quantity and quality of agricultural land that would be affected The impact of land loss and severance on agricultural holdings Loss of existing land uses and provision of new land uses Effect on the public rights of way network Constraints posed by existing hazardous land uses 12.9 The potential for effects on land uses off site was originally included within the scope of the assessment, as the scoping-stage proposal made provision for the potential relocation of the adjacent Relyon / Pritex and Swallowfield factories onto an area of land in the east of the site. This employment land was subsequently removed from the proposed development, so it is now considered that a development of the nature and scale proposed will not affect surrounding land uses. Therefore, only on site land uses are considered in this chapter The significance of effects has been determined using criteria developed from best practice techniques and expert knowledge. Measures of receptor importance and the magnitude of change, as shown in figures 12.1 and 12.2, were combined to determine the degree of effect using the matrix shown in figure The degree of effect was then used to determine whether the effect was significant There is no current magnitude guidance for agricultural land effects, as previous guidance available in Annex B15 of Planning Policy Guidance Note 7: The Countryside Environmental Quality and Economic Social Development was not continued in Planning Policy Statement 7. However, in the absence of replacement guidance, the threshold of 20 ha of best and most versatile land from Annex B15 is considered to represent an appropriate initial measure for determining impact magnitude and creating a significant effect. Table 12.3 sets out the magnitude criteria, based around this threshold. Magnitude Definition Large The proposed development would lead to the loss of 50 ha or more of best and most versatile agricultural land Medium The proposed development would lead to the loss of between 20 and 50 ha of best and most versatile agricultural land Small The proposed development would lead to the loss of less than 20 ha of best and most versatile agricultural land Negligible No permanent effect on high quality agricultural land Table 12.3: Magnitude of change (agricultural land) Baseline Land uses on site The principal land use on site is agriculture.

5 Agricultural land classification The application site has been classified in accordance with the criteria contained in the Agricultural Land Classification of England and Wales (MAFF, 1988). A breakdown of the individual grades on site is set out in table 12.4 and shown on figure A small area in the north of the site was not surveyed. Grade Area Percentage of site Grade ha 37.2% Grade ha 37.2% Subgrade 3a 1.07 ha 3.8% Subgrade 3b 4.69 ha 16.9% Other land 1.37 ha 4.9% Total ha 100% Table 12.4: Agricultural land classification of the application site Grade Grade 1 land has been mapped in the north west and centre of the site and correlates with the areas of free-draining, coarse, loamy soils. These soils are easily worked for long periods during the year and, as a result of the relatively low moisture deficits in this area, will not be subject to drought stress during the summer. With no, or very minor limitations to agricultural use, these soils are classified as grade 1. Grade Two areas of grade 2 land have been identified in the west and east of the site. The major limitation associated with the soil in these areas is a minor wetness and workability limitation, due to slowly permeable subsoil layers below 70 cm depth. As a result of the prevailing climatic conditions, soils with coarse loamy topsoil textures and slight drainage impedance are restricted to grade 2. In addition, those soils that are freely drained, but that have sandy clay loam or medium clay loam topsoil textures, are also restricted to grade 2 due to their workability limitations. Subgrade 3a Small areas in the south and east of the site have been mapped as subgrade 3a due to a significant wetness and workability limitation. These areas correlate with soil that has fine loamy upper horizons overlying slowly permeable fine loamy and / or clayey layers below cm depth. Soils with medium clay loam or sandy clay loam topsoil textures and drainage impedance under the prevailing climatic conditions are restricted to subgrade 3a. Subgrade 3b Subgrade 3b has been mapped on the lower lying land in the north of the site, in an area of poorly drained soils. There are several springs issuing from this

6 area. These very wet soils are restricted to subgrade 3b as a result of a moderately severe wetness limitation. Other land A number of small areas of other, non-agricultural land were mapped, including areas of woodland, ponds, farm buildings, tracks and footpaths. Agricultural land holding The site forms part of a larger land holding incorporating land to the east and to the north of the railway line. It is used for both arable cultivation and pasture land. Hazardous land uses There are liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanks located on land owned by Swallowfield plc, adjacent to the railway line and west of Station Road. The Health and Safety Executive sets a consultation distance around major hazard sites, such as an LPG storage area, after assessing the risks and likely effects of major accidents at the installation. The notification zone for the Swallowfield tanks extends 300 m from the LPG storage area. The application site lies outside the notification zone, and is therefore not constrained, so this issue is not considered further. Public rights of way There are two public rights of way on site. Footpath WG17/16 runs along the western site boundary and footpath WG17/17 runs north to south through the centre of the site. Both footpaths cross the railway line to the north of the site, WG17/16 via a footbridge and WG17/17 via an unmanned pedestrian crossing. To the north of the railway line, footpath WG17/16 continues to Crosslands to the north west and footpath WG17/17 joins up with footpath 8/19A along the route of the former Grand Western Canal. Importance of land uses The identified land uses, and their importance according to figure 12.1, are set out in table Receptor Best and most versatile agricultural land (grades 1, 2 and 3a) Grade 3b agricultural land Public rights of way Table 12.5: Land use receptor importance Importance High Low Low

7 Future baseline In the absence of the proposed development, the site is likely to remain in its current agricultural use. Effects during construction The proposed development will lead to the loss of agricultural land on site. The key consideration is the extent to which land of best and most versatile quality is permanently taken. It is assumed that the soil resources within the sports pitches, orchard, landscape planting areas and the proposed area of allotments will be unaffected by earthmoving operations and will retain their agricultural potential for the future The proposed area of built development and balancing ponds will lead to the loss of 7.93 ha of grade 1 land, 4.67 ha of grade 2 land, 0.17 ha of grade 3a land and 2.47 ha of grade 3b land. This gives a total of ha of best and most versatile agricultural land that will be lost. This will be a change of small magnitude and a moderate, adverse, significant effect The proposed development will reduce the size of the Longforth Farm holding and lead to fragmentation as construction of the development progresses. The land that forms part of the later phases of development will remain in cultivation during construction of the early phases. The total reduction will be approximately 37% of the holding s area. The remaining land in the holding, including approximately 23 ha to the north of the railway line, will continue in agricultural use. The existing barns adjacent to Longforth Farmhouse will be demolished and relocated under permitted development rights to a new location elsewhere within the retained agricultural land. Overall, there will be some severance and fragmentation of the holding, but it is considered that this will not significantly affect the holding s overall agricultural use It is likely that temporary diversion of public footpath WG17/17 will be required during the construction of phase 2 of the development during construction of the spine road and dwellings in the vicinity of the footpath. This will be a short term change of medium magnitude on the footpath and will lead to a slight effect that will not be significant. Footpath WG17/16 will not require temporary diversion as it runs along the site boundary. Effects post-construction Post-construction, the proposed development will introduce new residential, education and recreation land uses to the site. This will be a change of large magnitude and will give rise to a moderate, significant, beneficial effect A small section of public footpath WG17/17 will be diverted slightly to the east to run adjacent to the existing field boundary. Overall, this will not be a significant change to the route of the footpath.

8 Mitigation Best practice will be used during the construction phase to preserve soil quality in the areas of open space, in accordance with DEFRA s Good Practice Guide for Handling Soils (2000) and Construction Code of Practice for the Sustainable Use and Management of Soils on Construction Sites (2009) It may be possible to provide partial mitigation for the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land through the upgrading of poorer quality land off site, for example by improving drainage. As this mitigation measure is not certain, it has not been included in the assessment of residual effects Fencing and signage will be incorporated around footpath WG17/17 during construction to protect users from construction works. Residual effects The significant residual effects are summarised in table Topic Significant residual effect Receptor sensitivity Loss of best and most versatile agricultural land Introduction of new residential, education and recreational land uses to the site Table 12.6: Significant residual effects Land use and agriculture Impact magnitude High Small Adverse Long term Nature Duration Degree of effect Moderate Low Large Beneficial Long term Moderate Level of certainty Reasonable Absolute

9 Importance of receptor Land use High Medium Low Negligible National and / or internationally important land uses on site or on land in the vicinity Professional judgement will need to be applied in the consideration of what constitutes vicinity. The distances / areas studied will vary from project to project, and the rationale behind the selection will be fully explained in the Environmental Statement. Regional and / or county level important land uses on site or on land in the vicinity Typical description of the receptor Locally important land uses on site or on land in the vicinity Land uses of no more than very local importance on site or on land in the vicinity Land uses of no importance on site or on land in the vicinity Longforth Farm, Wellington Environmental statement Chapter 12 Land use and agriculture Figure 12.1 Importance of receptor (land use)

10 Magnitude of change Land use Large Medium Small Negligible An existing land use will be unable to continue as a direct or indirect consequence of the proposals. Alternatively a beneficial new land use is facilitated that may not otherwise have occurred Typical description of the change predicted The existing land use can continue, but there will be a noticeable change in how the land use operates, due for example, to land take, changed profitability or enjoyment Small changes occur that will not materially affect the continuation of an existing land use No change is predicted to occur in existing land use Longforth Farm, Wellington Environmental statement Chapter 12 Land use and agriculture Figure 12.2 Magnitude of change (land use)

11 Sensitivity of receptor High Medium Low Negligible Large Very substantial Substantial Magnitude / scale of change Medium Small Negligible Moderate Slight Negligible Professional judgement can be used to vary the category where specific circumstances dictate, for example due to the vulnerability or condition of the receptor. For example, a summer-only land use is much less likely to be affected by winter construction activities than a yearround land use. The reason for and nature of any variation will be made clear in the assessment. Degrees of effect Very substantial: A land use of at least national importance will be unable to continue or will be facilitated as a direct result of the proposals. Substantial: There will be at least a noticeable change in a land use of at least regional importance, or it may be unable to continue or will be facilitated as a result of the proposals. Moderate: There will be at least a noticeable change in a locally significant land use, or it may be unable to continue or will be facilitated as a result of the proposals. Alternatively, there will be a small change in a nationally important land use. Slight: Small changes will occur in land uses of no more than local significance. Negligible: The change will be negligible, and/or the land use is not sensitive to the type of development proposed. Significance If the degree of effect is moderate or above, then the effect is considered to be significant. Longforth Farm, Wellington Environmental statement Chapter 12 Land use and agriculture Figure 12.3 Degree of effect matrix (land use)

12 Grade 1 Grade 2 Legend items Grade 3a Legend items Grade 3b Legend items Grade 4 Legend items Other land Legend items Site boundary m 5km Longforth Farm, Wellington Environmental statement Chapter 12 Land use and agriculture Figure 12.4 Agricultural land classification

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