Policy ENV5: River Loddon, Test and Enborne Corridors

Open22 Jan, 2024, 10:00am - 4 Mar, 2024, 11:59pm

Policy ENV5: River Loddon, Test and Enborne corridors

Development proposals will respect and enhance the special qualities of the river corridors and tributaries within the borough (to include those of the River Itchen) in terms of their landscape quality and the water environment including associated habitats. 

Development that is within or adjacent to the River Loddon, Test or Enborne corridors and their tributaries will be required to conserve and enhance:

  • The natural characteristics of the river, its springs, headwaters and associated species
  • Water sources and water quality
  • The river corridor’s ecosystem, geodiversity and ecological connectivity
  • The natural functioning of the river through the seasons taking into account:
    • Biodiversity and geology
    • Historic significance;
    • Character and appearance of the landscape;
    • Ability for maintenance of the watercourse, including flood risk management purposes;
    • Natural buffers to prevent incidents of polluting run-off and protect biodiversity;
    • Increased public access to the river corridor and the associated impacts of this increase;
    • Marginal vegetation and the ecological value of the area including its role as an ecological network;
    • Aquatic and riparian vegetation of the river environment.
    • Local winterbournes and other seasonal waterbodies,
    • The varying size and associated habitats within a corridor which, in order to avoid uncertainty, are defined as the habitats immediately surrounding the waterbody that contribute toward its character and ecology including but not exhaustively flood plains, water meadows, wet woodland, reedbeds, fens, mires, bankside vegetation and other smaller waterbodies within close proximity and/or sharing the same topography and geology.

Major development proposals must demonstrate how they will support the relevant River Basin Management Plan, Green Infrastructure Strategy and any local Catchment Plan and successors. Development proposals will be expected to retain a 10 m wide undeveloped buffer strip alongside Main Rivers (and 5m buffer alongside ordinary watercourses) as set out in the SFRA, and where opportunities exist for the restoration and enhancement of natural elements of the river environment they should be incorporated within the design of new developments.

7.24 The River Loddon rises in the centre of Basingstoke and from a series of springs to the east of Basingstoke. Within the centre of Basingstoke, the river is canalised/culverted in parts, before emerging in Eastrop Park and flowing into Basing Fen. The springs to the east are fed from Black Dam ponds and the water catchment area to the south of the M3, flowing northwards into the Basing Fen. The river then flows from Black Dam ponds through Old Basing past the Millfield Local Nature Reserve northwards across open countryside.
7.25 The River Loddon is classified as a high-quality chalk and salmonid river and therefore requires special protection for its water quality, ecology and geology. The river is an important and attractive feature of the borough, flowing through Basingstoke Town towards rural communities as it progresses east and northwards through more open countryside. It provides a habitat for diverse wildlife, blue and associated green infrastructure with varying amounts of public access, an attractive landscape character, and parts of its catchment act as flood plain. The River Loddon has suffered from the effects of urbanisation with a significant proportion of its upper reaches having been canalised, and subjected to culverting in places, reducing its value as a wildlife habitat. Habitats along the corridor have become fragmented by development and roads and intensive agricultural practices. Remaining habitats are threatened by lack of appropriate management. The river water quality is affected by abstraction, urban drainage, sewage works, effluent discharges and overflows, and agricultural run-off which in turn can affect the river’s wildlife. The river and its catchment continue to be subject to development pressures due to Basingstoke being the principal town in the borough and the focus for new development.
7.26 The River Lyde, Petty’s Brook and Bow Brook are all tributaries of the River Loddon and the broad shallow valley sides of the River Lyde and River Loddon meander through and unify the varying landscape types that comprise the Loddon and Lyde Valley landscape character area. Whilst the urban areas of Basingstoke and Chineham influence the south-western landscape, elsewhere the landscape retains a generally peaceful, rural character.
7.27 The River Test rises at Ashe near Basingstoke and flows southwards, through the villages of Overton, Laverstoke and Whitchurch, to Southampton Water. Much of the Test is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is a high quality chalk stream with rich fauna and flora. It has numerous water meadows and some wet woodlands which provide linear habitats of value for birds and invertebrates. Parts of the river have been affected by development, especially in Whitchurch. The Bourne Rivulet is a tributary of the River Test which flows through the villages of St Mary Bourne and Hurstbourne Priors before joining the River Test near Tufton.
7.28 The River Enborne rises to the west of Newbury and flows along the northern boundary of the borough to join the River Kennet north of Aldermaston. The River Kennet is an important chalk stream, and the largest tributary of the Thames. The Enborne corridor in the borough is predominantly rural in character, rich in associated habitats.
7.29 Developments affecting the River Loddon, Test or Enborne should support the objectives of the Green Infrastructure Strategy (including the aims of the River Loddon and River Test Biodiversity Priority Areas and the Biodiversity Opportunity Areas), the River Basin Management Plans and the River Loddon, River Test and Itchen and River Kennet Catchment Partnership’s Catchment Plans (and any updates). The Chalk Stream Strategy(Catchment Based Approach Chalk Stream Restoration Group, 2021) sets out actions and recommendations on water resources, water quality, and habitat restoration and management and it is expected that proposals will take into account any objectives, targets and actions within and arising from this Strategy in order to protect and restore chalk streams.
7.30 Public access to water bodies provides recreational and health benefits and is encouraged, but this needs to be managed to ensure that it is not to the detriment of the natural characteristics of the river, water quality, or biodiversity.
7.31 This policy will be applied to developments within Fluvial Flood Zones 2 and 3 as shown on the Environment Agency’s latest Flood Map for Planning. Proposals for development within the river corridors will be assessed against other relevant policies in the Plan, in particular policies EMP1, EMP4, EMP5, EMP6 and EMP7.
Implementation and Monitoring

The policy will be implemented through:

  • Advice on, and the determination of, relevant planning applications.
  • The implementation and delivery of relevant objectives in the Green Infrastructure Strategy and its Action Plan, River Basin Management Plans and Catchment Management Plans.

The policy will be monitored by:

  • Council monitoring of the Environment Agency data for the Water Framework Directive and the relevant River Basin Management Plans; and Catchment Management Plans; water company data and other verified data such as citizen science.