Suffolk Coast RAMS Supplementary Planning Document

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PLEASE NOTE - The RAMS tariff is due to increase from £121.89 to £142.27 at the start of the financial year (6/4/24), with a grace period for live applications until (19/4/24), for more details please see below.

The Suffolk Coast RAMS SPD has been prepared to support the implementation of the Suffolk Coast Recreational Disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (Suffolk Coast RAMS) commissioned jointly by Babergh District Council, Mid Suffolk District Council, East Suffolk Council and Ipswich Borough Council.

The coast, heaths and estuaries of Suffolk are internationally recognised wildlife assets. They include areas designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Areas (SPA) and Ramsar Sites (collectively known as ‘European sites’). These habitats and the species they hold are protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended).

The plan level Habitat Regulation Assessments for the local authorities identified risks to European wildlife sites because of increased pressure arising from the new housing growth. Assessing, avoiding and managing that recreation pressure is therefore an important part of planning for growth.

The Suffolk Coast Recreational Disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy sets out a coordinated, cross-boundary approach to avoid and mitigate the impacts of the residential development set out in the Local Plans. The avoidance and mitigation measures will be funded via developer contributions as part of planning permissions given for new residential development.

The Suffolk Coast RAMS SPD has been prepared for developers and homeowners to support the implementation of the Strategy in Ipswich. The guidance is consistent with the Ipswich Borough Council Local Plan adopted February 2017, mainly policy CS17 Delivering Infrastructure and is an additional material consideration in planning decisions. The SPD was adopted by Ipswich Borough Council on the 19th February 2020.

Previous Consultation

The Council undertook a ‘call for ideas’ public consultation on the scope and context of the Suffolk Coast RAMS SPD. This ran from 14th June 2017 to 26th July 2017.

This was followed by public consultation on the draft Suffolk Coast RAMS SPD from Wednesday 18th September to Wednesday 23rd October 2019. The comments the Council received are reproduced in the Consultation Statement together with the officer’s response indicating how the points raised have been addressed through the SPD.

Inspection of Adoption Documents

The Suffolk Coast RAMS SPD and documents that support it are available to view below:

The Habitats Regulations Assessment Recreational Disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy ‘the Strategy’

Please note that the Strategy is a background technical paper in response to the Habitat Regulations Assessment findings of the Local Plan and was not be subject to formal consultation.

You can also view these documents at the following locations:

    • Town Hall, Cornhill, Ipswich, IP1 1DH (Mon to Sat 10am to 4pm);
    • Ipswich County Library, Northgate Street, Ipswich, IP1 3DE (Mon, Weds, Thurs 9am to 6pm; Tues, Fri 9am to 7pm; Saturdays 8.30am to 5pm and Sundays 10am to 4pm); and
    • Grafton House Reception, 15-17 Russell Road, Ipswich, IP1 2DE (Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm) – by appointment only (see arrangements below)*

    *To view the documents at the Council’s Offices, Grafton House, please call 01473 432019 or email: planningpolicy@ipswich.gov.uk to arrange viewing.

    Implementation 

    PLEASE NOTE - The RAMS tariff is due to increase from £121.89 to £142.27 at the start of the financial year (6/4/24), with a grace period for live applications until (19/4/24). The tariff adjustment is in line with inflation and is necessary to cover the costs associated with implementing avoidance and mitigation projects outlined in the Suffolk Coast RAMS Strategy. Both the Strategy and the Suffolk Coast RAMS Supplementary Planning Document specify that the tariff will be index-linked. Payments can be made at any point during the application process, by contacting Planning Business Support at 01473 432913, quoting your unique planning reference number. Any RAMS payments made on or after the 19th of April 2024 will be subject to the revised tariff. 

    It should be noted that some housing schemes, particularly those located close to a European site boundary or large-scale development of over 50 units may need to provide additional mitigation measures. The Council, with advice from Natural England, will consider the mitigation requirements for such development proposals on a case-by-case basis.

    The Suffolk Coast RAMS provides a positive opportunity for applicants as it negates the need for them to commission their own work to respond to the Habitat Regulations Assessment process. Alternatively, applicants can provide mitigation themselves, however they will need to satisfy the local planning authority and Natural England that their proposed measures will fully mitigate the impact of the development (alone and in combination with other plans or projects).

    RAMS Payment Options

    The possible mechanisms for securing contributions are detailed below. Development Management officers will advise on the most appropriate mechanism during the course of the application process.

    Section 106

    Where a Section 106 Agreement is required for a planning permission, the Suffolk Coast RAMS payment will be secured through the S106.

    The Council charges a fee for the legal costs involved in the preparation and production of Section 106 Agreements. An estimate of the fees will be given by the Council's legal officer upon first instruction from the relevant planning officer. The legal fee will be in addition to the statutory planning application fee and the contribution itself. 

    S111 Agreement (upfront payment)

    Where a financial contribution towards the Suffolk Coast RAMS is required and there are no other Section 106 planning obligations associated with the application, the payment can be made upfront.

    To make an upfront payment, please complete the S111 agreement and return a paper copy of the completed agreement to the Planning Service (Development Management), Ipswich Borough Council, Grafton House, 15-17 Russell Road, Ipswich, IP1 2DE.

    Please note that during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic we are accepting electronic S111 agreements. Complete S111 agreements can be emailed to Development.Management@ipswich.gov.uk.

    Payment of the RAMS contribution can be made via BACS, credit or debit card payment. To make a card payment please call Planning Business Support on 01473 432913, making sure to quote your unique planning reference number. For BACS contribution details please see the S111 agreement.

    The upfront payment is refundable in the event that the application does not receive approval, is withdrawn or the development is not implemented, minus an administrative charge, for further details please see the S111 agreement.

    Unilateral Undertaking (on commencement of development)

    Where a financial contribution towards the Suffolk Coast RAMS is required and there are no other Section 106 planning obligations associated with the application, the payment can also be made through a Unilateral Undertaking (legal agreement) which will secure payment on commencement of the development.

    Legal Fees for a Unilateral Undertaking

    Developers or land owners are expected to meet the Local Planning Authority’s legal fees associated with drafting, checking and approving any Unilateral Undertaking. The legal fee will be in addition to the statutory planning application fee and the contribution itself. 

    The legal fee for a Unilateral Undertaking is set at £50 to cover the cost of administering the Unilateral Undertaking and is non-refundable.

    Payment of the legal fee for the Unilateral Undertaking can be made via BACS, credit or debit card payment. To make a card payment or request BACS details please call Planning Business Support on 01473 432913, making sure to quote your unique planning reference number.

    Please note that the Unilateral Undertaking will not be checked until the legal fee has been received.

    Unilateral Undertaking Template

    Unilateral Undertaking template has been created for applicants to complete. By creating a template, the Council only need to charge a nominal fee towards the legal work involved in administrating the Unilateral Undertaking. 

    Please return a hard copy of the completed Unilateral Undertaking, Land Registry Title Plan and Register to the Legal Team, Ipswich Borough Council, Grafton House, 15-17 Russell Road, Ipswich, IP1 2DE.

    Please note that during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic we are accepting electronic unilateral undertaking templates. Complete unilateral undertaking templates can be emailed to: Development.Management@ipswich.gov.uk.  

    The Unilateral Undertaking must be returned with a HM Land Registry Title Plan and Register, dated no more than three months before, which can be purchased online at www.landregistry.gov.uk. If the title is unregistered, please arrange for a solicitor to complete a Certificate of Title for Unregistered Land. If there is a mortgage on the property, the Mortgagee will also be required to sign the Unilateral Undertaking.

    If you decide not to use the Council’s standard Unilateral Undertaking template or make any amendments to the Unilateral Undertaking, it may be necessary for you to pay additional charges to the Council’s Legal Services. These charges will vary dependent on the amount of time taken and an estimate will be provided to you and must be paid before this work is undertaken.

    The submission of the Unilateral Undertaking must not be taken to mean that planning permission will be granted. The planning application remains to be determined by powers delegated to the Head of Planning, or by the Planning Committee.

    Please note if the Unilateral Undertaking is not completed in a timely manner the case officer may need to secure an extension of time beyond the statutory eight or thirteen/sixteen-week period.

    Paying the RAMS contribution on commencement of development

    As per the terms of any legal agreement (S106 or Unilateral Undertaking), payment of the tariff is due on commencement of development, unless otherwise agreed.

    Payment of the RAMS contribution can be made via BACS, credit or debit card payment. To make a card payment or request BACS details please call Planning Business Support on 01473 432913, making sure to quote your unique planning reference number.