Section 5 Capel
This response report contains comments received on Section 5: Place Shaping Policies – Capel section.
To proceed with the Capel development would be a stain forever upon the consciences of all concerned. This is not nimbyism. My own property would be very minimally affected only by increased traffic.
Instead I once again quote Greta Thunberg, in the face of your attempts to justify this in the name of “tackling climate change” your own stated policy.
“How dare you”!
Mr Dave Thompson
I wrote earlier this week to TWBC objecting to the Plan as it affects Tudeley and Capel on the following grounds:
(a) The sheer numbers (2,800 plus 1,500) and the disproportionate element of it all
(b) Riding rough-shod over the Green Belt
(c) Massive disruption during building
(d) New roads, schools, medical centres, shops etc adding to the sprawl
(e) Big increase in commuters and school-run
(f) Possible increase in flood risk
Garden village ? Some garden !! Some village !!
So please say "No" and spare this Green and Pleasant land
Capel has only one Council seat. You can just see the thinking in Jukesy and Co's minds when drawing this proposal up: dump all the new builds into the ward, no matter how unsuitable this is. By doing so, Jukesy and his mates keep their seats (and claim their allowances) because the Plan does not involve significant building in their wards. Triple G&Ts all round at the Lodge!
Shame local opinion got in the way. Now, re-write this section with something sensible.
Dr Cameron Davies
This important buffer between Paddock Wood and Tonbridge should be retained as green belt. The local infrastructure accessing Tonbridge and Paddock Wood is inadequate for the huge traffic increase which so many houses would introduce.
Ms S Daniels
Dress it up how you will, this is a destruction of Capel and neighbouring Tudeley. To do so, 5.3% of Green Belt is to be built on. Presumably successive local plans will continue to take similar amounts of Green Belt so that we end up with a Tonbridge/Paddock Wood/Tunbridge Wells conurbation. Do AONB or Green Belt designations have any real, forceful meaning any more? Phrases such as "tie in new development with the surrounding landscape" are meaningless and self-evidently contradictory.
Given climate change and extreme weather events of recent times, how wise is it to build on a flood plain?
Such a large community will require schools, medical and hospital facilities, sustainable transport options beyond a five year supported bus service that dies away the moment that limited subsidy finishes and so much else. The cosy sounding garden village principle becomes just another ribbon development for people who will have to commute (either to London or local towns) for their work and play.
I understand that the Council has jumped at this idea as the land is under one owner with whom it would be far easier to deal with than a number of brownfield site owners. The easy way is not necessarily the best way.
I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).
Creating a garden settlement at Tudeley of 2,800 dwellings will cause immense harm to residents of the Parish of Capel and to residents of Tonbridge and myself in Bidborough in Tunbridge Wells. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, exacerbating the extreme traffic congestion that exists on this road every morning. The already unacceptable levels of traffic between 7.45am to 9am on Woodgate Way, Vale Road and Pembury Road coincide with the site of a proposed new 6 form entry senior school. This proposed school will be on the border with Tonbridge, split by a main line railway and alongside a heavily used road. This appears to be a terrible site for a school, surrounded by heavy traffic and requiring children to cross a busy train line to access both sides of the site.
People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.
Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows).
The garden settlement at Tudeley can never be one settlement as it is divided by a railway line that has very narrow, weak crossings. Putting in larger crossings at frequent points across the railway may be possible but it won’t tie the two halves of the settlement together enough to make it one settlement, so it will never satisfy garden settlement principles.
Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food.
I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant.
The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.
Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.
I object to the inclusion of land in East Capel in “The Strategy for Paddock Wood” (Policy STR/PW1).
This land is Green Belt land and should only be built upon if an “exceptional circumstance” exists. TWBC’s own assessments in their Sustainability Appraisal show that Paddock Wood can expand and meet most of the plan’s aims without using the Green Belt land at East Capel. The comment above about coalescence and the creation of a conurbation from Paddock Wood right across to Tonbridge is very relevant here, as is the land’s use as a flood plain. Building here, even with flood risk mitigation and “betterment” could have disastrous consequences for all, as the measures being looked at are based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change.
Mr Ndeye Gledhill
STR/CA1 AL/CA1 STR/PW1 AL/PW1
Building the proposed developments on a known floodplain that is one of the largest flood storage areas in the UK