8.1  Except for the limited number of brownfield sites within Saffron Walden, the rural location of the parish means that most new developments are built on land that was formerly open fields.

8.2  Development must compensate for this loss of environment for wildlife and prevent excessive urbanisation of the town’s location by implementing planning measures which will maintain the town’s rural feel and enhance the wildlife.

8.3  Public planting must support bio-diversity. A preference should be given to planting which supports local wildlife and consideration should always be given to planting specimen trees which may grow more slowly but which contribute more to the environment over time than “quick fix” plants.

8.4  Development must contribute to the enhancement of the natural environment by ensuring that planting is connected and by replacing lost green infrastructure at a greater ratio than that which is lost.

8.5  Every square metre of new buildings and roads removes land which previously had natural drainage, which makes the installation of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) essential to replace this natural soakaway function. The Environment Agency specifies the most appropriate SuDS for each development, with the core principle being that any drainage system must not pose a risk to groundwater quality and must not be constructed in ground affected by contamination. Further requirements for consideration, and resources for further information, are listed in Appendix 4.

8.6  Where underground SuDS are constructed it is sometimes the case that public open space is on the surface in the same location. Underground SuDS should be designed so that ownership of the land above can be transferred to the public sector if appropriate, while the SuDS can remain privately owned.

8.7  The Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA), in association with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), has published The SuDS Manual. This manual, published in 2016, describes in detail the additional benefits of drainage systems alongside flood mitigation, which include enhanced amenity value for the area through good design and opportunities for enhanced biodiversity through careful planting. As well as identifying the benefits of well-designed SuDS, it provides practical advice and planning checklists on achieving these benefits, which makes this document an essential resource for developers.

8.8  Green surface space includes tree canopies, green roofs, private gardens and public open space. Current studies and recommendations point to an ideal quantity of 50% of surface area being “green”. The London Environment Strategy published May 2018 sets a target of 50%, to include 22% of tree canopy. The Town and Country Planning Association in its practical guide for creating successful new communities says “As a general rule, 50% of the land total in a new Garden City should be green infrastructure, including private gardens and green roofs, and this should be clearly stated in local planning policy.” [1]

8.9  Achieving these targets will require a step-change in the process of designing developments. Rather than laying out the buildings first and leaving whatever is left to be counted as green space, the green space must be planned in and accounted for at the same time as the buildings.

8.10  Proposals to plant trees in public spaces will be supported where this will improve, or at least not detract from, the amenity of the space for current users.

[1]  Guide 7: Planning for green and prosperous places, accessible at


1.   All new development proposals must contain at least 50% green surface space as described in the TCPA guidelines. This can be achieved by including and combining:

  • Planting of wildlife-friendly specimen trees;
  • Incorporating wildlife corridors such as hedgerows or ponds through a site;
  • Private gardens (where the development includes dwellings);
  • Public open space (which must as a minimum meet the requirements in policy SW27); and
  • Green roofs

2.  Sustainable drainage systems will be installed in all developments and will be proportionate and appropriate to the site.

3.  Sustainable drainage systems will be planted with appropriate plants to encourage a biodiverse habitat, and designed for maximum amenity, using the guidelines and checklists of the CIRIA SuDS Manual 2015 or its successors.

4.  Underground SuDS will be designed so that ownership of the land above can be transferred to the public sector while the SuDS can remain in private ownership.

This policy supports the
Neighbourhood Plan Objectives 2,3,4


Please use the relevant section numbers as reference markers when writing your comments.

4 Responses

  1. All looks encouraging but might I add all new builds have provision for wild life eg roosting boxes, nesting and bat box provision
    Every garden fence have an opening conducive for wildlife cut throughs eg hedgehogs

  2. Fully support this. Our wildlife is endangered and must be protected. I would like to see many more trees and hedgerows planted. I have recently noticed a lot of trees have been cut down, for example on the Hollyhock/Radwinter Road junction. What is this all about?

  3. Support this policy, and wildlife movement needs to considered really strongly. More and more people are turning their gardens into barren fenced boxes.

  4. All watercourses, (eg the various slades) in the parish, should be seen as wildlife corridors, and have a protected, no development buffer zone on either side.

    Action should be taken to enhance wildlife habitat and food supplies in the historic” area of Audley Park, and and a similar size area to the East of the town should be acquired as as a protected area for wildlife, with public access.
    (* ie including English Heritage area, golf course, and area farmed by Audley End estates, up to and including Littlebury)

    Beechy Ride should be restored, re-establishing the avenue of mature beech trees, and managed as a protected wildlife corridor along its whole length, from Audley End village to Thieves Corner, and the watercourse and surrounding vegetation on both banks protected up to the Debden Road.

    A large community orchard should be established in the town (eg) on windmill hill adjacent to the allotments.

    Claypits Plantation should be managed as a natural habitat and some replanting of larch trees should take place. It should also be recognised as a site of potential archaeological significance as it was worked as claypits, (with brick kilns) from at least 1605.

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Neighbourhood Plan Objectives

Objective 1

Saffron Walden will be an economically active and self-sustaining town, offering equal opportunities to all.

Objective 2

Saffron Walden’s residents will be able to live as healthily as possible.

Objective 3

Saffron Walden will be an environmentally sustainable town.

Objective 4

Saffron Walden’s heritage assets, high quality landscape and conservation areas will be protected or enhanced.

Objective 5

Saffron Walden will retain its market-town feel and community spirit.


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