Waveney Local Plan

Coastal Change

8.130 Waveney's coastline suffers from some of the most dramatic losses of land in the country through coastal erosion. Natural processes of erosion, accretion and flooding will continue to affect the coastline and estuaries. The nature and extent of coastal management measures will be influenced by and will significantly impact upon coastal communities, the local economy, the natural environment and infrastructure of the area.

8.131 The National Planning Policy Framework states that Local Plans should reduce the risk from coastal change by restricting inappropriate development in vulnerable areas or development which causes detrimental physical changes to the coast. It states that Local Plans should identify Coastal Change Management Areas which cover areas likely to be affected by physical changes to the coast. The National Planning Practice Guidance states that a Coastal Change Management Area should be defined where change is likely to be significant over the next 100 years. The Guidance states that Shoreline Management Plans should be taken into account. The Framework states that Local Plans should be clear as to what development will be appropriate in the Coastal Change Management Areas and in what circumstances. The National Planning Practice Guidance states that residential development will not be appropriate within a Coastal Change Management Area but some commercial and community development may be appropriate with the area depending on the level of risk and the sustainability of the proposals.

8.132 The Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) sets out provisions for the creation of a continuous, signed and managed path around the entire English coast. The Framework states that development should not undermine this objective.

8.133 Shoreline Management Plans set out how the coastline should be managed. Shoreline Management Plans determine appropriate, strategic policies for coastal management that balance the many and often competing aspirations of stakeholders with proper regard for economic and environmental sustainability. The primary output is an 'intent for management' over a 100 year timeframe. This overarching vision is converted to policy statements for discrete lengths of coast with shared attributes broken down into short, medium and long-term time bands. Two plans cover the Waveney Coast, SMP6 covers the area from the Kelling Hard in North Norfolk to Lowestoft Ness and SMP7 covers the coastline from Lowestoft Ness to Felixstowe. The plans identify the indicative future coastline in 100 years time based on the management measures set out in the plan.

8.134 Policy WLP8.25 defines a Coastal Management Area for Waveney. This is based on the area likely to be impacted by coastal change within the next 100 years (2005 baseline) as identified by the Shoreline Management Plans. This essentially comprises the area between the current shoreline and the expected coastline in 100 years as identified in the Shoreline Management Plans. It should be noted that the expected future coastline as identified in the Shoreline Management Plans is not precise and typically represents a mid-point of a range of where the coastline might be in 100 years. In line with national planning policy, new residential development is restricted in this area. However, there is scope for other types of development which help maintain the vitality and viability of coastal communities and allow them to adjust to coastal change.

8.135 All planning applications for development within the coastal change management area need to be accompanied by a Coastal Erosion Vulnerability Assessment. The assessment should consider the management proposals for the coastline and the likelihood of investments being made and the risk of erosion impacting upon the development in light of these factors. The assessment should demonstrate that the development will not be at risk from coastal change for the lifetime of the development. The assessment will also need to demonstrate that the proposed development will not increase the risk of erosion (e.g. from surface water run-off).

227 Benacre Coastal Erosion

8.136 There are inherent uncertainties with coastal change and the likely level of erosion over a 100 year period. There will always be a lack of certainty over the potential for investments to be made in the management of the coast. As such, any planning applications for development within 30 metres of the Coastal Change Management Area should also be accompanied by a Coastal Erosion Vulnerability Assessment. Additionally, developers in other areas close to the Coastal Change Management Area should consider whether any essential infrastructure which will support the proposed development is at risk from being lost to erosion.

8.137 Shoreline Management Plans provide a strategic approach to the management of the coast. As such, proposals for new coastal management works should be in accordance with the management policies identified in the Shoreline Management Plans. Where there is a need and or a desire to develop a coastal management scheme that is contrary to the current Shoreline Management Plan this should be dealt with through a review of the Shoreline Management Plan prior to a planning application being considered.

8.138 The Development and Coastal Change Supplementary Planning Document has been prepared to aid in the interpretation of the coastal change policies. The Supplementary Planning Document will be updated following adoption of the Local Plan.

Policy WLP8.25 - Coastal Change Management Area

The Coastal Change Management Area is identified on the Policies Map.

Proposals for new residential development including conversion of existing buildings will not be permitted in the Coastal Change Management Area.

In parts of the Coastal Change Management Area expected to be at risk from change within a 20 year time horizon, only temporary development directly related to the coast, such as beach huts, cafes, car parks and sites used for touring caravan and camping will be permitted.

In parts of the Coastal Change Management Area expected to be at risk from change beyond a 20 year time horizon, other commercial and community uses will be permitted providing they require a coastal location and provide economic and social benefits to the local community.

Essential infrastructure, including transport infrastructure, utility infrastructure and wind turbines will only be permitted in the Coastal Change Management Area where no other sites outside of the Area are feasible and there is a management plan in place to manage the impact of coastal change including the future removal and replacement.

All planning applications for development within the Coastal Change Management Area and 30 metres inland should be accompanied by a Coastal Erosion Vulnerability Assessment which demonstrates that the development will not result in an increased risk to life or property.

Planning permission for all development within the Coastal Change Management Area will be time-limited according to the risk identified in the Coastal Erosion Vulnerability Assessment.

Proposals for new or replacement coastal defence schemes will only be permitted where it can be demonstrated that the works are consistent with the management approach for the frontage presented in the relevant Shoreline Management Plan and there will be no material adverse impact on the environment.

8.139 Significant numbers of residential properties and commercial properties are at risk from coastal erosion within the next 100 years. A small number of properties at Easton Bavents are at the most imminent risk and a number of properties have already been lost to erosion over the last 5 years.

8.140 Under the existing Shoreline Management Plan, some parts of Corton are projected to be affected by erosion within the next 50 years. However, revisions to the Shoreline Management Plan through the Gorleston to Lowestoft Coastal Strategy (2016) will mean that providing investments are made, properties should be safe for the next 50 years. However, many properties are likely to be at risk between 50 to 100 years time.

8.141 The National Planning Policy Framework states that Local Plans should make provision for development and infrastructure that needs to be relocated away from Coastal Change Management Areas. The National Planning Practice Guidance advises that either formally allocating land in a Local Plan or allowing for relocation where planning permission would normally be refused are two ways in which this can be achieved.

8.142 Policy WLP8.26 allows for the relocation of residential, community and commercial properties within the Coastal Change Management Area and at risk of erosion to areas inland defined as the Countryside where development is normally restricted by Policy WLP1.3 of the Local Plan. Properties must be at risk from erosion within a 20 year period. This enables property owners to take a pro-active approach to relocate to an alternative location well before erosion becomes an imminent threat. In order to maintain the sustainability of coastal settlements, relocation should take place close to the existing community. Relocation of residential properties should also be to land which is outside of the Coastal Change Management Area. 

Policy WLP8.26 - Relocation and Replacement of Development Affected by Coastal Erosion

Proposals for the relocation and replacement of community facilities, commercial and business uses affected by coastal erosion will be permitted in the Countryside, provided that:

  • The proposed development replaces that which is within the Coastal Change Management Area as identified on the Policies Map and is forecast to be affected by erosion within 20 years of the date of the proposal;
  • The new development is located at an appropriate distance inland with regard to Policy WLP8.25 on the Coastal Change Management Area;
  • The new development is in a location that is accessible to the coastal community from which it was displaced; and
  • The existing site is either cleared and made safe or put to a temporary use beneficial to the local community.

Proposals for the relocation and replacement of dwellings affected by coastal erosion will be permitted in the Countryside where:

  • The development replaces a permanent building which is within the Coastal Change Management Area as identified on the Policies Map and is forecasted to be affected by erosion within 20 years of the date of the proposal; and
  • The relocated dwelling is adjacent to an existing settlement;
  • The relocated dwelling is outside of the Coastal Change Management Area as identified on the Policies Map; and
  • The existing site is either cleared and made safe or put to a temporary use beneficial to the local community.