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Section 6 Environment


This response report contains comments received on Section 6: Development Management Policies - Environment.

Contents

General comments

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Response

DLP_1757

Horsmonden Parish Council

Policies EN2-32 (Environment and Design, Natural Environment, Air, Water, Noise and Land) We are generally supportive of these policies to protect and enhance important aspects of the local environment, when considering planning applications.

DLP_1799

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Environment Policies Paragraphs 6.7 to 6.295 

Provisions in Paragraphs 6.21-6.22 about re-use of buildings as an alternative to demolition and advocating sustainable construction methods could usefully be imported into Policy EN2.

Provisions in Paragraph 6.41 encouraging combined heat and power and district heating in new developments could usefully be imported into Policy EN5

In Paragraph 6.48 we strongly support the drawing up of a Historic Environment SPD based on the Historic Environment Review.

In Paragraph 6.51 we strongly support the approach of also identifying and taking into consideration non-designated heritage assets which are of local historic importance, including such assets identified during determination of a planning application. This is particularly important in the historic centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells where many buildings are non designated heritage assets. It is of equal importance in the immediately surrounding countryside in the form of farmsteads, Rural Lanes and Ancient Routeways, assart fields,   ancient woodland, veteran trees and other significant landscape features.

In Paragraph 6.54 the sentence commencing “substantial harm to or loss of Heritage Assets of the highest significance..” and ending “will be wholly exceptional” should be clarified by rewording to end “”will be permitted only in wholly exceptional circumstances”.

In Paragraph 6.55 we support the potential to include structures, pavements and road surfaces, ancient trees and other landscape features as Local Heritage Assets meriting consideration in planning decisions. We support the statement that development that would have an adverse impact on the special historic or architectural interest of listed buildings or their formal or natural landscape setting will not normally be permitted but think the word “normally” requires some clarification to make the statement effective.

In Paragraphs 6.59-6.60 we support the statement that poor condition of a listed building will be no justification for demolition and that every effort must be made to find new uses for redundant listed buildings.

We support the provisions concerning conservation areas and the need mentioned in paragraph 6.64 to prioritise reviews to cover areas of vulnerability or development pressure. We would therefore like to see the draft Urban Design Framework SPD reviewed and implemented at the earliest opportunity.

In paragraph 6.80 we support the provision that loss of Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland and veteran trees should only occur in wholly exceptional circumstances. The High Weald is characterised by such woodland, which should be strongly protected against development.

In paragraphs 6.82-6.99 we support the detailed provisions concerning design and conservation of shop fronts and also the detailed statement about specific areas of Royal Tunbridge Wells away from the primary shopping area.

In Paragraph 6.116 we support the intention to seek to limit the impact of light pollution on local amenity, intrinsically dark landscapes and wildlife. This is not only important in relation to the open countryside but also to semi-rural settings on the edge of Royal Tunbridge Wells LBD to prevent light pollution leaking out into the open countryside.

In Paragraph 6.118 we support the treatment proposed on dark skies as also in paragraph 6.120, and 6.121 in relation to private amenity in rural areas.

In Paragraph 6.127 it is difficult for a lay reader to understand how biodiversity can on balance be improved on a site where the majority of land is taken out of use as a nature resource for building permanent structures. If this is only by way of bat and bird boxes and other trivial mitigation, there is a strong danger of tick-box tokenism as already sometimes seems to occur in other contexts within the planning system.

In paragraph 6.145, we believe the words “The Council will encourage and promote the positive management of designated sites or habitats as well as their conservation and enhancement” should be imported into Policy EN12 as its opening words.

In paragraph 6.162, we believe the words “Where development..takes place, there will be a presumption in favour of increasing tree cover, with planting specification, species selection, size, diversity and connectivity being important considerations” should be imported into Policy EN14.

In paragraph 6.174 on Local Green Spaces we strongly support the application of the provisions to LGS within the Green Belt as this is particularly relevant to designated spaces on the edge of the urban settlement of Royal Tunbridge Wells. We agree it is important for neighbouring residents to identify areas which are important to them for health and recreation. Although supporting the Hawkenbury Hub concept, we therefore have serious concerns over the loss of some Green Spaces which are currently used as playing fields local to substantial populations, as their loss may lead to increases in motorised traffic if active travel infrastructure is not provided first.

In paragraph 6.182 we support the provision to maintain the four landscape designations within or on the edge of the urban area, particularly relevant to RTW where no Neighbourhood Plan is likely to emerge.

In paragraph 6.193 we support the provision that careful consideration needs to be given to proposed development on or close to prominent ridgelines.

In paragraph 6.197 we believe a case exists for widening the scope of Important Landscape Approaches to include approaches to settlements along railway lines where the quality of the landscape clearly merits protection. It is arguable that visitors to a settlement arriving by train will be far more aware of a landscape approach than those arriving on a motor road. Such landscapes may constitute a significant feature and create a lasting impression in the minds of visitors and tourists. We make specific further comment under Policy EN18 on the approach to Royal Tunbridge Wells along the Tonbridge to High Brooms section of the Hastings Line between the exit from Somerhill Tunnel and the railway viaduct preceding the former refuse tip.

In paragraph 6.198 we would prefer the term “exceptional circumstances” which is defined by legal precedent to the term “limited circumstances” which is too vague and would need clarification. We support the protective intention behind this paragraph.

In paragraphs 6.211 and 6. 223 we support the concept of applying rural landscape policy to land inside, adjacent to or in close proximity to the boundary of LBDs where there is a strong relationship to the countryside. This is relevant to Royal Tunbridge Wells where, on a number of boundaries, the town “melts” almost imperceptibly into a semi-rural and then fully rural state and the semi-rural areas are very vulnerable to suburbanisation without adequate development control. For the same reason we support the concept of regarding AONB policies as relevant to adjacent or close land buffers.

In Paragraph 6.215 concerning Rural Lanes, we believe that the paragraph should renew the commitment made in the Rural Lanes SPG to preserve and enhance these historic routeways. They are increasingly vulnerable both to development pressures and to erosion of banks and edges by excessive and excessively fast motorised traffic and we hope that a comprehensive strategy to prevent further deterioration and restore damage can be established.

In Paragraph 6.219 we strongly support the intention to view the landscape as a resource that will be protected as a whole. In the 2015 Town Forum report on developing our green network, we considered that the countryside setting of Royal Tunbridge Wells with so many attractive footpath links and cycle routes into it from the town centre was potentially a significant tourist resource in a world which will need to rebuild local tourism as part of a strategy to combat climate change.

In Paragraph 6.222 we can see potential benefit in conversion, restoration and enhancement of groups of farmstead buildings no longer suitable for agricultural purposes, The essential character of such farmsteads would, however, need to be maintained to avoid a suburbanising effect. This might involve retaining un-metalled approach roads and yards rather than allowing extensive tarmac, kerbs and other urban paraphernalia.

In Paragraph 6.240 we welcome the statement that even if NO2 levels drop on the A26 AQMA, an Air Quality Protection Zone would be introduced. We believe that such a zone should be considered for a wider network of residential streets which are subject to excessive traffic movements.

In paragraph 6.243, we take issue with the statement that burning biomass is a low carbon technology. Even if this is claimed to be so in the NPPF, it is subject to serious contrary expert opinion and the informative notices mentioned in paragraph 6.244 about the significant dangers to health of residents of wood burning stoves is evidence that the NPPF may be regarded as flawed.

In paragraph 6.243 we consider that far more stringent restrictions should be considered than attaching informative notices.

In paragraph 6.251 the statement that it will not always be possible to carry out the improvements needed to ensure  that the extra effluent discharges from new development will be sufficiently clean seems to be evidence of constraint on development in specific localities which will need to be given serious consideration.

In paragraphs 6.260-6.261 we are very sceptical as to whether the water consumption targets for new developments can be practically enforced against a background of admitted serious existing water stress.

In paragraph 6.271, we strongly support the provision for 50% betterment on pre-development discharge levels. Similar principles should be applied to traffic generated by new development to ensure betterment in air quality in existing neighbourhoods.

In Paragraph 6.283 we support the reference to areas of tranquillity which should generally be protected from noise-generating developments.

DLP_3649

Lynne Bancroft

Support with conditions

I agree with these policies but TWBC needs to ensure that each site they propose to develop actually meet these criteria.

In addition, where the Neighbourhood Development Plan has a better design criteria to that of TWBC the NDP policy should be used.

TWBC need to ensure that all developments adhere to a dark sky policy not only for the village in which it is in but also does not affect neighbouring villages.

DLP_4573

Historic England

A distinct policy to address Heritage at Risk in Tunbridge Wells, as a priority area for action, would be welcome. There are currently four assets on the national HAR Register within the district and a framework for addressing the issue for their condition or vulnerability would help to address them.

In more general terms, there are some areas where additional clarity or connectivity to other areas of the local plan may be helpful. Such circumstances include the following:

● those areas where development management policies are necessary to amplify a general, overarching, strategic policy for the historic environment – for instance, to deal with particularly distinctive or important historic environment features or significance;

those areas where further clarity would be useful – for instance, how the Council will determine applications affecting archaeological remains of less than national importance;

● those areas where development management policies may be necessary to address the local circumstances of the plan area - for example, to clarify the approach to development within an archaeological notification/priority area, or to protect or enhance important views and vistas;

● those circumstances where development management policies are needed to address particular cross-boundary issues – such as the management of extensive historic landscapes which run across more than one authority area.

We welcome the inclusion of policies for the historic environment in the Tunbridge Wells local plan that help to meet the obligation for preparing the positive strategy required by the NPPF. However, we do not consider stand-alone policies in themselves to be sufficient, and policies and proposals throughout all sections of the plan should be tested against the potential effects they will have on the historic environment and the significance of heritage assets. This, also, will be a key test of the soundness of the plan and the achievement of sustainable development as defined in the NPPF when it is subject to examination.

We would welcome the inclusion of policies for the historic environment in in the local plan that meet the obligation for preparing the positive strategy required by the NPPF. However, you will note from the above comments that we do not consider stand-alone policies in themselves to be sufficient. The policies and proposals throughout all sections of the plan should be tested against the potential effects they will have on the historic environment and the significance of heritage assets. This, also, will be a key test of the soundness of the plan and the achievement of sustainable development as defined in the NPPF when it is subject to examination.

If you would like further advice on the content of this letter or to discuss how the draft Local Plan could be revised to better reflect the intention of the NPPF, please contact me.

DLP_6058

Mr C Mackonochie

Policy Number: EN1 to EN32

I support all these Policies to guide the developments however it seems to me that they should also have been used to test the suitability of the site allocations

DLP_7655

Mr J Boxall

Policy Number:   EN 1 to EN 32

I agree with these policies but TWBC needs to ensure that each site they propose to develop actually meet these criteria.

In addition, where the Neighbourhood Development Plan has a better design criteria to that of TWBC the NDP policy should be used.

TWBC need to ensure that all developments adhere to a dark sky policy not only for the village in which it is in but also does not affect neighbouring villages.

Policy EN 1: Design and other development management criteria

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/ support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_8393

Mr Raymond Moon

Object

Policy EN1. OBJECT. Environment & Design.

6.4 Reference should be made to the numbers of Social housing and Affordable housing in the Draft Plan. The new house should incorporate higher standards to accommodate disabled residents in the future to help reduce the burden on the NHS and enable them to be cared for at home. Better wheel chair access and other facilities in the new houses and developers should be made to provide a higher standard of houses and not just have small patch work gardens.

DLP_8407

Paddock Wood Labour Party

Object

Policy EN1. OBJECT. Environment & Design.

6.4 Reference should be made to the numbers of Social housing and Affordable housing in the Draft Plan. The new house should incorporate higher standards to accommodate disabled residents in the future to help reduce the burden on the NHS and enable them to be cared for at home. Better wheel chair access and other facilities in the new houses and developers should be made to provide a higher standard of houses and not just have small patch work gardens.

DLP_73

The Access Group

 
  • The heights of proposed developments must respect the existing height of current properties within a village to ensure harmony of design they should also be designed to fit in with existing properties and all MUST BE TOTALLY INDEPENDENTLY ACCESSIBLE
  • Within the immediate Royal Tunbridge Wells Borough all blocks of flats must be totally independently accessible, this will require a major redesign and they should have areas set aside for mobility vehicles and mobility aids; wider doors; halls and passages to permit wheelchair access; rather than doors opening they should slide, those in the public areas should be automatically sliding doors which open on approach. Such changes not only help the elderly, but young families as well

The townscapes must be made totally independently accessible, this will indeed cost, but has been since 2000 (DDA 1995) a legal requirement and duty imposed upon both TWBC & KCC which has yet to be achieved

DLP_760

Dr P Whitbourn

Support with conditions

I wholeheartedly agree with the opening words of the section of the Plan dealing with Environment and Design, and contained in paragraph 6.7. however, sets of fine words such as: "it is essential that new development proposals respect the immediate context of a site"; and "control of external appearance and layout is of great importance in this environmentally sensitive borough"; and "strong emphasis will be placed on high quality design for all new development" although very welcome in the Plan, and to be strongly supported, are not always easy to turn into reality.

Two recent major planning permissions, one for Union House on the Pantiles, and the other for the key cinema site in the town centre, may perhaps serve to illustrate this point. The term "high quality design" has, I suggest, very little real meaning, and the external appearance of both of these schemes is, in my opinion, out of scale and character with their important "immediate contexts".

Scale is easier than character to assess when seeking to come to a view on the suitability or otherwise of a development proposal, for it is usually fairly clear whether or not the proposed development would be of similar height to the adjacent existing buildings, and in both of these cases the new buildings will clearly be much taller than their more human scale settings.

The all important matter of "character", a word enshrined in the Conservation Area legislation that should be applied in both of these cases, is less easy to quantify directly and this possibly more subjective. Nevertheless, it is a matter of fact that the architectural character of The Pantiles derives partly from the use of a variety of local traditional materials, but also from a consistent application of classical forms of architecture from one end of the enclave to the other.

In times past, most self-respecting architects would almost certainly have designed a building on the Union House site in a historical style that would have fitted comfortably in to the Pantile's classical context. Today, most architects and many planners seem to have an almost religious fervour about all new development being in an international modernist style, shouting "pastiche" if anyone dares to suggest otherwise, regardless of the historical context, and the fact that some of the greatest buildings in the land, such as St Paul's Cathedral and the Palace of Westminster, are based upon styles adopted from earlier periods.

We seem to have learned nothing from the highly unpopular former Union House building of the 1960's, nor the firmer cinema, both of which were modernist in style and, although not excessive in height, never looked quite right in their contexts. Nor, I suggest, are their much taller replacements likely to do so either.

Architectural style, it seems, has become something of an idealistic dogma these days, regardless of context, and it tends to be played down somewhat in planning guidance, despite its obvious relevance to external appearance. I was interested to see, therefore, that the word "style" does actually appear under "key question / checks in item b of criterion 4 of aspect 1 of Policy EN1, alongside the less controversial words "form, colour and materials". The reference though is rather obscure and, and there is no suggestion that historical styles would be required or even acceptable in historic contexts.

I, personally, should like to see a clear, specific and separate policy to the effect that In the context of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Conservation Area, the adoption of appropriate historical styles of architecture will generally be required for new developments and that these need to be applied with the necessary expertise to a high standard.

A good example of a development that would have accorded with such a policy is that recently completed at the corner of Lansdowne and Garden Roads, which fits comfortably into this historic context in a way that no international modernist scheme could possibly have done, however much "high quality" it might be thought to have.

DLP_1592

Maggie Fenton

Object

Policy EN1 Design & Development criteria

1. Character & site context

New Development

  1. Siting …landscape must respect the characteristics of the site …..its relationship with immediate surroundings & where appropriate views into & out of site
  2. Scale, form, height & mass etc must be compatible with existing buildings, landscape & treescape, roofscapes & skyscapes

CA1 will have a negative impact on the adjacent AONB, particularly with regards to views. The scale of the proposals, in every aspect, within Capel Parish negate the No. 3 statement

2. Water/flooding features

  1. Avoid inappropriate development within areas at risk of flooding

Any development within areas at risk of flooding must be considered inappropriate. TWBC should adhere to the policy of avoidance. Land in East Capel should NOT be within the DLP due to its history of flooding and much of it being in Zone 3

4. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

1. Must incorporate opportunities for increasing biodiversity proposals

Given the statements within Policy E11 this policy is contradictory & impossible to achieve. Capel Parish has many irreplaceable habitats within its virgin greenbelt & rural environs. The Growth Strategy for a garden village within the Sustainabilty appraisal Issues & Options, states “even with mitigation GS5 scores negatively for biodiversity”. “2.Such a large quantity of development in one location is extremely likely to cause significant losses to biodiversity” It is therefore unclear how the proposals for Capel can INCREASE biodiversity in line with this policy

5. Highway Safety Access

1. …..pedestrian movement should be safely accommodated and the new development should not significantly increase traffic to cause harm to the safety of the local network

The proposal will cause a significant increase in traffic. IF infrastructure is not provided prior to the housebuilding the local network will be significantly impacted. Any large increase in traffic will impact on road safety, pedestrian & vehicular. 

6. Residential Amenity

1. The development does not result in ….excessive noise, vibration, odour, air pollution, activity or vehicular movement…..

  1. That the built form does not create an   unacceptable loss of privacy & overbearing impact, outlook …..enjoyed by   the occupiers of adjacent / nearby buildings

The sheer scale of these proposals will have a massive overbearing impact, and some 12,000 vehicles WILL result in excessive movements of vehicles.

DLP_1702

Brenchley and Matfield Parish Council

 

b. From the large number of policies in the DLP, the Council wishes to comment on the following, the aims of which relate to policies that will be included in the Brenchley and Matfield NDP.

1. EN1-3 (Design and other development management criteria, Sustainable Design and Construction, Sustainable Design Standards). We are pleased to see that TWBC have adopted the Design Guide for New Housing Development, produced by the High Weald AONB Unit, and will expect to see the high bar it has set given due weight in all relevant planning applications.

[TWBC: part of whole comment number DLP_1683].

DLP_1831

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

 

Support + General Observation

Policy Number:  EN 1 Design and Development Management criteria 

As a general observation applicable to this and several other EN policies, we strongly support the clearly prescriptive approach being taken as to the outcomes to be achieved while also usefully offering practical guidance to developers on methodology in the form of key question checklists. This should lead to better quality planning applications requiring less corrective action by planning officers and resulting in an overall saving of time and resources in determining applications.

We strongly support the comprehensive treatment of design and development management issues combined in this one Policy.

DLP_2380

TWBC Property and Estates

Support

Paragraph 6.14

The following documents should be included in the key design guidance

DHCLG - National Design Guide

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-design-guide

TWBC - Typical Urban Character Area Appraisal. This provides design guidance for each of the urban character types within the Borough.

http://www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/26503/Typical-Urban-Character-Area-Appraisal-Apr-2009.pdf

Also the HCA Urban Design Compendium, volumes 1 and 2 are still highly relevant and provide useful guidance

https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20170130153101/https://udc.homesandcommunities.co.uk/urban-design-compendium?page_id=&page=1

DLP_2528

Mr Guy Dagger

Object

The NPPF, Para 124 makes it clear that creating high quality places is fundamental to the planning and development process, and that ‘effective engagement between … communities, local planning authorities … throughout the process’ is essential for achieving this. Para. 128 states that the views of communities affected by development should be taken account of and that designs should ‘evolve’ as a result of these views. TWBC’s AONB Management Plan policy (2019, p.16), also commits to engaging and empowering people in guiding any of their actions that affect the AONB.

The approach to community engagement is inadequate for the following reasons:

  • Community engagement is not addressed through a dedicated policy but relegated to a single aspect out of a list of 12 relating to design in EN1. Community engagement is absent altogether from EN2 despite the fact that community consent and active participation is essential in order to achieve sustainable development.
  • The scale of proposed development in the AONB will substantially change people’s lived experience of these historic towns and villages set in an essentially medieval landscape. For example, the number of buildings in Cranbrook will increase by nearly one-third, and in Hawkhurst Highgate Hill by nearly one-half. There will be 3-4000 additional cars regularly navigating the narrow sensitive historic routeways of the area. Yet, the allocation policies contain almost no reference to community engagement. It appears that development on all of these sites will be allowed to proceed without any requirement to effectively engage with local communities let alone undertake proactive engagement and collaboration allowing designs to ‘evolve’ to reflect communities’ interests.

Para 31 of the NPPF requires policy to be underpinned by up to date evidence. In order to challenge poor-quality design and ensure that future building is done with consent from the public, the Government set up the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission which published its interim report in July 2019. The report focuses on the importance of proactive and collaborative community engagement rather than what is often experienced as cynical ‘consultation’. Evidence to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission demonstrates concern about the failure to properly engage communities with development, and the breakdown in trust in the planning system that this generates.

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission also expresses concern about the inability of local planning authorities to define, demand and enforce design quality. Policy EN1 is ambitious in its scope but it sets out a tick-box process rather than the ‘clear design vision ’ required by the NPPF, Para 125. This is of particular concern in the 70% of Tunbridge Wells borough covered by AONB designation. Here, quality of landscape character and beauty are critical to its designation as a nationally important landscape. Para 127 requires that planning policies are ‘sympathetic to local character and history, including the surrounding build environment and landscape setting’, and Para 172 requires ‘great weight to be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty’.

The definition of AONB landscape character and beauty, enhancement of which is the goal of design quality, is clearly set out in the statutory AONB Management Plan, adopted by TWBC in March 2019, and its supporting documents such as the High Weald Design Guidance (currently in draft). The AONB’s historic settlements which are the focus of these allocations are a core component of this character and beauty. EN1 is insufficiently tailored to the needs of the AONB which coves 70% of the borough, and does not adequately define, demand, or indicate how it might enforce, a high design standard that enhances the AONB’s protected landscape character and beauty.

DLP_2757

Tracy Belton

Object

Policy EN1

In relation to the proposed development in Gibbet Lane/Furnance Lane in Horsmonden, will have a huge affect on the landscape and views into the site in particular from the area from numbers 9-16 Gibbet Lane. Currently views can be seen across to Brenchley and Castle Hill. If houses are built here as per this plan, all we will see will be a housing estate. I strongly object to losing these views. They cannot be brought back once they have gone. Bungalows would be preferable, if the site has to be developed and I believe this type of housing is required by the village.

With regards to pedestrian safety, how is this going to be carried out in the village as a whole, not just within the proposed developments? You cannot simply add this many dwellings without first looking to make sure that the extra traffic and pedestrian movements cannot be accommodated safely in the whole village, and indeed in the whole borough. It has already been noticed that traffic has increased in Horsmonden due to the many houses that have been built in Marden. Traffic will increased in the whole borough considerably with an extra 13,000 plus dwellings and this will cause many more dangers for pedestrians and road users. Villages don't usually have much in the way of crossings or traffic control. There is also little parking in village centres. How are villages supposed to cope with this?

Overlooking - I am sure this will affect existing residents surrounding all of the proposed development sites, but I can see first hand that is the site opposite us in Gibbet Lane/Furnace Lane in Horsmonden is built on, we will be overlooked considerably compared with how overlooked we are now. This will cause a big loss of privacy too as currently we look out onto an open field/green space. Sunlight will also be affected as the sun moves around from the back of our property to the front in the afternoon/evening and if houses are places in front of us, light will be lost.

Currently villages are lacking in fast broadband or fibre optic broadband, as are signals from mobile phone providers.

DLP_3365

Kent County Council (Growth, Environment and Transport)

Support with conditions

Highways and Transportation

The Local Highway Authority conditionally supports this policy. The following changes are requested at Part 5 – Transport:

Paragraph 1 – “Vehicular access, parking provision, and pedestrian movement should be safely accommodated. Traffic from new development should not cause material harm to the operation and safety of the local highway network in accordance with Policies TP 2: Transport Design and Accessibility and TP 3: Parking Standards; and”

Paragraph 2 – “Any car parking or servicing should be appropriate to the context of the site, and designed and located so as not to cause material harm to the safe operation of the highway or visual amenity and dominate the street scene and public realm; and”

Public Rights of Way and Access Service

Paragraph 614 -It is requested that the KCC PRoW and Access Service Good Design Guide is added to the list of guidance. The purpose of this guide is to aid decision making and promote good design in public path and countryside access management. Applying to both urban and rural locations, the design guide is intended to complement and, where appropriate, draw together relevant technical and design information, both national and local, that has already been published.

Policy EN1

The specific reference to PRoW in Part 7 is supported. The Design Criteria should be strengthened by including a requirement for development applications to show recorded PRoW on their plans. Where PRoW would be directly affected by development proposals, planning applications should clarify intentions for positively accommodating, diverting or enhancing paths.

Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems

Water/Flooding Features the recent revisions to the NPPF highlight the need for consideration of multi-functionality within sustainable drainage schemes. The policy should seek to ensure the multi-functionality and/or integration of SuDS within open space.

Heritage Conservation

Paragraph 6.7 - It is suggested that archaeological sites be added to the list of heritage types in the first sentence.

Paragraph 6.12 - It should be noted that the ‘grain’ in the Borough is not only ‘urban grain’ as stated in the current text. The countryside has its own grain consisting of settlements, tracks, lanes and field boundaries that has evolved over many centuries. This grain is identified in the Historic Landscape Characterisation mentioned above (see ‘Policy STR 7 Place shaping and design‘). For new development to be successfully integrated into the Borough’s existing settlements and communities it is important that it works with this grain.

Policy EN 1

Part 1 Character and site context

Paragraph 2 - In accordance with the comments under paragraph 6.12 above, it is suggested that clause 2 be amended to “The siting, layout, density spacing, orientation, and landscaping must respect the characteristics of the site, including its topography and any natural features, its relationship with immediate surroundings, historic setting, and where appropriate, views into and out of the site; “

Paragraph 4 - The historic environment has a significant role to play in the conservation of resources required for development and also in energy efficiency. Old buildings can often be more energy efficient than newer ones and of course have already been built with the embodied carbon that implies. It may take fewer overall resources to adapt an old building than to demolish it and build a completely new one. Historic England has produced guidance (‘Climate Change and the Historic Environment’, 2008) that reviews the threats to the historic environment posed by climate change. The guidance also demonstrates that historic structures, settlements and landscapes can in fact be more resilient in the face of climate change, and more energy efficient, than more modern structures and settlements.

Part 2 Water/flooding features

SuDS may have both direct and indirect impacts on the historic environment. Direct impacts could include damage to known heritage assets – for example if a historic drainage ditch is widened and deepened as part of SuDS works. Alternatively, they may directly impact on unknown assets such as when SuDS works damage buried archaeological remains. Indirect impacts are when the ground conditions are changed by SuDS works, thereby impacting on heritage assets. For example, using an area for water storage, or improving an area’s drainage can change the moisture level in the local environment. Archaeological remains in particular are highly vulnerable to changing moisture levels which can accelerate the decay of organic remains and alter the chemical constituency of the soils. Historic buildings are often more vulnerable than modern buildings to flood damage to their foundations.

When SuDS are planned, it is important that the potential impact on the historic environment is fully considered and any unavoidable damage is mitigated. This is best secured by early consideration of the local historic environment following consultation with the Kent Historic Environment Record (HER) and by taking relevant expert advice. KCC has recently produced guidance for SUDS and the historic environment. It provides information about the potential impact of SuDS on the historic environment, the range of mitigation measures available and how developers should proceed if their schemes are believed likely to impact on heritage assets.

Sustainable Business and Communities

This policy could be strengthened to highlight the multiple benefits from well designed landscaping and tree planting; with potential benefits for air quality, biodiversity, carbon reduction, flood and heatwave mitigation.

DLP_3465

Sally Marsh

Support with conditions

The NPPF, Para 124 makes it clear that creating high quality places is fundamental to the planning and development process, and that ‘effective engagement between … communities, local planning authorities … throughout the process’ is essential for achieving this. Para. 128 states that the views of communities affected by development should be taken account of and that designs should ‘evolve’ as a result of these views. TWBC’s AONB Management Plan policy (2019, p.16), also commits to engaging and empowering people in guiding any of their actions that affect the AONB.

The approach to community engagement is inadequate for the following reasons:

* Community engagement is not addressed through a dedicated policy but relegated to a single aspect out of a list of 12 relating to design in EN1. Community engagement is absent altogether from EN2 despite the fact that community consent and active participation is essential in order to achieve sustainable development.

* The scale of proposed development in the AONB will substantially change people’s lived experience of these historic towns and villages set in an essentially medieval landscape. For example, the number of buildings in Cranbrook will increase by nearly one-third, and in Hawkhurst Highgate Hill by nearly one-half. There will be 3-4000 additional cars regularly navigating the narrow sensitive historic routeways of the area. Yet, the allocation policies contain almost no reference to community engagement. It appears that development on all of these sites will be allowed to proceed without any requirement to effectively engage with local communities let alone undertake proactive engagement and collaboration allowing designs to ‘evolve’ to reflect communities’ interests.

Para 31 of the NPPF requires policy to be underpinned by up to date evidence. In order to challenge poor-quality design and ensure that future building is done with consent from the public, the Government set up the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission which published its interim report in July 2019. The report focuses on the importance of proactive and collaborative community engagement rather than what is often experienced as cynical ‘consultation’. Evidence to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission demonstrates concern about the failure to properly engage communities with development, and the breakdown in trust in the planning system that this generates.

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission also expresses concern about the inability of local planning authorities to define, demand and enforce design quality. Policy EN1 is ambitious in its scope but it sets out a tick-box process rather than the ‘clear design vision ’ required by the NPPF, Para 125. This is of particular concern in the 70% of Tunbridge Wells borough covered by AONB designation. Here, quality of landscape character and beauty are critical to its designation as a nationally important landscape. Para 127 requires that planning policies are ‘sympathetic to local character and history, including the surrounding build environment and landscape setting’, and Para 172 requires ‘great weight to be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty’.

The definition of AONB landscape character and beauty, enhancement of which is the goal of design quality, is clearly set out in the statutory AONB Management Plan, adopted by TWBC in March 2019, and its supporting documents such as the High Weald Design Guidance (currently in draft). The AONB’s historic settlements which are the focus of these allocations are a core component of this character and beauty. EN1 is insufficiently tailored to the needs of the AONB which coves 70% of the borough, and does not adequately define, demand, or indicate how it might enforce, a high design standard that enhances the AONB’s protected landscape character and beauty.

DLP_3472

High Weald AONB Unit

Support with conditions

Policy Number:  EN1 and EN2 Design Quality and Community Engagement

The NPPF, Para 124 makes it clear that creating high quality places is fundamental to the planning and development process, and that ‘effective engagement between … communities, local planning authorities … throughout the process’ is essential for achieving this. Para. 128 states that the views of communities affected by development should be taken account of and that designs should ‘evolve’ as a result of these views. TWBC’s AONB Management Plan policy (2019, p.16), also commits to engaging and empowering people in guiding any of their actions that affect the AONB.

We welcome the Plan’s commitment to good design in policy EN1 and to sustainable design in EN2 but feel the approach to community engagement is inadequate for the following reasons:

  • Community engagement is not addressed through a dedicated policy but relegated to a single aspect out of a list of 12 relating to design in EN1. Community engagement is absent altogether from EN2 despite the fact that community consent and active participation is essential in order to achieve sustainable development.
  • The scale of proposed development in the AONB will substantially change people’s lived experience of these historic towns and villages set in an essentially medieval landscape. For example, the number of buildings in Cranbrook will increase by nearly one-third, and in Hawkhurst Highgate Hill by nearly one-half. There will be 3-4000 additional cars regularly navigating the narrow sensitive historic routeways of the area. Yet, the allocation policies contain almost no reference to community engagement. It appears that development on all of these sites will be allowed to proceed without any requirement to effectively engage with local communities let alone undertake proactive engagement and collaboration allowing designs to ‘evolve’ to reflect communities’ interests.

In order to challenge poor-quality design and ensure that future building is done with consent from the public, the Government set up the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission which published its interim report in July 2019. The report focuses on the importance of proactive and collaborative community engagement rather than what is often experienced as cynical ‘consultation’. Evidence to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission demonstrates concern about the failure to properly engage communities with development, and the breakdown in trust in the planning system that this generates.

We recommend that all allocation policies include the requirement for community engagement, with larger allocations required to demonstrate community engagement to the standard of Enquiry by Design (EbD), identified by the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission as an example of best practice.

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission also expresses concern about the inability of local planning authorities to define, demand and enforce design quality. Policy EN1 is ambitious in its scope but it sets out a tick-box process rather than the ‘clear design vision ’ required by the NPPF, Para 125. This is of particular concern in the 70% of Tunbridge Wells borough covered by AONB designation. Here, quality of landscape character and beauty are critical to its designation as a nationally important landscape. Para 127 requires that planning policies are ‘sympathetic to local character and history, including the surrounding build environment and landscape setting’, and Para 172 requires ‘great weight to be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty’.

The definition of AONB landscape character and beauty, enhancement of which is the goal of design quality, is clearly set out in the statutory AONB Management Plan, adopted by TWBC in March 2019, and its supporting documents such as the High Weald Design Guidance (currently in draft). The AONB’s historic settlements which are the focus of these allocations are a core component of this character and beauty. We welcome the commitment to achieving the objectives of the AONB Management Plan included in the strategic policies, EN1 and EN21. However, we feel that EN1 is insufficiently tailored to the needs of the AONB which coves 70% of the borough, and does not adequately define, demand, or indicate how it might enforce, a high design standard that enhances the AONB’s protected landscape character and beauty.

In our view EN1 should set out a clear design vision, tailor design more overtly to the needs of the AONB which covers 70% of the borough, and set out how design quality that enhances the AONB’s special landscape and beauty will be enforced.

We recommend that all allocation policies that deal with sites in the AONB, and within its setting, should include a requirement to design positively to demonstrate enhancement of the High Weald AONB’s landscape and beauty. 

DLP_3694

Capel Parish Council

Object

Capel Parish Council objects to this Policy and to the following paragraphs of the accompanying commentary, for the reasons stated.

Policy EN 1 (p.365) states “All proposals for development within the borough will be required to satisfy all of the following criteria”. Design Aspects 1-12 are listed, together with relevant criteria. Capel Parish Council makes comments about the following criteria:

Design Aspect 1. Character and site context

The criteria states “For any new development proposals

  1. The siting, layout, density, spacing, orientation, and landscaping must respect the characteristics of the site, […] its relationship with immediate surroundings, and where appropriate, views into and out of the site;
  2. The scale, form, height, massing, proportions, external appearance, and materials should be compatible with existing buildings, building lines, landscape and treescape, roofscapes, and skylines

AL/CA 1 will have a negative impact on the adjacent AONB, particularly with regard to views. The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1), and in particular the proposed developments at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1), are inconsistent with this design criteria.

Design Criteria 2. Water/Flooding features

The criteria states “The proposal should:

  1. Avoid inappropriate new development within areas at risk from flooding, or mitigate any potential impacts of new development within such areas whereby mitigation measures are integral to the design of buildings

Any development within areas at risk of flooding must be considered inappropriate. TWBC should adhere to the policy of avoidance. Land in East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1) should NOT be within the DLP due to its history of flooding and much of it being in Flood Zone 3

Design Criteria 4. Biodiversity and Geodiversity

The criteria states “1. Within the design, the proposal must incorporate opportunities for increasing biodiversity potential

This element of Policy EN 1 contrasts with Policy EN 11 (p.394) which states

Development will only be permitted where it meets all of the following criteria:

  1. It can demonstrate […] that completion of the development will result in a measurable long term net gain for biodiversity
  2. It can be demonstrated that the proposals have adopted a strict approach to the mitigation hierarchy (i.e. avoid, mitigate, compensate) and are able to justify all unavoidable impacts on biodiversity; and
  3. The proposed measures for mitigation, compensation, and/or net gain are acceptable to the Council in terms of design and location, and are secured for the lifetime of the development with appropriate funding mechanisms that are capable of being secured by condition and/or legal agreement

Capel Parish has many irreplaceable habitats within its virgin greenbelt and rural environs. Appendix B to the Interim Sustainability Appraisal published alongside the Issues and Options consultation (https://beta.tunbridgewells.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/291979/IssuesandOptions-PostConsultationFinal-minorupdates.pdf) provides the results of the assessment of Growth Strategy 5 against the Sustainability Objectives. Under the ‘Biodiversity’ objective the following is stated as being relevant to ‘decision making criteria’ at p.96: “Such a large quantity of development in one location is extremely likely to cause significant losses for biodiversity

The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1), and in particular the proposed developments at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1), are inconsistent with this design criteria.

Design Criteria 5. Highway Safety and Access

The criteria states “1. Vehicular access, parking provision, and pedestrian movement should be safely accommodated and the new development should not significantly increase traffic to cause material harm to the safety of the local highway network

The proposal will cause a significant increase in traffic. If infrastructure is not provided prior to the housebuilding the local network will be significantly impacted. Any large increase in traffic will impact on road safety, pedestrian & vehicular. Please see our comments under Policies TP 1, TP 2 and TP 6 below.

The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1), and in particular the proposed developments at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1), are inconsistent with this design criteria.

Design Criteria 6. Residential Amenity

The criteria states “The proposal should not cause significant harm to the amenities of occupiers of neighbouring properties and uses, and should provide adequate residential amenities for future occupiers of the development by ensuring:

  1. That development does not result in, or is exposed to, excessive noise, vibration, odour, air pollution, activity, or vehicular movements, or overlooking;

    The sheer scale of these proposals will have a massive overbearing impact, and some 12,000 vehicles WILL result in excessive movements of vehicles.

    The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1), and in particular the proposed developments at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1), are inconsistent with this design criteria.

DLP_4004

Lamberhurst Parish Council

Support

Support

DLP_4156

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

CPRE generally welcomes this policy though we have reservations about the tick-box format.  We consider that paragraph 6.15 should form part of the policy rather than the supporting text, and that, given that 70% of the Borough is in the AONB, there needs to be a clear statement in this policy of how design in the AONB and its setting will be tailored to conserving and enhancing the AONB’s nationally important landscape and natural beauty.

EN1.3 should be strengthened by including reference to the desirability of new tree planting, to take account of the Government’s aim for more urban and rural tree planting and the need to combat and adapt to climate change.

Policy EN1.12 might better form a separate policy, to emphasise the need for real, constructive, community consultation and engagement.

DLP_4279

RTW Civic Society

 

We applaud the adoption of such an exhaustive list of objectives and criteria for development, and especially the prominence given to avoiding the loss of heritage assets and preserving trees and natural features, enhancing historic features, protecting bio-diversity and achieving sustainability in energy and resource use.  We are glad to see the emphasis given to pre-application advice and public consultation.  We note however that the full effect of these standards will only be felt in the largest developments, and not the great majority of smaller schemes.  The policy acknowledges that developers will be able to plead the case for failing some of the criteria, and much depends on the authority’s willingness to be rigorous in applying these tests.

DLP_4305

White Young Green Planning for Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund

Object

Policy EN 1 – Design and other development management criteria

Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund object to the wording of Policy EN 1. The wide- ranging design policy wording is thought to be unnecessarily protracted, in places confusing and not positively worded. The initial part of the policy currently reads:

All proposals for development within the borough will be required to satisfy all of the following criteria, and consideration of the criteria should be demonstrated in any supporting statement submitted with an application. It is expected that any departure from this policy, including individual criterion, must be robustly justified in information submitted in support of this application”.

As currently drafted, the policy wording does not ensure applicability to all types of proposed development where design is a relevant matter. To ensure the policy is suitably overarching and pertinent to all application types, it is suggested that the policy wording is updated to read:

All new development will be required to be of a high quality, sustainable design by:….

It is suggested that each criterion then listed should be re-phrased, removing ‘should’ and ‘must’ to ensure it does not unintentionally result in non-compliance with criteria due to the fact that the criteria is not applicable to the proposal. For example: the criteria 3.2 would require submission of an integral landscaping scheme (both hard and soft) for all proposals (if the initial section remained as currently drafted). A landscaping scheme clearly wouldn’t be required for an application for (e.g.) a small extension to an existing building, a new shopfront or a change of use. As such the policy wording should be more overarching, utilise terminology such as ‘Where necessary’ and ‘Where applicable’ etc. Examples are set out below:

3. Landscaping, Trees and Amenity

2. The proposal should Where necessary, be accompanied by an integral landscaping (both hard and soft) scheme, which contributes to, and enhances, the natural and local environment, including sympathetic boundary treatments

4. Biodiversity and Geodiversity

1. Within the design, the proposal must Incorporat e ing opportunities for increasing biodiversity potential, and retaining and enhancing blue/green infrastructure features, including sustainable drainage systems.

12. Early engagement with the community and other relevant stakeholders

New development should Where beneficial, be informed by effective engagement between applicants, communities, neighbours of sites, local planning authorities, infrastructure providers and other interests throughout the planning process.

Applications that can demonstrate early, proactive, and effective engagement with the community will be looked on more favourably than those that cannot.

The NPPF makes clear that Plan should: “d) contain policies that are clearly written and unambiguous, so it is evidence how a decision market should react to development proposals” (paragraph 16). This is not the case in terms of the current wording of Policy EN 1 ‘Design and other development management criteria’. The policy is not considered to be ‘effective’ nor is it ‘consistent with national policy’ therefore remains unsound in its current state. The policy therefore should be revised as suggested above.

DLP_4333

Environment Agency

 

Policy EN 1, Section 4 Biodiversity and Geodiversity 

This section states that “Proposals that affect the existing biodiversity, geodiversity, and blue/green infrastructure of a site must be designed in a way that avoids or mitigates any potential harm”.   While less desirable, this position omits compensation. Has the Council adopted a position that means that compensation cannot be used to facilitate any development? From the key questions / checks, it would appear that this is not the case.

DLP_4372

British Horse Society

Support with conditions

Horse riders should be mentioned under sections 5  (Highway safety and access) and 7 (Inclusivity and access for all).

DLP_4690

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

 

Dandara Comment 

The intention of the policy in seeking to control design quality is supported. However, the policy is very detailed and too long. It is suggested this policy could be simplified and perhaps the key questions / checks kept as supporting guidance text rather than the main body of the policy itself.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

Policy should be simplified as per our comments.

DLP_4825

DP9 Planning Consultants for Prime Finance (Tunbridge Wells) SARL (Elysian Residences)

General Observation

Paragraph Number 6.14

Remove reference to Lifetime Homes to be replaced by the M492) optional requirement in the Building Regulations.

DLP_4917

Woodland Trust

 

Policy EN 1, Part 3. Landscaping, Trees, and Amenity

We welcome this approach, in particular the presumption for the retention of existing trees; the requirement to provide for tree maintenance; the emphasis on supporting local landscape character; and the requirement to allow for future tree growth.

Policy EN1, Part 4. Biodiversity and Geodiversity

We support the principle that proposals that affect the existing biodiversity, geodiversity, and blue/green infrastructure of a site must be designed in a way that avoids or mitigates any potential harm, resulting in a net gain. We would further add that irreplaceable habitats, such as ancient woodland, must never be included in net gain calculations and mitigation and compensation measures must not form part of the considerations in making planning decisions.

Policy EN1, Part 7. Inclusivity and access for all

We support the principle that residential developments should have access to the natural environment, including to woodland. The Woodland Trust has developed a Woodland Access Standard to complement Natural England’s Accessible Natural Green Space Standard. We recommend that: – That no person should live more than 500m from at least one area of accessible woodland of no less than 2ha in size. – That there should also be at least one area of accessible woodland of no less than 20ha within 4km (8km round trip) of people’s homes.

DLP_5234

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support with conditions

Overall, we are positive about the criteria as set out in this section with regards to sustainable development, specifically the following:

6.11 recognition of sustainability, energy efficiency, tree planting, and landscaping as some of the key elements that make up good design

6.12 identifying development should maintain and enhance landscape connectivity, and biodiversity and geodiversity features

6.13 early consideration of landscaping and tree planting as integral to the overall design of a scheme

6.14 following guidance, such as Building for Life and BREEAM

Policy Number:  EN 1 Design and other development management criteria

In general, we support the criteria and key questions as they seem to provide a good tool to developers seeking planning permission. However, we have the following questions/comments:

1.1 How is it determined that an area will be “demonstrably improved overall” and thus loss of assets mentioned here justified?

2.2 No permission should be granted for new development in areas at risk from flooding.

4.2 We are not clear what constitutes a ‘net gain’ in biodiversity in case of potential harm to existing biodiversity, geodiversity, and blue/green infrastructure of a site. Policy EN 11, which is referred to here, provides much scope for developers who are given the opportunity to ‘compensate’ for loss of biodiversity. This does not safeguard the site itself, nor does it enhance the biodiversity on the site itself. The accompanying key questions again seem to make the ‘net gain’ optional rather than compulsory.

5.1-3 Whereas ‘parking’ is mentioned in all three criteria, cycle infrastructure is not. Key question d. refers to enabling of active travel; therefore, it seems appropriate and desirable that cycle infrastructure is included as part of the design criteria under #5 here.

DLP_5519

Peter Bourne

Support with conditions

Para 1 of STR 7 refers to the need for development to respond to the local character and context of the existing communities and their environs.

There is little evidence that this happens in practice when applied to the immediate area. This applies particularly with large scale developers who impose their standard designs with no consideration of the vernacular architecture. Conditions in this respect must be adopted as a matter of course.

DLP_6056

Laura Rowland

Support with conditions

Policy Number: EN1 and EN2 Design Quality and Community Engagement

The NPPF, Para 124 makes it clear that creating high quality places is fundamental to the planning and development process, and that ‘effective engagement between … communities, local planning authorities … throughout the process’ is essential for achieving this. Para. 128 states that the views of communities affected by development should be taken account of and that designs should ‘evolve’ as a result of these views. TWBC’s AONB Management Plan policy (2019, p.16), also commits to engaging and empowering people in guiding any of their actions that affect the AONB.

The approach to community engagement is inadequate for the following reasons:

* Community engagement is not addressed through a dedicated policy but relegated to a single aspect out of a list of 12 relating to design in EN1. Community engagement is absent altogether from EN2 despite the fact that community consent and active participation is essential in order to achieve sustainable development.

* The scale of proposed development in the AONB will substantially change people’s lived experience of these historic towns and villages set in an essentially medieval landscape. For example, the number of buildings in Cranbrook will increase by nearly one-third, and in Hawkhurst Highgate Hill by nearly one-half. There will be 3-4000 additional cars regularly navigating the narrow sensitive historic routeways of the area. Yet, the allocation policies contain almost no reference to community engagement. It appears that development on all of these sites will be allowed to proceed without any requirement to effectively engage with local communities let alone undertake proactive engagement and collaboration allowing designs to ‘evolve’ to reflect communities’ interests.

Para 31 of the NPPF requires policy to be underpinned by up to date evidence. In order to challenge poor-quality design and ensure that future building is done with consent from the public, the Government set up the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission which published its interim report in July 2019. The report focuses on the importance of proactive and collaborative community engagement rather than what is often experienced as cynical ‘consultation’. Evidence to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission demonstrates concern about the failure to properly engage communities with development, and the breakdown in trust in the planning system that this generates.

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission also expresses concern about the inability of local planning authorities to define, demand and enforce design quality. Policy EN1 is ambitious in its scope but it sets out a tick-box process rather than the ‘clear design vision ’ required by the NPPF, Para 125. This is of particular concern in the 70% of Tunbridge Wells borough covered by AONB designation. Here, quality of landscape character and beauty are critical to its designation as a nationally important landscape. Para 127 requires that planning policies are ‘sympathetic to local character and history, including the surrounding build environment and landscape setting’, and Para 172 requires ‘great weight to be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty’.

The definition of AONB landscape character and beauty, enhancement of which is the goal of design quality, is clearly set out in the statutory AONB Management Plan, adopted by TWBC in March 2019, and its supporting documents such as the High Weald Design Guidance (currently in draft). The AONB’s historic settlements which are the focus of these allocations are a core component of this character and beauty. EN1 is insufficiently tailored to the needs of the AONB which coves 70% of the borough, and does not adequately define, demand, or indicate how it might enforce, a high design standard that enhances the AONB’s protected landscape character and beauty.

DLP_6153

Turley for Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd

 

Landscaping, Trees and Amenity (First Criterion)

Whilst the objective sought from this is laudable, there may be instances where existing trees are nearing the end of their lifespan, or are of poor quality and would benefit from management and selective replacement, or that the benefits of development outweigh the loss of a small number of poor quality trees. In such instances, replacement native species planting in appropriate locations on or off-site that serve to reinforce the character of an area must surely be more appropriate than retention of all trees, irrespective of their value or other material considerations, at all costs. This approach is reflected in Policy EN14.

Suggest this criterion is amended to reflect and be consistent with Policy EN14.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting document A, supporting document B, supporting document C, and supporting document D]. 

DLP_6212

Amanda Wells

Object

Policy Number:  EN1

Policy EN1 Character and site context states “the proposal should seek to avoid the loss of …..open spaces, trees/vegetation, features of biodiversity/geodiversity….unless the proposed development is demonstrably improved overall.”  This is a tautology – you cannot improve the green belt by large scale construction.

2. Water/Flooding Features –

1…..’any existing flood risk in the locality is not exacerbated.”

2. “ Avoid inappropriate new development within areas at risk from flooding…”.

The area around the proposed garden village at Tudely and in Capel into Paddock Wood are known flood risk areas – covering huge expanses of green belt land in concrete can only exacerbate the ultimate flooding risk in the area. The weather patterns are changing, we are experiencing greater periods of increased rainfall and with climate change this is only going to get worse. It would be irresponsible to build such large settlements on land which should instead be planted and managed to absorb greater quantities of rainfall.

4. Biodiversity and Geodiversity –

1 …”the proposal must incorporate opportunities for increasing biodiversity potential …”

2….” Proposals ….must be designed in a way that avoids or mitigates any potential harm, resulting in a net gain.”

Again – this is just not feasible – you cannot have a net gain to biodiversity when you have concreted over an area of 600 acres (Tudeley/ Capel).

DLP_6328

Persimmon Homes South East

 

5. Development Management Policies

The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

EN1 – Sustainable design and construction

The Council’s choice of words in parts 1 and 2 of EN2 are confusing. The Council state that they will prioritise development in locations with frequent and easily accessible public transport or in locations that encourage active travel. The Council should not be seeking to “prioritise” certain development on the basis of their location through a development management policy. Any prioritisation should have been undertaken when sites are allocated. There is a risk that such policies begin to create a sequential test with regard the location of sites and their relative accessibility to services. We would suggest that parts 1 and 2 are deleted and replaced with policies that require development to consider how they encourage active travel and the use of public transport in relation to their location. This would be more consistent with national policy which recognises the need to limit travel and offer genuine choice in transport modes but also that solutions will vary between locations.

It is not clear what part 6 is trying to achieve and how an applicant would address this point. It would appear that the Council are seeking some form of flexibility within development to recognises the changing nature of how an occupant may use that building (as long as the use is within the same use class order). This is inappropriate and whilst the Council may encourage more flexible layouts there is no requirement in national policy or guidance to do so. We would therefore recommend that part 6 is deleted.

Part 7 requires development to seek to secure positive behaviour change and sites the provision of water fountains in a move discourage the purchase of single use plastics. However, we do not consider this policy to be consistent with national policy or that the consequences of this policy have been properly considered. In relation to the example provided we would ask – what type of development would be required to provide water fountains, how many water fountains would be necessary, who would maintain these fountains ensure they work and who would ensure they are clean and not a danger to public health. We appreciate the sentiment but there are wider consequences that do not appear to have been considered by the Council. If the Council consider infrastructure such as water fountains to be necessary it should consider this against to the tests set out in paragraph 56 of the NPFF and 122 of the CIL regulations.

[TWBC: see full representation. Also see Comment Nos. DLP_6319, 6323-6326, 6328, 6830-6835, 6837-6839].

DLP_6617

AAH Planning for Future Habitat Ltd

 

SECTION 6 – DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT POLICIES

This section of the Local Plan sets out of a number of strategic, place-based and allocation policies to guide future development in the Borough. The development management policies contained in this section also form part of the policy framework, which aims to achieve the Vision for Tunbridge Wells Borough and the Strategic Objectives of the Local Plan. They provide more detail for decision making in relation to particular issues and for assessing the acceptability of certain types of development.

Environment and Design

Policies EN 1, EN 2, EN 3, EN 4 and EN 5

Policies EN 1 – EN 6 set out a range of criteria and advice relating to design including sustainable design and construction, energy reduction and climate change adaptation. Whilst our Client is supportive of sustainable design and the important role this plays in new development and to provide quality places, this needs to be balanced with the requirement to use development land efficiently and to ensure new development can be viable and deliverable. This can only happen where viability is not unduly affected, and our Client therefore seeks flexibility in terms of any requirements which could have a negative effect on the viability and deliverability of a scheme.

In order to make the policies sound, they should be worded as flexibly as possible so they can adapt to changing circumstances and be considered sound and up to date throughout the plan period.

[TWBC: see full representation and site plan].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6606-6620, 6622-6627].

DLP_6676

Gladman

 

6.1 Policy EN1: Design and Other Development Management Criteria

6.1.1 The policy sets out the key design and development management principles required of development proposals submitted in Tunbridge Wells. The policy provides a useful and all in one capture of the principle issues which the Council require applicants to address through the application process and clarifies the Council’s expectations. This will help simplify the development management process enhancing its accessibility to the wider community and improving the transparency of the decision-making process.

6.1.2 Having reviewed the policy, Gladman is concerned about the overall lack of flexibility in its requirements. The starting sentence of the policy reads “all proposals for development within the borough will be required to satisfy all of the following criteria” and only allows divergence from this where “robustly justified in information submitted in support of this application”. This wording places an unnecessary and unjustified burden on the applicant to set out why full compliance is not provided through a scheme when there may be perfectly reasonable circumstances for this. This includes the type of development proposed, and the scope of the planning application, where such information may not be required.

6.1.3 The wording of the policy should therefore be revised to set out that “all proposals for development within the borough will be required to satisfy all relevant criteria to the scope and type of development proposed”.

6.1.4 Design Criteria 1 of Design Aspect Character and site context sets out that loss of buildings contributing to the street scene etc, open spaces, trees/vegetation, features of biodiversity/geodiversity, or other features important to built/landscape character should be avoided unless the proposed development provides for a demonstrably improvement overall. Gladman is concerned that this requirement goes beyond national planning policy by establishing a high level of protection for existing site features without the necessary evidence to justify this approach. The requirement also introduces a significant amount of uncertainty for applicants owing to the subjectivity of a number of the issues raised in this policy.

6.1.5 Gladman consider that this part of the policy should be revised to set out that loss of key features should be avoided as far as possible, and where necessary be sufficiently mitigated for consistent with the requirements of policies of the NPPF and the wider Local Plan.

6.1.6 Design Criteria 1 of Landscaping, Trees and Amenity sets out that existing individual trees, or groups of trees that contribute positively to an area shall be retained. Again, Gladman consider this requirement to be too onerous and inflexible should the loss of such trees be unavoidable and is justified. Instead the policy should outline that the loss of such trees should be avoided, but where necessary to secure the delivery of the development in accordance with other policies of the Local Plan, will be assessed in the planning balance. Where trees are lost through a development proposal the Council should establish a requirement of a least 1:1 replacement through an agreed landscaping and management scheme.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6656-6695]

DLP_6882

Persimmon Homes South East

 

7.0 DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT POLICIES 

7.1 The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

EN1 – Sustainable design and construction

7.2 The Council’s choice of words in parts 1 and 2 of EN2 are confusing. The Council state that they will prioritise development in locations with frequent and easily accessible public transport or in locations that encourage active travel. The Council should not be seeking to “prioritise” certain development on the basis of their location through a development management policy. Any prioritisation should have been undertaken when sites are allocated. There is a risk that such policies begin to create a sequential test with regard the location of sites and their relative accessibility to services. We would suggest that parts 1 and 2 are deleted and replaced with policies that require development to consider how they encourage active travel and the use of public transport in relation to their location. This would be more consistent with national policy which recognises the need to limit travel and offer genuine choice in transport modes but also that solutions will vary between locations.

7.3 It is not clear what part 6 is trying to achieve and how an applicant would address this point. It would appear that the Council are seeking some form of flexibility within development to recognises the changing nature of how an occupant may use that building (as long as the use is within the same use class order). This is inappropriate and whilst the Council may encourage more flexible layouts there is no requirement in national policy or guidance to do so. We would therefore recommend that part 6 is deleted.

7.4 Part 7 requires development to seek to secure positive behaviour change and sites the provision of water fountains in a move discourage the purchase of single use plastics. However, we do not consider this policy to be consistent with national policy or that the consequences of this policy have been properly considered. In relation to the example provided we would ask – what type of development would be required to provide water fountains, how many water fountains would be necessary, who would maintain these fountains ensure they work and who would ensure they are clean and not a danger to public health. We appreciate the sentiment but there are wider consequences that do not appear to have been considered by the Council. If the Council consider infrastructure such as water fountains to be necessary it should consider this against to the tests set out in paragraph 56 of the NPFF and 122 of the CIL regulations.

DLP_6909

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

Support with conditions

7.1 We broadly support the design aspects and design criteria identified, however we are concerned that the policy reads more as guidance or accompanying text to the policy. Moreover it repeats requirements and provisions that are addressed in later policies. It is therefore unclear how a decision maker is to apply this policy for development management purposes. We therefore consider that the policy as drafted runs counter to the NPPF (para 16d and 16f) which require respectively that policies are clearly written and unambiguous, and that they do not contain unnecessary duplication.

7.2 On this basis we suggest that TWBC gives consideration to the purpose of this policy and its drafting, particularly in the context of the National Design Guide (October 2019).

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1 , Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_7071

Brown & Co Planning Ltd for The Hendy Group

Support with conditions

Policy Number: Policy EN 1 - Design and other development management criteria

Comments; Support with conditions

1.63 The broad principles of this policy are supported; however, our Client has some concerns regarding the implications of practically applying the subjective criteria.

1.64 The tone of the policy is likely to serve to curtail rather than encourage development. The policy is suggesting a general presumption against development, which goes against the heart of the NPPF Framework (paragraph 10, 2019). In particular, our Client is concerned that the policy has the potential to undermine the development of specific site allocations identified in the Plan and thus impact on the delivery of the Council’s housing target.

Point 1 - Character and site context

1.65 The design criteria key questions for ‘Character and site context’ suggests that inspiration should be drawn from surrounding development. In some instances, this is not the best approach as new development can make better use of an area and define new character of spaces to improve the area.

1.66 For example, our Client’s site allocation at Mt Ephraim (AL/RTW 8) and Pembury Road (AL/PE 7) cover substantive areas and have an opportunity to create new form and character to improve the area and ensure best and most effective use are made of the site.

Point 3 - Landscaping, Trees, and Amenity

1.67 The protection of individual trees or groups of trees outside of a conservation area or that are not protected under a Tree Preservation Order should not be afforded further protection through local policy as this adds a further constraint on development and is not justified.

Point 4 – Biodiversity and Geodiversity

1.68 It is considered that proposals affecting biodiversity should mitigate harm, however, in order to support the provision of net gain of biodiversity, the plan should identify opportunities for securing measurable net gains as supported in the NPPF (paragraph 174, NPPF).

Point 5 - Highway Safety and Access

1.69 It is considered that the statement “new development should not significantly increase traffic to cause material harm to the safety of the local highway network” is not in line with the NPPF, which states at paragraph 109 that “if there would be an unacceptable impact on highway safety”. In this regard, our Client recommends that the policy is reworded in line with the NPPF.

Point 6 - Residential Amenity

1.70 It is considered that in urban areas it is impossible not to have some impact on noise, vibration, odour, air pollution, activity, or vehicular movements, or overlooking. It is also considered that the word ‘excessive’ to describe noise is not clear as this is subjective. In order to support development, this policy should recognise that there may be some harm to residential amenity.

Point 10 – New technologies

1.71 Our Client supports the future proofing of new development through the provision of power supply and infrastructure, however, technology changes and it may not always be possible to provide electric car charging points upfront.

1.72 The provision of Electric Vehicle spaces should be considered on a site by site basis, with consideration given to the level of demand from occupiers. The provision of Electric Vehicle charging points/spaces should be proportionate to the scale of the development, with the option to provide the infrastructure to allow for additional units to be installed in the future as required.

Support subject to the following amendments:

“1.b. (key questions/checks) - Are there any distinctive characteristics within the area, such as building form, styles, colours, and materials, or the character of streets and spaces, that the development should draw inspiration from, or could the development make better use of an area and define new character of spaces to improve the area.

3.1. Existing individual trees, or groups of trees, that contribute positively to the area shall be retained.

4. (key questions/checks) – include a way for securing measurable net gains

5. new development should not significantly increase traffic to cause material harm unacceptable impact to the safety of the local highway network.

10. New developments mustshould include where possible infrastructure that meets modern communication and technology needs, and restricts the need for future retrofitting. Such infrastructure should include broadband, fibre to the premises (FTTP) where possible, high speed internet cabling/ducting, and provision of a power supply and infrastructure that would support green technology initiatives, such as electric car charging points (although the provision of electric car charging points should be considered on individual basis. The provision of Electric Vehicle charging points should be proportionate to the scale of the development, with the option to provide the infrastructure to allow for additional units to be installed in the future as required).”

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents; Park and Ride Feasibility Review and Site Location Plan].

DLP_7374

Andrew Ford

Support with conditions

The NPPF, Para 124 makes it clear that creating high quality places is fundamental to the planning and development process, and that ‘effective engagement between … communities, local planning authorities … throughout the process’ is essential for achieving this. Para. 128 states that the views of communities affected by development should be taken account of and that designs should ‘evolve’ as a result of these views. TWBC’s AONB Management Plan policy (2019, p.16), also commits to engaging and empowering people in guiding any of their actions that affect the AONB.

We welcome the Plan’s commitment to good design in policy EN1 and to sustainable design in EN2 but feel the approach to community engagement is inadequate for the following reasons:

  • Community engagement is not addressed through a dedicated policy but relegated to a single aspect out of a list of 12 relating to design in EN1. Community engagement is absent altogether from EN2 despite the fact that community consent and active participation is essential in order to achieve sustainable development.
  • The scale of proposed development in the AONB will substantially change people’s lived experience of these historic towns and villages set in an essentially medieval landscape. For example, the number of buildings in Cranbrook will increase by nearly one-third, and in Hawkhurst Highgate Hill by nearly one-half. There will be 3-4000 additional cars regularly navigating the narrow sensitive historic routeways of the area. Yet, the allocation policies contain almost no reference to community engagement. It appears that development on all of these sites will be allowed to proceed without any requirement to effectively engage with local communities let alone undertake proactive engagement and collaboration allowing designs to ‘evolve’ to reflect communities’ interests.

In order to challenge poor-quality design and ensure that future building is done with consent from the public, the Government set up the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission which published its interim report in July 2019. The report focuses on the importance of proactive and collaborative community engagement rather than what is often experienced as cynical ‘consultation’. Evidence to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission demonstrates concern about the failure to properly engage communities with development, and the breakdown in trust in the planning system that this generates.

We recommend that all allocation policies include the requirement for community engagement, with larger allocations required to demonstrate community engagement to the standard of Enquiry by Design (EbD), identified by the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission as an example of best practice.

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission also expresses concern about the inability of local planning authorities to define, demand and enforce design quality. Policy EN1 is ambitious in its scope but it sets out a tick-box process rather than the ‘clear design vision ’ required by the NPPF, Para 125. This is of particular concern in the 70% of Tunbridge Wells borough covered by AONB designation. Here, quality of landscape character and beauty are critical to its designation as a nationally important landscape. Para 127 requires that planning policies are ‘sympathetic to local character and history, including the surrounding build environment and landscape setting’, and Para 172 requires ‘great weight to be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty’.

The definition of AONB landscape character and beauty, enhancement of which is the goal of design quality, is clearly set out in the statutory AONB Management Plan, adopted by TWBC in March 2019, and its supporting documents such as the High Weald Design Guidance (currently in draft). The AONB’s historic settlements which are the focus of these allocations are a core component of this character and beauty. We welcome the commitment to achieving the objectives of the AONB Management Plan included in the strategic policies, EN1 and EN21. However, we feel that EN1 is insufficiently tailored to the needs of the AONB which coves 70% of the borough, and does not adequately define, demand, or indicate how it might enforce, a high design standard that enhances the AONB’s protected landscape character and beauty.

In our view EN1 should set out a clear design vision, tailor design more overtly to the needs of the AONB which covers 70% of the borough, and set out how design quality that enhances the AONB’s special landscape and beauty will be enforced.

We recommend that all allocation policies that deal with sites in the AONB, and within its setting, should include a requirement to design positively to demonstrate enhancement of the High Weald AONB’s landscape and beauty.

DLP_7916

Fiona Dagger

Object

The NPPF, Para 124 makes it clear that creating high quality places is fundamental to the planning and development process, and that ‘effective engagement between … communities, local planning authorities … throughout the process’ is essential for achieving this. Para. 128 states that the views of communities affected by development should be taken account of and that designs should ‘evolve’ as a result of these views. TWBC’s AONB Management Plan policy (2019, p.16), also commits to engaging and empowering people in guiding any of their actions that affect the AONB.

The approach to community engagement is inadequate for the following reasons:

  • Community engagement is not addressed through a dedicated policy but relegated to a single aspect out of a list of 12 relating to design in EN1. Community engagement is absent altogether from EN2 despite the fact that community consent and active participation is essential in order to achieve sustainable development.
  • The scale of proposed development in the AONB will substantially change people’s lived experience of these historic towns and villages set in an essentially medieval landscape. For example, the number of buildings in Cranbrook will increase by nearly one-third, and in Hawkhurst Highgate Hill by nearly one-half. There will be 3-4000 additional cars regularly navigating the narrow sensitive historic routeways of the area. Yet, the allocation policies contain almost no reference to community engagement. It appears that development on all of these sites will be allowed to proceed without any requirement to effectively engage with local communities let alone undertake proactive engagement and collaboration allowing designs to ‘evolve’ to reflect communities’ interests.

Para 31 of the NPPF requires policy to be underpinned by up to date evidence. In order to challenge poor-quality design and ensure that future building is done with consent from the public, the Government set up the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission which published its interim report in July 2019. The report focuses on the importance of proactive and collaborative community engagement rather than what is often experienced as cynical ‘consultation’. Evidence to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission demonstrates concern about the failure to properly engage communities with development, and the breakdown in trust in the planning system that this generates.

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission also expresses concern about the inability of local planning authorities to define, demand and enforce design quality. Policy EN1 is ambitious in its scope but it sets out a tick-box process rather than the ‘clear design vision ’ required by the NPPF, Para 125. This is of particular concern in the 70% of Tunbridge Wells borough covered by AONB designation. Here, quality of landscape character and beauty are critical to its designation as a nationally important landscape. Para 127 requires that planning policies are ‘sympathetic to local character and history, including the surrounding build environment and landscape setting’, and Para 172 requires ‘great weight to be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty’.

The definition of AONB landscape character and beauty, enhancement of which is the goal of design quality, is clearly set out in the statutory AONB Management Plan, adopted by TWBC in March 2019, and its supporting documents such as the High Weald Design Guidance (currently in draft). The AONB’s historic settlements which are the focus of these allocations are a core component of this character and beauty. EN1 is insufficiently tailored to the needs of the AONB which coves 70% of the borough, and does not adequately define, demand, or indicate how it might enforce, a high design standard that enhances the AONB’s protected landscape character and beauty.

DLP_8119

Ashley Saunders

Object

AL/CA 1 will have a negative impact on the adjacent AONB, particularly with regard to views. The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1), and in particular the proposed developments at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1), are inconsistent with this design criteria.

Design Criteria 2. Water/Flooding features

The criteria states “The proposal should:

  1. Avoid inappropriate new development within areas at risk from flooding, or mitigate any potential impacts of new development within such areas whereby mitigation measures are integral to the design of buildings

Any development within areas at risk of flooding must be considered inappropriate. TWBC should adhere to the policy of avoidance. Land in East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1) should NOT be within the DLP due to its history of flooding and much of it being in Flood Zone 3

Design Criteria 4. Biodiversity and Geodiversity

The criteria states “1. Within the design, the proposal must incorporate opportunities for increasing biodiversity potential

This element of Policy EN 1 contrasts with Policy EN 11 (p.394) which states

Development will only be permitted where it meets all of the following criteria:

  1. It can demonstrate […] that completion of the development will result in a measurable long term net gain for biodiversity
  2. It can be demonstrated that the proposals have adopted a strict approach to the mitigation hierarchy (i.e. avoid, mitigate, compensate) and are able to justify all unavoidable impacts on biodiversity; and
  3. The proposed measures for mitigation, compensation, and/or net gain are acceptable to the Council in terms of design and location, and are secured for the lifetime of the development with appropriate funding mechanisms that are capable of being secured by condition and/or legal agreement

Capel Parish has many irreplaceable habitats within its virgin greenbelt and rural environs. Appendix B to the Interim Sustainability Appraisal published alongside the Issues and Options consultation (https://beta.tunbridgewells.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/291979/IssuesandOptions-PostConsultationFinal-minorupdates.pdf) provides the results of the assessment of Growth Strategy 5 against the Sustainability Objectives. Under the ‘Biodiversity’ objective the following is stated as being relevant to ‘decision making criteria’ at p.96: “Such a large quantity of development in one location is extremely likely to cause significant losses for biodiversity

The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1), and in particular the proposed developments at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1), are inconsistent with this design criteria.

Design Criteria 5. Highway Safety and Access

The criteria states “1. Vehicular access, parking provision, and pedestrian movement should be safely accommodated and the new development should not significantly increase traffic to cause material harm to the safety of the local highway network

The proposal will cause a significant increase in traffic. IF infrastructure is not provided prior to the housebuilding the local network will be significantly impacted. Any large increase in traffic will impact on road safety, pedestrian & vehicular. Please see our comments under Policies TP 1, TP 2 and TP 6 below.

The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1), and in particular the proposed developments at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1), are inconsistent with this design criteria.

Design Criteria 6. Residential Amenity

The criteria states “The proposal should not cause significant harm to the amenities of occupiers of neighbouring properties and uses, and should provide adequate residential amenities for future occupiers of the development by ensuring:

  1. That development does not result in, or is exposed to, excessive noise, vibration, odour, air pollution, activity, or vehicular movements, or overlooking;
  2. That the built form does not create an unacceptable loss of privacy and overbearing impact, outlook, or daylight and sunlight enjoyed by the occupiers of adjacent/nearby properties

The sheer scale of these proposals will have a massive overbearing impact, and some 12,000 vehicles WILL result in excessive movements of vehicles.

The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1), and in particular the proposed developments at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1), are inconsistent with this design criteria.

DLP_8210

Home Builders Federation

 

Thank you for consulting the Home Builders Federation (HBF) on the draft Local Plan. The HBF is the principal representative body of the housebuilding industry in England and Wales and our representations reflect the views of discussions with our membership of national and multinational corporations through to regional developers and small local housebuilders. Our members account for over 80% of all new housing built in England and Wales in any one year. Outlined below are our comments on the approach taken by the Council to increasing the supply of land for residential development and the policies being proposed with regard to the management of new development in future.

EN1 – Sustainable design and construction

The Council’s choice of words in parts 1 and 2 of EN2 are confusing. The Council state that they will prioritise development in locations with frequent and easily accessible public transport or in locations that encourage active travel. The Council should not be seeking to “prioritise” certain development on the basis of their location through a development management policy. Any prioritisation should have been undertaken when sites are allocated. There is a risk that such policies begin to create a sequential test with regard the location of sites and their relative accessibility to services. We would suggest that parts 1 and 2 are deleted and replaced with policies that require development to consider how they encourage active travel and the use of public transport in relation to their location. This would be more consistent with national policy which not only recognises the need to limit travel and offer genuine choice in transport modes but also that solutions will vary between locations.

It is not clear what part 6 is trying to achieve and how an applicant would address this point. It would appear that the Council are seeking some form of flexibility within development to recognises the changing nature of how an occupant may use that building (as long as the use is within the same use class order). This is inappropriate and whilst the Council may encourage more flexible layouts there is no requirement in national policy or guidance to do so. We would therefore recommend that part 6 is deleted.

Part 7 requires development to seek to secure positive behaviour change and sites the provision of water fountains in a move to discourage the purchase of single use plastics. However, we do not consider this policy to be consistent with national policy or that the consequences of this policy have been properly considered. In relation to the example provided we would ask – what type of development would be required to provide water fountains? how many water fountains would be necessary? who would maintain these fountains ensure they work and who would ensure they are clean and not a danger to public health? We appreciate the sentiment but there are wider consequences that do not appear to have been considered by the Council. If the Council consider infrastructure such as water fountains to be necessary it should consider this against to the tests set out in paragraph 56 of the NPFF and 122 of the CIL regulations.

DLP_8348

DHA Planning for Mr and Mrs B Gear

 

3 Section 6: Development Management Policies

3.1.1 In addition to our comments on the strategy [TWBC: see Comment No. DLP_3001], we have reviewed the proposed replacement development management policies as set out in chapter 6 of the document.

3.1.2 In general terms, we would refer back to paragraph 15 of the NPPF that promotes succinct and up-to-date plans, which provide a positive vision. In contrast, the draft policies currently proposed are of such prescriptive detail that they are neither positively prepared nor flexible enough to allow for a range of different circumstances. Furthermore, many aspirations result in inevitable conflict. On this basis, we would recommend that the majority of proposed policies are simplified and where additional guidance is needed, this be included within secondary Supplementary Planning Documents.

3.1.3 Turning to detailed policies, there are a number of contradictory elements that need to be remedied before the plan proceeds to Regulation 19. For example, policy EN1 seeks to ensure development is consistent with the established character and surrounding form. However, policy EN4 places significant emphasis on measures to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The provision of a step change towards more sustainable construction and climate change is, inevitably going to result in a need for a change in attitude towards design, material and construction. Accordingly, a cohesive policy approach is needed that allows innovative and different design if supported on wider environmental and planning grounds. As drafted the policies are too inconsistent.

[TWBC: see the following comments on development management policies:

DLP_8348-8349: Policy EN1 and Policy EN4
DLP_8350: Policy EN6
DLP_8351: Policy EN20
DLP_8352: Policy H1
DLP_8353: Policy H2
DLP_8354-8355: Policies H3 and H4
DLP_8356: Policy H5
DLP_8357: Policy H8].

Policy EN 2: Sustainable design and construction

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/ general observation

Response

DLP_74

The Access Group

All new-build buildings, dwellings and workplaces must have sola panels to comply with the government directives to reduce carbon emissions and comply with climate change treaties which the UK are committed too

DLP_1594

Maggie Fenton

Object

Policy EN2 Sustainable Design & Construction

  1. Prioritise development in locations with frequent and easily accessible public transport services that provide useful links to key facilities such as GPs, train stations, shopping area & schools

The location of CA2 in the middle of a rural parish does not accord with this policy. Both proposals for Capel are dependant on massive amounts of new infrastructure. The more favoured Growth Strategies of the A21 Corridor or the urban environment of RTW are more closely aligned to this policy. East Capel is to be modelled on GS5, as is CA/1. Neither site has existing easily accessible public transport links.

DLP_1756

Horsmonden Parish Council

 

Policy EN2- Sustainable design and construction: Whilst we strongly welcome most elements of this policy, it is once again undermined by the “dispersed growth” strategy which directs development to rural settlements with a high degree of car dependency. The first and second elements of this policy are, in effect, at odds with the overall development strategy advocated in the drat Local Plan.

DLP_1832

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

 

Policy Number:  EN2 Sustainable Design and Construction

Object to Pararagraph  6.18 but Support remainder with conditions   

We are unfortunately bound to express an OBJECTION to this policy but only because of the reference in the supporting Paragraph 6.18 to Biomass. The use of Biomass in any circumstances is currently subject to serious controversy about its overall sustainability and environmental effects, some of which can be more noxious to health than the running of HGV diesel engines in a locality. With the possible exception of use in highly controlled conditions ensuring no atmospheric pollution and in a very large installation, the encouragement of burning of any kind of wood, solid fuel or biomass within the RTW urban area is strongly opposed. New installations should no longer be permitted in any domestic context and we would advocate that bye laws be made limiting the circumstances in which existing installations can be used.

There may be circumstances elsewhere in the Borough, for example in the case of isolated farmsteads, where no prescriptive action need be taken.

With the above exception, we strongly support this policy and the clarification of what may be considered “exceptional design” given in the supporting Paragraph 6.20 and the guidance concerning reuse in Paragraph 6.21 and practical guidance as to sustainable construction methods in Paragraph 6.22.

DLP_1959

Ms Jacqueline Stanton

Support with conditions

Whilst I support the points in this policy, they do not support the rural settlements where the growth is excessive.  Horsmonden parish would not be able to meet this policy with the number of dwellings planned in this Plan.

DLP_2529

Mr Guy Dagger

Object

The NPPF, Para 124 makes it clear that creating high quality places is fundamental to the planning and development process, and that ‘effective engagement between … communities, local planning authorities … throughout the process’ is essential for achieving this. Para. 128 states that the views of communities affected by development should be taken account of and that designs should ‘evolve’ as a result of these views. TWBC’s AONB Management Plan policy (2019, p.16), also commits to engaging and empowering people in guiding any of their actions that affect the AONB.

The approach to community engagement is inadequate for the following reasons:

  • Community engagement is not addressed through a dedicated policy but relegated to a single aspect out of a list of 12 relating to design in EN1. Community engagement is absent altogether from EN2 despite the fact that community consent and active participation is essential in order to achieve sustainable development.
  • The scale of proposed development in the AONB will substantially change people’s lived experience of these historic towns and villages set in an essentially medieval landscape. For example, the number of buildings in Cranbrook will increase by nearly one-third, and in Hawkhurst Highgate Hill by nearly one-half. There will be 3-4000 additional cars regularly navigating the narrow sensitive historic routeways of the area. Yet, the allocation policies contain almost no reference to community engagement. It appears that development on all of these sites will be allowed to proceed without any requirement to effectively engage with local communities let alone undertake proactive engagement and collaboration allowing designs to ‘evolve’ to reflect communities’ interests.

Para 31 of the NPPF requires policy to be underpinned by up to date evidence. In order to challenge poor-quality design and ensure that future building is done with consent from the public, the Government set up the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission which published its interim report in July 2019. The report focuses on the importance of proactive and collaborative community engagement rather than what is often experienced as cynical ‘consultation’. Evidence to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission demonstrates concern about the failure to properly engage communities with development, and the breakdown in trust in the planning system that this generates.

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission also expresses concern about the inability of local planning authorities to define, demand and enforce design quality. Policy EN1 is ambitious in its scope but it sets out a tick-box process rather than the ‘clear design vision ’ required by the NPPF, Para 125. This is of particular concern in the 70% of Tunbridge Wells borough covered by AONB designation. Here, quality of landscape character and beauty are critical to its designation as a nationally important landscape. Para 127 requires that planning policies are ‘sympathetic to local character and history, including the surrounding build environment and landscape setting’, and Para 172 requires ‘great weight to be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty’.

The definition of AONB landscape character and beauty, enhancement of which is the goal of design quality, is clearly set out in the statutory AONB Management Plan, adopted by TWBC in March 2019, and its supporting documents such as the High Weald Design Guidance (currently in draft). The AONB’s historic settlements which are the focus of these allocations are a core component of this character and beauty. EN1 is insufficiently tailored to the needs of the AONB which coves 70% of the borough, and does not adequately define, demand, or indicate how it might enforce, a high design standard that enhances the AONB’s protected landscape character and beauty.

DLP_2530

Mr Guy Dagger

Object

TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70) is welcomed. However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster. Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement. Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 20301.

DLP_2759

Tracy Belton

Object

EN2

I cannot see how building in villages works with this policy. Villages do not have good transport links and therefore private cars are used all the time to get to work/shops, etc. Walking and cycling is not an option as workplaces are usually too far and cycling is dangerous as there are no cycle paths.

Again, the use of private cars is high in villages and this will not reduce carbon emissions!

DLP_3366

Kent County Council (Growth, Environment and Transport)

 

Sustainable Business and Communities

Paragraph 6.13 – this paragraph could be strengthened to highlight the multiple benefits from well designed landscaping and tree planting; with potential benefits for air quality, biodiversity, carbon reduction, flood and heatwave mitigation.

Paragraph 6.18 - this paragraph does not acknowledge that biomass burning can have a detrimental impact on air quality and is consequently not suitable in air quality management areas. This paragraph seems to be in conflict with paragraph 6.243, which acknowledges the impacts.

Policy EN2 paragraph 5 – KCC considers that “minimising carbon dioxide emissions” will not be sufficient to achieve KCC’s and the Borough Council’s own zero-carbon commitments, and therefore suggests that this step be re-worded to prioritise development achieving net-zero.

Policy EN2 paragraph 6 – This should be reworded to define the climate risks (heat and flood), to ensure the risks from overheating are not overlooked.

Heritage Conservation

Paragraph 6.21 – Refer to comments under Policy EN 1, Part 1, paragraph 4 with regard to this paragraph.

Paragraph 6.38 - Refer to comments under Policy EN 1, Part 1, paragraph 4 with regard to this paragraph.

DLP_3468

Sally Marsh

Support with conditions

The NPPF, Para 124 makes it clear that creating high quality places is fundamental to the planning and development process, and that ‘effective engagement between … communities, local planning authorities … throughout the process’ is essential for achieving this. Para. 128 states that the views of communities affected by development should be taken account of and that designs should ‘evolve’ as a result of these views. TWBC’s AONB Management Plan policy (2019, p.16), also commits to engaging and empowering people in guiding any of their actions that affect the AONB.

The approach to community engagement is inadequate for the following reasons:

* Community engagement is not addressed through a dedicated policy but relegated to a single aspect out of a list of 12 relating to design in EN1. Community engagement is absent altogether from EN2 despite the fact that community consent and active participation is essential in order to achieve sustainable development.

* The scale of proposed development in the AONB will substantially change people’s lived experience of these historic towns and villages set in an essentially medieval landscape. For example, the number of buildings in Cranbrook will increase by nearly one-third, and in Hawkhurst Highgate Hill by nearly one-half. There will be 3-4000 additional cars regularly navigating the narrow sensitive historic routeways of the area. Yet, the allocation policies contain almost no reference to community engagement. It appears that development on all of these sites will be allowed to proceed without any requirement to effectively engage with local communities let alone undertake proactive engagement and collaboration allowing designs to ‘evolve’ to reflect communities’ interests.

Para 31 of the NPPF requires policy to be underpinned by up to date evidence. In order to challenge poor-quality design and ensure that future building is done with consent from the public, the Government set up the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission which published its interim report in July 2019. The report focuses on the importance of proactive and collaborative community engagement rather than what is often experienced as cynical ‘consultation’. Evidence to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission demonstrates concern about the failure to properly engage communities with development, and the breakdown in trust in the planning system that this generates.

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission also expresses concern about the inability of local planning authorities to define, demand and enforce design quality. Policy EN1 is ambitious in its scope but it sets out a tick-box process rather than the ‘clear design vision ’ required by the NPPF, Para 125. This is of particular concern in the 70% of Tunbridge Wells borough covered by AONB designation. Here, quality of landscape character and beauty are critical to its designation as a nationally important landscape. Para 127 requires that planning policies are ‘sympathetic to local character and history, including the surrounding build environment and landscape setting’, and Para 172 requires ‘great weight to be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty’.

The definition of AONB landscape character and beauty, enhancement of which is the goal of design quality, is clearly set out in the statutory AONB Management Plan, adopted by TWBC in March 2019, and its supporting documents such as the High Weald Design Guidance (currently in draft). The AONB’s historic settlements which are the focus of these allocations are a core component of this character and beauty. EN1 is insufficiently tailored to the needs of the AONB which coves 70% of the borough, and does not adequately define, demand, or indicate how it might enforce, a high design standard that enhances the AONB’s protected landscape character and beauty.

TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70) is welcomed. However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster. Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement. Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 2030 .

DLP_3477

High Weald AONB Unit

Support with conditions

Policy Number:  EN1 and EN2 Design Quality and Community Engagement

The NPPF, Para 124 makes it clear that creating high quality places is fundamental to the planning and development process, and that ‘effective engagement between … communities, local planning authorities … throughout the process’ is essential for achieving this. Para. 128 states that the views of communities affected by development should be taken account of and that designs should ‘evolve’ as a result of these views. TWBC’s AONB Management Plan policy (2019, p.16), also commits to engaging and empowering people in guiding any of their actions that affect the AONB.

We welcome the Plan’s commitment to good design in policy EN1 and to sustainable design in EN2 but feel the approach to community engagement is inadequate for the following reasons:

  • Community engagement is not addressed through a dedicated policy but relegated to a single aspect out of a list of 12 relating to design in EN1. Community engagement is absent altogether from EN2 despite the fact that community consent and active participation is essential in order to achieve sustainable development.
  • The scale of proposed development in the AONB will substantially change people’s lived experience of these historic towns and villages set in an essentially medieval landscape. For example, the number of buildings in Cranbrook will increase by nearly one-third, and in Hawkhurst Highgate Hill by nearly one-half. There will be 3-4000 additional cars regularly navigating the narrow sensitive historic routeways of the area. Yet, the allocation policies contain almost no reference to community engagement. It appears that development on all of these sites will be allowed to proceed without any requirement to effectively engage with local communities let alone undertake proactive engagement and collaboration allowing designs to ‘evolve’ to reflect communities’ interests.

In order to challenge poor-quality design and ensure that future building is done with consent from the public, the Government set up the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission which published its interim report in July 2019. The report focuses on the importance of proactive and collaborative community engagement rather than what is often experienced as cynical ‘consultation’. Evidence to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission demonstrates concern about the failure to properly engage communities with development, and the breakdown in trust in the planning system that this generates.

We recommend that all allocation policies include the requirement for community engagement, with larger allocations required to demonstrate community engagement to the standard of Enquiry by Design (EbD), identified by the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission as an example of best practice.

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission also expresses concern about the inability of local planning authorities to define, demand and enforce design quality. Policy EN1 is ambitious in its scope but it sets out a tick-box process rather than the ‘clear design vision ’ required by the NPPF, Para 125. This is of particular concern in the 70% of Tunbridge Wells borough covered by AONB designation. Here, quality of landscape character and beauty are critical to its designation as a nationally important landscape. Para 127 requires that planning policies are ‘sympathetic to local character and history, including the surrounding build environment and landscape setting’, and Para 172 requires ‘great weight to be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty’.

The definition of AONB landscape character and beauty, enhancement of which is the goal of design quality, is clearly set out in the statutory AONB Management Plan, adopted by TWBC in March 2019, and its supporting documents such as the High Weald Design Guidance (currently in draft). The AONB’s historic settlements which are the focus of these allocations are a core component of this character and beauty. We welcome the commitment to achieving the objectives of the AONB Management Plan included in the strategic policies, EN1 and EN21. However, we feel that EN1 is insufficiently tailored to the needs of the AONB which coves 70% of the borough, and does not adequately define, demand, or indicate how it might enforce, a high design standard that enhances the AONB’s protected landscape character and beauty.

In our view EN1 should set out a clear design vision, tailor design more overtly to the needs of the AONB which covers 70% of the borough, and set out how design quality that enhances the AONB’s special landscape and beauty will be enforced.

We recommend that all allocation policies that deal with sites in the AONB, and within its setting, should include a requirement to design positively to demonstrate enhancement of the High Weald AONB’s landscape and beauty. 

DLP_3479

High Weald AONB Unit

Support with conditions

Policy Number:  EN2, EN3, EN4, EN5 Sustainable development  and climate change 

We welcome TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70). However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster.

In our view two measures should form the policy core of a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030:

  • Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement.

Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 2030 5 [Griscom et al. (2017). Natural Climate Solutions. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(44). https://www.pnas.org/content/114/44/11645].

DLP_3698

Capel Parish Council

Object

Capel Parish Council objects to this Policy for the reasons stated.

Policy EN 2 (p.370) states “All development proposals must demonstrate that sustainable development is integral to the design, construction, and operation of the proposal, and considered from the beginning of the design process. To do this, developers must follow the 12 steps below:

  1. Prioritise development in locations with frequent and easily accessible public transport services that provide useful links to key facilities such as GP surgeries, train stations, shopping areas, and schools

The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1) is inconsistent with this policy. The location of the proposed secondary school (AL/CA 2) does not have frequent or easily accessible public transport services. The proposed developments and Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1), which are both modelled on Growth Strategy 5 (new settlement growth) are totally dependant on massive amounts of new infrastructure. The more favoured Growth Strategies 4 (A21 Corridor) or 1 (Focussed growth) within the urban environment of RTW are more closely aligned to this policy.

DLP_3809

Natural England

Support with conditions

We welcome the general content of this policy, however to ensure net gain can be achieved, the wording ‘where possible’ should be removed (see also NPPF policy 170 (d) and 174 (b). To avoid any potential confusion, your authority may wish to consider separate requirements for heritage and food growing facilities.

DLP_4005

Lamberhurst Parish Council

Support with conditions

Support with conditions; Policy undermined by rural development plans with an associated high degree of car dependency.

DLP_4157

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Object

We support the general intention of these policies.  However, they were perhaps drafted some time ago and do not in our view go nearly far or fast enough. TWBC has recently declared a Climate Emergency and set an ambition to be carbon neutral by 2030.  There needs to be a requirement in this Plan for all new development to be at or near zero greenhouse gas emission from the coming into operation of this Plan.

In order to limit air pollution and unnecessary traffic congestion, and to provide sustainable communities, Policy EN2 should also require land to be provided/safeguarded for new primary schools within safe and easy walking distance of major new development.

DLP_4280

RTW Civic Society

 

We are glad to see ambitious targets also being set for sustainable design and construction.

DLP_4306

White Young Green Planning for Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund

 

Policy EN 2 – Sustainable Design and Construction

Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund object to the current wording of Policy EN 2.

Policy EN 2 is indicated to apply to all development. In respect of the ‘12 steps’ to demonstrate Sustainable Development in design and construction, it states; “These requirements should be clearly demonstrated within a Design and Access Statement containing detail proportionate to the size of the development”. Such a request disregards the fact that a Design and Access Statement is only a statutory requirement for the types of development set out in Article 9 of the Town and County Planning (Development Management Order)(England) 2015 (as amended). Therefore, such a policy requirement would be ‘unjustified’ and therefore not ‘sound’. Instead, it is more appropriate to require a Sustainable Development Statement for proposals over 20 residential units or 2,000 sqm new floorspace, albeit it would be unnecessary to require such a statement for a proposed conversion.

The policy also requires a Construction Environmental Management Plans / Waste Management Plans to be provided as part of the application submission. Frequently such Plans are prepared by contractors who not instructed until after planning permission is granted. Insisting on upfront preparation would result in unrealistic and generalised content regarding the construction process and waste management, and would therefore be of limited benefit to ensuring sustainable procedures are implemented. As such, the following text should be removed:

For development proposals of over 20 units or 2,000sqm floorspace new build, a Construction Environmental Management Plan will be required that provides details on all applicable topics above. Targets for diversion of waste from landfill and responsible procurement should be set by developers wherever possible” and replaced with “Construction Environmental Management and Waste Management Plans demonstrating compliance with the relevance sections above will be sought at pre-commencement stage, where necessary”.

In addition to the above, is it considered the ’12 steps’ are, in some parts, too vague, and in some parts too prescriptive, for example criteria 7 reads:

Ensure development encourages positive behaviour change [too vague], such as provision of drinking fountains to discourage purchase of single use plastic [this is guidance, not policy, and therefore may be best placed in Supplementary Planning Guidance on Sustainable Development providing the specifics on the ’12 steps’ and methods relating to ‘positive behaviour change’]”

For the reasons set out above, this policy is not deemed to be ‘consistent with national policy’, nor ‘effective’ as currently drafted. The policy would be more effective if it were condensed and guidance provided within a Sustainable Design and Construction Checklist.

DLP_4691

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support with conditions

Dandara Comment 

Dandara support the policy’s emphasis on sustainable design and construction. Whilst it is accepted that Construction Environmental Management Plans can help mitigate against large scale development impacts, it is suggested that a draft version is submitted in support of major applications (over 20 units or 2,000 sq.m) as full construction delivery details may not be available at application stage and will need to be finalised / amended post decision stage; i.e. discharge of planning condition.

It is also suggested this policy could be simplified and shortened in length as it is very detailed.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

Policy should be simplified as per our comments.

DLP_5235

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Object

6.16 and §6.17 The positive point made in these paragraphs is that it is made explicit that sustainable development acknowledges the fundamental importance of ensuring that future generations can meet their needs and therefore the need to protect and conserve natural resources. It is claimed that the Plan’s policies seek to reduce the ecological and carbon footprint of development and promote wellbeing and we are looking forward to seeing assessment of planning applications made on this basis.

6.18 Unfortunately, this paragraph seeks to promote a practice that is highly polluting and will contribute to CO2 emissions and is therefore contradictory to the previous paragraphs and the general objective of truly sustainable development. Biomass burning causes significant harm to the environment and should be opposed instead of promoted, and certainly not be presented as on a par with clean, renewable means of generating energy, such as solar, wind or tide. [Please, see document on biomass research attached].

6.19 Positive appreciation of ‘ecosystem services’ to flood mitigation, crop pollination, freshwater filtration, and climate stability and how these are often undervalued in conventional economic analyses and decision making. We are looking forward to seeing assessment of planning applications that recognise these critical services to protect and enhance ecosystem services.

6.21 - §6.22 Provisions in these paragraphs about re-use of buildings as an alternative to demolition and advocating sustainable construction methods could usefully be imported into Policy EN2.

Policy Number:  EN 2 Sustainable Design and Construction

Given our comments made in section 1 on individual paragraphs, it should be clear that we strongly object to a policy for sustainable design that promotes biomass burning. With regards to §6.18 we again emphasise biomass burning is highly polluting and will contribute to CO2 emissions, which is contradictory to the general objective of truly sustainable development as you set out to achieve in step 5 of this policy. Biomass burning causes significant harm to the environment and should be opposed instead of promoted, and certainly not be presented as on a par with clean, renewable means of generating energy, such as solar, wind or tide. [Please, see document on biomass research attached].

We support the inclusion of a 12-step process for design and all steps are clearly geared towards making sure developers implement sustainable practices from the start. Step 2 could be much stronger though on the provision of links between cycle routes. A joined-up network for cycling seems highly desirable if one expects people to shift to cycling for day-to-day transport.

DLP_5322

Judith Ashton Associates for Redrow Homes Ltd and Persimmon Homes South East

General Observation

We note that policy EN2 ‘Sustainable Design and Construction’ cross refers to policy EN4. Given our comments on policy EN4 below we reserve our position on criterion 5 of policy EN2. In addition, we would question criterion 7 which suggests that development encourages positive behaviour change, through for example the provision of drinking fountains to discourage purchase of single use plastic. Whilst laudable it is not clear what type of development would be required to provide water fountains, how many water fountains would be necessary, who would maintain these fountains ensure they work and who would ensure they are clean and not a danger to public health. As such we would suggest that this criterion needs to be reviewed.

[TWBC: see full representation].

DLP_6057

Laura Rowland

Support with conditions

Policy Number: EN1 and EN2 Design Quality and Community Engagement

The NPPF, Para 124 makes it clear that creating high quality places is fundamental to the planning and development process, and that ‘effective engagement between … communities, local planning authorities … throughout the process’ is essential for achieving this. Para. 128 states that the views of communities affected by development should be taken account of and that designs should ‘evolve’ as a result of these views. TWBC’s AONB Management Plan policy (2019, p.16), also commits to engaging and empowering people in guiding any of their actions that affect the AONB.

The approach to community engagement is inadequate for the following reasons:

* Community engagement is not addressed through a dedicated policy but relegated to a single aspect out of a list of 12 relating to design in EN1. Community engagement is absent altogether from EN2 despite the fact that community consent and active participation is essential in order to achieve sustainable development.

* The scale of proposed development in the AONB will substantially change people’s lived experience of these historic towns and villages set in an essentially medieval landscape. For example, the number of buildings in Cranbrook will increase by nearly one-third, and in Hawkhurst Highgate Hill by nearly one-half. There will be 3-4000 additional cars regularly navigating the narrow sensitive historic routeways of the area. Yet, the allocation policies contain almost no reference to community engagement. It appears that development on all of these sites will be allowed to proceed without any requirement to effectively engage with local communities let alone undertake proactive engagement and collaboration allowing designs to ‘evolve’ to reflect communities’ interests.

Para 31 of the NPPF requires policy to be underpinned by up to date evidence. In order to challenge poor-quality design and ensure that future building is done with consent from the public, the Government set up the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission which published its interim report in July 2019. The report focuses on the importance of proactive and collaborative community engagement rather than what is often experienced as cynical ‘consultation’. Evidence to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission demonstrates concern about the failure to properly engage communities with development, and the breakdown in trust in the planning system that this generates.

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission also expresses concern about the inability of local planning authorities to define, demand and enforce design quality. Policy EN1 is ambitious in its scope but it sets out a tick-box process rather than the ‘clear design vision ’ required by the NPPF, Para 125. This is of particular concern in the 70% of Tunbridge Wells borough covered by AONB designation. Here, quality of landscape character and beauty are critical to its designation as a nationally important landscape. Para 127 requires that planning policies are ‘sympathetic to local character and history, including the surrounding build environment and landscape setting’, and Para 172 requires ‘great weight to be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty’.

The definition of AONB landscape character and beauty, enhancement of which is the goal of design quality, is clearly set out in the statutory AONB Management Plan, adopted by TWBC in March 2019, and its supporting documents such as the High Weald Design Guidance (currently in draft). The AONB’s historic settlements which are the focus of these allocations are a core component of this character and beauty. EN1 is insufficiently tailored to the needs of the AONB which coves 70% of the borough, and does not adequately define, demand, or indicate how it might enforce, a high design standard that enhances the AONB’s protected landscape character and beauty.

DLP_6060

Laura Rowland

Support with conditions

Policy Number: EN2, EN3, EN4, EN5 Sustainable development and climate change

TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70) is welcomed. However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster. Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement. Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 2030 .

DLP_6154

Turley for Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd

 

Site Location and Layout (1st and 2nd Criterion)

It is assumed the use of the word ‘ Prioritise’ at the start of criterion 1 and 2 relates to windfall development, as the location of allocations will have taken such matters on board through the SA and site allocation process. It is unclear therefore how the introduction of such a sequential test would be applied in practice. It may be more appropriate to replace this word to highlight developments in locations that help to foster more sustainable patterns of development will be looked upon more favourably.

Development Design (6th Criterion)

It is unclear what this criterion is seeking to achieve or how it would be applied in practice to every development. This needs further attention and detail, or deletion as the current wording is not effective.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting document A, supporting document B, supporting document C, and supporting document D].

DLP_6208

Amanda Wells

Object

6.18 “ A further example is biomass burning, which can both help support the local economy and provide a renewable energy source with lower carbon emissions than some fossil fuels” 

All references to biomass should be deleted.  Biomass burning causes significant harm to the environment – it should not be encouraged and is not a ‘clean’ renewable energy source like solar or wind energy.

DLP_6279

Tunbridge Wells Constituency Labour Party

Support with conditions

Though the local plan specifies an improvement in sustainable residential design standards, suggesting an increase in standards over time from HQM 3 2021-2025 to 4 2026 onwards, a higher standard would actually reflect the climate emergency we face (Policy EN3). 

We suggest that design standards should not be increased within the timeframe suggested and higher standards should be introduced from at least 2022 for all new residential buildings regardless of the number of dwellings in a proposed development.

Though it is stated that the timeframe will allow developers to adjust to higher standards it is clear that developments have been built in the UK and other nations, it is therefore achievable. It has been estimated that the increase in costs as a result of higher sustainable standards is only 1-2% and fiscally responsible given the higher costs of retrofitting.

https://ca1-eci.edcdn.com/downloads/ECIU_Zero_Carbon_Homes_-compressed.pdf?mtime=20190605095610

Retrofitting the properties is more expensive than building residential units with the highest sustainable standards, this will create higher future costs to residents or government via grants.

https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/The-costs-and-benefits-of-tighter-standards-for-new-buildings-Currie-Brown-and-AECOM.pdf

Within the current timeframe some of the major developments proposed to fulfil our housing requirements will be built at a standard that will require retrofitting to make them closer to a higher standard to address the climate emergency we recognise, such as Passivhaus. Ultimately we should aim for a “zero carbon” standard in which the day to day running of property through efficiency standards and renewable energy supply via local generation and developer offsets should not increase carbon emissions.

http://passivhaustrust.org.uk/news/detail/?nId=840#.Xbv5_Jr7SUk

We need to look forward and think about the Tunbridge Wells of the future. Areas such as car charging points need more focus and built into the design and delivery of new developments. The Labour Party has set a policy for the country to be carbon neutral by 2030 and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council agreed a motion in July 2019 to declare a climate emergency. The need to take urgent action on climate change needs to be reflected in the approach taken to development across the Borough set out in the Local Plan.

DLP_6618

AAH Planning for Future Habitat Ltd

 

SECTION 6 – DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT POLICIES

This section of the Local Plan sets out of a number of strategic, place-based and allocation policies to guide future development in the Borough. The development management policies contained in this section also form part of the policy framework, which aims to achieve the Vision for Tunbridge Wells Borough and the Strategic Objectives of the Local Plan. They provide more detail for decision making in relation to particular issues and for assessing the acceptability of certain types of development.

Environment and Design

Policies EN 1, EN 2, EN 3, EN 4 and EN 5

Policies EN 1 – EN 6 set out a range of criteria and advice relating to design including sustainable design and construction, energy reduction and climate change adaptation. Whilst our Client is supportive of sustainable design and the important role this plays in new development and to provide quality places, this needs to be balanced with the requirement to use development land efficiently and to ensure new development can be viable and deliverable. This can only happen where viability is not unduly affected, and our Client therefore seeks flexibility in terms of any requirements which could have a negative effect on the viability and deliverability of a scheme.

In order to make the policies sound, they should be worded as flexibly as possible so they can adapt to changing circumstances and be considered sound and up to date throughout the plan period.

[TWBC: see full representation and site plan].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6606-6620, 6622-6627].

DLP_6677

Gladman

 

6.2 Policy EN2: Sustainable Design and Construction

6.2.1 The policy sets out the requirements of new development to minimise effects on climate change and the environment. The overall objectives of what the development is trying to achieve is supported by Gladman, albeit it is considered that its approach requires some revision.

6.2.2 The wording of Policy EN2 is applicable to developers whom are required to follow the 12 steps outlined in the policy. This approach ignores that many of the issues outlined within the 12 steps are determined through the application process and it is not always the case that the applicant develops the site. As such the wording of the policy should be revised to set out that “applicants must follow..” in order to ensure that requirements of the policy is captured through the planning application process.

6.2.3 As with Policy EN1, Gladman consider that flexibility is required within the wording of the policy to recognise that not all issues will be relevant to all development proposals submitted within the Borough and that not all applications by their nature are required to provide the level of detail required to meet this policy’s considerations. As such the wording “where relevant” should be included within the first line of the policy.

6.2.4 In Steps 1 and 2, the Council should recognise that it will not always be possible to deliver development in locations which benefit from good access to GP surgeries, train stations, shopping areas and schools. This is indeed the case for some of the allocations identified through the Local Plan especially where they are responding to a rural housing need or provide a new settlement/SUE. The policy should therefore be revised to set out that development will be “concentrated” towards these areas and key transport corridors, in order to ensure that the wider less sustainable parts of the District also receive a level of development in response to needs.

6.2.5 The policy requires a Construction Environmental Management Plan to detail applicable topics set out in Steps 1 to 12. This document is typically conditioned after the principle of development has been secured and once the details of how a site is to be developed is known. The requirement of the policy to demonstrate compliance through this document is therefore onerous and does not reflect the planning application process. The requirement should be removed.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6656-6695]

DLP_6910

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

Support with conditions

7.3 We endorse the policy’s approach which ensures that sustainable development is integral to the design, construction and operation of the proposal. However there is some repetition between the contents of the policy table in EN2, and policies elsewhere in the plan. In addition, it is not clear how aspects of the policy are sufficiently precise to allow for developments to be assessed against the policy. The final paragraph requires developments over 20 units or 200 sqm floorspace to be accompanied by a Construction Environmental Management Plan to cover all the topics listed however ordinarily these would not have such a broad scope. The policy should be drafted with the NPPF (para 16 (d & f)) in mind.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1 , Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_7376

Andrew Ford

Support with conditions

The NPPF, Para 124 makes it clear that creating high quality places is fundamental to the planning and development process, and that ‘effective engagement between … communities, local planning authorities … throughout the process’ is essential for achieving this. Para. 128 states that the views of communities affected by development should be taken account of and that designs should ‘evolve’ as a result of these views. TWBC’s AONB Management Plan policy (2019, p.16), also commits to engaging and empowering people in guiding any of their actions that affect the AONB.

We welcome the Plan’s commitment to good design in policy EN1 and to sustainable design in EN2 but feel the approach to community engagement is inadequate for the following reasons:

  • Community engagement is not addressed through a dedicated policy but relegated to a single aspect out of a list of 12 relating to design in EN1. Community engagement is absent altogether from EN2 despite the fact that community consent and active participation is essential in order to achieve sustainable development.
  • The scale of proposed development in the AONB will substantially change people’s lived experience of these historic towns and villages set in an essentially medieval landscape. For example, the number of buildings in Cranbrook will increase by nearly one-third, and in Hawkhurst Highgate Hill by nearly one-half. There will be 3-4000 additional cars regularly navigating the narrow sensitive historic routeways of the area. Yet, the allocation policies contain almost no reference to community engagement. It appears that development on all of these sites will be allowed to proceed without any requirement to effectively engage with local communities let alone undertake proactive engagement and collaboration allowing designs to ‘evolve’ to reflect communities’ interests.

In order to challenge poor-quality design and ensure that future building is done with consent from the public, the Government set up the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission which published its interim report in July 2019. The report focuses on the importance of proactive and collaborative community engagement rather than what is often experienced as cynical ‘consultation’. Evidence to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission demonstrates concern about the failure to properly engage communities with development, and the breakdown in trust in the planning system that this generates.

We recommend that all allocation policies include the requirement for community engagement, with larger allocations required to demonstrate community engagement to the standard of Enquiry by Design (EbD), identified by the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission as an example of best practice.

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission also expresses concern about the inability of local planning authorities to define, demand and enforce design quality. Policy EN1 is ambitious in its scope but it sets out a tick-box process rather than the ‘clear design vision ’ required by the NPPF, Para 125. This is of particular concern in the 70% of Tunbridge Wells borough covered by AONB designation. Here, quality of landscape character and beauty are critical to its designation as a nationally important landscape. Para 127 requires that planning policies are ‘sympathetic to local character and history, including the surrounding build environment and landscape setting’, and Para 172 requires ‘great weight to be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty’.

The definition of AONB landscape character and beauty, enhancement of which is the goal of design quality, is clearly set out in the statutory AONB Management Plan, adopted by TWBC in March 2019, and its supporting documents such as the High Weald Design Guidance (currently in draft). The AONB’s historic settlements which are the focus of these allocations are a core component of this character and beauty. We welcome the commitment to achieving the objectives of the AONB Management Plan included in the strategic policies, EN1 and EN21. However, we feel that EN1 is insufficiently tailored to the needs of the AONB which coves 70% of the borough, and does not adequately define, demand, or indicate how it might enforce, a high design standard that enhances the AONB’s protected landscape character and beauty.

In our view EN1 should set out a clear design vision, tailor design more overtly to the needs of the AONB which covers 70% of the borough, and set out how design quality that enhances the AONB’s special landscape and beauty will be enforced.

We recommend that all allocation policies that deal with sites in the AONB, and within its setting, should include a requirement to design positively to demonstrate enhancement of the High Weald AONB’s landscape and beauty.

DLP_7377

Andrew Ford

Support with conditions

We welcome TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70). However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster.

In our view two measures should form the policy core of a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030:

  • Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement.
  • Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 2030[1].

[[1] Griscom et al. (2017). Natural Climate Solutions. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(44). https://www.pnas.org/content/114/44/11645]

DLP_7917

Fiona Dagger

Object

The NPPF, Para 124 makes it clear that creating high quality places is fundamental to the planning and development process, and that ‘effective engagement between … communities, local planning authorities … throughout the process’ is essential for achieving this. Para. 128 states that the views of communities affected by development should be taken account of and that designs should ‘evolve’ as a result of these views. TWBC’s AONB Management Plan policy (2019, p.16), also commits to engaging and empowering people in guiding any of their actions that affect the AONB.

The approach to community engagement is inadequate for the following reasons:

  • Community engagement is not addressed through a dedicated policy but relegated to a single aspect out of a list of 12 relating to design in EN1. Community engagement is absent altogether from EN2 despite the fact that community consent and active participation is essential in order to achieve sustainable development.
  • The scale of proposed development in the AONB will substantially change people’s lived experience of these historic towns and villages set in an essentially medieval landscape. For example, the number of buildings in Cranbrook will increase by nearly one-third, and in Hawkhurst Highgate Hill by nearly one-half. There will be 3-4000 additional cars regularly navigating the narrow sensitive historic routeways of the area. Yet, the allocation policies contain almost no reference to community engagement. It appears that development on all of these sites will be allowed to proceed without any requirement to effectively engage with local communities let alone undertake proactive engagement and collaboration allowing designs to ‘evolve’ to reflect communities’ interests.

Para 31 of the NPPF requires policy to be underpinned by up to date evidence. In order to challenge poor-quality design and ensure that future building is done with consent from the public, the Government set up the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission which published its interim report in July 2019. The report focuses on the importance of proactive and collaborative community engagement rather than what is often experienced as cynical ‘consultation’. Evidence to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission demonstrates concern about the failure to properly engage communities with development, and the breakdown in trust in the planning system that this generates.

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission also expresses concern about the inability of local planning authorities to define, demand and enforce design quality. Policy EN1 is ambitious in its scope but it sets out a tick-box process rather than the ‘clear design vision ’ required by the NPPF, Para 125. This is of particular concern in the 70% of Tunbridge Wells borough covered by AONB designation. Here, quality of landscape character and beauty are critical to its designation as a nationally important landscape. Para 127 requires that planning policies are ‘sympathetic to local character and history, including the surrounding build environment and landscape setting’, and Para 172 requires ‘great weight to be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty’.

The definition of AONB landscape character and beauty, enhancement of which is the goal of design quality, is clearly set out in the statutory AONB Management Plan, adopted by TWBC in March 2019, and its supporting documents such as the High Weald Design Guidance (currently in draft). The AONB’s historic settlements which are the focus of these allocations are a core component of this character and beauty. EN1 is insufficiently tailored to the needs of the AONB which coves 70% of the borough, and does not adequately define, demand, or indicate how it might enforce, a high design standard that enhances the AONB’s protected landscape character and beauty.

DLP_7918

Fiona Dagger

Object

TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70) is welcomed. However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster. Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement. Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 20301.

DLP_8120

Ashley Saunders

Object

I objects to this Policy for the reasons stated.

Policy EN 2 (p.370) states “All development proposals must demonstrate that sustainable development is integral to the design, construction, and operation of the proposal, and considered from the beginning of the design process. To do this, developers must follow the 12 steps below:

  1. Prioritise development in locations with frequent and easily accessible public transport services that provide useful links to key facilities such as GP surgeries, train stations, shopping areas, and schools

The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1) is inconsistent with this policy. The location of the proposed secondary school (AL/CA 2) does not have frequent or easily accessible public transport services. The proposed developments and Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1), which are both modelled on Growth Strategy 5 (new settlement growth) are totally dependant on massive amounts of new infrastructure. The more favoured Growth Strategies 4 (A21 Corridor) or 1 (Focussed growth) within the urban environment of RTW are more closely aligned to this policy.

DLP_8202

Mrs Suzi Rich

Object

I object to this policy for the following reasons:

Policy EN 2 (p.370) states “All development proposals must demonstrate that sustainable development is integral to the design, construction, and operation of the proposal, and considered from the beginning of the design process. To do this, developers must follow the 12 steps below:

1. Prioritise development in locations with frequent and easily accessible public transport services that provide useful links to key facilities such as GP surgeries, train stations, shopping areas, and schools”

The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1) is inconsistent with this policy. The location of the proposed developments at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1), which are both modelled on Growth Strategy 5 (new settlement growth) are totally dependant on massive amounts of new infrastructure. The more favoured Growth Strategies 4 (A21 Corridor) or 1 (Focussed growth) within the urban environment of RTW are more closely aligned to this policy.

The following policies should be removed from the Draft Local Plan to enable this Policy to be complied with: AL/CA 1; AL/CA 2: AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1; TP 6

[TWBC: See comments DLP_8189-8214 for full representation]

Policy EN 3: Sustainable design standards

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_426

Mrs Shirley Wise

Support with conditions

When considering all new applications, it is no use erecting new homes if there is insufficient parking to go with them, look at the problems we have in Tunbridge Wells at the moment where we have too many cars per households and nowhere to park them.

We also need lots more affordable homes, not just 20%, we want our children/grandchildren to be able to stay in the area but the housing is so expensive and there is insufficient council/other affordable rentals.

We also need to reconsider Sheltered housing for the elderly, it's no use keep building McCarthy Stone properties for the older generation that they cannot afford. When they need a little help, the 'old-fashioned' sheltered housing was certainly the answer yet they seem to be done away with.

Let's have more thought on these issues and not just give the green light to anything which say 'housing'.

Thank-you

DLP_1833

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

We particularly welcome the provision which encourages better than minimum design standards in residential developments and which allows the council to require further improvement under the Plan as and when national policy allows it to do so.

DLP_2531

Mr Guy Dagger

Object

TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70) is welcomed. However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster. Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement. Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 20301.

DLP_3473

Sally Marsh

Support with conditions

TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70) is welcomed. However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster. Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement. Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 2030 .

DLP_3482

High Weald AONB Unit

Support with conditions

Policy Number:  EN2, EN3, EN4, EN5 Sustainable development  and climate change 

We welcome TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70). However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster.

In our view two measures should form the policy core of a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030:

  • Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement.

Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 2030 5 [Griscom et al. (2017). Natural Climate Solutions. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(44). https://www.pnas.org/content/114/44/11645].

DLP_4281

RTW Civic Society

 

Shouldn’t minimum design standards be mandatory rather than just strongly encouraged?

DLP_4307

White Young Green Planning for Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund

Object

Policy EN 3 – Sustainable Design Standards

Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund object to the current wording of Policy EN 3.

Within the Local Authority BREEAM guidance for Planners [2 BREEAM, The top 10 questions asked by Planners – Answered v.1 March 2019] document, BREEAM suggests the requirement for new development to achieve:

  • BREEAM ‘good’ for non-residential schemes 1,000-5,000 sqm between 2021-2025; and
  • BREEAM ‘very good’ for non-residential schemes 1,000-5,000 sqm between 2026 onwards; and
  • BREEAM ‘very good’ for non-residential schemes over 5,000 sqm from 2021 onwards

The guidance indicates that the ‘Conceptual Policy Suggestion’ has been“… designed to be cumulatively more challenging to futureproof and drive advancing sustainability standards”.

Policy EN 3 however requires new development to achieve:

  • BREEAM ‘very good’ for non-residential schemes 1,000-5,000 sqm between 2021-2025; and
  • BREEAM ‘excellent’ for non-residential schemes 1,000-5,000 sqm 2026 onwards and;
  • BREEAM ‘excellent’ for non-residential schemes over 5,000 sqm from 2021

Although Standard Life Investments support the drive for sustainable construction design, it is considered unreasonable to require BREEAM ‘excellent’ standards for new and refurbished commercial development without adequate testing in the Energy Policy Viability Report (Currie Brown, September 2019) or any other evidence base. This approach must be justified by a

quantitative viability assessment of the local non-residential floorspace market in the borough of Tunbridge Wells to realistically assess impact on such developments, and to ensure the policy would not hinder development viability, thus reducing available funds to contribute towards Planning Obligations. It is also suggested that the policy wording is caveated to state: “In exceptional circumstances, variation from the targets may be permitted based on viability considerations”.

In addition, it is recommended that the following text is removed from the policy wording, as it is not deemed necessary to list the requirement to comply with the pre-assessment, interim design and final certificate stages, as this is an intrinsic part of the BREEAM assessment process.

“Compliance with this policy should be demonstrated via:

  1. ‘Pre-assessment estimator’ at application stage;
  2. ‘Interim design’ (HQM) or ‘design stage’ certificates prior to construction;
  3. Final certificates for all schemes six months post

Developers implementing an alternative standard should submit equivalent certificates for each of these stages Acceptability of alternative standards will first need to be scoped with the Local Planning Authority”.

DLP_4692

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support with conditions

Dandara Comment 

Dandara support the policy’s emphasis on achieving high sustainable design standards. However, further information is required on Home Quality Marks (HQMs) and any inclusion needs to ensure that it is not a duplication of Building Regulations.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

No revised wording proposed. Further clarification required.

DLP_4827

DP9 Planning Consultants for Prime Finance (Tunbridge Wells) SARL (Elysian Residences)

Support with conditions

  • All non-domestic developments should achieve BREEAM ‘Very Good’ from 2021-2025 and ‘Excellent’ from 2026 onwards.

Design Stage certification should be targeted 6 months post commencement of Construction in line with realistic timelines around collation of BREEAM evidence and submission/ certification by the BRE.

DLP_5236

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Object

6.27 The sustainability standards referred to are said to allow some flexibility in meeting the sustainability policy requirements and that assessment is done on a site by site basis. We are very concerned with the use of the word ‘flexibility’ as that can be very widely interpreted and result in not adhering to sustainable standards. Saying you will be flexible in applying standards seems to negate the strength of these standards. Hence, we would advise scrapping this paragraph as it can be subject to abuse.

Policy Number:  EN 3 Sustainable Design Standards

  • We would like to argue that all new development is done to minimum design standards of HQM 4 stars from 2021 and not make an exception for ‘10-150 residential dwellings’ until 2026. If we want to achieve net zero carbon emissions in Tunbridge Wells Borough (as stated in the Council’s Climate Emergency Declaration) by 2030, we need to set the highest possible standards for all new developments to cope with effects of climate change, reduce their environmental impact and support biodiversity now. Houses must be well insulated and move away from gas to eco heating (such as heat pumps) for example.

DLP_5323

Judith Ashton Associates for Redrow Homes Ltd and Persimmon Homes South East

Object

We note that policy EN3 ‘Sustainable Design Standards’ requires developers to obtain HQM 4 stars for schemes of 150 (+) from 2021.

We understand that the Home Quality Mark has been developed by BRE, and is a national standard for new homes, which uses a simple 5-star rating to provide impartial information from independent experts on a new home’s design, construction quality and running costs. It is in effect part of the BREEAM family of quality and sustainability standards. The ‘Top 10 Questions Asked by Planners

– Answered’ document published by the BRE suggests that ‘Outstanding and 5 star ratings are incredibly challenging and are unlikely to be suitable as a blanket policy’. It also indicates in Table 2 (Conceptual policy), that for new homes of 200 (+) authorities should be looking to achieve HQM 3 stars OR HQM 2 star and level 4 on the Footprint Quality Indicator from 2020 – not HQM 4 stars per say. Given the above we would suggest that policy EN2 is being overly ambitious in its aspirations. Other authorities such as Colchester and Mid Beds have merely looked to support developers who choose to register their homes under the HQM. [5 See Colchester BC submission plan (June 2017) Policy DM25 and Mid beds submission plan (Jan 2018) Policy CC1]

[TWBC: see full representation].

DLP_6062

Laura Rowland

Support with conditions

Policy Number: EN2, EN3, EN4, EN5 Sustainable development and climate change

Please enter your comments here

TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70) is welcomed. However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster. Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement. Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 2030 .

DLP_6330

Persimmon Homes South East

 

5. Development Management Policies

The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

EN3 - Sustainable Design Standards

We note that policy EN3 ‘Sustainable Design Standards’ requires developers to obtain HQM 4 stars for schemes of 150 (+) from 2021.

We understand that the Home Quality Mark has been developed by BRE, and is a national standard for new homes, which uses a simple 5-star rating to provide impartial information from independent experts on a new home’s design, construction quality and running costs. It is in effect part of the BREEAM family of quality and sustainability standards. The ‘Top 10 Questions Asked by Planners – Answered’ document published by the BRE suggests that ‘Outstanding and 5 star ratings are incredibly challenging and are unlikely to be suitable as a blanket policy’. It also indicates in Table 2 (Conceptual policy), that for new homes of 200 (+) authorities should be looking to achieve HQM 3 stars OR HQM 2 star and level 4 on the Footprint Quality Indicator from 2020 – not HQM 4 stars per say. Given eth above we would suggest that policy EN2 is being overly ambitious in its aspirations. Other authorities such as Colchester and Mid Beds have merely looked to support developers who choose to register their homes under the HQM.

[TWBC: see full representation. Also see Comment Nos. DLP_6319, 6323-6326, 6328, 6830-6835, 6837-6839].

DLP_6619

AAH Planning for Future Habitat Ltd

 

SECTION 6 – DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT POLICIES

This section of the Local Plan sets out of a number of strategic, place-based and allocation policies to guide future development in the Borough. The development management policies contained in this section also form part of the policy framework, which aims to achieve the Vision for Tunbridge Wells Borough and the Strategic Objectives of the Local Plan. They provide more detail for decision making in relation to particular issues and for assessing the acceptability of certain types of development.

Environment and Design

Policies EN 1, EN 2, EN 3, EN 4 and EN 5

Policies EN 1 – EN 6 set out a range of criteria and advice relating to design including sustainable design and construction, energy reduction and climate change adaptation. Whilst our Client is supportive of sustainable design and the important role this plays in new development and to provide quality places, this needs to be balanced with the requirement to use development land efficiently and to ensure new development can be viable and deliverable. This can only happen where viability is not unduly affected, and our Client therefore seeks flexibility in terms of any requirements which could have a negative effect on the viability and deliverability of a scheme.

In order to make the policies sound, they should be worded as flexibly as possible so they can adapt to changing circumstances and be considered sound and up to date throughout the plan period.

[TWBC: see full representation and site plan].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6606-6620, 6622-6627].

DLP_6678

Gladman

 

6.3 Policy EN3: Sustainable Design Standards

6.3.1 The policy sets out the build quality standards for all development proposals submitted in Tunbridge Wells. The policy “strongly encourages” the application of Home Quality Standard 3 between 2021 and 2025, and Home Quality Standard 4 Stars from 2026 onwards on sites of 10 to 150 dwellings, and Home Quality Standard 4 Stars from 2021 onwards on sites larger than 150 dwellings. The wording implies some flexibility, but this should be at the discretion of the applicant. Should the Council require full compliance to the policy then sufficient evidence should be provided and its financial implications through the full plan viability assessment in order for its application to be considered consistent with PPG [7 See Section 56 of PPG].

6.3.2 The Council will no doubt be aware that the Government is currently consulting on proposals to introduce a Future Homes Standard as a build standard for all new homes from 2025 [8 https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-future-homes-standard-changes-to-part-l-and-part-f-of-the-building-regulations- for-new-dwellings]. The details of what the Future Homes Standard will be has not yet been determined, but as part of the consultation the Government has detailed measures to enhance Part F and Part L of Building Regulations to be introduced from 2020. This enhanced build standard will need to be assessed for its impact on viability as part of the Local Plan. With policies reflecting this standard at submission stage. The Council will need to review the Local Plan following adopted to implement the Future Homes Standard in full.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6656-6695]

DLP_6886

Persimmon Homes South East

 

7.5 We note that policy EN3 ‘Sustainable Design Standards’ requires developers to obtain HQM 4 stars for schemes of 150 (+) from 2021.

7.6 We understand that the Home Quality Mark has been developed by BRE, and is a national standard for new homes, which uses a simple 5-star rating to provide impartial information from independent experts on a new home’s design, construction quality and running costs. It is in effect part of the BREEAM family of quality and sustainability standards. The ‘Top 10 Questions Asked by Planners – Answered’ document published by the BRE suggests that ‘Outstanding and 5 star ratings are incredibly challenging and are unlikely to be suitable as a blanket policy’. It also indicates in Table 2 (Conceptual policy), that for new homes of 200 (+) authorities should be looking to achieve HQM 3 stars OR HQM 2 star and level 4 on the Footprint Quality Indicator from 2020 – not HQM 4 stars per say. Given eth above we would suggest that policy EN2 is being overly ambitious in its aspirations. Other authorities such as Colchester and Mid Beds have merely looked to support developers who choose to register their homes under the HQM.

DLP_6911

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

 

7.4 Policy EN3 encourages new residential development to meet minimum HQM design standards, and requires non-residential development to meet BREEAM standard. The supporting text paragraph 6.27 suggests that there is some flexibility in applying the BREEAM approach, however this is not reflected in the policy wording. The policy should be revised to ensure it contains this flexibility.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1 , Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_7074

Brown & Co Planning Ltd for The Hendy Group

Object

Policy Number: POLICY EN 3 – Sustainable Design Standards

Comments; Object

1.73 We would recommend that a policy should not be included with the specific ‘Preassessment estimator’, HQM and BREEAM standards as these may be subject to change over the lifetime of the plan.

1.74 Policy EN2 sets out details for the design standards for new development and additional measures are effectively covered within Building Regulations. As such there is no need for these standards to be included in planning policy.

UNSOUND: The specific inclusion of ‘Pre-assessment estimator’, HQM and BREEAM is not justified.

Recommended Action:

We suggest this policy is deleted with appropriate supporting text added to policy EN 2.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents; Park and Ride Feasibility Review and Site Location Plan].

DLP_7107

Williams Gallagher for Canada Life Ltd

Support with conditions

Policy EN3 – Sustainable Design Standards

We note that for developments from 2021 the policy “strongly encourages” residential schemes to comply with the Homes Quality Mark and non-residential development must comply with BREEAM standards (min “very Good” initially then from 2026 “Excellent”) until national policy allows otherwise. The wording “strongly encourage” indicates that compliance is not mandatory and this is welcomed.

However, this is at odds with subsequent paragraphs which states: “Developers must begin work to obtain the required design standard….. and this should be demonstrated in a Design and Access Statement.’ [emphasis added] and that “compliance should be demonstrated “via  a pre-assessment estimator at application stage, interim design certificates prior to construction or final certificates six months post completion.

We trust that you find these comments constructive and look forward to on-going dialogue with the Council. Please keep us informed of progress with the local plan preparation.

Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_7102-7117].

DLP_7378

Andrew Ford

Support with conditions

We welcome TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70). However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster.

In our view two measures should form the policy core of a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030:

  • Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement.
  • Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 2030[1].

[[1] Griscom et al. (2017). Natural Climate Solutions. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(44). https://www.pnas.org/content/114/44/11645]

DLP_7395

South East Water

Support with conditions

South East Water would like to thank Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for bringing the Tunbridge Wells Borough draft Local Plan to our attention.

Each water company is legally required to prepare a Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP) every five years. South East Water published our WRMP19 in August 2019. This plan sets out how we intend to maintain the balance between increasing demand for water and available supplies over the next 60 years up to 2080. The plan takes into account planned housing growth as well as the potential impact of climate change and includes our ambitious water efficiency programme. For more information please visit our website: https://corporate.southeastwater.co.uk/about-us/our-plans/water-resources-managementplan-2019/

In South East Water’s most recent business plan we have committed to play an active role regionally in relation to the impact of housing growth on water. We will develop a policy together with local stakeholders – appreciating the balance of supplying water, the need for society to ensure environmentally sustainable future water resources, and also the ongoing support of the south east region and its economic development. South East Water aims to respond to 100 per cent of all national, local and regional authority consultations and seeks to co-operate and maintain a good working relationship with local planning authorities in its area and to provide the support they need with regards to the provision of water supply infrastructure. Please see our business plan: https://corporate.southeastwater.co.uk/media/2901/sew_five_year_business_plan_20202025.pdf

We are also committed partners in the Water Resources in the South East (WRSE) Group that works for the collective good of customers and the environment in the wider south east region and are nationally represented in the Water UK water resources long-term planning framework.

Our aim of reducing demand requires the use of new approaches and technology. Although there is some uncertainty on the level of savings that can be achieved we are seeing a development of new technologies and we are committed to reduce personal water usage and leakage levels in order to be more sustainable for next generations.

Our preferred plan for the period 2020 to 2025 includes a mix of demand management initiatives such as leakage reductions and an ambitious water efficiency programme. During the period 2025 to 2045 we will continue our demand management initiatives to achieve further leakage and water efficiency savings. However, by this stage we will need additional water supply options to meet the increase in shortfall of our supply demand balance.

Several of the options within our preferred plan come directly from our engagement with third parties, for instance the regional transfers that resulted from our participation in WRSE. Other options, such as catchment management, rely upon our ability to work with stakeholders, or as with our water efficiency option, we rely on our ability to engage and influence customers’ water use behaviour.

In your area we are developing regional water transfer schemes such as importing water from Sutton and East Surrey Water (2042) to our WRZ1 area (Tunbridge Wells) and a targeted catchment management interventions programme in the Pembury area (2034).

South East Water have now reviewed the plan and would like to comment that:

Policy EN 3 - Sustainable Design Standards

South East Water supports the introduction of minimum design standards for all major non-residential developments but we believe this should be extended to cover residential developments and to specifically include water use standards.

DLP_7919

Fiona Dagger

Object

TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70) is welcomed. However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster. Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement. Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 20301.

DLP_8085

Department for Education

 

17. Draft Policy EN3 seeks to ensure that all non-residential development over 5000 sq m achieves BREEAM Excellent. DfE would raise initial concern over this, in the context of the need to maximise value for money in education spending and make efficient and effective use of public funds, we question if a requirement for schools to achieve BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rather than ‘Very Good’ is justified. The delivery of schools should not be burdened by challenging and onerous obligations. Particularly with respect to expansions, existing buildings may be more challenging to retrofit to meet the required BREEAM standards, due to the nature of constraints and historic inefficiencies in building design.

18. Therefore, Policy EN3 should reflect some flexibility in relation to school and community buildings, especially with regard to expansions of existing buildings.

19. The above comments are also relevant to Draft Policy EN4 regarding energy reduction in buildings, specifically with the requirements for major developments. This again, could burden the delivery of schools.

DLP_8215

Home Builders Federation

 

Thank you for consulting the Home Builders Federation (HBF) on the draft Local Plan. The HBF is the principal representative body of the housebuilding industry in England and Wales and our representations reflect the views of discussions with our membership of national and multinational corporations through to regional developers and small local housebuilders. Our members account for over 80% of all new housing built in England and Wales in any one year. Outlined below are our comments on the approach taken by the Council to increasing the supply of land for residential development and the policies being proposed with regard to the management of new development in future.

EN3 – Sustainable design standards

The Government have been clear that, other than the optional technical standards, local plans should not seek to impose additional standards. We are therefore concerned that the Council is seeking to encourage higher standards than those set out in Building Regulations. We acknowledge that the policy does not require residential development to comply with the HQM4 standard but there is the real potential that schemes could be refused if they choose not to. To ensure the necessary clarity required under paragraph 16(d) of the NPPF we would recommend that those aspects of this policy relating to residential development are deleted.

DLP_8408

Paddock Wood Labour Party

Object

Policy EN3. OBJECT. Sustainable design standards.

Adaptations/suitability for disabilities

New homes should be fit for the future and meet the needs of all residents for their whole lives. In an age where residents are living longer homes need to be adaptable so that residents who have mobility limiting disabilities in the future can continue to live there. Ensuring a new home can be fully adaptable only costs around an additional £1500 and we believe that all new homes should meet these minimum standards as it saves money in the long term and reduces pressure on the NHS and Social services.

Sustainability

The local plan specifies an improvement in sustainable residential design standards, suggesting an increase in standards over time from HQM 3 2021-2025 to 4 2026 onwards, a higher standard is needed that would actually reflect the climate emergency we face (Policy EN3).

PWLP feels that these enhanced design standards should be implemented now for all new residential buildings regardless of the number of dwellings in a proposed development.

Developers need to adjust now to the higher standards as it is clear that developments have not done so up to now. It is achievable and It has been estimated that the increase in costs as a result of higher sustainable standards is only 1-2% and fiscally responsible given the higher costs of retrofitting.

Retrofitting the properties is more expensive than building residential units with the highest sustainable standards. Refurbishment of existing properties, by not adopting these higher standards will create higher future costs to residents & government.

The current timeframe within the DLP will allow proposed development to fulfil our housing requirements but will be built at a standard that will require retrofitting to make them closer to a higher standard to address the climate emergency. All new houses should be built to the higher standard. We should aim for a “zero carbon” standard in which the day to day running of property through efficiency standards and renewable energy supply via local generation and developer contributions should not increase carbon emissions.

Areas such as car charging points need more focus and built into the design and delivery of new developments. The Labour Party has set a policy for the country to be carbon neutral by 2030 and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council agreed a motion in July 2019 to declare a climate emergency. The need to take urgent action on climate change needs to be reflected in the approach taken to development across the Borough set out in the Local Plan.

Policy EN 4: Energy reduction in new buildings

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1834

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Object + Support with conditions 

We strongly support the robust approach taken in this policy but we are unfortunately bound to express an OBJECTION only because of the reference to biomass boilers. This needs to be clarified to allow the use of such boilers in urban areas only in very specific circumstance where zero emissions can be guaranteed. Even in such circumstances, the use of biomass will involve the carriage of large quantities of fuel, most probably by road, raising further questions as to its overall sustainability.

DLP_2532

Mr Guy Dagger

Object

TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70) is welcomed. However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster. Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement. Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 20301.

DLP_3367

Kent County Council (Growth, Environment and Transport)

 

Sustainable Business and Communities

The County Council is supportive of the policies within the Climate Change Mitigation section. These polices will support the implementation of the Kent Environment Strategy. It should be noted that paragraph 6.31 should be updated to reflect changes to the Climate Change Act, which has been revised to include a carbon reduction target of net-zero by 2050.

DLP_3474

Sally Marsh

Support with conditions

TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70) is welcomed. However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster. Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement. Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 2030 .

DLP_3484

High Weald AONB Unit

Support with conditions

Policy Number:  EN2, EN3, EN4, EN5 Sustainable development  and climate change 

We welcome TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70). However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster.

In our view two measures should form the policy core of a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030:

  • Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement.

Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 2030 5 [Griscom et al. (2017). Natural Climate Solutions. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(44). https://www.pnas.org/content/114/44/11645].

DLP_4053

Mr Don Sloan

Support with conditions

I am not sure about biomass as there is an environmental cost in transporting it, perhaps it should be discouraged

Can you elaborate heat pumps, air sourced and ground sourced and the relevant importance of heat pumps generally, and to what extent they might be encouraged.

I support the policy with the above conditions.

DLP_4308

White Young Green Planning for Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund

Object

Policy EN 4 – Energy Reduction in New Buildings

Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund object to the current wording of Policy EN 4 (Energy Reduction in New Buildings). At present, the wording does not make clear that the policy relates only to the construction of ‘new buildings’ and not ‘all development’. It is also advised that reference to need to reduce ‘site wide’ C02 emissions is removed, as it is imprecise and unnecessary, and trigger/requirement should relate solely to the development proposed – not a wider ‘site’.

As such, the following changes to the policy wording are deemed essential to ensure the policy is ‘justified’, ‘effective’ and therefore ‘sound’:

“The Local Authority requires new development proposals for the construction of new buildings to incorporate design features that…”

“1. A ‘fabric first’ approach in which all new development comprising the construction of new buildings is required to reduce site-wide, operational CO2 emissions by at least 10% below the Target Emission Rate (TER) as set out in Building Regulations Part L (2013);

2. Requirement for major development comprising the construction of new buildings is required to reduce site-wide, operational CO2 emissions by 15% using renewable energy generating technology, to be installed on site. The 15% reduction will be calculated only after the ‘fabric first’ approach has been applied”.

DLP_4693

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support with conditions

Dandara Comment 

Dandara support the premise of the policy in reducing energy reductions in new buildings and promoting zero carbon and low emission development. However, Dandara requires further details on HQMs and to ensure these are not a duplication of Building Regulations.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

No revised wording proposed. Further clarification required.

DLP_4828

DP9 Planning Consultants for Prime Finance (Tunbridge Wells) SARL (Elysian Residences)

Support with conditions

  • The consultation on the Future Homes Standard outlines that the Government is likely to continue to explore emerging legislation which would inhibit local authorities from setting higher minimum standards for energy efficiency than building regulations to reflect that, as minimum standards through building regulations become increasingly robust, the need for local authorities to set their own energy efficiency targets may become less relevant.
  • The inclusion of CHP as a low carbon technology should be removed. Considering the decarbonisation of the grid, there is now a negative carbon benefit associated with CHP, due to the increased amount of fuel consumed with considerably less benefit from the displaced electricity.

Energy modelling using SAP calculations and not considering unregulated emissions will not assist with avoiding the performance gap. Advocating for energy metering and data collection and dissemination around building/ dwellings in use will help to understand how buildings function compared to their design.

DLP_5257

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Object

Policy Number:  EN 4 Energy Reduction in New Buildings 

As TWBC is set to progress towards the zero-carbon target by 2030, is a 10% reduction over the TER (point 1) and 15% reduction from use of renewable energy (point 2) sufficient to achieve this? We are concerned this is not ambitious enough and will be impossible to achieve if biomass technology is permitted as renewable energy generation.

We strongly object to ‘biomass boilers’ being included in the list of recommended renewable energy generating technology, whereas we do support the other technologies mentioned. In addition, we would like to point out that combined air/ground source heat pumps are preferable to mere ground source heat pumps as the latter can negatively impact on the quality of the soil.

DLP_5324

Judith Ashton Associates for Redrow Homes Ltd and Persimmon Homes South East

Object

Whilst we note the aims and objectives of policy EN4 ‘Energy Reduction on New Buildings’ we would suggest, given the content of the Written Ministerial Statement of March 2015, that the maximum improvement the council can seek to achieve is 20% above that required by part L of the Building Regulations. As such we would suggest that part 2 of policy EN4 is amended to require a total reduction of 20% using a combination of fabric first and renewables. That said we would also question the relevance of this policy in the light of the current consultation on the Future Homes Standards. We would suggest this is kept under review and that whichever option TWBC seek to adopt they ensure the cost implications of doing so are factored into the VA.

[TWBC: see full representation].

DLP_6063

Laura Rowland

Support with conditions

Policy Number: EN2, EN3, EN4, EN5 Sustainable development and climate change

TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70) is welcomed. However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster. Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement. Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 2030 .

DLP_6155

Turley for Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd

 

Criterion 2

This implies a reduction in excess of current government guidance through building regulations. The reductions achieved should be calculated using a combination of fabric first and renewables, not after fabric first to be consistent with current government guidance (6-012 of PPG), or any updates to such guidance as may be published over the plan period.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting document A, supporting document B, supporting document C, and supporting document D]. 

DLP_6280

Tunbridge Wells Constituency Labour Party

Support with conditions

Though the local plan specifies an improvement in sustainable residential design standards, suggesting an increase in standards over time from HQM 3 2021-2025 to 4 2026 onwards, a higher standard would actually reflect the climate emergency we face (Policy EN3). 

We suggest that design standards should not be increased within the timeframe suggested and higher standards should be introduced from at least 2022 for all new residential buildings regardless of the number of dwellings in a proposed development.

Though it is stated that the timeframe will allow developers to adjust to higher standards it is clear that developments have been built in the UK and other nations, it is therefore achievable. It has been estimated that the increase in costs as a result of higher sustainable standards is only 1-2% and fiscally responsible given the higher costs of retrofitting.

https://ca1-eci.edcdn.com/downloads/ECIU_Zero_Carbon_Homes_-compressed.pdf?mtime=20190605095610

Retrofitting the properties is more expensive than building residential units with the highest sustainable standards, this will create higher future costs to residents or government via grants.

https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/The-costs-and-benefits-of-tighter-standards-for-new-buildings-Currie-Brown-and-AECOM.pdf

Within the current timeframe some of the major developments proposed to fulfil our housing requirements will be built at a standard that will require retrofitting to make them closer to a higher standard to address the climate emergency we recognise, such as Passivhaus. Ultimately we should aim for a “zero carbon” standard in which the day to day running of property through efficiency standards and renewable energy supply via local generation and developer offsets should not increase carbon emissions.

http://passivhaustrust.org.uk/news/detail/?nId=840#.Xbv5_Jr7SUk

We need to look forward and think about the Tunbridge Wells of the future. Areas such as car charging points need more focus and built into the design and delivery of new developments. The Labour Party has set a policy for the country to be carbon neutral by 2030 and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council agreed a motion in July 2019 to declare a climate emergency. The need to take urgent action on climate change needs to be reflected in the approach taken to development across the Borough set out in the Local Plan.

DLP_6331

Persimmon Homes South East

 

5. Development Management Policies

The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

EN4 – Energy reduction in new buildings

The Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) published in March 2015 stated the Government’s intention to introduce improved energy efficiency requirements through Building Regulations. It went on to state that Council’s should not seek to apply standards higher than those set out in building regulations other than the published optional technical standards. Some interim flexibility was provided allowing Councils to seek improvements in energy efficiency through local plans that were the equivalent of level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes until new regulations had been introduced.

However, following the publication of the WMS the Government did not take forward the legislation as indicated leaving the interim guidance in place which allows for a maximum improvement of 20% in relation to part L of the building regulations. The situation has now been clarified further within 6-012 PPG reiterating the Government’s position as set out in the WMS. However, the Council’s policy as set out in EN4 would result in some developments having to deliver energy efficiency improvements of greater than 20%. As such we would suggest that part 2 of EN4 is amended to require total reduction of 20% using a combination of fabric first and renewables.

The Council will also need to monitor progress with regard to the Future Homes Standards which will see the improvements being suggested by the Council being brought int building regulations and as such make policies such as EN4 unnecessary.

We would also suggest that paragraphs 3 to 6 are removed from the policy and placed in the supporting text as they are guidance and not required in relation to the determination of a planning application.

[TWBC: see full representation. Also see Comment Nos. DLP_6319, 6323-6326, 6328, 6830-6835, 6837-6839].

DLP_6620

AAH Planning for Future Habitat Ltd

 

SECTION 6 – DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT POLICIES

This section of the Local Plan sets out of a number of strategic, place-based and allocation policies to guide future development in the Borough. The development management policies contained in this section also form part of the policy framework, which aims to achieve the Vision for Tunbridge Wells Borough and the Strategic Objectives of the Local Plan. They provide more detail for decision making in relation to particular issues and for assessing the acceptability of certain types of development.

Environment and Design

Policies EN 1, EN 2, EN 3, EN 4 and EN 5

Policies EN 1 – EN 6 set out a range of criteria and advice relating to design including sustainable design and construction, energy reduction and climate change adaptation. Whilst our Client is supportive of sustainable design and the important role this plays in new development and to provide quality places, this needs to be balanced with the requirement to use development land efficiently and to ensure new development can be viable and deliverable. This can only happen where viability is not unduly affected, and our Client therefore seeks flexibility in terms of any requirements which could have a negative effect on the viability and deliverability of a scheme.

In order to make the policies sound, they should be worded as flexibly as possible so they can adapt to changing circumstances and be considered sound and up to date throughout the plan period.

[TWBC: see full representation and site plan].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6606-6620, 6622-6627].

DLP_6888

Persimmon Homes South East

 

7.0 DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT POLICIES 

7.1 The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

EN4 – Energy reduction in new buildings

7.7 The Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) published in March 2015 stated the Government’s intention to introduce improved energy efficiency requirements through Building Regulations. It went on to state that Council’s should not seek to apply standards higher than those set out in building regulations other than the published optional technical standards. Some interim flexibility was provided allowing Councils to seek improvements in energy efficiency through local plans that were the equivalent of level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes until new regulations had been introduced.

7.8 However, following the publication of the WMS the Government did not take forward the legislation as indicated leaving the interim guidance in place which allows for a maximum improvement of 20% in relation to part L of the building regulations. The situation has now been clarified further within 6-012 PPG reiterating the Government’s position as set out in the WMS. However, the Council’s policy as set out in EN4 would result in some developments having to deliver energy efficiency improvements of greater than 20%. As such we would suggest that part 2 of EN4 is amended to require total reduction of 20% using a combination of fabric first and renewables.

7.9 The Council will also need to monitor progress with regard to the Future Homes Standards which will see the improvements being suggested by the Council being brought int building regulations and as such make policies such as EN4 unnecessary.

7.10 We would also suggest that paragraphs 3 to 6 are removed from the policy and placed in the supporting text as they are guidance and not required in relation to the determination of a planning application.

DLP_6912

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

General Observation

7.5 Policy EN4 requires that new development uses a ‘fabric first’ approach to deliver a CO2 emission reduction rate of at least 10% over the Target Emissions Rate. Criterion 2 requires that in addition to achieving a 10% reduction over building regulations, major developments must provide on-site renewable energy generation sufficient to reduce a development’s CO2 emission by 15%. Whilst we acknowledge the high importance TWBC has placed on sustainable building design, this runs counter to government guidance set out in Planning Practice Guidance. TWBC has also not demonstrated the viability of delivering a reduction in CO2 via renewable energy generation technology.

7.6 We also note that there is currently a consultation on changes to Part L (conservation of fuel and power) of the building regulations which propose either a 20% reduction in carbon emissions (fabric only), or a 31% reduction in carbon emissions (fabric and renewable). Imposing EN4 in addition to any revised building regulations would result in a significant energy reduction obligation which has not been considered as part of TWBC’s viability assessment. We note that the policy states that the measures set out within it will be superseded by national policy or legislation if/when any such updates come into effect, however this is too vague and not precise. We consider that the policy should be clearer so that the policy states that in the event of a national upgrade to Part L, that the national position will supersede policy EN4.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1 , Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_7075

Brown & Co Planning Ltd for The Hendy Group

Object

Policy Number: Policy EN 4 - Energy Reduction in New Buildings

Comments; Object

1.75 This policy supports the delivery of ‘radical’ reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Whilst our Client supports low emission development, ‘radical’ reductions is no measurable and should be defined to remove the ambiguity of this requirement in line with paragraph 16 (d) [5 “Plans should: d) contain policies that are clearly written and unambiguous, so it is evident how a decision maker should react to development proposals” (paragraph 16 (d) of the NPPF, 2019).] of the NPPF (2019).

1.76 Our Client is also concerned that the target of a fabric first approach, plus a 15% reduction of CO2 emissions is an ambitious target which may not be attainable on all sites.

1.77 As recognised in the Energy Policy Viability Report [6 Page 53, September 2019.], there is a high degree of variation in the energy use and potential for carbon savings in non-domestic buildings - evidence from recent studies that savings of 10-15% are achievable. The target of a fabric first approach, plus 15% is therefore ambitious, particularly for non-domestic buildings and may have the effect of stifling development. As such this policy is unsound as it is not prepared positively in a way that is aspirational and deliverable [7 “Plans should: b) be prepared positively, in a way that is aspirational but deliverable” (paragraph 16 (b) of the NPPF, 2019).].

1.78 Furthermore, this target is based on Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP)10, which has not yet been adopted for regulatory compliance purposes. If this is not adopted, development proposals will have to assessed against SAP2012, but compared to the higher targets of SAP10. This is not consistent with national standards and as such is unsound.

1.79 The prescriptive list [8 “Renewable energy generating technology includes photovoltaics, solar hot water, air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, wind turbines, hydropower, and biomass boilers. Low carbon technology presented as an alternative to renewable energy generating technology, such as Combined Heat and Power (CHP), will be considered on a case by case basis.” (Policy EN 4, TWBDLP, Reg 18).] of renewable energy technology in this policy also concerns our Client, as the technologies available could change in the plan period, including the emergence of new technology that would be more preferable than those listed.

1.80 The Energy Policy Viability Report did not research the preferred approaches for technological solutions to meet the carbon performance requirement uplifts [9 Page 56, Energy Policy Viability Report (September 2019) ]. The list of renewable energy technology has also not been justified in the Energy Topic Paper (Regulation 18 Consultation, August 2019).

1.81 Our Client therefore considers that the list of renewable energy technology contained in this policy is unsound as is not based on any evidence.

UNSOUND: Our Client considers that the target for the reduction of CO2 emissions is not consistent with national standards.

Recommended Action:

* The target should be based on the adopted Standard Assessment Procedure 2012.

* The list of acceptable renewable energy technology should be removed.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents; Park and Ride Feasibility Review and Site Location Plan].

DLP_7108

Williams Gallagher for Canada Life Ltd

 

We note the policy aspirations but consider that developments should not be required to meet standards that are greater than that required through the Building Regulations.

We trust that you find these comments constructive and look forward to on-going dialogue with the Council. Please keep us informed of progress with the local plan preparation.

Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_7102-7117].

DLP_7379

Andrew Ford

Support with conditions

We welcome TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70). However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster.

In our view two measures should form the policy core of a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030:

  • Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement.
  • Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 2030[1].

[[1] Griscom et al. (2017). Natural Climate Solutions. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(44). https://www.pnas.org/content/114/44/11645]

DLP_7883

Christine Spicer

 

Paragraph 6.3

The Stroud example is the best practice that I’ve found of a council progressing to carbon neutral. I would like to see something similar in Tunbridge Wells.

We can also be pioneers and set a good example to other councils.

https://www.stroud.gov.uk/news-archive/here-is-how-stroud-district-council-is-working-towards-a-carbon-neutral-district-by-2030

https://www.stroud.gov.uk/media/1032856/item-6-progressing-carbon-neutral-2030-cn2030.pdf

DLP_7920

Fiona Dagger

Object

TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70) is welcomed. However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster. Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement. Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 20301.

DLP_8089

Department for Education

 

17. Draft Policy EN3 seeks to ensure that all non-residential development over 5000 sq m achieves BREEAM Excellent. DfE would raise initial concern over this, in the context of the need to maximise value for money in education spending and make efficient and effective use of public funds, we question if a requirement for schools to achieve BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rather than ‘Very Good’ is justified. The delivery of schools should not be burdened by challenging and onerous obligations. Particularly with respect to expansions, existing buildings may be more challenging to retrofit to meet the required BREEAM standards, due to the nature of constraints and historic inefficiencies in building design.

18. Therefore, Policy EN3 should reflect some flexibility in relation to school and community buildings, especially with regard to expansions of existing buildings.

19. The above comments are also relevant to Draft Policy EN4 regarding energy reduction in buildings, specifically with the requirements for major developments. This again, could burden the delivery of schools.

DLP_8216

Home Builders Federation

 

Thank you for consulting the Home Builders Federation (HBF) on the draft Local Plan. The HBF is the principal representative body of the housebuilding industry in England and Wales and our representations reflect the views of discussions with our membership of national and multinational corporations through to regional developers and small local housebuilders. Our members account for over 80% of all new housing built in England and Wales in any one year. Outlined below are our comments on the approach taken by the Council to increasing the supply of land for residential development and the policies being proposed with regard to the management of new development in future.

EN4 – Energy reduction in new buildings

The Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) published in March 2015 stated the Government’s intention to introduce improved energy efficiency requirements through Building Regulations. It went on to state that Council’s should not seek to apply standards higher than those set out in building regulations other than the published optional technical standards. Some interim flexibility was provided allowing Councils to seek improvements in energy efficiency through local plans that were the equivalent of level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes until new regulations had been introduced.

However, following the publication of the WMS the Government did not take forward the legislation as indicated leaving the interim guidance in place which allows for a maximum improvement of 20% in relation to part L of the building regulations. The situation has now been clarified further within 6-012 of PPG which reiterates the Government’s position as set out in the WMS. However, the Council’s policy as set out in EN4 would result in some developments having to deliver energy efficiency improvements of greater than 20%. As such we would suggest that part 2 of EN4 is amended to require total reduction of 20% using a combination of fabric first and renewables.

The Council will also need to monitor progress with regard to the Future Homes Standards which will see the improvements being suggested by the Council being brought into building regulations and as such make policies such as EN4 unnecessary.

We would also suggest that paragraphs 3 to 6 are removed from the policy and placed in the supporting text as they are guidance and not required in relation to the determination of a planning application.

DLP_8349

DHA Planning for Mr and Mrs B Gear

 

3 Section 6: Development Management Policies

3.1.1 In addition to our comments on the strategy [TWBC: see Comment No. DLP_3001], we have reviewed the proposed replacement development management policies as set out in chapter 6 of the document.

3.1.2 In general terms, we would refer back to paragraph 15 of the NPPF that promotes succinct and up-to-date plans, which provide a positive vision. In contrast, the draft policies currently proposed are of such prescriptive detail that they are neither positively prepared nor flexible enough to allow for a range of different circumstances. Furthermore, many aspirations result in inevitable conflict. On this basis, we would recommend that the majority of proposed policies are simplified and where additional guidance is needed, this be included within secondary Supplementary Planning Documents.

3.1.3 Turning to detailed policies, there are a number of contradictory elements that need to be remedied before the plan proceeds to Regulation 19. For example, policy EN1 seeks to ensure development is consistent with the established character and surrounding form. However, policy EN4 places significant emphasis on measures to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The provision of a step change towards more sustainable construction and climate change is, inevitably going to result in a need for a change in attitude towards design, material and construction. Accordingly, a cohesive policy approach is needed that allows innovative and different design if supported on wider environmental and planning grounds. As drafted the policies are too inconsistent.

[TWBC: see the following comments on development management policies:

DLP_8348-8349: Policy EN1 and Policy EN4
DLP_8350: Policy EN6
DLP_8351: Policy EN20
DLP_8352: Policy H1
DLP_8353: Policy H2
DLP_8354-8355: Policies H3 and H4
DLP_8356: Policy H5
DLP_8357: Policy H8].

Policy EN 5: Climate change adaptation

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1703

Brenchley and Matfield Parish Council

b. From the large number of policies in the DLP, the Council wishes to comment on the following, the aims of which relate to policies that will be included in the Brenchley and Matfield NDP.

ii. EN5-7 (Climate Change Adaptation, Historic Environment, Historic Assets). We support the broad aims of these policies, which are key to both future-proofing of developments and the retention of the “inherited wealth” of the natural and built environments.

[TWBC: part of whole comment number DLP_1683].

iii. EN21 (High Weald AONB). The defence of the AONB must be at the forefront of all planning decisions. TWBC should resist the temptation to encroach upon the protections provided by the NPPF and keep faith with the passion within the community for safeguarding this precious landscape.

iv. H3-4 (Housing Mix; Housing Density). We are in broad agreement with these policies. However, with regard to density, we are very surprised that the potential for “building upwards” in Royal Tunbridge Wells and Southborough does not appear to have being explored. Given the constraints to outward expansion attending both settlements, there must surely be some merit in having a policy that encourages more multi-storey developments in the urban areas.

v. H5 (Affordable Housing). The bold step of requiring a 40% contribution from relevant development is to be commended. In the rural areas we wish to see a high proportion of such housing being safeguarded to people with a strong local connection, and active consideration should be given to exploring an enhanced role for arish and town councils in the nomination and allocation process.

vi. H15-16 (Residential Extensions, Alterations etc. inside and outside the LBD). The test of these policies will be their stringent application to all and every relevant application. Extensions, alterations, and replacements should, at the very least, demonstrate soundness of proposals, integrity in the use of materials, and well-founded arguments for any proposed departure from commonly-accepted standards of design.

vii. TP3 (Parking standards). We welcome this proposed policy, which provides for a more realistic approach to parking than is currently the case.

DLP_8394

Mr Raymond Moon

Object

Policy EN5.OBJECT. Climate Change Adaption.

Developers should be forced to implement this policy such as Solar panels and improved insulation and non use of Gas Boilers to provide new ways central heating in the new houses. Government Legislation and TWBC should implement this initiative as part of the 2030 neutral carbon emissions policy.

DLP_1835

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

We strongly support this policy to mitigate the effects of climate change and welcome the referencing to the latest strategy published from time to time by the National Adaptation Programme.

DLP_1961

Ms Jacqueline Stanton

Support with conditions

I support this policy and hope that the Council would be very clear with developers about the required designs of any new dwellings, including the use of solar panels, wind power and energy-saving materials.  Few developers in the Borough appear to include these designs, possibly due to the decrease in their profits for a development which these may involve.

DLP_2533
DLP_3475

Mr Guy Dagger
Sally Marsh

Support with conditions

TWBC: the standard response was submitted by the list of responders on the left:

TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70) is welcomed. However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster. Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement. Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 20301.

DLP_3485

High Weald AONB Unit

Support with conditions

Policy Number:  EN2, EN3, EN4, EN5 Sustainable development  and climate change 

We welcome TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70). However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster.

In our view two measures should form the policy core of a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030:

  • Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement.

Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 2030 5 [Griscom et al. (2017). Natural Climate Solutions. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(44). https://www.pnas.org/content/114/44/11645].

DLP_3487

High Weald AONB Unit

Support with conditions

Policy Number: EN5 and EN20 Farming and forestry

We welcome TWBC’s support for ‘resilient forestry and agricultural practices’ (EN5), but are concerned about the lack of consideration given to this vital issue in the Local Plan. Thriving smallscale farming and forestry businesses including family farms underpin the conservation and enhancement of the AONB landscape, are essential to retaining the rural nature of the area and to achieve significant reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. The needs of these businesses do not appear to have been adequately considered in the Plan.

In our view, Policy EN5 and EN20 should be expanded to recognise and support the infrastructure needs required to ensure ‘resilient forestry and agricultural practices’, including suitable affordable housing for rural workers, improved capacity for land-use training, and support for local small-scale growing enterprises. These actions are consistent with TWBC’s policy for the AONB set out in their AONB Management Plan 2019 (Land-based Economy and related Rural Life).

DLP_3810

Natural England

Support

Natural England welcomes the link between climate change adaptation the protection and provision of well-connected Green infrastructure.

DLP_4158

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

This policy should not merely support proposals that allow adaptation to climate change, it should require them.  It should also refer to the need to protect our countryside’s capacity to provide Natural Climate Solutions, mitigating CO² by protecting soils and minimising the land take of greenfield sites and roads.

DLP_4829

DP9 Planning Consultants for Prime Finance (Tunbridge Wells) SARL (Elysian Residences)

Support with conditions

Dynamic Overheating modelling should be undertaken to prove that the risk of overheating has been mitigated and there is an appropriate strategy in place to deal with extreme weather events.

DLP_4918

Woodland Trust

 

We welcome the priority given in section 6.33 to the borough’s commitment to being carbon neutral by 2030. This should include policy in support of new tree planting and woodland creation. A rapid increase in the rate of woodland creation has been proposed by the UK’s Committee on Climate Change, to provide a key mechanism to lock up carbon in trees and soils, provide an alternative to fossil fuel energy and resource-hungry building material, and importantly to stem the declines in biodiversity. We recommend setting a target for tree canopy cover as part of this policy.

DLP_5237

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support with conditions

We are encouraged by the recognition of climate change impacts and the need to take mitigation measures.

6.31 - §6.32 should be updated to reflect the new targets set by the government to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 at national and KCC level and by 2030 for TWBC (following the respective Declarations of Climate Emergency).

6.33 The statement in this paragraph that the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO2 emissions, and must do more needs to be followed up with concrete actions and demonstrable efforts.

6.34 identifies that emissions associated with energy use and transport are by far the two largest contributors to CO2 emissions in Tunbridge Wells borough. Please, also see research done by Friends of the Earth that identifies the following for Tunbridge Wells: “In Tunbridge Wells 39%of emissions come from housing, 35%from transport, and 26% are industrial and commercial emissions.

6.37 In light of the above research mentioned, we agree that retrofitting the existing building stock presents an opportunity to help meet the carbon reduction targets for the borough.

6.41 As stated above with §6.18, we disagree that biomass is specifically mentioned as part of a solution to reduce CO2 emissions when in fact it significantly contributes to CO2 emissions. We would therefore like to see the reference to biomass scrapped here. [Please, see document on biomass research attached]. Provisions in this paragraph encouraging combined heat and power and district heating in new developments could usefully be imported into Policy EN5.

Policy Number:  Policy EN 5 Climate Change Adaptation 

The overall policy has our full support with the exception of 5f.

Active cooling constitutes a considerable contributing factor to climate change as air conditioners contain “chemical refrigerants that absorb and release heat to enable chilling. Refrigerants [...] have 1,000 to 9,000 times greater capacity to warm the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.” See: Project Drawdown.

DLP_6066

Laura Rowland

Support with conditions

Policy Number: EN2, EN3, EN4, EN5 Sustainable development and climate change

TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70) is welcomed. However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster. Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement. Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 2030 .

DLP_6281

Tunbridge Wells Constituency Labour Party

Support with conditions

Though the local plan specifies an improvement in sustainable residential design standards, suggesting an increase in standards over time from HQM 3 2021-2025 to 4 2026 onwards, a higher standard would actually reflect the climate emergency we face (Policy EN3). 

We suggest that design standards should not be increased within the timeframe suggested and higher standards should be introduced from at least 2022 for all new residential buildings regardless of the number of dwellings in a proposed development.

Though it is stated that the timeframe will allow developers to adjust to higher standards it is clear that developments have been built in the UK and other nations, it is therefore achievable. It has been estimated that the increase in costs as a result of higher sustainable standards is only 1-2% and fiscally responsible given the higher costs of retrofitting.

https://ca1-eci.edcdn.com/downloads/ECIU_Zero_Carbon_Homes_-compressed.pdf?mtime=20190605095610

Retrofitting the properties is more expensive than building residential units with the highest sustainable standards, this will create higher future costs to residents or government via grants.

https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/The-costs-and-benefits-of-tighter-standards-for-new-buildings-Currie-Brown-and-AECOM.pdf

Within the current timeframe some of the major developments proposed to fulfil our housing requirements will be built at a standard that will require retrofitting to make them closer to a higher standard to address the climate emergency we recognise, such as Passivhaus. Ultimately we should aim for a “zero carbon” standard in which the day to day running of property through efficiency standards and renewable energy supply via local generation and developer offsets should not increase carbon emissions.

http://passivhaustrust.org.uk/news/detail/?nId=840#.Xbv5_Jr7SUk

We need to look forward and think about the Tunbridge Wells of the future. Areas such as car charging points need more focus and built into the design and delivery of new developments. The Labour Party has set a policy for the country to be carbon neutral by 2030 and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council agreed a motion in July 2019 to declare a climate emergency. The need to take urgent action on climate change needs to be reflected in the approach taken to development across the Borough set out in the Local Plan.

DLP_6622

AAH Planning for Future Habitat Ltd

 

SECTION 6 – DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT POLICIES

This section of the Local Plan sets out of a number of strategic, place-based and allocation policies to guide future development in the Borough. The development management policies contained in this section also form part of the policy framework, which aims to achieve the Vision for Tunbridge Wells Borough and the Strategic Objectives of the Local Plan. They provide more detail for decision making in relation to particular issues and for assessing the acceptability of certain types of development.

Environment and Design

Policies EN 1, EN 2, EN 3, EN 4 and EN 5

Policies EN 1 – EN 6 set out a range of criteria and advice relating to design including sustainable design and construction, energy reduction and climate change adaptation. Whilst our Client is supportive of sustainable design and the important role this plays in new development and to provide quality places, this needs to be balanced with the requirement to use development land efficiently and to ensure new development can be viable and deliverable. This can only happen where viability is not unduly affected, and our Client therefore seeks flexibility in terms of any requirements which could have a negative effect on the viability and deliverability of a scheme.

In order to make the policies sound, they should be worded as flexibly as possible so they can adapt to changing circumstances and be considered sound and up to date throughout the plan period.

[TWBC: see full representation and site plan].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6606-6620, 6622-6627].

DLP_7076

Brown & Co Planning Ltd for The Hendy Group

Support with conditions

Policy Number: Policy EN 5 - Climate Change Adaptation

Comments; Support with conditions

1.82 Whilst our Client is supportive of adapting to the impact of climate change, the measures outlined in this policy propose a further burden on development which will impact the viability of providing affordable houses.

Support subject to the following amendment:

* A less rigid approach to the application of development standards.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents; Park and Ride Feasibility Review and Site Location Plan].

DLP_7380

Andrew Ford

Support with conditions

We welcome TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70). However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster.

In our view two measures should form the policy core of a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030:

  • Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement.
  • Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 2030[1].

[[1] Griscom et al. (2017). Natural Climate Solutions. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(44). https://www.pnas.org/content/114/44/11645]

DLP_7381

Andrew Ford

Support with conditions

We welcome TWBC’s support for ‘resilient forestry and agricultural practices’ (EN5), but are concerned about the lack of consideration given to this vital issue in the Local Plan. Thriving small-scale farming and forestry businesses including family farms underpin the conservation and enhancement of the AONB landscape, are essential to retaining the rural nature of the area and to achieve significant reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. The needs of these businesses do not appear to have been adequately considered in the Plan.

In our view, Policy EN5 and EN20 should be expanded to recognise and support the infrastructure needs required to ensure ‘resilient forestry and agricultural practices’, including suitable affordable housing for rural workers, improved capacity for land-use training, and support for local small-scale growing enterprises. These actions are consistent with TWBC’s policy for the AONB set out in their AONB Management Plan 2019 (Land-based Economy and related Rural Life).

DLP_7921

Fiona Dagger

Object

TWBC’s recognition that ‘the planning system has a key role to play in meeting the challenge of reducing CO₂ emission, and must do more’ (6.33, p. 70) is welcomed. However, in the light of TWBC’s own climate emergency declaration made on 17th July 2019 which set an ambition for the Council’s operations and strategies – including this Local Plan - to be carbon neutral by 2030, the policies proposed – EN2, EN3, EN4 and EN5 - are inadequate. These policies should move further and faster. Policy should require all development, irrespective of size or purpose, to be near zero energy NOW. Technology is available and affordable to achieve this requirement. Policy should minimise the land take of greenfield sites and protect soils in order to protect the capacity of land to provide Natural Climate Solutions based on improving soil health, regenerative agriculture and re-wilding which could contribute nearly 40% of the necessary CO₂ mitigation required between now and 20301.

DLP_8073

RSPB

Support

We support this policy and welcome the detail outlined in relation to the movement of native species.

DLP_8409

Paddock Wood Labour Party

Object

Policy EN5.OBJECT. Climate Change Adaption.

Developers should be forced to implement this policy such as Solar panels and improved insulation and non use of Gas Boilers to provide new ways central heating in the new houses. Government Legislation and TWBC should implement this initiative as part of the 2030 neutral carbon emissions policy.

Policy EN 6: Historic environment

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_719

Dr P Whitbourn

General Observation

Feeling particular concern about the "safeguarding of the historic environment" side pf the "balance" just mentioned in connection with the Plan's Foreword, I looked for the relevant policy on the subject, which appears to be EN6, which is headed Historic Environment.

This includes the somewhat vague requirements that proposals for development reflect "sensitivity to change of the historic environment", and "a clear consideration of the relationship of the proposal with the historic evolution of the borough". As the borough covers a wide area from Speldhurst in the west, Cranbrook in the east, Hawkhurst in the south, and Paddock Wood in the north, and as its evolution could embrace everything from prehistoric times to present day, this is probably not, I suggest, the most appropriate of tests for the suitability or otherwise of a development proposal on a specific site in a particular area.

Policy EN6 also requires regard to government advice, and to the "themes" in the Borough Council's own "Historic Environment Review" of 2018. Much of this 128 page document is understandably devoted to the more rural parts of the borough, and I turned to the four pages 64-67, relating to theme 2d and headed "Royal Tunbridge Wells - a spa town". This I did with some misgivings, for it turned out that the document was produced by none other than the architects for the "Calverley Square" project that proved so unpopular with residents at the recent local elections.

However, I did find that the authors appeared to share some of my concerns, including the desirability of updating and monitoring the twenty year old Conservation Area Appraisal; of increasing understanding of under-appreciated heritage assets; and of exploring new tourism and marketing opportunities. Attention was drawn also to the vulnerability of the town to "inappropriate infill development / pressure", and to the lack of a management plan. The draft Plan does not seem to do much to address such concerns, and I suggest that the policy EN6, and the whole subject of safeguarding the Historic Environment in Royal Tunbridge Wells could benefit from further thought and enlightened action.

DLP_993

Calverley Park Association

Support

The Calverley Park Association supports this policy as a protection against insensitive development within the Calverley Park Conservation Area and in particular adjacent to the historic Calverley Park.

DLP_1595

Maggie Fenton

Object

Policy EN6 Historic Environment

All proposals shall demonstrate

1. how it would preserve & enhance the historic environment

4. an understanding of the presence of heritage assets & their setting

TWBC clearly have no understanding of heritage assets or the historic environment. Sustainability objectives of GS5 states “Rural areas away from existing settlements are less likely to contain a high concentration of heritage assets” There are many within the rural hamlets of Capel ranging from Grade1 churches to listed oast houses, to historic farmsteads. The proposals give no indication regarding “enhancement” and it is hard to envisage how the setting of All Saints Tudeley, the only church in the world with a complete set of Chagall windows, can be enhanced by any built development near its environs. Similarly in East Capel the moated Badsell Manor will suffer

DLP_1836

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

 

Support + General Observation

We strongly support the whole of this condition with its clear prescriptive provisions referring to the guidance set out in Paragraph 6.5 including its cross reference to Heritage assets and also to current government historic environment policy and guidance. It may, however, in practice prove difficult to give full effect to this policy particularly in relation to the impact on an existing historic environment of a proposed major urban development.

DLP_3368

Kent County Council (Growth, Environment and Transport)

 

Heritage Conservation

Paragraph 6.45 - The historic environment of the Borough is not only ‘valuable’, it is irreplaceable. Once lost it cannot be recreated which makes it different from many other aspects of the environment. It is therefore suggested that the word irreplaceable be added to the first sentence of this paragraph.

As elsewhere in the Draft Local Plan, the text does not mention archaeological sites. These heritage assets are reviewed in the response to Policy STR 8 and it is suggested that a new bullet point be added to the text:

Archaeological sites, including such diverse sites as iron age hillforts, medieval moated sites, Tudor furnaces and post-medieval woodland management features.

Paragraph 6.48 - The intention to produce a Historic Environment SPD and Framework is welcomed. It is to be hoped that together these will comprise a Heritage Strategy for Tunbridge Wells Borough and indeed it might be preferable to combine them into a single strategy. Irrespective of whether a single strategy is published, or broken down into separate SPDs and other documents, the approach should have a series of goals, some of which have already been met in the Historic Environment Review:

  • To assess the role that heritage can play in in regeneration and tourism
  • To identify heritage assets’ vulnerabilities and the opportunities they provide
  • To inform site allocations within the district
  • To support policy development

If the Authority decides not to pursue a Heritage Strategy, then it is essential that the Local Plan underpins the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment in all relevant sections. The sections will need to describe the contribution that the historic environment can make as well as the issues that need to be considered to ensure appropriate conservation of heritage assets.

These should include:

  • Building design (eg the need for new build to respect local character in terms of form, size, materials, massing and orientation)
  • Settlement hierarchy and design (eg the benefits of new development respecting the layout of boundaries, roads and lanes so that they fit into the grain of existing settlement)
  • Landscape and green infrastructure (eg using aspects of the historic landscape to promote connectivity and ensure that historic character is enhanced)
  • Natural environment and coasts (eg recognising the wealth of heritage assets along the Medway and that these can take the form of settlement, maritime or military sites)
  • Tourism and economy (eg identifying those heritage assets that can play a greater economic role in the area by promoting them as tourist sites or re-using historic buildings for new purposes).
  • Sustainability and climate change (eg bringing together recent research by Historic England on the energy savings often inherent in existing buildings compared with the cost of demolition and new build but also the need for historic buildings to be treated sympathetically when energy improvements are being made)
  • Flood risk (eg the need for SUDS permissions to take account of the impact they can have on historic structures and archaeological sites. Guidance on this is available from KCC Heritage Conservation)

Policy EN 6

KCC is concerned by the text “All new development shall commit to the overall conservation and, where possible, enhancement, of the historic environment of the borough..”. This could be interpreted as saying that development will be permitted provided that the heritage of the Borough as a whole is enhanced, even if the heritage of the site is damaged.

KCC would suggest this be re-phrased as:

“All new development shall contribute to the overall conservation and, where possible, enhancement, of the historic environment of the borough, by demonstrating how their proposals have had regard to the advice set out in current government historic environment policy and guidance”.

This would make it clear that developers need to follow the requirements of the NPPF for their own individual sites fully, but that the results of this work will be to enhance the historic environment of the Borough.

The final paragraph of the policy should be clear, KCC as suggested the following rewrite:

All proposals shall demonstrate:

  1. An understanding of the heritage assets affected by the proposal including their local and regional context
  2. How the heritage assets and their setting will be enhanced by the proposal. If it is not possible to enhance the heritage, then it should be demonstrated what options for doing so have been considered and why they are inappropriate.

How the heritage assets and their setting will be impacted by the proposal if it is not possible to enhance them.

DLP_3490

High Weald AONB Unit

Support with conditions

Policy Number: EN6 and EN7

We welcome the recognition that many sites and features do not have statutory designation but are nonetheless significant.

Amend Para 6.45. Post-medieval villages had their origins principally in trade and craft, rather than being formed ‘around ancient farmsteads’.

The matrix of heritage themes ignores historic field systems which have been identified through Historic Landscape Characterisation (included in the documents listed as evidence).

DLP_3699

Capel Parish Council

Object

Capel Parish Council objects to this Policy for the reasons stated.

Policy EN 6 (p.379) states “All proposals shall demonstrate:

  1. How the development proposal would preserve or enhance the historic environment; and
  2. An understanding of the presence of heritage assets and their setting and associated significance, vulnerabilities, and opportunities

The DLP prepared by TWBC shows no understanding of heritage assets or the historic environment. Please see our further comments about heritage under Policy EN 7 below. The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1) is inconsistent with this policy and the proposed developments and Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1) should be removed from the DLP.

DLP_3811

Natural England

Support

Natural England welcomes this policy on the Historic Environment which puts the commitment on new developments to justify how they will meet stringent threshold tests in order to protect the historic environment in accordance with NPPF Paragraph 185.

DLP_4159

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

CPRE strongly supports these policies.  However, we recommend that historic field systems should be at the top of the list under Agriculture in Figure 5’s matrix of heritage themes.

DLP_4282

RTW Civic Society

 

We see Conservation Areas as being an intrinsic part of this consideration. Para 6.64 earlier in the Plan mentions that the conservation area appraisals were made more than a decade ago.  It then says: “The review of appraisals and management plans will be prioritised to cover areas of vulnerability or development pressure and consideration.”

We are not sure what this sentence means will actually happen.  We would like to see a proper review of the entirety of these areas.

DLP_4373

British Horse Society

Support with conditions

The supporting text for this policy should also have a section on historic routeways, which are an important part of the Borough’s historic environment.

(It should be noted that most of the roads in the Borough originated as ancient routes created and used by equestrians, but these have now been taken over by motor vehicles, apart from the very few routes that were largely unsuitable for motor vehicles and hence remained as bridleways or byways.)

DLP_4570

Historic England

 

Policy EN 6: Historic Environment should better reflect in its wording the elements of the supporting text that relate to the historic typologies. As drafted the policy is too general and would not, in our view, provide a robust framework to support decision-making in relation to assessing impacts on the historic environment.

DLP_4694

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support with conditions

Dandara Comment 

Dandara support the intentions of the policy to protect the historic environment. The policy could be clearer in respect to what is covered by ‘historic environment’ i.e. heritage assets, conservation areas etc.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

Policy should be more explicit.

DLP_5258

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support

DLP_6794

G M Whitehead

Object

Section 6 EN 6. 

All new development shall commit to the overall conservation and, where possible, enhancement, of the historic environment of the borough, by demonstrating how it has regard to the advice set out in current government historic environment policy and guidance, including Historic England Good Practice Advice Notes and Historic Environment Advice Notes, and the themes in the Historic Environment Review.

What about the High Weald AONB Design Guidance?

DLP_6913

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

Support with conditions

7.7 Policy EN6 requires that development proposals reflect the sensitivity to change of the historic environment, and goes on to refer to the historic environment as defined by paragraph 6.50. We endorse the aspirations of the policy, but it goes beyond the intentions of the NPPF by exceeding the scope of the protection to the historic environment contrary to the NPPF (para 16). The policy should be amended to be more precise in its definition of the historic environment.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1 , Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_7077

Brown & Co Planning Ltd for The Hendy Group

Support with conditions

Policy Number: Policy EN 6 - Historic Environment

Comments; Support with conditions

1.83 It is noted that this policy requires all new development to commit to, where possible, ‘enhancement, of the historic environment’, however, in line with the NPPF this policy should also consider the desirability of enhancing the historic environment.

Support subject to the following amendments:

“All new development shall commit to the overall conservation and, where possible, enhancement (and the desirability of enhancement), of the historic environment of the borough.”

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents; Park and Ride Feasibility Review and Site Location Plan].

DLP_7383

Andrew Ford

Support with conditions

We welcome the recognition that many sites and features do not have statutory designation but are nonetheless significant.

Amend Para 6.45. Post-medieval villages had their origins principally in trade and craft, rather than being formed ‘around ancient farmsteads’.

The matrix of heritage themes ignores historic field systems which have been identified through Historic Landscape Characterisation (included in the documents listed as evidence).

DLP_7944

Wendy Owen

 

Sections 6.67–6.69 state there will be a presumption of non-development on sites that will damage or disturb Scheduled Monuments and these sections specifically list the High Rocks Scheduled Monument on site 137. On that basis, we conclude any development of the site is incompatible with policy EN6.

DLP_8121

Ashley Saunders

Object

I objects to this Policy for the reasons stated.

Policy EN 6 (p.379) states “All proposals shall demonstrate:

  1. How the development proposal would preserve or enhance the historic environment; and
  2. An understanding of the presence of heritage assets and their setting and associated significance, vulnerabilities, and opportunities

The DLP prepared by TWBC shows no understanding of heritage assets or the historic environment. Please see our further comments about heritage under Policy EN 7 below. The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1) is inconsistent with this policy and the proposed developments and Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1) should be removed from the DLP.

DLP_8350

DHA Planning for Mr and Mrs B Gear

 

3 Section 6: Development Management Policies

3.1.1 In addition to our comments on the strategy [TWBC: see Comment No. DLP_3001], we have reviewed the proposed replacement development management policies as set out in chapter 6 of the document.

3.1.2 In general terms, we would refer back to paragraph 15 of the NPPF that promotes succinct and up-to-date plans, which provide a positive vision. In contrast, the draft policies currently proposed are of such prescriptive detail that they are neither positively prepared nor flexible enough to allow for a range of different circumstances. Furthermore, many aspirations result in inevitable conflict. On this basis, we would recommend that the majority of proposed policies are simplified and where additional guidance is needed, this be included within secondary Supplementary Planning Documents.

3.1.4 A number of policies also seek to provide guidance rather than policy. For example, policy EN6 seeks to clarify what information is needed in order to assess a heritage proposal. This level of information should instead feature within a support SPD not policy.

[TWBC: see the following comments on development management policies:

DLP_8348-8349: Policy EN1 and Policy EN4
DLP_8350: Policy EN6
DLP_8351: Policy EN20
DLP_8352: Policy H1
DLP_8353: Policy H2
DLP_8354-8355: Policies H3 and H4
DLP_8356: Policy H5
DLP_8357: Policy H8].

Policy EN 7: Heritage Assets

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_994

Justin Lang

Support

The Calverley Park Association supports this policy as a protection against insensitive development within the Calverley Park Conservation Area, and in particular adjacent to the historic listed buildings and historic park and garden comprising Calverley Park.

DLP_1596

Maggie Fenton

Object

Policy EN7 Heritage Assets

Development will only be permitted if it conserves or enhances the character, appearance, amenity & setting of asset

The setting of our wider spread of heritage assets are more likely to be affected by massive developments than a concentration of assets within an urban area where space for mass development is limited.

DLP_1838

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

 

Policy Number:  EN 7 Heritage Assets

Support + General Observation

We strongly support this policy and the inclusion of non-designated heritage assets (of which Royal Tunbridge Wells contains a very large number of examples, with some yet to be identified) within the Policy. We also support the reference to the relevant sections of the NPPF, TWBC Historic Environment Review and list of Local Heritage Assets. We strongly support the requirement in relation to both direct and indirect  effects of proposed development, including development which may affect the setting of a listed building, conservation area, historic park, ancient monument, historic landscape, archaeological site or local heritage asset.

The inclusion of the demolition provisions should in future prevent the type of blighting of a historic building which took place at Blue Boys Kippings Cross.

DLP_3369

Kent County Council (Growth, Environment and Transport)

 

Heritage Conservation

Heritage Assets

Paragraph 6.57 - It should be noted that for some proposals affecting heritage assets a Heritage Statement will be insufficient. Where proposals affect sites of archaeological interest it is probable that a desk-based assessment and possibly fieldwork will be needed. KCC Heritage Conservation is currently producing advice on writing Heritage Statements and will also be publishing advice that will help applicants identify whether a desk-based assessment and/or fieldwork will be needed.

Listed Buildings

Many Listed Buildings will have an archaeological relevance – either below ground remains within the structure itself or below the immediate environs, or above ground remains in terms of the structure of the building and what it can tell us about construction techniques etc. In such circumstances a building recording survey will be required to ensure that important information is not lost. It would be helpful if the text could reflect that some form of recording may be required as part of the Council’s response to Listed Building applications.

Conservation Areas

Paragraph 6.64 - KCC welcomes the commitment to review and complete the Borough’s Conservation Area Appraisals.

Scheduled Monuments

It would be helpful if the text could mention that the Borough may contain archaeological sites or monuments that are not currently Scheduled but which are of comparable significance and that such sites will be treated as though they were in fact scheduled by both Historic England and by the Borough Council.

Archaeological sites

Paragraphs 6.70 – 6.74 - The summary of the archaeological heritage of the Borough in this section is succinct but effective. It would be helpful if it could be repeated earlier in the text under ‘Conserving the Built, Natural and Historic Environment’ where information about the archaeological heritage is currently lacking.

One addition to the text that KCC would recommend is that it refer to the Borough’s more recent archaeological heritage in the form of industrial, civil and military sites of the 19th – 21st centuries. These include hospitals, non-denominational churches, hop-pickers huts, Second World War pillboxes etc.

Paragraph 6.75 - It is not clear what is meant by “Areas of greatest sensitivity to change will be agreed with a view to undertaking a focused desktop review of assets by number and by type, with reference to the Kent Historic Environment Record. This work will form the basis for new Archaeological Notification Areas, which will be in place by March 2020.” The development of the Archaeological Notification Areas will indeed identify areas of greatest sensitivity to change (as KCC understand them at the time the Archaeological Notification Areas (ANA) are issued) but KCC are not intending to carry out a review of assets by number and type and the completion of the ANAs is not conditional on such a Review. The County Council requests clarity from the Borough Council on this matter.

Conserving and enhancing the natural, built, and historic environment

This section should include details of the Borough’s archaeological heritage. KCC would suggest that the succinct summary currently presented much later in the text in sections 6.70 to 6.74 is replicated or made reference to.

Policy EN 7

The text currently states: “Proposals that affect a designated or non-designated heritage asset, or its setting, will only be permitted where the development conserves or enhances the character, appearance, amenity, and setting of the asset; and in the case of historic parks and gardens, provides, where possible, improvement of access to it.”

This approach may not be sustainable. The reality is that the Borough Council will regularly grant planning permission to proposals that lead to damage to heritage assets and such a strong opening statement would seem to undermine the credibility of the policy.

The text also states that applications will be assessed with reference to the following:

“1. The historic and/or architectural significance of the asset;

2. The prominence of its location and setting; and

3. The historic and/or architectural significance of any elements to be lost or replaced.”

These three clauses are more appropriate to built heritage than to archaeological or landscape heritage. Many archaeological assets, for example, are buried in woodlands or entirely below the ground and so clause 2 will be inappropriate. Certainly, the significance of an archaeological assets is rarely related to its ‘prominence’. Clause 3 would seem to contradict the opening paragraph of the policy

DLP_3491

High Weald AONB Unit

Support with conditions

Policy Number: EN6 and EN7

We welcome the recognition that many sites and features do not have statutory designation but are nonetheless significant.

Amend Para 6.45. Post-medieval villages had their origins principally in trade and craft, rather than being formed ‘around ancient farmsteads’.

The matrix of heritage themes ignores historic field systems which have been identified through Historic Landscape Characterisation (included in the documents listed as evidence).

DLP_3700

Capel Parish Council

Object

Capel Parish Council objects to this Policy for the reasons stated.

Policy EN 7 (p.) states “Proposals that affect a designated or non-designated heritage asset, or its setting, will only be permitted where the development conserves or enhances the character, appearance, amenity, and setting of the asset

The DLP prepared by TWBC shows no understanding of heritage assets or the historic environment. Appendix B to the Interim Sustainability Appraisal published alongside the Issues and Options consultation (https://beta.tunbridgewells.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/291979/IssuesandOptions-PostConsultationFinal-minorupdates.pdf) provides the results of the assessment of Growth Strategy 5 against the Sustainability Objectives. Under the ‘Heritage’ objective the following is stated as being relevant to ‘decision making criteria’ at p.101: “Rural areas away from existing settlements are less likely to contain a high concentration of heritage assets”. This is totally inaccurate. There are many within the rural hamlets of Capel ranging from Grade1 churches to listed Oast Houses and historic farmsteads. The proposals give no indication how the historic environment surrounding the land proposed for AL/CA 1, AL/CA 2, AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1 will be enhanced. It is hard to envisage how the setting of All Saints Tudeley, the only church in the world with a complete set of Chagall windows, can be enhanced by any built development near its environs. Similarly in East Capel the moated Badsell Manor will suffer significant harm from mass housing estates.

The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1) is inconsistent with this policy. The proposed developments and Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1) cannot possibly enhance the character, appearance, amenity or setting of the assets mentioned above. They should be removed from the DLP.

DLP_3812

Natural England

Support

Natural England supports this policy which affords protection to designated or non-designated heritage assets or their setting. The policy makes clear that development will only be permitted where the development conserves or enhances the character, appearance, amenity and setting of the heritage asset and improves access to historic gardens/ parks.

This policy is further strengthened in that planning applications for proposals affecting heritage assets will need to be qualified with a heritage statement, archaeological assessment or management plan.

DLP_4283

RTW Civic Society

 

We would be pleased to know how we can obtain a copy of the consolidated list of heritage assets.

DLP_4374

British Horse Society

Support with conditions

The policy should also refer to historic routeways, which are an important part of the Borough’s heritage.

DLP_4572

Historic England

 

The current draft policy Policy EN 7: Heritage Assets and supporting text is too generalised and does not adequately guide or inform users of the specific management requirements in relation to each asset type; that is, the tests in relation to listed buildings, scheduled monuments, conservation areas and registered parks and gardens, and the respective weight given to those requirements in the development management process, differs significantly between them. For example, it is required to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of a conservation area (s.72 P(LB&CA) Act 1990), while it is necessary to consider the desirability of preserving a listed building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses (S.66 P(LB&CA) Act 1990). We recommend, therefore, that specific policy requirements for different heritage asset types (listed buildings, scheduled monuments, conservations areas, registered parks and gardens, etc.) are included to reflect the distinctive statutory requirements and legal regimes relating to them.

DLP_5206

Culverden Residents Association

Support

We strongly support this policy and the inclusion of non-designated local heritage assets, such as our local brick pavements, historic farmsteads and historic routeways in Culverden and also a large number of buildings in the town centre which are not formally listed.

DLP_5238

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support with conditions

6.52 - 6.54 As we nearly lost 66 mature trees for the now cancelled Calverley Square project and ran the risk of substantial damage to Calverley Grounds, we would like reassurance that the assets listed in this paragraph, such as conservation areas and historic parks and gardens, are properly protected from new development and that ‘wholly exceptional’ development is clearly defined, as we see no justification for development of these sites. Also, we maintain that “Substantial harm to or loss of heritage assets of the highest significance” should not be permitted full stop. Economic development should not be prioritised over environmental conservation. The Draft Local Plan seems to acknowledge this in 6.62.

Conservation Areas

6.62 - 6.64 We support the provisions concerning conservation areas and the need mentioned in §6.64 to prioritise reviews to cover areas of vulnerability or development pressure as stated in 6.62 We would therefore like to see the draft Urban Design Framework SPD reviewed and implemented at the earliest opportunity.

Historic parks and gardens

6.78 We are encouraged by the acknowledgement of the role of historic parks and gardens in maintaining biodiversity and environmental improvement.

Ancient semi-natural woodland and veteran trees

6.80 We support the provision that loss of ancient semi-natural woodland and veteran trees should only occur in wholly exceptional circumstances. The High Weald is characterised by such woodland, which should be strongly protected against development. Therefore, even in the event of projects run by regional and/or national government requiring loss of ASNW and veteran trees, TWBC’s first response and effort should be to object to such development.

Policy Number:  EN 7 Heritage Assets 

We generally support this policy. However, the last paragraph mentions ‘removal’ and ‘replacement’ of heritage assets, which seems to contradict the statement in the preceding §6.54 which states: “heritage assets are an irreplaceable resource that should be conserved or enhanced in a manner appropriate to their significance.”

DLP_5513

Peter Bourne

Support with conditions

For the avoidance of any doubt the current wording of EN7 should be extended to read:

Any development that might directly or indirectly affect the significance of a listed building, conservation area, historic park and garden, scheduled ancient monument, historic landscape (including ancient woodland and veteran trees), archaeological site, or local heritage asset, will be required to submit a heritage statement, and/or where applicable, an archaeological assessment and/or management plan as above for historic parks and gardens, with any planning application, which can be included within a design and access statement. This includes development affecting their setting, and in the case of Union Windmill, Cranbrook, this will include any development which might restrict its access to the wind.

DLP_5996

Pro Vision for Cooper Estates Strategic Land

General Observation

Policy EN7 does not include all of the relevant policy on heritage assets as set out in the NPPF.

In accordance with paragraph 194 of the NPPF the supporting text to policy EN7- Heritage Assets only states that:

‘As set out in the NPPF, heritage assets are an irreplaceable resource that should be conserved or enhanced in a manner appropriate to their significance. Any harm or loss will require a clear and convincing justification.’

Policy EN7 does not refer to how the Council must still positively consider a development proposal where there is some harm to a heritage asset for the reasons included in paragraphs 195 and 196 of the NPPF. Policy EN7 should be amended accordingly to include these relevant considerations.

DLP_6679

Gladman

 

6.4 Policy EN7: Heritage Assets

6.4.1 The policy sets out how development affecting heritage assets will be assessed. To ensure full compliance with national planning policy, the policy should be expanded to set out how the impact on the significance of a heritage will be assessed in the balance of the planning application. This is set out in Paragraphs 193 to 197 of the 2019 NPPF.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6656-6695]

DLP_6795

G M Whitehead

Object

Section 6 EN 7 

Proposals that affect a designated or non-designated heritage asset, or its setting, will only be permitted where the development conserves or enhances the character, appearance, amenity, and setting of the asset.

I don’t think the proposals for Brick Kiln Farm will enhance any assets.

DLP_7384

Andrew Ford

Support with conditions

We welcome the recognition that many sites and features do not have statutory designation but are nonetheless significant.

Amend Para 6.45. Post-medieval villages had their origins principally in trade and craft, rather than being formed ‘around ancient farmsteads’.

The matrix of heritage themes ignores historic field systems which have been identified through Historic Landscape Characterisation (included in the documents listed as evidence).

DLP_7945

Wendy Owen

 

The policy states “Proposals that affect a designated or non-designated heritage asset, or its setting, will only be permitted where the development conserves or enhances the character, appearance, amenity, and setting of the asset”. We do not see any reasonable case where development of site 137 can comply with this policy, given the existence of the Scheduled Monument on the site and the likely archaeological value of the surrounding area.

DLP_8122

Ashley Saunders

Object

I objects to this Policy for the reasons stated.

Policy EN 7 (p.) states “Proposals that affect a designated or non-designated heritage asset, or its setting, will only be permitted where the development conserves or enhances the character, appearance, amenity, and setting of the asset

The DLP prepared by TWBC shows no understanding of heritage assets or the historic environment. Appendix B to the Interim Sustainability Appraisal published alongside the Issues and Options consultation (https://beta.tunbridgewells.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/291979/IssuesandOptions-PostConsultationFinal-minorupdates.pdf) provides the results of the assessment of Growth Strategy 5 against the Sustainability Objectives. Under the ‘Heritage’ objective the following is stated as being relevant to ‘decision making criteria’ at p.101: “Rural areas away from existing settlements are less likely to contain a high concentration of heritage assets”. This is totally inaccurate. There are many within the rural hamlets of Capel ranging from Grade1 churches to listed Oast Houses and historic farmsteads. The proposals give no indication how the historic environment surrounding the land proposed for AL/CA 1, AL/CA 2, AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1 will be enhanced. It is hard to envisage how the setting of All Saints Tudeley, the only church in the world with a complete set of Chagall windows, can be enhanced by any built development near its environs. Similarly in East Capel the moated Badsell Manor will suffer significant harm from mass housing estates.

The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1) is inconsistent with this policy. The proposed developments and Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1) cannot possibly enhance the character, appearance, amenity or setting of the assets mentioned above. They should be removed from the DLP.

Policy EN 8: Shop Fronts

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1839

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

We support this Policy to protect historic shop fronts and the specified areas to which it is intended to apply. We also support the power for the council to require proof of a genuine security need before unsightly grilles and shutters are installed and to prevent obtrusive lighting emanating from shops.

DLP_4160

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support

CPRE supports this policy

DLP_4284

RTW Civic Society

 

Is this policy realistic given many national chains insistence on every front conforming to its brand standard eg. Betfred, Metro and The Works?  Is this designed to be one law which is enforced for the “poor” local business but overlooked for the “rich” chain?

Policy EN 9: Advertisements

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1840

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

We support this policy, particularly as it will apply to conservation areas, listed buildings and non-designated heritage assets.

DLP_2414

Mr Terry Cload

Support with conditions

I support Policy EN9 but suggest that the words 'should' in criterion 1 and in criterion 2 should be replaced by 'shall'.

DLP_4161

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

CPRE strongly supports this policy but would like to see the AONB and its setting added to the list of areas in EN9.5. 

DLP_4309

White Young Green Planning for Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund

Object

Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund object to the inclusion of an advertisement policy within the Local Plan (i.e. Policy EN 9).

Advertisement consent can only be determined on two issues which are ‘amenity’ and ‘public safety’, taking account of cumulative impacts (NPPF, para 132). Moreover, section 70(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 does not apply to Advertisement Consent applications and thus section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 does not apply either. It is considered the wording of Policy EN 9 is onerous, unnecessary and not in accordance with legislative constraints of The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007 (as amended).

In view of the legislative requirements relating to advertisements, as reiterated in the NPPF, it is not considered ‘effective’ or ‘consistent with national policy’ to include a policy in the Local Plan and therefore the policy should be removed entirely.

DLP_8170

Highways England

 

For completeness the supporting text should cross reference to DfT Circular 02/2013 that contains guidance regarding advertising along, or visible from, the SRN.

TWBC: see Technical Note. See also full representation ].

Policy EN 10: Outdoor Lighting and Dark Skies

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1597

Maggie Fenton

Object

Policy EN10 Outdoor lighting and dark skies

6.118 The whole of the borough apart from the MUA of RTW, Southborough & Paddock Wood should be treated as being in Zone E1 “intrinsically dark with natural surroundings” Particular consideration should be given to the dark skies of the HWAONB.

6.115 Light pollution is particularly harmful in the open countryside, where rural character is eroded and the distinction between town & country is blurred. The full effects of artificial light on biodiversity are not fully understood, but nocturnal animals can be seriously affected …..even very low levels, adversely affecting their ability to feed & reproduce.

How exactly do several thousand houses accord with this policy? Several thousand extra cars will also be detrimental. The proposals for building 4000+ dwellings must be halted to achieve this policy

DLP_1841

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

We support the intention to seek to limit the impact of light pollution on local amenity, intrinsically dark landscapes and wildlife. This is not only important in relation to the open countryside but also to semi-rural settings on the edge of Royal Tunbridge Wells LBD to prevent light pollution leaking out into the open countryside.

DLP_2415

Mr Terry Cload

Support with conditions

I strongly support policy EN10 but it is far too wishy-washy and weak. For example the use of LED lighting does not reduce but increases light pollution where there was no lighting installed before. Many LED lights in fact can be far brighter than conventional gas or filament lights.

All artificial light pollution is wasted energy. It is also wasted money. Children are growing up rarely if ever never having witnessed the wonder of the night sky, the universe and understanding something of our place in it.

There should be far stronger policies not only to propose but to actually take firm action to reduce existing light pollution, to ensure that new developments do not increase local light pollution, and to protect and enhance existing dark sky areas such as the High Weald AONB. In 2016 the South Downs Park became an International Dark Sky Reserve. We should follow that example for the High Weald AONB and adjoining areas of the MGB.

In consultation with the local community street lighting should be switched off completely from midnight to dawn in the AONB and other enlightened (please excuse the pun!) areas. Continuous artificial lighting has a seriously deleterious effect on people, animals, and plants.

DLP_2534

Mr Guy Dagger

Object

We welcome policy EN10 and would like to reinforce that Dark Skies are a key element of the AONB and under direct threat from this scale of development.

Dark skies are defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "places where the darkness of the night sky is relatively free of interference from artificial light."

The loss of dark skies

Between 1993 and 2000 light pollution across England increased by 24%. Today less than 10% of the UK population can enjoy a view of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. To put this another way, more than 90% of the UK population is now denied a view the sky which was taken for granted for almost all of human history – a view which has fired the imagination of generations of people and in the process inspired countless artists, poets, musicians, mathematicians, scientists and philosophers. Without the night sky acting as a source of creativity and questioning, some of the most important scientific discoveries may not have been made nor works of art produced.

The High Weald's dark skies

The High Weald has some of the darkest skies in the South East. Sky Quality Meter (SQM) readings taken around Wadhurst indicate skies as dark as 21.09 mags/arcsec2 – a figure that corresponds to a Silver Tier International Dark Sky Reserve, described by the International Dark Sky Association as being: “Night-time environments that have minor impacts from light pollution and other artificial light disturbance, yet still display good quality night skies and have exemplary night-time lightscapes.”

The unusually dark skies over the High Weald AONB have been identified as worthy of conservation by the International Dark Sky Association (IDSA).

DLP_2656

Benenden Parish Council

Support

Policy EN10 - As a dark skies parish striving to retain our dark skies and limiting outdoor lighting pollution, Benenden Parish Council are pleased to note this very strong policy.

DLP_3476
DLP_3492
DLP_6069
DLP_7385

Sally Marsh
High Weald AONB Unit
Laura Rowland
Andrew Ford

Support

TWBC: the standard response was submitted by the list of responders on the left:

We welcome policy EN10.

DLP_3701

Capel Parish Council

Object

Capel Parish Council objects to this Policy and to the following paragraphs of the accompanying commentary, for the reasons stated.

Paragraph 6.115 (p.390) states “The impact of light pollution is particularly harmful in the open countryside, where rural character is eroded and the distinction between town and country is blurred […]. The full effects of artificial lighting on biodiversity are not fully understood, but nocturnal animals can be seriously affected by artificial light at even very low levels, adversely affecting their ability to feed and reproduce

Paragraph 6.118 (p.391) states “The whole of the borough, apart from the Main Urban Area of Royal Tunbridge Wells and Southborough, and Paddock Wood, should be treated as being in Zone E1 “intrinsically dark with natural surroundings” […] Particular consideration should be given to the dark skies of the High Weald AONB, as set out in the High Weald AONB Management Plan

The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1) is inconsistent with this policy. The proposed developments for greater than 4,000 dwellings and several thousand cars at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1) cannot be reconciled with the paragraphs above. Policies AL/CA 1, AL/CA 2, AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1 and TP 6 must be removed from the DLP to enable this Policy to be achieved.

DLP_4162

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

CPRE strongly supports this policy.  However, we suggest its title should be amended to read “Lighting and Dark Skies” so that the policy can also be amended to cover the issue of light spillage from large windows, which can have a major impact on dark skies and biodiversity in the rural environment.

DLP_4246

Rother District Council

Support

Accords with our landscape policies which seek to protect the dark night sky from inappropriate or unnecessary external lighting.

DLP_4334

Environment Agency

 

This policy should be rewritten to reflect changes in the name of the relevant professional body and extended to include advice and guidance that is now available. 1. The ILP is now the Institution of Lighting Professionals https://www.theilp.org.uk/home not the Institute, as given in the draft. 2. Any reference to wildlife impacts from external lighting should include the ILP and Bat Conservation Trust’s document: Guidance Note 8 Bats and artificial lighting https://www.theilp.org.uk/documents/guidance-note-8-bats-andartificial-lighting/. Although GN 8 was written for bats, many of the principals covered will, when implemented, benefit fish and other aquatic life in rivers.

In addition to use of automated switching and dimmers, the policy should specify use of motion sensors to activate external lights only when people are present, low level (height) lighting and use of backscatter guards to direct light and prevent it spreading into the wider environment.

DLP_5239

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support

6.112 - 6.122 We support that most of the borough will be treated as Zone E1 “intrinsically dark with natural surroundings” to deal with light pollution and protect nocturnal animals.

DLP_5808

Weald of Kent Protection Society

Object

Policy EN 10 Outdoor Lighting — WKPS supports this policy.

DLP_6278

Susan Heather McAuley

Object

Outdoor Lighting and Dark Skies Para 6.115-6.118

Is this a policy or a paragraph?  I have put my comment under both.

This is a good policy but it is not being implemented now so will it be in future?

It has already been proposed that the main road between Wilsley Pound to Sissinghurst Street will have urban-style lighting.  This completely contravenes your statements in 6.115-6.118 covering the impact on biodiversity of rural life and protection of current dark skies.

We already have airstrip level lighting in Bramling Gardens, Sissinghurst, and the owls have abandoned the area.

DLP_6593

Myrtle Newsom

Object

Policy Number: Section 6 Outdoor Lighting and Dark Skies Para 6.115 – 6.118

It has already been proposed that the main road between Wilsley Pound to Sissinghurst Street will have urban-style lighting. This completely contravenes your statements in 6.115-6.118 covering the impact on biodiversity of rural life and protection of current dark skies.

DLP_6680

Gladman

 

6.5 Policy EN10: Outdoor Lighting and Dark Skies

6.5.1 The policy sets out how proposals which include lighting will be considered by the Council. Whilst Gladman is broadly supportive of the Dark Skies initiative, this will need to be balanced against other design principles such as secure by design in order to ensure that development does not promote crime. A pragmatic view should be taken where they two policy initiatives clash, depending on the scale, location and type of the development proposed. A development should not be refused where it does not meet this policy where secure by design requires a lighting scheme. Where lighting is necessary a suitable lighting scheme could be conditioned through the application, this could include time-restricted lighting and reduced lighting levels.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6656-6695]

DLP_7078

Brown & Co Planning Ltd for The Hendy Group

Object

Policy Number: Policy EN 10 - Outdoor Lighting and Dark Skies

Comments; Object

1.84 This policy states that the levels of lighting provided should be ‘broadly consistent with the views of the local parish or town council’. This is not measurable and could potentially be compromised with subjective views of the local parish and town council.

1.85 The NPPF advocates that plans should be “clearly written and unambiguous, so it is evident how a decision maker should react to development proposals” (paragraph 16 (d)).

UNSOUND: To ensure that this policy is fair and measurable, reference to ‘broadly consistent with the views of the local parish or town council’ should be removed.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents; Park and Ride Feasibility Review and Site Location Plan].

DLP_7157

Kay Margaret Goodsell

 

Outdoor Lighting and Dark Skies Para 6.115-6.118

Too much bright lighting has already been allowed by TWBC in Sissinghurst.

DLP_7922

Fiona Dagger

Object

We welcome policy EN10 and would like to reinforce that Dark Skies are a key element of the AONB and under direct threat from this scale of development.

Dark skies are defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "places where the darkness of the night sky is relatively free of interference from artificial light."

The loss of dark skies

Between 1993 and 2000 light pollution across England increased by 24%. Today less than 10% of the UK population can enjoy a view of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. To put this another way, more than 90% of the UK population is now denied a view the sky which was taken for granted for almost all of human history – a view which has fired the imagination of generations of people and in the process inspired countless artists, poets, musicians, mathematicians, scientists and philosophers. Without the night sky acting as a source of creativity and questioning, some of the most important scientific discoveries may not have been made nor works of art produced.

The High Weald's dark skies

The High Weald has some of the darkest skies in the South East. Sky Quality Meter (SQM) readings taken around Wadhurst indicate skies as dark as 21.09 mags/arcsec2 – a figure that corresponds to a Silver Tier International Dark Sky Reserve, described by the International Dark Sky Association as being: “Night-time environments that have minor impacts from light pollution and other artificial light disturbance, yet still display good quality night skies and have exemplary night-time lightscapes.”

The unusually dark skies over the High Weald AONB have been identified as worthy of conservation by the International Dark Sky Association (IDSA).

DLP_8035

Rose May McAuley

Object

We have too much light in Bramling Gardens, Sissinghurst, so any new site will be the same.  The lights are on 24 hours a day outside the new school.  We do not need all this light in the countryside, we are used to and happy to use a torch.

DLP_8074

RSPB

Support with conditions

We support the Council having an explicit policy on Dark Skies. We welcome that the supporting statements (6.120) reference the potential adverse impacts on wildlife (e.g. bats), but this should include invertebrates – particularly moths. We ask that a line is added to the policy wording that reflects the need for development proposals to assess these impacts.

DLP_8123

Ashley Saunders

Object

I objects to this Policy and to the following paragraphs of the accompanying commentary, for the reasons stated.

Paragraph 6.115 (p.390) states “The impact of light pollution is particularly harmful in the open countryside, where rural character is eroded and the distinction between town and country is blurred […]. The full effects of artificial lighting on biodiversity are not fully understood, but nocturnal animals can be seriously affected by artificial light at even very low levels, adversely affecting their ability to feed and reproduce

Paragraph 6.118 (p.391) states “The whole of the borough, apart from the Main Urban Area of Royal Tunbridge Wells and Southborough, and Paddock Wood, should be treated as being in Zone E1 “intrinsically dark with natural surroundings” […] Particular consideration should be given to the dark skies of the High Weald AONB, as set out in the High Weald AONB Management Plan

The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1) is inconsistent with this policy. The proposed developments for greater than 4,000 dwellings and several thousand cars at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1) cannot be reconciled with the paragraphs above. Policies AL/CA 1, AL/CA 2, AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1 and TP 6 must be removed from the DLP to enable this Policy to be achieved.

Policy EN 11: Net Gains for Nature: biodiversity

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/ support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_8392

Ms Nicola Gooch

 

Policy EN11

Given the current highly uncertain political climate, and the cross party focus on environmental issues at present, I would recommend keeping this policy under close review. It is highly likely that legislation picking up on biodiversity net gain and other environmental issues will be high on the list of priorities for the new government come December, and this policy may need to be adjusted in the light of the proposals that DEFRA brings forward

DLP_1598

Maggie Fenton

Object

Policy EN11 Natural Environment

6.123 …a broad range of low land habitats representative of the High & Low Weald

6.127 ….only in exceptional circumstances …..will “off site” or offsetting schemes be considered acceptable. The Council acknowledges, however, that loss or damage to irreplaceable habitats will, by definition, entail a net loss.

Development will only be permitted where it meets ALL of the following criteria:

  1. …….will result in measurable long term net gains for biodiversity
  2. It can be demonstrated …a strict approach to the mitigation heirachy (avoid, mitigate, compensate) & are able to justify ALL unavoidable impacts on biodiversity
  3. The proposed measures ….are acceptable to the Council in terms of design & location & are secured for the lifetime of the development with appropriate funding mechanisms that are capable of being secured by condition &/or legal agreement

Given that TWBCs own statements regarding Garden Villages (GS5) recognise there could be significant losses let alone net gains, the proposals for Capel do not accord with this policy.

DLP_1758

Horsmonden Parish Council

Policy EN11 for net biodiversity gain is welcomed but, in effect, “jumps the gun” on a forthcoming national requirement for a demonstrable 10% increase in biodiversity value in all future planning applications. The policy will need to be reviewed as and when national requirements emerge.

DLP_1842

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Policy Number:  EN 11 Net Gains for Nature

Support + General Observation     

We strongly support the intention behind this policy but it will be very challenging indeed to deliver it. There is therefore a real danger of tokenism creeping into planning decisions where the harm being created is clear but the proposed mitigation may be nebulous, uncertain and ineffective.

DLP_2535
DLP_7923

Mr Guy Dagger
Fiona Dagger

Object

TWBC: the following comment was submitted by the responders on the left:

The aspiration to enhance biodiversity and apply net gain to all site allocations is welcome as is the commitment to secure measures for the lifetime of the development. but this ambition is undermined by Para 6.127 which states ‘The Council acknowledges,…, that loss of damage to irreplaceable habitats will by definition entail a net loss’. This is critical when considering allocations on greenfield sites. Soil is a living system, a habitat containing up to 11 million species2, and sealing it with an impermeable surface such as concrete or tarmac prevents it functioning. The soil lost is not only effectively irreplaceable within a reasonable time period, but the opportunity is lost for to regenerate or re-wild the land thereby enhancing both below and above ground biodiversity.

TWBC does not identify an agreed method for measuring biodiversity net gain, although it does refer to guidance provided by CIEEM, which relies mostly, but not exclusively, on Defra’s metric. Currently, Defra’s Biodiversity Metric 2.0 does not include consideration of species, habitat structure, ecological function or the value people place on nature3, nor does it consider genetic diversity. Without this clarification and without adequate resources to scrutinise biodiversity net gain proposals or their measurement this policy will be open to misuse and misinterpretation.

DLP_3370

Kent County Council (Growth, Environment and Transport)

 

Biodiversity

As part of the Net Gain Task and Finish Group, KCC Biodiversity will be providing more detailed comments to the Borough Council’s landscape officer.

Policy EN11

KCC is supportive of the inclusion of a Net Gain policy – it links in to the NPPF and the forthcoming biodiversity net gain mandate.

It is recommended that the Plan either includes the minimum % of net gain required or specify when that will be agreed (e.g. future SPD).

It is recommended that the Plan clarifies how developments can demonstrate that it will result in net gain – e.g. ecological surveys/use of the revised Net Gain Metric

It should also be made clear that monitoring will be implemented as part of the net gain process.

DLP_3478

Sally Marsh

Object

The aspiration to enhance biodiversity and apply net gain to all site allocations is welcome as is the commitment to secure measures for the lifetime of the development. but this ambition is undermined by Para 6.127 which states ‘The Council acknowledges,…, that loss of damage to irreplaceable habitats will by definition entail a net loss’. This is critical when considering allocations on greenfield sites. Soil is a living system, a habitat containing up to 11 million species , and sealing it with an impermeable surface such as concrete or tarmac prevents it functioning. The soil lost is not only effectively irreplaceable within a reasonable time period, but the opportunity is lost for to regenerate or re-wild the land thereby enhancing both below and above ground biodiversity.

TWBC does not identify an agreed method for measuring biodiversity net gain, although it does refer to guidance provided by CIEEM, which relies mostly, but not exclusively, on Defra’s metric. Currently, Defra’s Biodiversity Metric 2.0 does not include consideration of species, habitat structure, ecological function or the value people place on nature , nor does it consider genetic diversity. Without this clarification and without adequate resources to scrutinise biodiversity net gain proposals or their measurement this policy will be open to misuse and misinterpretation.

DLP_3494

High Weald AONB Unit

Object

We welcome the aspiration to enhance biodiversity and apply net gain to all site allocations but this ambition is undermined by Para 6.127 which states ‘The Council acknowledges,…, that loss of damage to irreplaceable habitats will by definition entail a net loss’. This is critical when considering allocations on greenfield sites. Soil is a living system, a habitat containing up to 11 million species 6 [ CPRE (2018). Food and farming Foresight Paper 3: Back to the Land: rethinking our approach to soil.], and sealing it with an impermeable surface such as concrete or tarmac prevents it functioning. The soil lost is not only effectively irreplaceable within a reasonable time period, but the opportunity is lost for to regenerate or re-wild the land thereby enhancing both below and above ground biodiversity.

TWBC does not identify an agreed method for measuring biodiversity net gain, although it does refer to guidance provided by CIEEM, which relies mostly, but not exclusively, on Defra’s metric. Currently, Defra’s Biodiversity Metric 2.0 does not include consideration of species, habitat structure, ecological function or the value people place on nature 7 [Biodiversity in Planning (2019). Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning. https://www.biodiversityinplanning.org/news/bd-net-gain/], nor does it consider genetic diversity. Without this clarification and without adequate resources to scrutinise biodiversity net gain proposals or their measurement this policy will be open to misuse and misinterpretation.

We welcome the requirement In EN11 for securing measures for the lifetime of the development.

We recommend that

  • EN11 should be split into 2 – ‘below ground’ and ‘above ground’ biodiversity.
  • Protection for below ground biodiversity should encourage minimising land take for development on greenfield sites, minimising soil sealing by design, protecting soils from damage during construction and adopting regenerative land management outcomes to improve soil health.
  • Net gain for above ground biodiversity should also include consideration of species, total biomass, genetic diversity (and soil biodiversity if not considered in a separate policy)

Dedicated resources are made available, including staff with the appropriate skills to properly assess net gain proposals, and a mechanism for independent scrutiny is set up to reassure communities that gains are maintained throughout the lifetime of the development.

DLP_3702

Capel Parish Council

Object

Capel Parish Council objects to this Policy and to the following paragraphs of the accompanying commentary, for the reasons stated.

Paragraph 6.123 (p.393) states “there are numerous national, regional, and local sites representing a broad range of lowland habitats representative of the High and Low Weald landscapes

Paragraph 6.127 (p393) states “only in exceptional circumstances and in the interests of biodiversity will ‘off site’ or offsetting schemes be considered acceptable […] The Council acknowledges, however, that loss or damage to irreplaceable habitats will, by definition, entail a net loss

Policy EN 11 (p.394) states

Development will only be permitted where it meets all of the following criteria:

  1. It can demonstrate […] that completion of the development will result in a measurable long term net gain for biodiversity
  2. It can be demonstrated that the proposals have adopted a strict approach to the mitigation hierarchy (i.e. avoid, mitigate, compensate) and are able to justify all unavoidable impacts on biodiversity; and
  3. The proposed measures for mitigation, compensation, and/or net gain are acceptable to the Council in terms of design and location, and are secured for the lifetime of the development with appropriate funding mechanisms that are capable of being secured by condition and/or legal agreement

Appendix B to the Interim Sustainability Appraisal published alongside the Issues and Options consultation (https://beta.tunbridgewells.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/291979/IssuesandOptions-PostConsultationFinal-minorupdates.pdf) provides the results of the assessment of Growth Strategy 5 against the Sustainability Objectives. Under the ‘Biodiversity’ objective the following is stated as being relevant to ‘decision making criteria’ at p.96: “Such a large quantity of development in one location is extremely likely to cause significant losses for biodiversity

The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1) is inconsistent with this policy. The proposed developments and Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1) cannot possibly result in a gain for biodiversity, either locally or borough-wide and therefore the first criteria is not met. They should be removed from the DLP.

DLP_3813

Natural England

Support with conditions

The Government consultation on mandating net gain closed in February 2019 and the Spring Statement confirmed that mandatory net gain would be taken forward. Further detail on the implementation of mandatory net gain is set out in the Government’s response to the consultation issued in July 2019. Further information on the relationship between mandatory net gain and the planning system will be provided once a mandatory system is introduced.

We refer to the Good Practice Guide jointly produced by CIEEM CIRIA and IEMA, which includes advice to support local authorities’ with evidence gathering and provides further detail on good practice principles for securing measurable net gains. In particular, we highlight the 10 good practice principles which are contained within this document, and Chapter 4 which focuses on plan making.

Natural England supports the inclusion of a clear and positive net gain strategy that aims to minimise impacts on biodiversity and secure appropriately funded, long term measurable gains for the natural environment.

With regards to the existing policy wording, we acknowledge and support the content of the supporting text, and recommend that some of this wording is included within the policy itself to guide developers’ considerations towards the secure delivery of measurable net gains for biodiversity. It may be useful to set a threshold for net gain. For example, Lichfield LPA has taken an approach in policy requiring development to provide minimum measurable net gains of 20%. We also advise that the net gain strategy would be strengthened with the requirement for long term monitoring to ensure that net gains incorporated into the development are delivered to the appropriate standard.

Whilst details on the mandatory approach are being finalised, it is indicated that use of the Biodiversity Metric will likely be mandated. Further information on the current realise of the metric can be found here. It may not be necessary to go into details about the metric to be used to calculate gains for biodiversity, as this may be best placed in a supplementary planning document. However, the policy should outline the need for a quantitative approach and a consistent means of calculating gains. Should an SPD be proposed and/or preferred to detail the finer details of the net gain approach, we would welcome reference to this commitment within the plan.

DLP_4006

Lamberhurst Parish Council

Support with conditions

EN11 – Net gains for Nature: biodiversity 

Generally supported, however it needs to take into consideration EN21 as a key factor to affecting landscape. Mitigation is no substitute for landscape characteristics that have taken centuries to form and does not consider carbon capture within the soil that is so important when taking climate change into consideration.

DLP_4163

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Object

CPRE welcomes the intention of this policy, which is in line with recently developed Government policy.  However, we are concerned that neither the supporting text nor the policy mentions soil biodiversity.

Moreover there needs to be a clear requirement if possible to provide replacement habitat for the particular species displaced by the development.  Otherwise there is a real danger that this policy could result in a theoretical net gain for some species  (e.g. more bird boxes, not all of which will necessarily result in an increase in successful breeding, especially where the housing contains cats) while allowing the total loss of an important habitat for other species (e.g. reptiles). There also needs to be a clear mechanism for monitoring the success of the biodiversity net gain measures and publishing the results so that the public can have confidence that this policy is working.

We do not agree that householder applications should be exempted from this policy.  Adding an extension or a conservatory, or even stacking building materials for renovations, will have some effect on soil biodiversity and it would seem reasonable to ask for some compensation for this.

DLP_4247

Rother District Council

Support

Support

The general approach to protecting and enhancing biodiversity, including ancient woodland and veteran trees, is in line with this Council’s policies as well as with the NPPF.

DLP_4336

Environment Agency

 

Section 6.127

It states here that “the Council acknowledges, however, that loss [of] or damage to irreplaceable habitats will, by definition, entail a net loss”.

Given the need for biodiversity net gain, this section should be extended with a commitment to oppose all such losses perhaps words to the effect:

The Council acknowledges that loss of or damage to irreplaceable habitats will, by definition, entail a net loss, which will not, therefore, be permitted except in cases of over-riding public interest.

Section 6.129

This section refers to “survey, assessment, and interpretation carried out by a suitably qualified professional, a comprehensive understanding of habitats and species associated with their site and adjacent land, and to provide an assessment of the likely effects”.

The Defra Biodiversity Metric 2.0, available from http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/5850908674228224, should be the recommended way that impacts are assessed and the amount of mitigation that will be needed is calculated.

Section 6.132

We support the Council’s proposal to share all data with the Local Record Centre.

Policy EN 11 Net Gains for Nature: Biodiversity

We support the principle of this policy but note that the amount “net gain” required from development is not quantified. Government reported in its recent consultation and responses document on net gain https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attach ment_data/file/819823/net-gain-consult-sum-resp.pdf that 10% net gain was both contentious and insufficient. If the Council does not wish to quantify this target, then it should agree to adopt, as a minimum, whatever final figure for biodiversity net gain is agreed by Government.

DLP_4484

Paddock Wood Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

 

Development provides no net gain for nature unless being built on an already developed site. Any open space whether that be brownfield or greenfield would not be of greater benefit to nature when developed.

DLP_4695

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support

Dandara Comment 

Dandara support the policy and the wording allows for flexibility.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

No revised wording proposed

DLP_4903

Kent Wildlife Trust

 

Thank you for inviting Kent Wildlife Trust to comment on the regulation 18 consultation for your Draft Local Plan. Below are set out our comments, which relate primarily to Policy EN11 on net gains for nature and the potential impact of developments taking place in the corridor between Tunbridge Wells and Paddock Wood

Biodiversity Net Gain

Kent Wildlife Trust welcomes the commitment to providing net gains for nature, as set out in Policy EN 11, and are encouraged that TWBC are taking a leading role in promoting biodiversity net gain within the county. We are fully supportive of Policy EN 11 and look forward to seeing more detail about how this policy will be realised through the publication of a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), as mentioned in paragraph 6.131 of the Draft Local Plan.

Our comments on this policy related primarily to the form that this SPD will take. We regard TWBC’s commitment to biodiversity net gain as an excellent opportunity to contribute to nature’s recovery at a landscape scale within the Borough, and also to establish a model that can be applied elsewhere in the county. But the extent to which this opportunity can be realised will depend on TWBC working with a wide range of partners to develop a wellcoordinated and robust strategy to delivering biodiversity net gain for nature where it will make the most difference.

We would expect the SPD to address the following priorities:

  • Standardised mechanisms applied to all development across the Borough relating to measurement of biodiversity loss/gain, valuation of biodiversity units, delivery of net gain projects, long term monitoring and quality assurance.
  • Clarification of minimum targets in terms of percentage net gain requirement and duration of net gain agreements.
  • Clarification about funding mechanisms, including consideration of how CIL from smaller developments could be collected to meet biodiversity net gain requirements and pooled to fund large habitat restoration projects.
  • Development of a spatial prioritisation strategy to target and coordinate both onsite and offsite net gain that maximises landscape scale biodiversity gains while also considering practical issues such as proximity to development sites, land cost and green infrastructure benefits
  • Development of a land banking strategy to anticipate demand for biodiversity credits including potential work on council/partner land, land purchase and the potential use of conservation covenants (subject to proposed legislation).

Development between North East Tunbridge Wells and Paddock Wood

Our principle area of concern about the Draft Local Plan is the potential cumulative impact on biodiversity as a result of the high concentrations of development proposed between North East Tunbridge Wells and Paddock Wood. This area contains large areas of woodland, as well as pockets of acid grassland, lowland heath and traditional orchard, all of which are protected as priority habitats under s. 41 of the NERC Act (2006). Much of this area is also covered under a number of Ancient Woodland and Local Wildlife Site designations, as well as forming part of the High Weald Biodiversity Opportunity Area.

Fringing this concentration of priority habitats are proposed allocations linked to the following policies:

  • RTW 12, 13, 14 and 15 to the north west of Tunbridge Wells
  • PE 6 and 7 to the west of Pembury · SO 3 and 4 north of South Borough
  • CA 1 and CA2 at Capel, including strategic access routes
  • PW 1_1-10 at Paddock Wood · TP6 safeguarded route for Colts Hill by-pass

We appreciate that the siting of these allocations have mostly avoided areas with the greatest concentrations of priority habitats, include provisions to adequately buffer protect ancient woodlands, and that the allocations are mostly located outside the High Weald Biodiversity Opportunity Area. However from review the details of these sites we note there will inevitably be some loss of priority habitat that will need to be adequately compensated for. In addition the are also concerned about the impact that so many developments in a relatively small area will have on overall landscape scale habitat connectivity.

Of particular concern in this respect are the possible routes of major infrastructure connections in this area. We note that the proposed Colt’s Hill by-pass will involve the destruction of sections of traditional orchard and potentially have impact on areas of ancient woodland. We also note that the southern option for the road linking the A228 to Tudeley Garden Village would most likely to involve destruction of some ancient woodland.

We are not making a formal objection to these proposals at this stage, given that they are in early stages of development, but reserve the right to do so pending further details. Our preference would be for the northern option linking the A228 to Tudeley Garden Village. Given that this less ecologically damaging alternative route is available we are of the opinion that the Southern option would not meet the test of “wholly exceptional reasons” for destroying ancient woodland as set out the NPPF and in policy EN15 of the Draft Local Plan.

Potential Net Gain Target Area

Connecting these site specific issues with our comments on policy EN11 set out above, we see that there is a clear opportunity to develop a coordinated landscape scale habitat restoration strategy in the area between North East Tunbridge Wells and Paddock Wood. We would propose using this area as a focus for the implementation of Policy EN11 and any future SPD to achieve the following:

  • Maximise the environmental and social value of offsite and onsite compensation and biodiversity net gain activities in terms of habitat connectivity, coordination, public access and achieving economies of scale.
  • Provide a means of coordinating offsite and onsite compensation and biodiversity net gain activities in parts of the district facing greatest threat from development pressure, and where losses of habitat area and connectivity can be most appropriately compensated for.
  • Developing a focus area for land banking that could also incorporate works on TWBC land and the estate of potential partner organisations (including KWT).
  • Build on existing biodiversity net gain pilot work that TWBC are currently planning in this area.
  • Provide the most effective means of delivering green infrastructure from biodiversity net gain, following from the statements set out in paragraphs 59 to 62 of the Green Infrastructure Framework for the Draft Local Plan.

The effective delivery of biodiversity net gain is one of KWT’s highest priorities at present. We will therefore be very happy to continue to provide any assistance we can in developing Policy EN11 into an exemplar mechanism for delivering benefits to both wildlife and the people of the Borough of Tunbridge Wells.

If you have any questions or require further clarification about these comments please do not hesitate to contact us.

DLP_4919

Woodland Trust

 

Policy EN 11 – Biodiversity Net Gain

We support the overall approach, but would recommend strengthening it to note that irreplaceable habitats, such as ancient woodland, must never be included in net gain calculations. Any scheme that damages such habitats, irrespective of any mitigation and compensation measures, cannot deliver net gain.

DLP_5240

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support with conditions

6.123 - 6.128 Whereas we are positive about the commitment to net biodiversity gains for all new developments, we identify serious problems in 6.127.

6.127 seems to contradict the very commitment to net biodiversity gains and turns it into mere ambition. Giving developers the opportunity to ‘offset’ biodiversity loss ‘off site’ and/or through ‘offsetting schemes’ offers no protection whatsoever to maintaining biodiversity on site, let alone deliver a ‘net gain’. Quoting ‘exceptional circumstances’ gives an excuse not to commit to increasing biodiversity and, besides, it is unclear what ‘exceptional circumstances’ entail. In addition, it is unclear how biodiversity can on balance be improved on a site where the majority of land is taken out of use as a nature resource for building permanent structures. If this is only by way of bat and bird boxes and other trivial mitigation, there is a strong danger of tick-box tokenism as already sometimes seems to occur in other contexts within the planning system.

6.131 We strongly support the following statement: “Loss or damage to irreplaceable habitats cannot be offset to achieve a net gain...” However, we would like to see therefore a commitment that this loss or damage will not be permitted.

Policy Number:  EN 11 Net Gains for Nature: biodiversity 

Object , Support with conditions

The policy is not clear enough in supporting net gain for biodiversity. Although point 1 states development must result in “measurable long-term net gain for biodiversity” (support) it then negates this in point 2 by indicating one can ‘compensate’ for and “justify all unavoidable impacts on biodiversity” (object).

DLP_5325

Judith Ashton Associates for Redrow Homes Ltd and Persimmon Homes South East

General Observation

Turning to policy EN11 ‘Net Gains for Nature’ we would highlight the need for the council to monitor the proposals within the Environment Bill and to ensure said policy is consistent with the approach being promoted by Government, and that any associated financial impact is properly considered in the VA.

[TWBC: see full representation].

DLP_5809

Weald of Kent Protection Society

Object

Policy EN 11 Net Gains for Nature: biodiversity:

Mitigation is no substitute for the landscape characteristics that have evolved over hundreds of years. Carbon capture within the soil is a key issue and no amount of mitigation can compensate for the disturbance of nature. There is a necessity to protect greenfield sites, trees, etc., to preserve carbon capture and reduce the effect on climate change.

WKPS expects that greenfield sites will only be developed as a last resort. We note, and object to, the inclusion of a great many, and large areas of greenfield and agricultural land in allocations for housing development. Habitats should be retained and restored, not uprooted.

DLP_6071

Laura Rowland

Object

Policy Number: EN11 Natural Environment, Net gain

The aspiration to enhance biodiversity and apply net gain to all site allocations is welcome as is the commitment to secure measures for the lifetime of the development. but this ambition is undermined by Para 6.127 which states ‘The Council acknowledges,…, that loss of damage to irreplaceable habitats will by definition entail a net loss’. This is critical when considering allocations on greenfield sites. Soil is a living system, a habitat containing up to 11 million species , and sealing it with an impermeable surface such as concrete or tarmac prevents it functioning. The soil lost is not only effectively irreplaceable within a reasonable time period, but the opportunity is lost for to regenerate or re-wild the land thereby enhancing both below and above ground biodiversity.

TWBC does not identify an agreed method for measuring biodiversity net gain, although it does refer to guidance provided by CIEEM, which relies mostly, but not exclusively, on Defra’s metric. Currently, Defra’s Biodiversity Metric 2.0 does not include consideration of species, habitat structure, ecological function or the value people place on nature , nor does it consider genetic diversity. Without this clarification and without adequate resources to scrutinise biodiversity net gain proposals or their measurement this policy will be open to misuse and misinterpretation.

DLP_6156

Turley for Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd

 

This policy will need to have regard to the final form of an enacted Environment Bill, if and when finalised. This may necessitate further borough wide assessments and viability testing to ensure a holistic and deliverable approach is being taken across the borough. It may therefore be more effective in the interim to require biodiversity assets to be respected and where possible enhanced through the measures outlined, unless otherwise superseded by updated national policy or legislation.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting document A, supporting document B, supporting document C, and supporting document D]. 

DLP_6210

Amanda Wells

Object

Net Gains for Nature: biodiversity

6.127 This seems to contradict the very commitment to net biodiversity gains and turns it into mere ambition. Giving developers the opportunity to ‘offset’ biodiversity loss ‘off site’ and/or through ‘offsetting schemes’ offers no protection whatsoever to maintaining biodiversity on site, let alone deliver a ‘net gain’. Quoting ‘exceptional circumstances’ gives an excuse not to commit to increasing biodiversity and, besides, it is unclear what ‘exceptional circumstances’ entail. In addition, it is unclear how biodiversity can on balance be improved on a site where the majority of land is taken out of use as a nature resource for building permanent structures. If this is only by way of bat and bird boxes and other trivial mitigation, there is a strong danger of tick-box tokenism as already sometimes seems to occur in other contexts within the planning system.

DLP_6332

Persimmon Homes South East

 

5. Development Management Policies

The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

EN11 – Net Gains for Nature: Biodiversity

The Council’s proposals with regard to Biodiversity Net Gains will need to have regard to the proposals being considered by Government as set out in the Environment Bill. The Council will need to ensure their policies re consistent with the approach being promoted by Government and that their impact on viability is properly considered by the Council.

[TWBC: see full representation. Also see Comment Nos. DLP_6319, 6323-6326, 6328, 6830-6835, 6837-6839].

DLP_6681

Gladman

 

6.6 Policy EN11: Net Gains for Nature Biodiversity

6.6.1 The Policy responds to the recent changes made to national planning policy which requires all development to provide net gain for nature biodiversity. Gladman accept the terms of the policy as set out by the Council. It is important that long term impacts are considered when reviewing proposals for biodiversity net gain taking into account the fact that many of the measures provided as part of a development will need to mature beyond the build period. The Council’s approach acknowledges the mitigation hierarchy but applies this in a way which would result in the least impact on wildlife. Gladman however would add that if off-site mitigation provides the best opportunity for biodiversity gain, then this should not be ruled out from the planning application process. The need to ensure that biodiversity measures are maintained is important if the aims of such provision is to be most successful.

6.6.2 Gladman consider that paragraphs 6.126 to 6.129 amount to policy and as such in order to provide for an effective and transparent plan should be included within Policy EN11.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6656-6695]

DLP_6805

Mr Andrew McConnell

Object

Policy Number: Section 6 Development and Management Policies – Natural Environment

Our property backs on to the field in the proposed site AL/AL2. I firmly believe that development of this site cannot provide any net gains to and biodiversity and nature and indeed will have a detrimental effect to the biodiversity and nature of the area. We frequently see birds of prey, including Owls and Hawks, Woodpeckers (possibly lesser as well as greater spotted) numerous other bird life along with bats flying over the field and occupying the trees within the site. We also see frogs and Newts that migrate through the field to our pond. These include the endangered Great Crested Newt.

DLP_6889

Persimmon Homes South East

 

7.0 DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT POLICIES 

7.1 The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

EN11 – Net Gains for Nature: Biodiversity

7.11 The Council’s proposals with regard to Biodiversity Net Gains will need to have regard to the proposals being considered by Government as set out in the Environment Bill. The Council will need to ensure their policies re consistent with the approach being promoted by Government and that their impact on viability is properly considered by the Council.

DLP_6914

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

General Observation

7.8 This policy requires that new development deliver ‘net gain’ which is included in the current Environment Bill which is being introduced to Parliament, this requires the delivery of a 10% a biodiversity net gain from new developments. This policy is broadly compliant with the NPPF which encourages biodiversity net gain, however there is some scope for refinement and clarification, since the policy does not state what metric should be used in calculating ‘net gain’. To be precise policy should specify that the Defra metric will need to be applied when measuring net gain.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1 , Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_7079

Brown & Co Planning Ltd for The Hendy Group

Object

Policy Number: Policy EN 11- Net Gains for Nature: biodiversity

Comments; Object

1.86 The wording of this policy goes beyond national guidance and overburdens development.

1.87 Furthermore, as set out above under Policy EN1, rather than requiring the developer to apply an acceptable method of measurement, the plan should identify the opportunities for securing measurable net gains, as supported in the NPPF (paragraph 174).

UNSOUND: To ensure that this policy is in line with National Policy, the Local Plan should specify a strategy for securing measurable net gains.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents; Park and Ride Feasibility Review and Site Location Plan].

DLP_7386

Andrew Ford

Object

We welcome the aspiration to enhance biodiversity and apply net gain to all site allocations but this ambition is undermined by Para 6.127 which states ‘The Council acknowledges,…, that loss of damage to irreplaceable habitats will by definition entail a net loss’. This is critical when considering allocations on greenfield sites. Soil is a living system, a habitat containing up to 11 million species[1], and sealing it with an impermeable surface such as concrete or tarmac prevents it functioning. The soil lost is not only effectively irreplaceable within a reasonable time period, but the opportunity is lost to regenerate or re-wild the land thereby enhancing both below and above ground biodiversity.

[[1] CPRE (2018). Food and farming Foresight Paper 3: Back to the Land: rethinking our approach to soil.]

TWBC does not identify an agreed method for measuring biodiversity net gain, although it does refer to guidance provided by CIEEM, which relies mostly, but not exclusively, on Defra’s metric. Currently, Defra’s Biodiversity Metric 2.0 does not include consideration of species, habitat structure, ecological function or the value people place on nature[1], nor does it consider genetic diversity. Without this clarification and without adequate resources to scrutinise biodiversity net gain proposals or their measurement this policy will be open to misuse and misinterpretation.

We welcome the requirement In EN11 for securing measures for the lifetime of the development.

[[1] Biodiversity in Planning (2019). Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning. https://www.biodiversityinplanning.org/news/bd-net-gain/]

We recommend that

  • EN11 should be split into 2 – ‘below ground’ and ‘above ground’ biodiversity.
  • Protection for below ground biodiversity should encourage minimising land take for development on greenfield sites, minimising soil sealing by design, protecting soils from damage during construction and adopting regenerative land management outcomes to improve soil health.
  • Net gain for above ground biodiversity should also include consideration of species, total biomass, genetic diversity (and soil biodiversity if not considered in a separate policy)

Dedicated resources are made available, including staff with the appropriate skills to properly assess net gain proposals, and a mechanism for independent scrutiny is set up to reassure communities that gains are maintained throughout the lifetime of the development.

DLP_7946

Wendy Owen

 

The policy states that development will only be permitted where it can be demonstrated that there will be a measurable long term net gain for biodiversity. Section 6.129 refers to desk based information from the Kent and Medway Biological Records Centre (KMBRC) but it is woefully out of date and totally inadequate for site 137. No reliable assessment of net gain can be made by TWBC. TWBC ought to be consulting sources such as the RSPB (particularly given its nearby Broadwater Warren reserve) and its results from its Garden Birdwatch scheme and iRecord which allows local people to record wildlife sightings. Species missing from the KMBRC list include the following examples:

  • Kingfisher
  • Heron
  • Sparrow Hawk
  • Red and black lesser spotted Woodpecker
  • Red and Green common Woodpecker
  • Lapwing
  • Buzzard
  • Greenfinch
  • Bullfinch
  • Pheasants
  • Mallard Ducks
  • Moorhens
  • Mandarin Ducks
  • Swifts
  • Swallows
  • Coal tit
  • Marsh tit
  • Chaffinch
  • Goldfinch
  • Brambling
  • Yellow hammer
  • Dormice
  • Deer

    RSPB Broadwater Warren website sightings in April and May included:
  • ring ousels
  • wood warbler
  • tree pipit
  • blackcaps
  • garden warblers
  • willow warblers
  • chiffchaffs
  • peregrine falcon
  • ravens
  • spotted flycatcher
  • common toad
  • common frog
  • smooth newts
  • comma butterfly
  • brimstone
  • orange tip
  • Holly blue
  • green hairstreak
  • peacock
  • small tortoiseshell
  • Beautiful Demoiselle
  • Azure Damselfly
  • Large Red Damselfly
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly
  • Emperor Dragonfly
  • Hairy Dragonfly
  • Downy Emerald
  • Broad Bodied Chaser
  • Four Spotted Chaser

Given its proximity to site 137, it is likely many of these species will be present

DLP_8075

RSPB

Support

The RSPB supports the inclusion of a policy establishing the principles of biodiversity net gain. Explicit reference to the Mitigation Hierarchy (line 2 of the policy) in particular is essential.

Paragraph 6.126 – we suggest that the wording “the provision of bird or bat boxes on a building” be amended to “the provision of bird or bat boxes integrated into buildings

DLP_8124

Ashley Saunders

Object

I objects to this Policy and to the following paragraphs of the accompanying commentary, for the reasons stated.

Paragraph 6.123 (p.393) states “there are numerous national, regional, and local sites representing a broad range of lowland habitats representative of the High and Low Weald landscapes

Paragraph 6.127 (p393) states “only in exceptional circumstances and in the interests of biodiversity will ‘off site’ or offsetting schemes be considered acceptable […] The Council acknowledges, however, that loss or damage to irreplaceable habitats will, by definition, entail a net loss

Policy EN 11 (p.394) states

Development will only be permitted where it meets all of the following criteria:

  1. It can demonstrate […] that completion of the development will result in a measurable long term net gain for biodiversity
  2. It can be demonstrated that the proposals have adopted a strict approach to the mitigation hierarchy (i.e. avoid, mitigate, compensate) and are able to justify all unavoidable impacts on biodiversity; and
  3. The proposed measures for mitigation, compensation, and/or net gain are acceptable to the Council in terms of design and location, and are secured for the lifetime of the development with appropriate funding mechanisms that are capable of being secured by condition and/or legal agreement

Appendix B to the Interim Sustainability Appraisal published alongside the Issues and Options consultation (https://beta.tunbridgewells.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/291979/IssuesandOptions-PostConsultationFinal-minorupdates.pdf) provides the results of the assessment of Growth Strategy 5 against the Sustainability Objectives. Under the ‘Biodiversity’ objective the following is stated as being relevant to ‘decision making criteria’ at p.96: “Such a large quantity of development in one location is extremely likely to cause significant losses for biodiversity

The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1) is inconsistent with this policy. The proposed developments and Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1) cannot possibly result in a gain for biodiversity, either locally or borough-wide and therefore the first criteria is not met. They should be removed from the DLP.

DLP_8217

Home Builders Federation

 

Thank you for consulting the Home Builders Federation (HBF) on the draft Local Plan. The HBF is the principal representative body of the housebuilding industry in England and Wales and our representations reflect the views of discussions with our membership of national and multinational corporations through to regional developers and small local housebuilders. Our members account for over 80% of all new housing built in England and Wales in any one year. Outlined below are our comments on the approach taken by the Council to increasing the supply of land for residential development and the policies being proposed with regard to the management of new development in future.

EN11 – Net Gains for Nature: Biodiversity

The Council’s proposals with regard to Biodiversity Net Gains will need to have regard to the proposals being considered by Government as set out in the Environment Bill. The Council will need to ensure their policies re consistent with the approach being promoted by Government and that their impact on viability is properly considered by the Council. Further comments on the financial impacts of this policy are provided in response to policy H5.

Policy EN 12: Protection of designated sites and habitats

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1843

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

Policy Number:  EN 12 Protection of sites and habitats

We strongly support this policy with its recognition of the importance for Royal Tunbridge Wells and its urban population of Local Wildlife Sites, Roadside Nature Reserves, Local Nature Reserves and Candidate LNRs and Sites of Local Nature Conservation Value within and adjacent to the urban area,

DLP_2536
DLP_3480
DLP_7924

Mr Guy Dagger
Sally Marsh
Fiona Dagger

Object

TWBC: the standard response was submitted by the list of responders on the left:

Policy EN12 is contrary to the NPPF, Para 175. Para 175, makes it clear that development on SSSI’s ‘should not normally be permitted’ and development resulting in the loss of irreplaceable habitats ‘should be refused unless there are wholly exceptional reasons’. Policy EN12 does not expand on what those exceptional reasons may be in a local context, rather it sets criteria for when development on designated sites may be permitted. This is not in the spirit of Para 175. The criteria are vague and arbitrary. No clear thresholds are set out, nor any method for scrutiny. Designated sites are the best and often most vulnerable of our wildlife sites. They form the core of a nature recovery network proposed in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan: Our Green Future 2018 (p.56), and their protection and enhancement is essential to achieving its aim to protect threatened species and wildlife habitats.

DLP_3371

Kent County Council (Growth, Environment and Transport)

 

Biodiversity

It is recommended that the Plan clarifies what information must be submitted to assess the impact on designed sites.

The Biodiversity Net Gain Metric cannot be used to assess loss of designated sites – the policy must to be clear on this point.

The policy states the following: The need for the development would clearly outweigh the affected nature conservation interest of the site; KCC considers that the policy needs to be strong setting out what “need” means.

There is no policy requiring the submission of ecological surveys/mitigation strategies. KCC highlights that currently, the National Biodiversity Net Gain consultation indicates that there will be developments that net gain is not required for - this includes extensions and brown field sites. It should be noted that brownfield sites can have high biodiversity value and buildings may be used by roosting bats. Therefore, areas which may not be required to be considered under the national net gain policy may then be excluded for local net gain policy. KCC highlights that in this situation, there is a need to ensure that there is local policy to ensure appropriate ecological information is submitted to enable the Local Planning Authority to consider the impact associated with the development.

DLP_8395

Mr Raymond Moon

Object

Policy EN12.OBJECT. Protection of Designated Sites and Hbitats

Foalhurst Wood nature reserve owned by PWTC in Paddock Wood is not mentioned in this section and should be protected in the same way as the reserves owned by TWBC. 350 houses where agreed next to the FHW reserve and this allocation was & is a serious threat to the existing Dormouse population in the woodland. This reserve need the up most protection and requires By law’s as those that exist for Barnets Wood owned by TWBC.

DLP_3496

High Weald AONB Unit

Object

Policy EN12 is contrary to the NPPF, Para 175. Para 175, makes it clear that development on SSSI’s ‘should not normally be permitted’ and development resulting in the loss of irreplaceable habitats ‘should be refused unless there are wholly exceptional reasons’. Policy EN12 does not expand on what those exceptional reasons may be in a local context, rather it sets criteria for when development on designated sites may be permitted. This is not in the spirit of Para 175. The criteria are vague and arbitrary. No clear thresholds are set out, nor any method for scrutiny. Designated sites are the best and often most vulnerable of our wildlife sites. They form the core of a nature recovery network proposed in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan: Our Green Future 2018 (p.56), and their protection and enhancement is essential to achieving its aim to protect threatened species and wildlife habitats.

In our view policy EN12 is contrary to the NPPF Para 175, and should be removed or substantially re-drafted.

DLP_3815

Natural England

Support with conditions

Natural England supports this policy which provides a clear requirement that development likely to impact designated sites and habitats will have to meet exceptional criteria in order to be permitted and any impacts compensated as set out in the net gain policy.

In order to strengthen this policy and to accord with the recommendations for Policy EN11, it is recommended that ‘with appropriate monitoring and maintenance’ is added after ‘provided’ in point 4.

DLP_4007

Lamberhurst Parish Council

Support

EN12 - Protection of designated sites and habitats

Supported

DLP_4164

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Object

CPRE objects to this policy as drafted, which in our view gives insufficient protection to SSSIs and other irreplaceable habitats and fails to comply with para 175 of the NPPF.

DLP_4248

Rother District Council

Support

The general approach to protecting and enhancing biodiversity, including ancient woodland and veteran trees, is in line with this Council’s policies as well as with the NPPF.

DLP_4485

Paddock Wood Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

 

This policy is potentially damaging, it states the development will be permitted if the criteria 1-5 are satisfied. This could be a matter of opinion and it is likely that permission would be granted because one or more of the criteria is met. Therefore, potentially almost every and any development may be permitted regardless of its true impact.

DLP_4920

Woodland Trust

 

We would like to see ancient woodland added as a named category of designated sites and habitats in the table under section 6.147, in line with the enhanced protection afforded ancient woodland in the NPPF.

DLP_5207

Culverden Residents Association

Support

We strongly support this policy which is relevant to some cherished local  natural sites adjacent to the urban area,

DLP_5241

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support with conditions

6.145 We believe the words “The Council will encourage and promote the positive management of designated sites or habitats as well as their conservation and enhancement.” should be imported into Policy EN12 as its opening words.

Policy Number:  EN 12 Protection of Designated Sites and Habitats

Object , Support with conditions

We do not think any adverse effect on the nature conservation or geological interest of a designated site should be permitted as this defeats the purpose of designating a site as a (statutory) protected site.

However, in adjusted form, we of course welcome the inclusion of a policy that is aimed at protecting designated sites and habitats. As stated in section 1 above referring to §6.145, we believe the words “The Council will encourage and promote the positive management of designated sites or habitats as well as their conservation and enhancement.” should be imported into Policy EN12 as its opening words.

DLP_5810

Weald of Kent Protection Society

Object

Greater protection is required of these environments. We believe that the DLP does not go far enough in its duty. There can be no reason to cause harm to such designations. The policy should state that there is a presumption in favour of the retention of designated sites and habitats.

DLP_5913

Sarah Hamilton

Support with conditions

I have now seen submissions from the Parishes and Town in my Division and have just sent you a contribution from Lamberhurst residents.

As you are aware I am triple hatted (Paddock Wood East) and  have discussed my position with the TWBC Monitoring officer.

You will have received many detailed responses which I don’t need to add to. We have already discussed many topics. They include flood risk, roads, rural transport and distribution networks as well as future demands in terms of the nature and  location of employment and uncertainty of retail.

As you know I  have raised these issues with you and your team concerning the whole Division and would not wish to add to that in terms of repetition but  would like to emphasise the following:

EN 12,  14, 15 Preservation of trees, biodiversity and environment is I believe becoming more robust through policy but there is room to strengthen amenity value for trees and hedges and specify what it means contextually. Does it refer to species or pollinators that might be involved for example  (EN14 8b?). Sites that have become overgrown having not been completed are a risk to species that become established as a result (can this be addressed by policy?)  and it would be good to see more direct reference to birds in context of trees / hedgerows as well as stronger emphasis on trees related to flood risk.

[TWBC: see Comment Nos. DLP_5913-5925].

DLP_6074

Laura Rowland

Object

Policy Number: EN12 Protection of designated sites

Policy EN12 is contrary to the NPPF, Para 175. Para 175, makes it clear that development on SSSI’s ‘should not normally be permitted’ and development resulting in the loss of irreplaceable habitats ‘should be refused unless there are wholly exceptional reasons’. Policy EN12 does not expand on what those exceptional reasons may be in a local context, rather it sets criteria for when development on designated sites may be permitted. This is not in the spirit of Para 175. The criteria are vague and arbitrary. No clear thresholds are set out, nor any method for scrutiny. Designated sites are the best and often most vulnerable of our wildlife sites. They form the core of a nature recovery network proposed in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan: Our Green Future 2018 (p.56), and their protection and enhancement is essential to achieving its aim to protect threatened species and wildlife habitats.

DLP_6915

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

General Observation

7.9 Policy EN12 does not distinguish the hierarchy of international, National and locally designated sites, and therefore does not reflect the requirements of the NPPF (para 171). In addition, it is not clear whether criterion 3 is seeking to restrict public enjoyment and access to ‘notable sites’.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1 , Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_7080

Brown & Co Planning Ltd for The Hendy Group

Support with conditions

Policy Number: Policy EN 12 (Protection of Designated Sites and Habitats) and Policy EN 14 (Trees, Woodlands, Hedges, and Development)

Comments; Support with conditions

1.88 Our Client is supportive of the protection of the environment; however, these policies should only relate to unallocated sites at the risk of overburdening locations which have been identified for development and where the impact of designated sites and habitats will already have been considered.

1.89 In order to ensure that allocations are brought forward in line with the Local Plan, allocated sites should not have to go through the process of demonstrating that the proposal will not have a direct or indirect adverse effect on the nature conservation or geological interest of a designated site or adversely affect important trees, woodlands, and hedgerows.

Support subject to the following amendments:

* So as not to prejudice the delivery of allocations, the polices should be reworded to only relate to unallocated sites.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents; Park and Ride Feasibility Review and Site Location Plan].

DLP_7387

Andrew Ford

Object

Policy EN12 is contrary to the NPPF, Para 175. Para 175, makes it clear that development on SSSI’s ‘should not normally be permitted’ and development resulting in the loss of irreplaceable habitats ‘should be refused unless there are wholly exceptional reasons’. Policy EN12 does not expand on what those exceptional reasons may be in a local context, rather it sets criteria for when development on designated sites may be permitted. This is not in the spirit of Para 175. The criteria are vague and arbitrary. No clear thresholds are set out, nor any method for scrutiny. Designated sites are the best and often most vulnerable of our wildlife sites. They form the core of a nature recovery network proposed in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan: Our Green Future 2018 (p.56), and their protection and enhancement is essential to achieving its aim to protect threatened species and wildlife habitats.

In our view policy EN12 is contrary to the NPPF Para 175, and should be removed or substantially re-drafted.

DLP_7948

Wendy Owen

Object

Natural environment: we consider any development of site 137 is incompatible because of its proximity to Ashdown Forest SPA and SPAC. In addition, any development of this site would compromise the accessibility to important geological sites.

DLP_8410

Paddock Wood Labour Party

Object

Policy EN12.OBJECT. Protection of Designated Sites and Habitats

Foalhurst Wood nature reserve owned by PWTC in Paddock Wood is not mentioned in this section and should be protected in the same way as the reserves owned by TWBC. 350 houses where agreed next to the FHW reserve and this allocation was & is a serious threat to the existing Dormouse population in the woodland. This reserve need the up most protection and requires By law’s as those that exist for Barnets Wood owned by TWBC.

Policy EN 13: Ashdown Forest Special Protection Area and Special Area of Conservation

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_3816

Natural England

Support with conditions

Natural England advises that the strategic approach for Ashdown Forest SAC/ SPA previously agreed between Natural England and local authorities, including Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, is reflected in this policy. The agreed approach includes both SAMM and SANG contributions. We advise the policy wording is updated to provide clear guidance on the requirement for both SAMM and SANG contributions, as SAMM contributions alone will not be sufficient. Further detail on this matter is included in Appendix 5 (Habitats Regulations Assessment).

DLP_4165

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support

CPRE supports this policy

DLP_4338

Environment Agency

 

Section 6.149

This section inconsistently gives Latin names for some species in plain text in brackets where convention dictates that they should be in italics e.g. Dartford Warbler (Sylvia undata) and Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus). It then fails to bracket the Latin name for the heather Erica tetralix and the Latin name for Great Crested Newts is omitted. This section should be re-written for consistency and compliance with convention.

DLP_4375

British Horse Society

General Observation

It is worth noting that because of the paucity of public bridleway and public open space provision for equestrians within this borough, some equestrians drive with horseboxes to Ashdown Forest to ride, from as far away as Cranbrook, Paddock Wood or Brenchley.  A better provision of places to ride off-road within the Borough would reduce the impact on Ashdown Forest.

DLP_4696

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support

Dandara Comment 

Dandara support the Policy in that it allows for sites to be considered on a case by case basis.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

No revised wording proposed

Policy EN 14: Trees, Woodlands, Hedges, and Development

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_995

Calverley Park Association

Support

The Calverley Park Association supports this policy as a protection against insensitive development within the Calverley Park Conservation Area that is likely to impact on the historic park and garden comprising Calverley Park. The parkland contains many trees with TPOs, and ancient and veteran trees and hedges within and along its borders which fall within this policy’s criteria for protection.

DLP_1599

Maggie Fenton

Object

Policy EN14 Trees woodlands & hedges

Does not mention historic hedgerows & patterns which cover the Low Weald Area & have their roots from mediaeval times

DLP_1844

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support with conditions

Policy Number: EN14 Trees, woodlands, hedges 

We strongly support this policy but would like to see the intention expressed in Paragraph 6.160 to work proactively with woodland owners and relevant organisations to bring woodland back into management where possible, imported into the policy itself. It would also be useful to define how the “desirability” of a proposed development should be assessed against the contradictory requirement to retain woodland, hedgerows and trees, because this could otherwise lead to variable and subjective decisions by planning officers. This could be done by importing the reference to “unequivocal evidence of need and benefits of the proposed development” from Policy EN 15.

DLP_2537
DLP_7925
DLP_3481

Mr Guy Dagger
Fiona Dagger
Sally Marsh

Object

TWBC: the following comment was submitted by the responders on the left:

Increased protection for ancient woodland, and all trees and woodland is welcome but an exception for local infrastructure projects appears to be being indicated. Local infrastructure projects should not be treated the same as national ones for the purpose of EN15, or NPPF, Para 175. The principles of sustainable development embedded in the NPPF, Para 8 are not about trading economic or social benefits for the loss of environmental ones, rather these objectives ‘need to be pursued in mutually supportive ways (so that opportunities can be taken to secure net gains across each of the different objectives)’. The bar for achieving public benefit has to be set at ‘national’, not ‘local’, as AONBs are national landscapes designated and protected for the nation.

Policy EN14 refers to ‘planting’ trees on site. Not only is planting costly but it creates plastic and other waste in the countryside, and opens up the possibility of importing pests and diseases through contaminated soil and nursey stock. Ash dieback, originating in part from contaminated nursery stock and soil is currently devastating woodlands in the High weald AONB. EN14 should favour natural regeneration which is better for biodiversity in the long term and, where planting is necessary, uses local seed where applicable from local nurseries.

DLP_3502

High Weald AONB Unit

Support with conditions

We welcome increased protection for ancient woodland, and all trees and woodland but are concerned that an exception for local infrastructure projects appears to be being indicated. Local infrastructure projects should not be treated the same as national ones for the purpose of EN15, or NPPF, Para 175. The principles of sustainable development embedded in the NPPF, Para 8 are not about trading economic or social benefits for the loss of environmental ones, rather these objectives ‘need to be pursued in mutually supportive ways (so that opportunities can be taken to secure net gains across each of the different objectives)’. The bar for achieving public benefit has to be set at ‘national’, not ‘local’, as AONBs are national landscapes designated and protected for the nation.

We recommend that policy EN15 makes it clear that damage to ancient woodland and veteran trees in the AONB can only be justified under the NPPF, Para 175 where the bar to demonstrating wholly exceptional circumstances is set at proven ‘national’ benefit, not ‘local’, as AONBs are national landscapes designated and protected for the nation.

Policy EN14 refers to ‘planting’ trees on site. Not only is planting costly but it creates plastic and other waste in the countryside, and opens up the possibility of importing pests and diseases through contaminated soil and nursey stock. Ash dieback, originating in part from contaminated nursery stock and soil is currently devastating woodlands in the High weald AONB.

We recommend that EN14 favours natural regeneration which is better for biodiversity in the long term and, where planting is necessary, uses local seed where applicable from local nurseries.

DLP_3703

Capel Parish Council

General Observation

Capel Parish Council makes the following general observation on this Policy:

The Policy makes no mention of historic hedgerows and patterns which cover the Low Weald Area and have their roots from mediaeval times.

DLP_3818

Natural England

Support with conditions

Natural England advises that the policy wording on point 8 should be strengthened to better ensure positive environmental outcomes and be consistent with the wording in paragraph 170 (d) of the NPPF. The following amendments are suggested:

An important contribution to green infrastructure or other important ecological networks. 

With regards to part b of the policy, it is recommended that clarity is provided over how desirability is assessed and/or how it is defined in this context. It may be more appropriate to demonstrate the need or public benefit of a development as opposed to its desirability, as this may allow a more objective assessment of a proposal, and reduce the risk of unnecessary loss of tress and hedgerows with the consequent impacts to biodiversity including net gain and GI provision.

The paragraph following part b appears to be restrictive in terms of the options available should on- site tree planting not be possible. In the case that there is unavoidable tree loss on site, there is a risk that looking first/only to securing tree planting off-site will contradict aims for securing both net gains for nature and providing urban GI. In accordance with the aforementioned aims, on-site mitigation for tree loss should still be secured in the event that on-site tree planting is not possible.

DLP_4166

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

CPRE welcomes and supports much of this policy.  However, it only refers to preserving and replacing trees, whereas it should also encourage increasing the total stock of trees in the Borough in line with the Government’s policy (see our comment at EN1.3 above).  To this end, para 6.162 should form part of the policy rather than merely being in the supporting text.  We particularly welcome the last sentence of para 6.162, since often in developments and highway schemes far too many trees are planted with insufficient room for growth to maturity.  We would also like to see this section mention the option of setting aside land for natural regeneration of woodland, especially adjacent to ancient woodland.

DLP_4249

Rother District Council

Support

Support

The general approach to protecting and enhancing biodiversity, including ancient woodland and veteran trees, is in line with this Council’s policies as well as with the NPPF.

DLP_4486

Paddock Wood Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

 

Planning permission should not be permitted where the proposal adversely affects important trees, woodlands, and hedgerows.

Point b leaves trees and hedges exposed and at risk of being removed because development may always be considered favourably over trees and hedgerow.

New sapling trees and hedgerow DO NOT replace mature and established trees and hedgerow. They are not an equal replacement and take more than 40 years to support the level of biodiversity, replace habitats and support the same no of species. Additionally, the soil is disturbed to the detriment of countless species of flora and fauna.

DLP_4697

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support with conditions

Dandara Comment 

Dandara support the general intentions of the policy to protect trees, woodlands and hedges. Dandara support the general presumption in favour of tree retention but suggest tree removal should be acceptable in principle when there is net gain in trees and/or enhancement in soft landscaping.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

No revised wording proposed. Policy should be more explicit.

DLP_4921

Woodland Trust

 

Policy EN 14 - Trees, Woodlands, Hedges, and Development

We welcome the presumption in favour of the retention and enhancement of existing trees, woodland, and hedgerow cover on development sites, and that where there is an unavoidable loss of trees on site, that an appropriate number of suitable replacement trees will be required to be planted.

We recommend setting a proposed ratio of tree replacement, which reflects the Woodland Trust guidance on Local Authority Tree Strategies (July 2016) with a ratio of at least 2:1 for all but the smallest trees and ratios of up to 8:1 for the largest trees. Integrating trees and green spaces into developments early on in the design process minimises costs and maximises the environmental, social and economic benefits that they can provide. We recommend the guidance published by the Woodland Trust Residential developments and trees - the importance of trees and green spaces (January 2019).

We further recommend adding that a target tree canopy cover of at least 20 per cent will be pursued through the retention of important trees, appropriate replacement of trees lost through development, ageing or disease and by new planting to support green infrastructure.

DLP_5242

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support with conditions

6.160 We argue that under no circumstances permission should be given to developments in Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland.

6.162 We believe the words: “Where development does take place, there will be a presumption in favour of increasing tree cover, with planting specification, species selection, size, diversity, and connectivity being important considerations.” should be incorporated into Policy EN14 as we believe it is of great significance.

Policy Number: EN 14 Trees, Woodlands, Hedges, and Development 

As stated in section 1 above referring to §6.162, we believe the words: “Where development does take place, there will be a presumption in favour of increasing tree cover, with planting specification, species selection, size, diversity, and connectivity being important considerations.” should be incorporated into Policy EN14 as we believe it is of great significance.

In point b. we would like to know how exactly it is determined that ‘desirability’ for development outweighs trees’ value.

DLP_5811

Weald of Kent Protection Society

Support

Policy EN 14 Trees, Woodlands, Hedges, and Development — WKPS supports this policy.

DLP_5914

Sarah Hamilton

Support with conditions

I have now seen submissions from the Parishes and Town in my Division and have just sent you a contribution from Lamberhurst residents.

As you are aware I am triple hatted (Paddock Wood East) and  have discussed my position with the TWBC Monitoring officer.

You will have received many detailed responses which I don’t need to add to. We have already discussed many topics. They include flood risk, roads, rural transport and distribution networks as well as future demands in terms of the nature and  location of employment and uncertainty of retail.

As you know I  have raised these issues with you and your team concerning the whole Division and would not wish to add to that in terms of repetition but would like to emphasise the following:

EN 12, 14, 15 Preservation of trees, biodiversity and environment is I believe becoming more robust through policy but there is room to strengthen amenity value for trees and hedges and specify what it means contextually. Does it refer to species or pollinators that might be involved for example (EN14 8b?). Sites that have become overgrown having not been completed are a risk to species that become established as a result (can this be addressed by policy?)  and it would be good to see more direct reference to birds in context of trees / hedgerows as well as stronger emphasis on trees related to flood risk.

[TWBC: see Comment Nos. DLP_5913-5925].

DLP_6075

Laura Rowland

Support with conditions

Policy Number: EN14 and EN15 Tress and Woodlands

Increased protection for ancient woodland, and all trees and woodland is welcome but an exception for local infrastructure projects appears to be being indicated. Local infrastructure projects should not be treated the same as national ones for the purpose of EN15, or NPPF, Para 175. The principles of sustainable development embedded in the NPPF, Para 8 are not about trading economic or social benefits for the loss of environmental ones, rather these objectives ‘need to be pursued in mutually supportive ways (so that opportunities can be taken to secure net gains across each of the different objectives)’. The bar for achieving public benefit has to be set at ‘national’, not ‘local’, as AONBs are national landscapes designated and protected for the nation.

Policy EN14 refers to ‘planting’ trees on site. Not only is planting costly but it creates plastic and other waste in the countryside, and opens up the possibility of importing pests and diseases through contaminated soil and nursey stock. Ash dieback, originating in part from contaminated nursery stock and soil is currently devastating woodlands in the High weald AONB. EN14 should favour natural regeneration which is better for biodiversity in the long term and, where planting is necessary, uses local seed where applicable from local nurseries.

DLP_6472

DHA Planning for Cedardrive Ltd

 

Comments on Paragraph 6.160

3.5.13 Paragraph 6.160 states:

“…The Council will assume a buffer of 25m from the edge of [ancient] woodland expecting through assessment for developers to confirm that this or any other distance is appropriate and that the priority for such buffers will be ecological mitigation and enhancement for the woodland rather than the amenity of the proposed development.”

3.5.14 The advice from the Government’s statutory advisor on biodiversity, Natural England, states that:

“For ancient woodlands, you should have a buffer zone of at least 15 metres to avoid root damage. Where assessment shows other impacts are likely to extend beyond this distance, you’re likely to need a larger buffer zone.” [1 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ancient-woodland-and-veteran-trees-protection-surveys-licences]

3.5.15 Whilst it is recognised that every case will need to be treated on its merits, the Council has provided no justification for imposing a new starting point of 25m, which is nearly double the standard minimum requirement set out by Natural England. This increased buffer zone does not appear to have been based on any evidence. It will simply reduce the quantum of development that can be achieved on many sites, which will in turn increases the risk that additional land is likely to be required elsewhere to meet development needs. We object to this proposed buffer, and request that the standard accepted minimum distance of 15m should be stated instead.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Numbers DLP_6461-6472].

DLP_6778

DHA Planning Ltd for Axiom Developments

 

3.4 Comment on Paragraph 6.160

3.4.1 Paragraph 6.160 states:

“…The Council will assume a buffer of 25m from the edge of [ancient] woodland expecting through assessment for developers to confirm that this or any other distance is appropriate and that the priority for such buffers will be ecological mitigation and enhancement for the woodland rather than the amenity of the proposed development.”

3.4.2 The advice from the Government’s statutory advisor on biodiversity, Natural England, states that:

“For ancient woodlands, you should have a buffer zone of at least 15 metres to avoid root damage. Where assessment shows other impacts are likely to extend beyond this distance, you’re likely to need a larger buffer zone.”  [4 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ancient-woodland-and-veteran-trees-protection-surveys-licences]

3.4.3 The Council has provided no justification for imposing a new starting point of 25m, which is nearly double the standard minimum requirement set out by Natural England. This increased buffer zone does not appear to have been based on any evidence. It will simply reduce the quantum of development that can be achieved on many sites, which will in turn increases the risk that additional land is likely to be required elsewhere to meet development needs. We object to this proposed buffer, and request that the standard accepted minimum distance of 15m should be stated instead.

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6777-6779 and full representation and supporting documents.

  1. Colebrooke Park Design Overview
  2. Colebrooke Park Ecology Report
  3. Colebrooke Park Heritage Report
  4. Colebrooke Park Landscape and Visual Appraisal

See also Comment No. SA_118 on the Sustainability Appraisal].

DLP_6916

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

General Observation

7.10 The Policy text in EN14 refers to ‘important trees, woodlands and hedgerows’ and goes on to list features that fall into this criterion. The last two bullet points refer to ‘important landscape or townscape trees’ and trees and hedgerows that are ‘an important contribution to green infrastructure or other important networks’. As this does not relate to those trees benefitting from TPO’s, Conservation or other kinds of protection listed in the policy text, these definitions need clarification, particularly when considered against the presumption in favour of the retention and enhancement of existing trees, woodland and hedgerow cover on site provided in the paragraph below.

7.11 Paragraph 6.164 suggests that TWBC may utilise S.106 or CIL to secure additional tree planting for visual enhancement or flood alleviation. This paragraph should be clarified as where adequate provision is made on site then no commuted payments should be sought.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1 , Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_7388

Andrew Ford

Support with conditions

We welcome increased protection for ancient woodland, and all trees and woodland but are concerned that an exception for local infrastructure projects appears to be being indicated. Local infrastructure projects should not be treated the same as national ones for the purpose of EN15, or NPPF, Para 175. The principles of sustainable development embedded in the NPPF, Para 8 are not about trading economic or social benefits for the loss of environmental ones, rather these objectives ‘need to be pursued in mutually supportive ways (so that opportunities can be taken to secure net gains across each of the different objectives)’. The bar for achieving public benefit has to be set at ‘national’, not ‘local’, as AONBs are national landscapes designated and protected for the nation.

We recommend that policy EN15 makes it clear that damage to ancient woodland and veteran trees in the AONB can only be justified under the NPPF, Para 175 where the bar to demonstrating wholly exceptional circumstances is set at proven ‘national’ benefit, not ‘local’, as AONBs are national landscapes designated and protected for the nation.

Policy EN14 refers to ‘planting’ trees on site. Not only is planting costly but it creates plastic and other waste in the countryside, and opens up the possibility of importing pests and diseases through contaminated soil and nursey stock. Ash dieback, originating in part from contaminated nursery stock and soil is currently devastating woodlands in the High weald AONB.

We recommend that EN14 favours natural regeneration which is better for biodiversity in the long term and, where planting is necessary, uses local seed where applicable from local nurseries.

DLP_8125

Ashley Saunders

General Observation

I make the following general observation on this Policy:

The Policy makes no mention of historic hedgerows and patterns which cover the Low Weald Area and have their roots from mediaeval times.

Policy EN 15: Ancient Woodland and Veteran Trees

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_996

Calverley Park Association

Support

The Calverley Park Association supports this policy as a protection against insensitive development within the Calverley Park Conservation Area that is likely to impact on the historic park and garden comprising Calverley Park which contains many trees with TPOs, including ancient and veteran trees.

DLP_1845

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

Policy Number:  EN 15 Ancient Woodland 

We strongly support this policy including the inclusion of ancient wood pasture and historic parkland within the policy.

DLP_2538
DLP_7926
DLP_3483

Mr Guy Dagger
Fiona Dagger
Sally Marsh

Object

TWBC: the standard response was submitted by the list of responders on the left:

Increased protection for ancient woodland, and all trees and woodland is welcome but an exception for local infrastructure projects appears to be being indicated. Local infrastructure projects should not be treated the same as national ones for the purpose of EN15, or NPPF, Para 175. The principles of sustainable development embedded in the NPPF, Para 8 are not about trading economic or social benefits for the loss of environmental ones, rather these objectives ‘need to be pursued in mutually supportive ways (so that opportunities can be taken to secure net gains across each of the different objectives)’. The bar for achieving public benefit has to be set at ‘national’, not ‘local’, as AONBs are national landscapes designated and protected for the nation.

Policy EN14 refers to ‘planting’ trees on site. Not only is planting costly but it creates plastic and other waste in the countryside, and opens up the possibility of importing pests and diseases through contaminated soil and nursey stock. Ash dieback, originating in part from contaminated nursery stock and soil is currently devastating woodlands in the High weald AONB. EN14 should favour natural regeneration which is better for biodiversity in the long term and, where planting is necessary, uses local seed where applicable from local nurseries.

DLP_3704

Capel Parish Council

Object

Capel Parish Council objects to this Policy for the reasons stated.

Policy EN 15 (p.402) states “Loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats, including ancient woodland and aged or veteran trees found outside ancient woodland, resulting from development proposals shall not be allowed unless there are wholly exceptional reasons

The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1) is inconsistent with this policy. The proposed developments at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1) will result in significant loss of irreplaceable habitats, including an area of Ancient Woodland within the East Capel site. There are no exceptional reasons to justify the loss and development should take place elsewhere where land is not constrained. The land safeguarded for the proposed A228 strategic transport link (Colts Hill bypass) (Policy TP 6) and the proposed link route which is to run from the proposed development at Tudeley CA1 to the Colts Hill Bypass (Five Oak Green Bypass) (SWECO Local Plan Transport Evidence Base p.138 and 142) will also result in further loss of irreplaceable habitats. Whilst a Colts Hill bypass may fall within the exceptions specified under this Policy, the Five Oak Green bypass does not. Alternatives to these schemes, including a Northern route to access the A228 nearer to East Peckham as previously suggested by Capel Parish Council, must be considered further before Regulation 19.

DLP_3819

Natural England

Support with conditions

Natural England supports the principle that development resulting in loss and deterioration of ancient woodland and veteran trees should be refused (NPPF para 175 (c)). To ensure adequate protection for ancient woodland and veteran trees in accordance with the NPPF, we recommend that the principles relating to exceptional circumstances for impacts to ancient woodland or veteran are removed. Provision of such criteria confuses the overarching level of protection afforded ancient woodland and veteran trees by the NPPF. ‘Wholly exceptional reasons’ for permitting development impacting ancient woodland and veteran trees is given in footnote 58: ‘For example, infrastructure projects (including nationally significant infrastructure projects, orders under the Transport and Works Act and hybrid bills), where the public benefit would clearly outweigh the loss or deterioration of habitat.’ The provision of additional principles promoting the demonstration of exceptional circumstances is not appropriate. It should also be noted that as irreplaceable habitats, ancient woodland and veteran trees cannot be considered in net gain calculations; loss of these habitats negates the ability of a development to provide a net gain for biodiversity.

DLP_4167

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

The word “sought” at the end of the first paragraph should be replaced with the word “required” and we would also like to see mention made of land being set aside for natural regeneration of woodland rather than only planting.

As AONBs are landscapes designated and protected for the nation, we suggest that the test for “wholly exceptional reasons” justifying development that damages ancient woodland and veteran trees in the AONB ought only to include infrastructure of national importance.

DLP_4250

Rother District Council

Support

Support

The general approach to protecting and enhancing biodiversity, including ancient woodland and veteran trees, is in line with this Council’s policies as well as with the NPPF.

DLP_4339

Environment Agency

 

Policy EN 15 Ancient Woodland and Veteran Trees

This Policy comments on irreplaceable habitats and then focusses on ancient woodland and veteran trees. Does the Council intend to identify other irreplaceable habitats which should be described in an Irreplaceable Habitats Policy to do with all of them or maintain the division, as here?

DLP_4487

Paddock Wood Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

 

Once again, ancient woodland habitats and the benefit mature trees bring cannot be replaced by planting saplings. There is no net biodiversity gain from removing established trees and woodland and replacing with young saplings.

DLP_4887

Berkeley Strategic Land Ltd

 

Policy EN15 – Ancient Woodland and Veteran Trees.

9.1 Policy states a 25m buffer to all ancient woodland or veteran trees. A 25m buffer exceeds current Natural England standing advice of 15m, for which there is no policy justification. Placing an excessive buffer around the edge of ancient woodland, leads to large areas becoming undevelopable. This policy should be altered to accord with Natural England advice. Up to 15 metres would still be absent from all development. This will allow sites to be better utilised and maintain the required density which could otherwise prove unachievable.

DLP_4922

Woodland Trust

 

Policy EN15 – Ancient woodland and veteran trees.

We welcome the recognition in Section 6.80 given to the importance of ancient woodland and the role that local planning policy plays in safeguarding this irreplaceable natural asset. We welcome the inclusion of a specific policy to protect ancient woodland and veteran trees.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (paragraph 175c) states: “When determining planning applications, local planning authorities should apply the following principles: …… c) development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats (such as ancient woodland and ancient or veteran trees) should be refused, unless there are wholly exceptional reasons and a suitable compensation strategy exists”.

We recognise and welcome that the draft policy is closely based on the wording recommended by the Woodland Trust. We would further recommend amending the wording of the latter part of the draft policy to clarify the principles as they apply to site allocation and to site development as follows:

Where development proposals may affect ancient woodlands, including translocated woodlands (translocated ancient woodlands will be treated the same as if they are ancient woodland), veteran trees, and their immediate surroundings, the following principles shall be used to guide both site selection and the design of development:

1. Avoidance of harm; and

2. Provision of unequivocal evidence of need and benefits of the proposed development; and

3. Provision of biodiversity net gain; and for the design of development:

4. Establishment of the likelihood and type of any impacts; and

5. Implementation of appropriate and adequate mitigation, compensation, and management measures that respect the features and characteristics of the veteran trees and/or ancient woodland; and

6. Provision of adequate buffers; and

7. Provision of adequate evidence to support development proposals.

DLP_5208

Culverden Residents Association

Support

We strongly support this policy including the inclusion of ancient wood pasture and historic parkland within the policy. This is relevant to our adjacent farm land at Smockham and Caenwood and to the parkland setting of nearby Salomons estate.

DLP_5259

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support with conditions

Policy Number:  EN 15 Ancient Woodland and Veteran Trees

We are satisfied that loss or deterioration of irreplaceable ancient woodland and veteran trees will not normally be allowed but would like the policy to make explicit that TWBC would initially seek to object to any development.

We would like the seven guiding principles to be redefined as ‘criteria to be met’.

DLP_5812

Weald of Kent Protection Society

Object

Policy EN 15 Ancient Woodland and Veteran Trees — WKPS supports this policy.

DLP_5915

Sarah Hamilton

Support with conditions

I have now seen submissions from the Parishes and Town in my Division and have just sent you a contribution from Lamberhurst residents.

As you are aware I am triple hatted (Paddock Wood East) and  have discussed my position with the TWBC Monitoring officer.

You will have received many detailed responses which I don’t need to add to. We have already discussed many topics. They include flood risk, roads, rural transport and distribution networks as well as future demands in terms of the nature and  location of employment and uncertainty of retail.

As you know I  have raised these issues with you and your team concerning the whole Division and would not wish to add to that in terms of repetition but  would like to emphasise the following:

EN 12,  14, 15 Preservation of trees, biodiversity and environment is I believe becoming more robust through policy but there is room to strengthen amenity value for trees and hedges and specify what it means contextually. Does it refer to species or pollinators that might be involved for example  (EN14 8b?). Sites that have become overgrown having not been completed are a risk to species that become established as a result (can this be addressed by policy?)  and it would be good to see more direct reference to birds in context of trees / hedgerows as well as stronger emphasis on trees related to flood risk.

[TWBC: see Comment Nos. DLP_5913-5925].

DLP_6077

Laura Rowland

Object

Policy Number: EN14 and EN15 Tress and Woodlands

Increased protection for ancient woodland, and all trees and woodland is welcome but an exception for local infrastructure projects appears to be being indicated. Local infrastructure projects should not be treated the same as national ones for the purpose of EN15, or NPPF, Para 175. The principles of sustainable development embedded in the NPPF, Para 8 are not about trading economic or social benefits for the loss of environmental ones, rather these objectives ‘need to be pursued in mutually supportive ways (so that opportunities can be taken to secure net gains across each of the different objectives)’. The bar for achieving public benefit has to be set at ‘national’, not ‘local’, as AONBs are national landscapes designated and protected for the nation.

Policy EN14 refers to ‘planting’ trees on site. Not only is planting costly but it creates plastic and other waste in the countryside, and opens up the possibility of importing pests and diseases through contaminated soil and nursey stock. Ash dieback, originating in part from contaminated nursery stock and soil is currently devastating woodlands in the High weald AONB. EN14 should favour natural regeneration which is better for biodiversity in the long term and, where planting is necessary, uses local seed where applicable from local nurseries.

DLP_6917

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

Support with conditions

7.12 The policy refers to ‘ancient wood pasture’ which is not standard terminology and not defined in the Draft Local Plan Glossary nor in NPPF/PPG. This reference should be deleted or clarified.

7.13 Paragraph 6.160 states TWBC assume a 25m buffer to be applied around the woodland. This buffer exceeds standing advice for ancient woodland which advocates `a buffer zone of at least 15m to avoid root damage. Where assessment shows other impacts are likely to extend beyond this distance, you’re likely to need a larger buffer zone`. The supporting text should be amended to reflect standing advice. Policy EN15 also duplicates elements of EN14 and therefore for clarification the policies should be merged in order for the Local Plan to be consistent with paragraph 16 of the NPPF.

7.14 Whilst we support the provision of policies to protect important trees and the policy is considered ‘sound’, the supporting text should be amended to remove reference to the 25m buffer as this has not been justified.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1, Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_7390

Andrew Ford

Support with conditions

We welcome increased protection for ancient woodland, and all trees and woodland but are concerned that an exception for local infrastructure projects appears to be being indicated. Local infrastructure projects should not be treated the same as national ones for the purpose of EN15, or NPPF, Para 175. The principles of sustainable development embedded in the NPPF, Para 8 are not about trading economic or social benefits for the loss of environmental ones, rather these objectives ‘need to be pursued in mutually supportive ways (so that opportunities can be taken to secure net gains across each of the different objectives)’. The bar for achieving public benefit has to be set at ‘national’, not ‘local’, as AONBs are national landscapes designated and protected for the nation.

We recommend that policy EN15 makes it clear that damage to ancient woodland and veteran trees in the AONB can only be justified under the NPPF, Para 175 where the bar to demonstrating wholly exceptional circumstances is set at proven ‘national’ benefit, not ‘local’, as AONBs are national landscapes designated and protected for the nation.

Policy EN14 refers to ‘planting’ trees on site. Not only is planting costly but it creates plastic and other waste in the countryside, and opens up the possibility of importing pests and diseases through contaminated soil and nursey stock. Ash dieback, originating in part from contaminated nursery stock and soil is currently devastating woodlands in the High weald AONB.

We recommend that EN14 favours natural regeneration which is better for biodiversity in the long term and, where planting is necessary, uses local seed where applicable from local nurseries.

DLP_7949

Wendy Owen

Object

Any development of site 137 would not be compatible with this policy because it would result in the loss of veteran trees which are outside of protected ancient woodland. On investigation, we identified at least two ‘valuable’ oaks i.e. >4.7m girth, and at least seven ‘potentially interesting’ oaks i.e. >3.2m girth. The policy says “development proposals shall not be allowed unless there are wholly exceptional reasons”. No case has been made for the exceptional circumstances that necessitate their loss.

DLP_8126

Ashley Saunders

Object

I objects to this Policy for the reasons stated.

Policy EN 15 (p.402) states “Loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats, including ancient woodland and aged or veteran trees found outside ancient woodland, resulting from development proposals shall not be allowed unless there are wholly exceptional reasons

The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1) is inconsistent with this policy. The proposed developments at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1) will result in significant loss of irreplaceable habitats, including an area of Ancient Woodland within the East Capel site. There are no exceptional reasons to justify the loss and development should take place elsewhere where land is not constrained. The land safeguarded for the proposed A228 strategic transport link (Colts Hill bypass) (Policy TP 6) and the proposed link route which is to run from the proposed development at Tudeley CA1 to the Colts Hill Bypass (Five Oak Green Bypass) (SWECO Local Plan Transport Evidence Base p.138 and 142) will also result in further loss of irreplaceable habitats. Whilst a Colts Hill bypass may fall within the exceptions specified under this Policy, the Five Oak Green bypass does not. Alternatives to these schemes, including a Northern route to access the A228 nearer to East Peckham as previously suggested by Capel Parish Council, must be considered further before Regulation 19.

Policy EN 16: Green, Grey, and Blue Infrastructure

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1600

Maggie Fenton

Object

Policy EN16 Green, grey & blue infrastructure

Re-instatement of historic field patterns and hedgerows

Re instatement means the hedgrows etc are no longer historic so become valueless!

DLP_1846

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

Policy Number:  EN 16 Green, Grey and Blue infrastructure 

We support this policy and hope it will lead to a programme of street tree planting in appropriate parts of the RTW urban area financed by Sec 106 contributions. Trees contribute to health and wellbeing of residents and mitigate the effects of atmospheric pollution.

DLP_3705

Capel Parish Council

General Observation

Capel Parish Council makes the following general observation on this Policy:

Policy EN 16 (p.403) states “Opportunities for green (and grey and blue) infrastructure should have regard to other relevant policies for landscape, heritage, biodiversity, and trees and include, but are not limited to: (e) Reinstatement of historic field patterns and hedgerows

Reinstatement means the hedgerows etc. are no longer historic so become valueless!

DLP_3820

Natural England

Support with conditions

In order to strengthen the policy and better ensure positive outcomes, the following amendments are suggested:

Development proposals will be expected to identify and protect existing green, grey, and blue infrastructure and identify maximise opportunities for new infrastructure where it which supports climate change adaptation and ecosystem services, and where it makes a positive contribution to strengthening and restoring a healthy and integrated network of habitats and green spaces for the benefit of nature, people, and the economy. 

It is acknowledged that green, grey and blue infrastructure can be multifunctional, and indeed we promote multifunctional features to secure maximum benefits for people and nature. However, we question whether ‘improved connections for people’ in their own right would be considered as green, grey or blue infrastructure. It may be beneficial to clarify or further explain the form of these connections to ensure truly multifunctional features are included in development.

The Green Infrastructure Framework acknowledges that GI provision is more effective where it can support and add to existing GI and protected/notable areas such as important wildlife corridors like rivers or existing designated sites such as LNRs, or where it can support strategic initiatives. To promote the importance of well-connected GI, we recommend that the policy wording is updated to reflect the priorities identified in the GI Framework, namely the importance of connectivity.

DLP_4168

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support

CPRE supports this policy

DLP_4340

Environment Agency

 

Policy EN 16 Green, Grey, and Blue Infrastructure

Sub-section 6 refers to River catchment management plans. This looks like a compilation of “River Basin Management Plans” and “Catchment flood management plans”. For the purposes of biodiversity and Blue/Green Infrastructure, the policy should (probably) refer to the former.

Section c. gives the meaning of the abbreviation SuDS as “Sustainable Drainage Systems”. On page 243, the abbreviation, given as SUDs is not defined and on page 394 sustainable urban drainage is abbreviated at SuDs.

Sustainable Drainage Systems should be abbreviated as SuDS. Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems, a type of SuDS, should be SUDS.

DLP_4924

Woodland Trust

 

Policy EN 16 Green, Grey, and Blue Infrastructure

We welcome this policy, including the recognition of the value of woodlands, hedgerows and street trees

DLP_5209

Culverden Residents Association

Support

We support this policy and hope it will lead to a programme of street tree planting in appropriate parts of our area. Trees are important to the health and wellbeing of residents and help to mitigate the effects of atmospheric pollution. We should be happy to work with TWBC to identify the most appropriate locations and species for tree planting.

DLP_5260

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support

Policy Number:  EN 16 Green, Grey, and Blue Infrastructure 

We strongly support this policy and hope it will lead to an increase of green infrastructure (trees and wildflower verges) also in urban areas.

DLP_6157

Turley for Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd

 

The words ‘protect existing’ contradict the effectiveness of Policy EN14 which adopts a more appropriate, effective and practical approach to existing features. Whilst it may be desirable to retain and where possible enhance existing features as part of a development, some may be better replaced and enhanced in the form of new features on or offsite as part of a comprehensive approach to development. Suggest these words be revised to be consistent with Policy EN14 and others that instil the required flexibility to be effective and endure the plan period.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting document A, supporting document B, supporting document C, and supporting document D]. 

DLP_6918

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

General Observation

7.15 Policy EN 16 requires that development identifies and protects existing green, grey, and blue infrastructure; and identify opportunities for new infrastructure where it makes a positive contribution to strengthening and restoring a healthy and integrated network of habitats and green spaces for the benefit of nature, people, and the economy. Whilst we support the aspirations of this policy, it reads more as guidance than as a policy. It does not leave the decision maker clear on how the policy should be applied. We therefore suggest that this policy is reviewed in order to ensure it better complies with the requirements of NPPF (para 16 (c)).

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1 , Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_8127

Ashley Saunders

General Observation

I makes the following general observation on this Policy:

Policy EN 16 (p.403) states “Opportunities for green (and grey and blue) infrastructure should have regard to other relevant policies for landscape, heritage, biodiversity, and trees and include, but are not limited to: (e) Reinstatement of historic field patterns and hedgerows

Reinstatement means the hedgerows etc. are no longer historic so become valueless!

Policy EN 17: Local Green Space

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_537

Councillor Frank Williams

EN17 and EN18

Both are welcome reinforcements of the current position. Open space is needed to promote the discrete area of green fields between the settlements of Sherwood (Tunbridge Wells) and Pembury.

DLP_717

Mrs Jane Fenwick

Object

I object to this policy not being applied to public parks and common land

“2.6 In addition, the following key sites which are either Council-owned or Common Land are not to be designated as Local Green Space as they are well known and sufficiently protected: Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Common; Southborough Common; The Grove; Grosvenor and Hilbert Park; Dunorlan Park; and Calverley Grounds.”

The TWBC’s actions in proposing the Calverley Square scheme which would have caused major permanent and temporary damage to Calverley Grounds clearly shows that Council-owned land is not ‘sufficiently protected.’ None of the trees in Calverley Grounds is covered by TPOs which would have provided some protection to the 70 trees which the Borough Council planned to fell.

DLP_992

Calverley Park Association

Object

Site number AS 81, Calverley Park

The National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) explains that Local Green Space designation aims to protect sites of local community importance from future development.  “Designation is a way to provide special protection against development for green areas of particular importance to local communities.” It also states that “if land is already protected by designation, then consideration should be given to whether any additional local benefit would be gained by designation as Local Green Space”.

Historic England’s listing criteria for Historic Parks and Gardens, specifies that “all sites included on the Register of Parks and Gardens must hold a level of significance defined as ‘special historic’ interest in a national context.” Calverley Park is so listed as Grade II.

We therefore oppose designation of Calverley Park as a Local Green Space becausethis designation is not intended to cover nationally important sites that are already wholly protected by alternative designations. 

Calverley Park’s existing protection from the threat of future development includes:

  1. Listing on the Historic England 'Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England' as Grade II. (An application for a higher listing has been lodged with Historic England.)
  2. Calverley Park Conservation Area as designated by TWBC.
  3. Paragraph 194 of the National Planning Policy Framework states that “Any harm to, or loss of, the significance of a designated heritage asset (from its alteration or destruction, or from development within its setting), should require clear and convincing justification. Substantial harm to or loss of: a) Grade II listed buildings, or Grade II Registered Park or Garden, should be exceptional; b) assets of the highest significance, notably ……… Grade I and II* listed buildings, Grade I and II* Registered Parks and Gardens, and World Heritage Sites, should be wholly exceptional.” Calverley Park includes 27 Grade II* listed buildings within a Grade II Park setting. It is a nationally important example of late Regency town planning where equal emphasis was placed on the landscape and the buildings. Any development within this setting would have to meet the “wholly exceptional” test of paragraph 194 above.
  1. TWBC policies in the Draft Local Plan including EN6 Historic Environment, EN7 Heritage Assets,  EN 11 Net Gains for Nature: biodiversity,   EN 12 Protection of Designated Sites and Habitats, EN 14 Trees, Woodlands, Hedges, and Development,  EN 15 Ancient Woodland and Veteran Trees, EN 18 Landscape within the Built Environment and EN19 Arcadian Areas . In particular policies EN 14 and EN15, offer very relevant protections to the parkland. Calverley Park contains a large number of veteran oak trees as defined by Natural England. Paragraph 175 of the NPPF gives the same protection to habitats with veteran trees as it does to ancient woodland. The parkland has not been cultivated or grazed in the last 200 years. Unimproved grassland of this type is usually the most species rich, as most wildflowers grow best where soil nutrient levels are low. It is now a relatively rare habitat: the last ecological assessment described the grassland of the Park as “a remarkable survival from the early 19th century and therefore precious in conservation and ecological terms”. The High Weald ANOB, shows Calverley Park as a "wildflower meadow" on its map of features which contribute to the character of the ANOB. Kent County Council’s Priority Habitat survey also shows part of the Park as a “grassland of importance”.
  2. The Local Green Space Assessment recognises that Calverley Park as of “particular local significance because of its richness of wildlife.” But it goes on to incorrectly describe the Park as “an important open space used by the local community for informal recreational activities (e.g. walking, dog walking, etc.). This is completely wrong and contrary to the successful management of this space. To keep the nutrient levels low, residents are required to ensure that they bag and remove any dog faeces.  Unfortunately, non-residents usually do not and, for this reason, signs at both ends of the Park make it clear that visitors may not bring dogs into the Park. To be clear, Calverley Park is not available for “dog walking” by members of the public.
  3. The parkland gains further protection through being owned by The Calverley Park Trust whose objects require "good husbandry of the mature rural landscape of the Park … [and] a programme of planting for the future emulating where possible the style and species instigated by Burton in the 1830's". Management of the Park is by the Calverley Park Association whose programme includes provisions for the maintenance and enhancement of its rich wildlife and unimproved grassland. There is no public right of way through the Park and its gates are closed every Sunday afternoon and all day on Good Friday.  At other times the general public is welcome to walk through the Park, providing that they keep to the carriageway or the main path across the parkland.  To protect the grassland, the parkland is not available for picnicking or other general “informal recreational activities”. This limited footfall preserves the tranquility of the parkland and its importance as a wildlife habitat.  

EN17 may provide valuable protection from development to those areas without any other protection.  However, the approach taken to treat all such open spaces as if they had no other protection either by their owners or in law, has given rise to errors and inconsistencies.

As a result, The Calverley Park Association and the The Calverley Park Trust object to the proposed Local Green Space designation for Calverley Park as it is a site of national importance and is already more than adequately protected (see above).  We request that Calverley Park’s designation as a ‘Local Green Space’ be removed together with its entry in the Local Green Space Assessment since this is incorrect and potentially damaging to this delicate and historic ecology. This document also erroneously called Calverley Park, “Calverley Park East” which is an incorrect name and should also be removed.

DLP_1847

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support with conditions

Policy Number:  EN 17 Local Green Space 

We strongly support the inclusion of all eligible sites across the Borough and welcome the added protection that designation as a Local Green Space will bring for those designated following the Draft Local Green Space assessments and ongoing consultations. These spaces are of particular value in relation to health and wellbeing of residents in the densely populated urban area of RTW.

We understand that public parks such as Dunorlan and Calverley Grounds do not fall within the category of Local Green Spaces and believe that they, and any individual trees within them, should enjoy equivalent protection to that given to Local Green Spaces.

DLP_1990

J Fennings, S Tully & A Fowler

Object

Draft Local Plan - Regulation 18 Consultation

Objection to Policy EN 17 Local Green Space and to the Designation of Site Number 20 - Woodland North of Wish Court, Matfield as Local Green Space.

We are three sisters who jointly own this area of land you have earmarked as a potential Local Green Space. Your proposals have been explained to us.

Our family has owned this land for many years, our father having run a nursery before we decided to close it down. We are both shocked and horrified that we as landowners should suddenly have a proposal from your Council that we should allow public access over our land. Whilst we are aware that some fencing and boundary walling has been vandalised in recent years, we confirm that the public are not permitted on the land whatsoever. We have no intention of permitting public access in the future.

At no time has your Council, the Parish Council, or indeed any local residents, ever considered it 'special'. Indeed, we know that the land was earmarked for a new replacement school in recent years.

We therefore strongly object to your proposed designation of Site Number 20 a Local Green Space.

DLP_8396

Mr Raymond Moon

Object

Policy EN17.OBJECT. Local Green spaces.

As part of the Draft local plan with the proposed 4,000 houses it is suggested that a number of green open spaces are provided to protect the status of PW and the surrounding villages. Restrictions should be provided to ensure these green open places ( GOP) are protected. The question is who will pay for the maintenance of these GOP?

DLP_1999

E G Simpson

Object

Calverley Square Project: Despite the fact that this will not proceed - thank goodness - the full details of the project and the map showing the extent of its impact on Calverley Grounds, however, is still in the Draft Local Plan which implies that any future developer COULD expect that large parts of Calverley Grounds are also available for development. Thus AL/RTW1 should be totally removed.

Local Green Space No. AS81, Calverley Park: The Local Green Space Assessment describes the Park as "an important open space used by the local community for informal recreational activities (e.g. walking, dog walking etc.)". THIS IS COMPLETELY WRONG. It is clearly time for The Planning Policy Team (and the BBC South East Team of broadcasters) to understand, clearly, the difference between Calverley Park and Calverley Grounds.

Signs at both ends of the Park state "Residents' Dogs Only". See attached photographs of the signs displayed.  Thus, Calverley Park (NOT "CALVERLEY PARK EAST" - which is an incorrect title) is not available for "dog walking" by members of the public. Management of the Park is by the Calverley Park Association whose programme includes provisions for the maintenance and enhancement of its rich wildlife and unimproved grassland.  Contrary to public opinion and assumption, there is NO public right of way through the Park and its gates are closed every Sunday afternoon and all day on Good Friday. At other times, the general public are welcome to walk through the Park providing that they keep to the carriageway or the main path across the parkland.  In order to protect the grassland, the parkland is NOT available for picnicking or other general "informal recreational activities". Thus Calverley Park's designation as a "Local Green Space" should be totally removed, together with its entry in the Local Green Space Assessment since this is incorrect and potentially damaging to this delicate and historic ecology.

[TWBC: see Image 1, image 2 and image 3].

DLP_2744

John Thompson

Object

Policy EN17

While not objecting to the policy in principle, as a representative of Town and Country Housing, the owner of the site, we object to the designation of Site 110 as a Local Green Space, described as 'verge around Murton-Neale Close'.

This is not a verge, it is the communal gardens for the block of flats the area surrounds, called Camerons. The site assessment says that this is used by local children as a safe place to play, but if so this is without permission.

The area is clearly private property, and the grassed areas signed as not to be walked over. It is not a safe area, being almost entirely surrounded by roads, and enclosing the private car park for the block. Large parts of the area identified on the relevant plan are walled off or planted with shrubs as part of the communal planting for the block.

I note that the council's own inspector rejected this area for designation. Designation would suggest that any existing unauthorised usage was acceptable, and restrict our ability to keep the area for the private enjoyment of the residents of the block as intended.

Any designation would also restrict our ability to redevelop the site in future to provide much needed social housing in the village.

DLP_2807

M Davis

 

Whilst in favour of having a policy in relation to Local Green Space (LGS) and appreciative of the effort made in assessing potential sites, I believe there are a number of inconsistensies in the Council's LGS Designation Methodology and in the way that methodology has been applied in the LGS Assessment.

Paragraph 2.4 of the Methodology correctly notes that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states "if land is already protected by designation then consideration should be given to whether any additional local benefit would be gained by designation as Local Green Space".

However, the Council's interpretation of this NPPF guidance appears rather confused. Some types of site are arbitrarily excluded from assessment and others are proposed as LGS, despite already benefiting from a higher level of protection under the NPPF than that afforded to LGS or the Green Belt.

Paragraph 2.5 of the Methodology excludes various types of site from consideration for designation as LGS. Common land and Village/ Town grees are protected by separate legislation. Ancient woodland and SSSI's are protected specifically under the NPPF, but Local Nature Reserves are not. It also excludes National Trust, Woodland Trust and Forestry Commission owned sites, although, for example, not all land owned by the National Trust necessarily receives similar protection under the NPPF.

Paragraph 2.6 of the Methodology goes on to exclude from designation as LGS, various specific sites owned by the Council on the basis that "they are well known and sufficently protected". Being "well known" does not provide any protection under the NPPF, nor does ownership by a local council. The basis on which they are considered to be "adequately protected" should be included in the Assessment.

The approach to Heritage Assets is also inconsistent. These receive proetction under section 16 of the NPPF, paragaph 194 of which makes it clear that protection extends to "development within the setting of a designated heritage asset". The Assessment recognises that Lamberhurst and Groombridge churchyards are the setting for Grade I listed buildings, yet ignores the greater protection they already receive under the NPPF and proposes to designate them as LGS. The same comment applies to a number of other churchyards include in the Assessment.

The Assessment is similarly inconsistent in its treatment of sites included on the Historic England 'Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England' as being of national importance.  The NPPG explains that Local Green Space designation aims to protect sites of local community importance.  It is not intended that nationally important sites, which are already wholly protected by alternative designations, be also designated for local purposes.

The Assessment includes some, but not all, of such sites in the Borough. These include some sites which are only partly listed or partly ancient woodland. In a number of cases the Assessment concludes that the site is adequately protected by other designations, despite the fact that it is only partially so. No consideration appears to have been given to designating as LGS the part not currently protected.

In contrast, Calverley Park which is entirely listed, is the setting for 27 Grade II* listing buildings and contains a large number of veteran trees (which have the same protection as ancient woodland) is not considered to be adequately protected by other designations and is therefore proposed as a LGS. Given that any development in this setting would have to meet the “wholly exceptional” criteria of paragraph 194 of the NPPF, it is entirely inconsistent for the Assessment to conclude that some partly listed sites are adequately protected by other designations, but that Calverley Park is not.

The methodology should be improved by a consistent approach to excluding from the proposed LGS designation, wildlife habitats and heritage assets which are already designated and adequately protected under the NPPF.  Further consideration should also be given to partly designated sites and separately assessing for LGS the part not yet designated.

This will ensure that the Assessment focuses on those sites which the NPPF sought to address – smaller sites of importance to a local community, but not widely recognised as such, which therefore need the additional protection from development that local plans can provide.

DLP_3372

Kent County Council (Growth, Environment and Transport)

 

Strategic and Corporate Services

Rusthalll Green Space – Site Number 226

The Rusthall Remote Playing Field (MUGA) for St Pauls School, Edward Street, Rusthall has been combined with the neighbouring land (adjacent to Colbran Way) to form Site 226 “Rusthall Green Space”. The County Council does not think it is appropriate to combine the land with the neighbouring open space adjacent to Colbran Way. KCC acknowledges that the parcels of land that make up Site 226 are in close proximity to the community served and that neither area is extensive. The County Council is not comfortable that there is adequate evidence offered to support the NPPF requirement for it to be “demonstrably special” and hold “particular local significance” to the local community.

The County Council considers that Rusthall MUGA does not meet the tests set for a Local Green Spaces designation in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) paragraph 100, and therefore should not be allocated as a Local Green Space within the Local Plan.

DLP_3503

High Weald AONB Unit

Support with conditions

Policy Number:  EN17 and EN18 

We recommend that the remains of commons and greens, which are characteristic of small Wealden settlements, are identified and protected under greenspace policies.  

DLP_3773

Martin Robeson Planning Practice for Tesco Stores Ltd

Object

Policy EN17 – Local Green Space (objection)

Arising out of the removal of the remaining parts of site AL/PE7 from the Green Belt, the Council is proposing to designate land between Tesco’s car park and Pembury Road as ‘Local Green Space’ to which the objectives of Policy EN17 would then apply.

Tesco strongly objects to the inclusion of this land as Local Green Space (LGS) on the basis: (a) it fails the relevant NPPF tests for designation (as amplified by the NPPG); (b) is already the subject of important protections (eg, TPO); and (c) there exist other more appropriate policy tools.

The tests for designating LGS are set out at Paragraph 100 of the NPPF, with further guidance in the NPPG. The Council has in turn established its own criteria for designation (July 2019). The proposal (Site 190 – ‘Green Space adjacent to Tesco Superstore Pembury’) arises as the area is said to be “…of important visual amenity and contributes to the character/setting of the settlement”. However, such considerations do not fulfil the relevant NPPF criteria or the criteria identified by the Council in terms of being “…demonstrably special to the local community”. Indeed, the site is not beautiful (currently occupied by a dilapidated dwelling, access and woodland), is not of local historic significance, has no recreational value (private land, with no public access), is not tranquil (located between the A228 and Tesco car park) or rich in wildlife.

Guidance at NPPG Paragraph 37-019-20140306 encourages local planning authorities to engage with owners of private land at an early stage in the identification of candidate LGS. Tesco is not aware of any communication regarding the proposal to designate the land here and would encourage this at the earliest opportunity.

Furthermore, NPPG Paragraph 37-017-20140306 confirms that where there is no public access to LGS, they are only to be designated “…because of their wildlife, historic significance and/or beauty”. Clearly, none of these aspects apply to the land here.

Tesco acknowledges that the tree belt here contributes to the wooded character of the southern side of Pembury Road, which to some extent screens the existing supermarket and car park. Tesco wishes to remind the Council that these trees are already the subject of an extensive group TPO, stretching from the north-bound junction of the A21/Pembury Road to the Pembury Road/Tunbridge Road/High Street junction and taking-in the full width of the tree belt. This offers substantial protection of the existing trees and negates much of the purpose of the proposed LGS designation.

If, despite this, the Council continues to seek further protection, then there is logic in extending the existing EN22 designation (currently including land between the store and Pembury High Street), towards the Pembury Road frontage under policy EN18. Indeed, on the basis the Council identifies the woodland here as being of ‘important visual amenity’, then a policy which explicitly aims to protect important landscapes within the built environment is evidently more appropriate, and dovetails with Tesco and Hendy’s suggestion elsewhere that the limits to built development should be consistent with the area allocated by Policy AL/PE7.

DLP_3960

Ide Planning for Paddock Wood Town Council

Object

OBJECT (holding objection)

A number of local green spaces are proposed borough wide including Paddock Wood. The Town Council wishes to designate sites in its forthcoming Neighbourhood Plan.

DLP_4169

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

In this policy, the word “or” at the end of paragraphs 1 and 2 should be replaced with “and”.

The remains of greens and commons, which are a historic feature of the AONB landscape, should be identified and protected under local greenspace policies.

DLP_4417

Horsmonden Kindergarten

Object

Section 6 Development Management Policies, Natural Environment

EN17 Local Green Space – Proposed Site – 137 Locket Green

While the other comments in this letter have been made in a personal capacity the following comment encompasses the views of all the staff and committee members at Horsmonden Kindergarten.

As the Chair of Horsmonden Kindergarten I have been advised that Site 137, Locket Green, has been designated as a Local Green Space. I understand that this means it will be protected from development unless the development will enhance its existing use.  The committee and staff at Kindergarten would support this proposal as it forms the outside space for the village Kindergarten and was bequeathed in trust from the Francis Austin Memorial Trust many years ago for the benefit of the children of the village.

DLP_4433

Town and Country Planning Solutions for Gleeson Strategic Land

Object

Paragraph Numbers 6.172-6.176 Policy EN 17 Local Green Space

  1. These representations on behalf of Gleeson Strategic Land (Gleeson) relate to Draft Policy EN17 (Local Green Space) of the Tunbridge Wells Local Plan published on 20th September 2019. Gleeson has an interest in land known as ‘Sandown Park’ located on the northern side of the A264 Pembury Road immediately adjoining the built up limits of Royal Tunbridge Wells (RTW) on the eastern edge of the town. This land (the ‘Gleeson land’) is shown as a proposed ‘Local Green Space’ (site no. 217) on Inset Map 2 of the Plan’s draft Proposals Map.
  2. The land at Sandown Park has been the subject of a number of representations by Gleeson following the publication of the Council’s previous ‘Site Allocations Development Plan Document: Site Templates Green Belt and Rural Fringes Supporting Information’ published in February 2015. In the Document, the Gleeson land was identified as site number 291. The land was also promoted by Gleeson for housing purposes at the Site Allocations Local Plan Examination in November 2015 (Representation no. SAL-S-732).
  3. Subsequently, Gleeson also submitted representations in response to the Council’s Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) ‘Draft Interim Report’ published in April 2017. Further supporting documents were prepared and submitted to the Council as part of a ‘pre application’ advice request by Gleeson on 2nd March 2018 (Appendix 1) to which the Council provided a written response on 9th May 2018 (Appendix 2). While this consultation was through the Council’s ‘pre-application advice service’, it was made clear that the submissions were associated with the emerging Local Plan seeking the potential allocation of the land for housing purposes and for informal recreation. An illustrative masterplan (revised to take account of the comments contained in the Council’s pre-application response and subsequent consultations with the Highway Authority) is contained in Appendix 3 attached. While the Council’s response stated that “At present, given the Green Belt status and site constraints, it is unlikely that the Local Planning Authority would support housing development on this site”, it made no reference to any site significance as a potential ‘Local Green Space’. Thus, notwithstanding Gleeson’s extensive consultations with the Council dating back to 2015, the current draft proposal to designate the land as Local Green Space under the provisions of draft Policy EN17 has come completely out-of-the-blue and appears to be aimed as seeking to frustrate the potential for that part of the land (some 3 hectares) located closest to the existing settlement boundary, from being released from the Green Belt to provide some 78 – 80 dwellings in one of the most sustainable locations on the Borough.
  4. Gleeson objects to draft Policy EN17 not only in relation to the proposed allocation of the Sandown Park land as Local Green Space, but also object to draft Policy EN17 in its entirety as being contrary to paragraph 35 of the National Planning Policy Framework in being not positively proposed, justified, effective or consistent with national policy to promote sustainable development.
  5. Gleeson’s concerns and objections are set out in detail in the ‘Local Green Space Assessment‘ (dated October 2019) prepared by consultants The Environmental Dimension Partnership Ltd. (EDP) reproduced in Appendix 4, which should be considered as part of these representations. The EDP Assessment examines the Council’s two supporting documents; the ‘draft Local Green Space Assessment’ (dLGSA) and Local Green Space Designation Methodology (LGSDM) having regard in particular, policy and advice contained in the National Planning Policy Framework and National Planning Practice Guidance documents. Paragraph 99 of the NPPF confirms that Local Green Space can be designated through local and neighbourhood plans and “allows communities to identify and protect green areas of particular importance to them”, but this should be “consistent with local plans of suitable developments and complement investment in sufficient homes, jobs and other essential services”.
  6. Paragraph 100 and 101 of the NPPF add however, that; “100. The Local Green Space designation should only be used where the green
    space is:
    a) In reasonably close proximity to the community it serves;
    b) Demonstrably special to a local community and holds a particular local significance, for example because of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value (including as a playing field), tranquillity or richness of its wildlife: and
    c) Local in character and is not an extensive tract of land.

101. Policies for managing development within a Local Green Space should be consistent with those for Green Belts”.

8. Appendix EDP 2b of the EDP Local Green Space Assessment contains extracts of the NPPG guidance relating to LGS designation. This includes;

  • “a means to provide special protection against development for green areas of particular importance to local community..” … “where those
    spaces are demonstrably special to the local community”.
  • “in particular, plans must identify sufficient land in suitable locations to meet development needs and the Local Green Space designations
    should not be used in a way that undermines this aim of plan making”.
  • “if land is already protected by Green Belt Policy… then consideration should be given to whether any additional local benefit would be gained by designation as Local Green Space”.
  • “… the local planning authority… should contact land owners at an early stage about proposals to designate any part of their land as Local Green Space…” and
  • “if the features that make a green area special and locally significant are to be conserved, how it will be managed in the future is likely to be as important consideration".

9. For the detailed reasons set out in the EDP Assessment (Appendix 4), the Council’s proposal to designate the Gleeson land as Local Green Space fails the second of the three combined tests for designation set out in paragraph 100 of the NPPF and directly conflicts with all the NPPG guidance set out above

10. The Council has provided no evidence that the Gleeson land is ‘demonstrably special to the local community’ sufficient to justify Local Green Space designation. It is clear that from the schedule on page 94 of the Council’s dLGSA, that the proposed designation of the Gleeson land (proposed Local Green Space site no. 217) has (together with many others) not come about through any approach by the local community, but has instead resulted from an “in-office suggestion” (no doubt as a response to the previous Gleeson consultations to seek to release part of the land for housing purposes).

11. The dLGSA schedule acknowledges that the site is already subject to Green Belt policy, but makes no mention that part of the land is also within a designated conservation area and the Council’s ‘Demonstrably Special’ assessment is weak and refers only to its claimed visual amenity importance contributing to the character and approach to the settlement. Not only is this justification for designation at odds with the national policy and guidance, but also this is not a specific criteria for any such Local Green Space assessment listed in Table 2 of Appendix 1 of the Council’s LGSDM, meaning that the Council has not followed its own methodology in selecting this site as Local Green Space.

12. Of the assessment criteria listed on the Council’s Assessment Form with the LGSDM, none are relevant for Local Green Space designation of the Gleeson land. As regards ’Beauty’, the land is not within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (contrary to what is erroneously stated in the Council’s latest SHELAA for Site 99); the land is not of any ‘Historical significance’ as in the form proposed in the Gleeson Masterplan (Appendix 3) there would be no harmful impact upon any historic assets; the land has no ‘Recreational value’ as there is no public access or recreational use; the land has no ‘Tranquillity’, as it is immediately adjacent to the RTW built up area and A264 Pembury Road and the ecology reports submitted to the Council previously confirm that the land has no specific significance for ‘Wildlife’.

13. In line with the NPPG guidance, paragraphs 2.11 and 4.7 of the Council’s LGSDM emphasises that landowners will be contacted at an “early stage” and “prior to the Plan first being made publically available” i.e. prior to the start of the draft Local Plan consultation period that commenced on 20th September 2019. Notwithstanding the previous extensive consultations with the Council about the potential release of part of the Green Belt land for housing purposes (with complementary arrangements set aside for retaining adjoining land within the Green Belt with landscape planting and with future management as informal recreation open space), the Council has made no advanced contact with Gleeson about the proposed Local Green Space designation, which was only known about at the time the draft Plan was published.

14. Perhaps most fundamentally of all, the Council has provided no soundly based assessment as to why Local Green Space designation is necessary given that the land already has Green Belt policy protection. The failure to note the Green Belt status of land is a serious omission and flaw in the Council’s Site Assessment Form contained within Appendix 1 of the LGSDM (in which Table 2 lists the criteria to be assessed).

15. The Council’s unjustified appraisal appears instead to be aimed at frustrating Gleeson’s Local Plan proposal and it is wholly illogical on the one hand to propose the release of Green Belt land for housing development at unsustainable locations such as a Capel whilst on the other hand ignoring the potential to release Green Belt land as a much more sustainable, edge of settlement location at RTW. Thus, the Council’s proposed designation also conflicts with national policy and guidance in being used in a way that clearly undermines the proper aims of plan making.

16. The Council’s seriously flawed and unjustified approach to the proposed Local Green Space designation of the Gleeson land also brings into doubt the sound and reasonable justification of the other high number (some 227) of proposed Local Green Space sites listed in Appendix 2 of the draft Local Plan and as currently shown on the various Inset Maps of the Plan’s main Proposal Map. Paragraph 2.11 of the LSGDM (and elsewhere) states that following the current draft Local Plan consultation, the Local Green Space designation might be changed prior to the formal submission of the Plan for Examination (i.e. at the Regulation 19 stage). All of these proposed designations should be reviewed and carefully assessed and judged against national policy and guidance, especially as of the 383 sites assessed in the DLGSA, some 69 (18%) have not actually been promoted by the local community, but have instead resulted from an ‘In Office Suggestion’. Of the 227 proposed Local Green Space designations in the draft Plan, some 44 (19.3%) were as a result of an ‘In Office Suggestion’.

17. It is also noted that two of the adjacent local authorities (Wealden and Rother Districts) who have recently published submission draft Local Plans, do not propose any specific policy or proposals relating to Local Green Space designations. In other words, neither of these adjoining authorities consider that there is any special justification to designate Local Green Space given other policy protection, and this again casts doubt as to why Tunbridge Wells Borough has such special justification as to designate as many as 227 sites as Local Green Space.

18. Furthermore, as set out in Section 5 of the EDP Local Green Space Assessment (Appendix 4), the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan Case Study demonstrates clearly, that the similar approach to Local Green Space designation as now being followed by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is fundamentally unsound. The Examination Inspector’s comments (March 2019) are particularly relevant and on the same basis, draft Policy EN17 should be deleted from the next stage of the Local Plan.

Inset Map 2

Delete policy alloctation EN17 from land at Sandown Park, north of Pembury Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Appendices

  1. Gleeson request for ‘Pre-Application advice’ 2nd March 2018
  2. Tunbridge Wells Borough Council ‘Pre-application advice’ response 9th May 2018
  3. Gleeson Illustrative Master Plan

EDP Local Green Space Assessment October 2019

DLP_4488

Paddock Wood Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

 

The TWBC Local Plan excludes some sites identified within the PWNP as requiring protection from being developed. These sites listed below are valuable either for recreational purposes or for wildlife habitat and must be recognised within the TWBC Local Plan

Site No   -Name of Site-     Reasoning to Retain

149 green space north of Badsell Road recreational space for local residents

150 recreation ground Maidstone Road retain and enhance as community space with the addition of a community centre at the edge of the area

156 green space north of Eldon way significant natural habitat and benefit to wildlife, plus informal recreation e.g. dog walking

157 PW overgrown playing field as above- connect to 156

158 Foalhurst Wood and Orchard Meadow significant natural habitat and benefit to wildlife, including protected and endangered species. MUST be recognised, protected and retained

160 Mascalls playing field TWBC comment is incorrect - land IS visually prominent and should be retained for school use

163 natural woodland behind Green Lane significant natural habitat, ancient woodland floor and benefit to wildlife, including protected and endangered species. MUST be recognised, protected and retained

173 green space behind Wesley Centre site of historical value, must only be developed if to enhance Wesley Centre

174 green space Old Kent Road recreational space for local residents, natural break in development

180 natural woodland behind Warrington Road significant natural habitat, ancient woodland floor and benefit to wildlife, including protected and endangered species MUST be recognised, protected and retained.

Additional Comments:

It is important that green spaces are not necessarily made public as outlined as being beneficial within the TWBC Local Plan.

Residents need access to green space, however natural areas and nature reserves can be irreversibly damaged by human and dog / cat footfall.

Natural areas should be protected and retained.

Wildlife - including endangered and protected species – require areas of unspoilt un-manged natural areas protected from domestic pets and human foot fall

No chemicals or heavy management should be used

Grass should be allowed to grow naturally in natural areas and on the outskirts of playing fields, recreational spaces and grass verges, being cut only in late summer / early autumn

Natural long grass encourages wild flowers necessary for the survival of pollinating insects. Such areas also provide habitat for a wide variety of insects, mammals and amphibians and a food source for these species as well as birds.

DLP_4925

Woodland Trust

 

Policy EN 17 Local Green Space

We support the protection of local green space, including accessible woodland, from development. In addition, as noted in our response to policy EN1 section 7, we recommend including standards for access to natural green space and woodland for existing and new developments.

DLP_5210

Culverden Residents Association

Support

We strongly support this policy and the designations of Local Green Spaces proposed in the Draft Local Green Space assessments because of the value to the health and wellbeing of our members. We are particularly pleased to see the St John’s Meadows beyond St John’s Recreation Ground included in the designation of Local Green Spaces.

DLP_5243

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support

6.172 It would be useful to have specified what ‘special circumstances’ are.

6.174 We support the application of the provisions to LGS within the Green Belt as this is particularly relevant to designated spaces on the edge of the urban settlement of Royal Tunbridge Wells. We agree it is important for neighbouring residents to identify areas which are important to them for health and recreation.

DLP_6046

Kember Loudon Williams for Cranbrook School

Object

Objection to inclusion of Rammell Field as Local Open Green Space for the reasons given in the report which accompanies these representations – see Chapter 7.

[TWBC: see full supporting statement. Chapter 7 is copied below]:

7 Rammell Field

Relevant Policies: STR1, STR/CRS1, EN17

7.1 The site in question is an existing ancillary playing field owned by Cranbrook School and used infrequently for rugby purposes. It is relatively remote from the main School campus and cut off from it by the main road (Bakers Cross). It is well within the limits to built development for Cranbrook and the Conservation Area boundary runs through the front of the site.

7.2 The field is surrounded by residential properties and the prevailing character is residential, with the exception of Rammel Boarding House & Tippins cottage to the west of the field. The field is set between and within close proximity to many notable listed buildings along the Hill and Bakers Cross, within the Conservation Area. The Conservation Area Appraisal Townscape Analysis also identifies significant tree groups opposite the site to the north, and along the western boundary to the field at the front. The Map below (Figure 8) has been taken from the Cranbrook Conservation Area Appraisal and shows the boundary to the Conservation Area.

[TWBC: for Figure 8 Map showing Cranbrook Conservation Area Boundary, see full supporting statement].

7.3 The Conservation Area Appraisal notes the site as having particular importance in providing a rural feel to the approach of the town from the east and the fact that the field is designated at a local level as an “important open space” in the 2006 Local Plan. This is further supported by TWBC in their recent Local Green Space Assessment where they proposed to designate Rammell Field in its entirety as a Local Green Space. The reasons given by TWBC for this designation were due to its visual prominence in the local community and its contribution to the character/setting of the settlement.

7.4 Notwithstanding the perceived community and visual value of the field, the land is privately owned and is gated, with any use by the wider community at the discretion of the school. Furthermore, by reference to historic aerial images, the site has been bordered to the south and south-west by housing since at least 1960 and accordingly has little or no broader visual relationship or contiguity with the wider, rural AONB landscape.

7.5 The field was previously considered under the SHELAA and Sustainability Appraisal, site reference 132, for its potential to accommodate housing development. However, it was concluded that the site was unsuitable as a housing allocation for a number of reasons, namely for heritage and landscape reasons. It was felt that the site makes an important contribution towards the setting of the Conservation Area and therefore it scored negatively in terms of heritage. Furthermore, it was suggested the development of the site would result in the loss of a historic field in the AONB, which resulted negatively on the landscape score.

7.6 Cranbrook School considers that the field remains a suitable and sustainable location to accommodate new housing and is promoting the inclusion of part of the field as an additional future housing allocation within the Local Plan. It is considered that in line with the diagram below (Figure 9) showing proposed land use, that the front part of the site should remain designated as Local Green Space, as per the recommendation under draft Policy EN17, but the rear section of the field be dedicated to housing development.

[TWBC: for Figure 9 Map showing proposed housing allocation at Rammell Field, see supporting statement].

7.7 The recognised matters of importance in terms of the sites characteristics i.e. heritage and landscape features relate predominantly to the front section of the field. The retention of this part of the field as a Local Green Space, with additional landscape buffer beyond the Conservation Area boundary, will continue to provide the visual and landscape benefits to the setting of the Conservation Area, but will also offer wider community enhancements as a public open space for use by the local community. It should be noted that the dimensions of the field are such that it is very deep relative to its width (average depth of 180m approx.). Therefore, the visual significance of the rear part of the field is considered of lower value than the front portion.

7.8 In terms of the remainder of the site, this is considered a suitable location for housing, including affordable housing, potentially including key worker and/or local needs housing. Retaining a mixed and economically active population is a challenge with rural towns such as Cranbrook, owing to the affordability issue relating to its established housing stock. The provision of suitable lower cost housing to respond to local housing needs responds to both the TWBC Housing Needs Survey 2018 and the recent independent AECOM Housing Needs Assessment 2017 (as included within the draft Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Neighbourhood Plan). The draft Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Neighbourhood Plan includes a requirement of approximately 300 affordable homes made up of mostly 1-2 bedroom and some 3 bedroom properties.

7.9 Given the established residential pattern of development adjoining the site, a net yield of between 40-50 dwellings per hectare on the part of the site allocated for development has been identified as being appropriate. The size of proposed developable area measures approximately 1.1ha and therefore around up to 50 units should be considered, subject to design and landscaping considerations, which is less than the Housing Capacity Assessment yield identified by Tunbridge Wells in 2015. The potential for some apartments towards the south of the site should be considered but designed sensitively and incorporating a suitably ‘domestic scale’. Access is considered able to be achieved via Frythe Way, with public access into the front park area remaining via Bakers Cross.

7.10 On the basis of the above comments, we would urge TWBC to consider adapting its draft policies STR1, STR/CRS1 and EN17 to account for this additional housing and public space provision.

DLP_6494

Woolf Bond Planning for Millwood Designer Homes Ltd

Object

Site 222: Land on the west side of Iden Green Road, Benenden, TN17 4ES

Policy EN17: Local Green Space

Representation

We object to the proposed designation of land west of Iden Green Road, Benenden as a Local Green Space.

Our comments are supported by a thorough assessment of the proposed designation, which details are set out in the accompanying Heritage and Local Green Space Assessment undertaken by RPS (Nov 2019).

As set out at paragraph 6.175 of the consultation draft Local Plan, the methodology used to evaluate the appropriateness of Local Green Space designation for proposed sites is detailed in the Council’s Local Green Space Designation Methodology July 2019 document.

The Council’s separate and supporting ‘Local Green Space Assessment (Draft)” (July 2019) lists all the proposed Local Green Space sites across the Borough, and assesses them against the methodology set out in the Local Green Space Designation Methodology July 2019 document.

We have reviewed the documents in full.

The methodology requires that proposed Local Green Space areas must generally meet all five criteria in order to be designated as Local Green Space, unless the site is already sufficiently protected. The five criteria are summarised as:

1. The site is not the subject of planning permission.

2. The site is not allocated or proposed for development other than for the inclusion of a Local Green Space.

3. The site is not an extensive tract of land (generally greater than 20 hectares).

4. The site is in reasonably close proximity to the community it serves.

5. The site is demonstrably special to the local community (because of its beauty, local historic significance, recreational value, tranquility, or richness of wildlife).

The fifth criteria is sub-divided into 5 sub-parts, the approach to which is set out on pages 6 and 7 of the Council’s Local Green Space Designation Methodology July 2019 document.

The Council’s consideration of sites in Benenden is set out on pages 8 to 10 of the Local Green Space Assessment.

The site is assessed as Site ref AS_45 (New Pond Corner). The Council suggest the site satisfies the criteria for Local Green Space designation.

Under the assessment sub-heading “Comment on Criterion 5 – demonstrably special?” the assessment states in relation to the site as follows:

“This area includes a pond, surrounding trees and green space. This area contributes to the character/setting of the settlement and is therefore suitable for Local Green Space designation.”

We dispute this analysis, including for the reasons set out in the accompanying Heritage and Local Green Space Assessment undertaken by RPS (Nov 2019).

The assessment is set out in section 2 of the Statement, which includes the following commentary in relation to Site AS_45:

“This site contributes to the conservation area in a limited way. Its contribution is associated to the sense of openness that it provides when viewed from The Street because of the narrow views through the trees and hedges that line the northern boundary of the site. There are no clear views of the site from The Street. The sense of openness is a perception of the space rather than a close or immediate experience. From within Iden Green Road, there is only a very limited sense of the field to the west because the hedges are dense and prevent views into the site. There are no public rights of way through the area and so opportunities to increase the perception of the area are not possible.

There is no historic significance to the area. It is not connected to other designated areas such as The Homested or undesignated heritage such as The Grange. It has no role in the development or social history of the settlement.

It makes a modest contribution to the settings of nearby listed buildings and the CA.”

As to whether inclusion of the site as a Local Green Space is justified pursuant to criterion 5, the RPS Statement is quite clear that it is not, concluding as follows:

“No. There is little to no townscape value to the site because it is not visible within the streetscene. There is no public access to allow any perception of the character or quality of the space.

It does contribute to the significance of the CA and the nearby LBs to a limited degree but this contribution is protected already through existing designations and the PLBCAA.”

For all of the reasons set out above, the proposed designation of land west of Iden Green Road, Benenden as a Local Green Space is not justified having regard to the tests of soundness at paragraph 35 of the NPPF.

Suggested Change

Delete the proposed designation of land west of Iden Green Road, Benenden (Site Ref: AS_45) as a Local Green Space.

[TWBC: see full representation, Figure 3 Landscape Strategy, Heritage & LGS Assessment, and site location plan].

[TWBC: see also Comment Numbers DLP_6485, 6487-6489, 6491-6494]

DLP_6682

Gladman

 

6.7 Policy EN17: Local Green Space

6.7.1 Local Green Space provides a legitimate way of safeguarding green spaces within communities which have demonstrated value to local communities. Such spaces are to be reasonably close in proximity to the community served and excludes extensive tracts of land. The list and coverage of proposed Local Green Spaces is set out in Appendix 2 of the Local Plan and illustrated on the draft policies map. The list is extensive and includes over 200 sites. The Council’s justification for this list is provided within the Local Green Space Assessment Draft which sits alongside this consultation. Reviewing this document, in most cases, only a brief comment regarding any candidate site and its role is provided and there is little evidence sitting behind the comments made. Gladman’s view is that the paper does not provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that any land identified for Local Green Space is special to the local community which is required to justify the protection afforded by this designation. A more detailed assessment is needed.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6656-6695]

DLP_6809

Strutt and Parker for Innes Grandchildren

Object

Comments in relation to Policy: EN 17 – Local Green Space Site AS_26 (Talbot Road Allotments)

Strutt & Parker’s Planning Department are instructed to respond to the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Regulation 18 Consultation on behalf of the Innes Grandchildren’s settlement, the owners of the allotments at Talbot Road, Hawkhurst, also known as Hensil Allotments. Throughout this letter the site shall be referred to as Talbot Road Allotments.

On 29th July 2019, a letter was received by the owners of Talbot Road Allotments from Tunbridge Well Borough Council, informing them of the decision by the Borough Council to include the site as Local Green Space within the Draft Local Plan published for the Regulation 18 Local Plan consultation period. This was the first time the site owners were made aware of this potential allocation.

Our objection to the draft Local Plan is in relation to Policy EN 17 – Local Green Space, and specifically in relation to the site referred to as ‘AS_26 (Talbot Road Allotments)’. This letter provides reasons as to why Talbot Road Allotments, as identified within Appendix 2 of the draft Local Plan, should not be designated as Local Green Space.

Paragraph 35 of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2019) states that Local Plans must be examined to assess whether they have been prepared in accordance with legal and procedural requirements, and whether they are ‘sound’. They need to be positively prepared; justified; effective, and; consistent with national policy.

It is our contention that the designation of site AS_26 as Local Green Space does not conform with paragraphs 99 and 100 of the Framework, and the wider aims of the revised NPPF and therefore whilst the site is included under Policy EN 17, the draft Local Plan is not considered consistent with National Policy. In addition, the supporting evidence document prepared by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for the designation of Local Green Spaces, does not adequately justify this allocation.

Policy EN 17 Local Green Space

The draft Tunbridge Wells Local Plan seeks to protect Local Green Space. Policy EN 17 states that:

A Local Green Space is a designated area of green or open space that is demonstrably special to the local community that it serves” Development on these areas will not be permitted unless very special circumstances can be demonstrated, or the proposal would incorporate and preserve the main features, use, and purpose of the designated Local Green Space on the same site, or; the proposed development does not materially impact the existing use.

The emerging plan and inclusion of Site AS_26: Talbot Road Allotments into Policy EN 17

As part of the preparation of the Tunbridge Wells Local Plan, an assessment was undertaken to identify sites which could be allocated as Local Green Space, a designation introduced under the 2012 National Planning Policy Framework, (NPPF) giving local open spaces a level of protection similar to that which is provided by Green Belt policy. In March 2017, and again in June 2018, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council provided parishes within the borough with their draft Local Green Space Designation Methodology, allowing them to bring forward sites within their local areas which they believed were suitable for allocation. In June 2018 a draft version of the Local Green Space Assessment document was published and circulated by the Council.

There was also opportunity for sites to come forward as potential Local Green Space designations after June 2018 through informal submissions from Parishes or NDP groups. This is the period in which Talbot Road allotments came to be listed in the potential Local Green Space Sites process; as evidenced by the prefix ‘AS_’ (additional site) given to the site reference. The site was submitted for inclusion by Hawkhurst Parish Council and was assessed as being suitable for allocation in the July 2019 Local Green Space Assessment.

Within this assessment document, the site is considered against the five criteria for allocation. This assessment process does not provide a detailed analysis of individual sites in determining their suitability for allocation. Instead, sites are assessed against a checklist. The only comments made are in relation to criterion 5, commenting as to whether the site is ‘demonstrably special’. For Talbot Road Allotments, the comment was that the site is “primarily used for gardening (recreational/informal community activities) purposes by the local community”; a blanket statement which has been used to describe other sites of similar use within this document. It is our opinion that this site assessment methodology and selection process does not present a substantiated or evidenced argument as to why Talbot Road Allotments should now be designated as Local Green Space. This is explored further below.

Conformity with National Policy

Chapter 8 of the revised NPPF refers to promoting healthy and safe communities. Within this chapter, paragraphs 99 and 100 refer to the designation of Local Green Space. They state:

99. The designation of land as Local Green Space through local and neighbourhood plans allows communities to identify and protect green areas of particular importance to them. Designating land as Local Green Space should be consistent with the local planning of sustainable development and complement investment in sufficient homes, jobs and other essential services. Local Green Spaces should only be designated when a plan is prepared or updated, and be capable of enduring beyond the end of the plan period.”

“100. The Local Green Space designation should only be used where the green space is: a) in reasonably close proximity to the community it serves; b) demonstrably special to a local community and holds a particular local significance, for example because of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value (including as a playing field), tranquillity or richness of its wildlife; and c) local in character and is not an extensive tract of land.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Local Plan Evidence report on Local Green Space Designation Methodology (July 2019)

The evidence report produced for the Local Plan which lays out the methodology used by the Local Planning Authority in designating Local Green Space refers to the key issues to be considered when designating land as Local Green Space, including:

  • the proximity to the community
  • beauty
  • historic significance,
  • recreational value,
  • tranquillity and richness of wildlife, and
  • whether the site is an extensive tract of land

In reference to Paragraph 100 (a) of the NPPF, Criterion 4 of the methodology suggests that Local Green Space sites should be less than 20ha and in close proximity to the community they serve. Those sites less than 2ha in area (Talbot Road allotments is 0.76ha), should be within 300m. There is no dispute that (despite being beyond the settlement boundary) the site lies within the 300m of the community, albeit it is nearly 1km from the main service centre of Hawkhurst.

Criterion 5 i of the Local Green Space Assessment Methodology states that a site should be assessed on the basis of whether or not it holds local significance because of its beauty. As cultivated land used solely for the purposes of allotments, Talbot Road Allotments holds very little aesthetic value. There is no mention of the site in any character assessments nor does it contain any features which are characteristic of the area. Additionally, being located to the rear of private dwellings and accessed from a narrow private track between two dwellings, the site does not form part of any valued views.

The beauty of a local green space could be associated with its unspoilt nature, or could feature nature trails and benches to appreciate local views. However, this is clearly not a feature of these working allotments.

National Planning Practice Guidance specifically states that: “If land is already protected by designation, then consideration should be given to whether any additional local benefit would be gained by designation as Local Green Space.

This land is already protected through its inclusion in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This designation for the site already affords it a particularly high level of protection in terms of National Policy. Additionally, being located outside the settlement boundary, it lies within the countryside for planning policy purposes, which also affords protection from development. It is also proposed to be designated under Policy OSSR 1 (Retention of Open Space) in the emerging Local Plan. It is our opinion that the additional protection under Local Green Space policy EN 17 is not warranted in this instance.

The National Planning Practice Guidance states that:

“designation should not be proposed as a ‘back door’ way to try to achieve what would amount to a new area of Green Belt by another name”.

Criterion 5 ii of the report considers the historic value of Local Green Space sites. Talbot Road Allotments do not contain any historic buildings or heritage assets or historic landscape features. Furthermore, the site does not have any relationship with historic events. Although the allotments have been on this site for a relatively long period of time, they have not served a major role in the development of the village.

Criterion 5 iii highlights that Local Green Space sites should be assessed against their recreational value. We do not question the recreational value of the site; we do however have reservations about its value as a truly public asset.

Firstly, the site is in private ownership, and access is reserved to those who pay an annual fee to maintain a plot. General public access to the site is not encouraged in order to reduce the possibility of vandalism of or theft from allotments, and to minimise disturbance to members and neighbouring residents. There is a concern that through Local Green Space designation, public perception of the site may change, leading to an increase in unauthorised access to the allotments and the associated small private car park which is shared with the residents either side of the access road to allow them access to their garages/parking spaces.

The site has a community recreational value, but this is restricted to the 30 people who pay an annual fee to use the allotments. With no public footpaths or bridleways running through the site it offers very little in terms of being an asset to the wider community. Members of the general public that do access the site are trespassing. It is our belief that the proposed designation as Local Green Space may increase the likelihood of this occurring.

Criteria 5 iv & v consider the tranquillity and richness of wildlife in candidate Local Green Space Sites. General statements made in this section are not substantiated by reference to heritage, ecology or noise surveys to form a proven evidence base. Tranquillity is normally associated with secluded and quiet sites within a natural setting. This is a working allotment site, meaning that a significant amount of land is used for cultivation. There is an element of activity and noise associated with allotment maintenance and cultivation. This is not a place of tranquillity for the whole community to enjoy but instead limited to those in the community that pay to use the site. The allotments do not contain any important landscape features (such as Ancient Woodland, Site of Special Scientific Interest etc) and the site has not been evidenced by surveys or records to support a unique and or diverse range of wildlife.

Summary

The NPPG states that Local Green Space should provide special protection against development for green areas of particular importance to local communities but should not be a blanket designation of open countryside as a ‘back door’ way to try to achieve what would amount to a new area of Green Belt by another name.

The site’s location within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty affords protection. It is also countryside and is proposed to be protected as an open space under policy OSSR 1. It does not need to be designated as a Local Green Space in addition. The site is in private ownership and offers limited access to the community for the use of the allotments on site. This is not a public recreational area nor does it form an area demonstrably special to the entire local community. Consideration should be given to whether any additional public benefit would be gained by designation as Local Green Space. The selection of the site has not been fully justified in terms of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value, tranquillity and richness of wildlife.

We therefore conclude that inclusion of Site AS_26 under policy EN 17 does not conform with the NPPF (2019). As such, we argue that Site AS_26 should be removed from policy EN 17 in order to make the Plan sound.

We trust that this representation will be considered during preparation of the plan. Please do not hesitate to get in contact if you require any further information about the site.

DLP_7055

Sigma Planning Services for Rydon Homes Ltd

Object

25. The National planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out, at Paragraphs 99 -101, guidance as to the criteria that must be met when identifying and designating land as a Local Green Space (LGS).

Paragraphs 99 - 101 state the following:-

'99. The designation of land as Local Green Space through local and neighbourhood plans allows communities to protect areas of particular importance to them. Designating land as Local Green Space should be consistent with the local planning of sustainable development and complement investment in sufficient homes, jobs and other essential services. Local Green Space should only be designated when a plan is prepared or updated, and be capable of enduring beyond the end of the plan period.

100. The Local Green Space designation should only be used where green space is:

a) In reasonable close proximity to the community it services;

b) Demonstrably special to the local community and holds a particular local significance, for example because of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value (including playing fields), tranquility or richness of its wildlife; and

c) Local in character and is not an extensive tract of land.

101. Policies for managing development within Local Green Space should be consistent with those for Green Belts.

The NPPF sets out clear criteria, all of which must be met in order for the land to be considered for designation. If any one of the criteria is not satisfied then it is not appropriate to designate the site as LGS.

Consistency with sustainable development and complement investment in sufficient homes, jobs and essential services.

26. Under ref 17/01142 TWBC approved a development of 20 homes on land immediately adjoining the proposed LGS. As part of that scheme an area of land has been set aside as an ecological mitigation area. The approved scheme, currently under construction, is also a proposed allocation in this Reg 18 Local Plan. The extent of the ecological mitigation area was sufficient to meet its purpose.

The approval of the above scheme and the ecological surveys conducted showed the presence of protected species. This is not uncommon in this part of the country. The ecological mitigation area satisfied all stakeholders that the scheme could go ahead without detriment to the wildlife on the site.

The site the subject of the proposed allocation as LGS has been consistently proposed for development. In 2016 it was one of two sites actively being considered by the Parish Council as a potential candidate for a replacement for the grossly inadequate nearby Brenchley Primary School.

The site has been consistently promoted as a potential housing site.  The July 2019 SHELAA identifies the site as ref 36. The Council's assessment identifies a potential yield of 110 units which would make a further important contribution to meeting the Council's need to invest in sufficient homes.  The Council cannot reasonably argue that it is unsustainable given its position adjacent to the existing Limits to Built Development and the consent granted under Ref 17/01142.

The proposed designation of the site as LGS is an undisguised attempt to prevent sustainable development. It is clear that this is contrary to the NPPF.

Proximity to the community

27.  The criteria of "Proximity" implies both a geographical juxta positioning of the site in question to the existing village, and an implication of ability to make use of that juxta positioning in some way. Whilst the site is adjacent to the Limits of Built Development there is no public access over any part of the site in question. There is a public footpath immediately adjacent to the western boundary of the site. It enjoys limited proximity and is peripheral and indeed remote from most of the community of Matfield. The public are unable to access the land legally and make any use or take any benefit from any designation.

Local in character and is not an extensive tract of land

28. The land in question cannot be considered local in character. It comprises overgrown small shrubs and immature self-seeded trees with bramble. By contrast every other piece of undeveloped land in the vicinity is either an open field or a mature wood. As a result it cannot be considered 'local in character'.

The TWBC LGS Designation Methodology states at paragraph 3.5 'All sites will be judged on their merits, but as a guide and in reference to Natural England's Accessible Natural Green Space standards (ANGst) a site over 20 ha (50 acres) is likely to be considered an extensive tract of land not suitable for designation as a LGS'

This is at odds with Examiners views on a number of Neighbourhood Plans considering this very point: Seddlescombe NP 4.3 acres; Alrewas NPP relating to 2.5 and 3.9 ha; Tatenill NP relating to 9.2 and 4.3 ha; Oakley & Deane NP relating to 5 ha and Brixworth NP relating to 22.5, 7.2 and 2.7 ha all of which were considered to represent 'extensive tracts of land'

The site at 4.3 ha clearly falls within an area where Examiners would consider the land be 'extensive'.

Demonstrably special to the local community and holds a particular local significance.

29. There is nothing in the TWBC Local Green Space Assessment 2019 that mentions any support for this from the local community. The proposed designation appears to have been initiated solely as a result of the Role and Function Study (carried out by TWBC) and not by any prompting from the local community. Indeed, the Parish Council considered the site appropriate for the a replacement Primary School at one point. Now that it is a proposed designation it will be supported by the local community but that is the wrong way round. Given that Rydon Homes carried out pre-application consultation with the community, including mettings with the Parish Council, the local community were well aware that the area was being looked at for potential devlopment, At no points did they try to instigate further protection to the area beyond the actual developement site through a s106 Agreement etc.

The council has not demonstrated that this area is special to the local community.

There is no public access to the site, neither has there been any attempt or evidence that the community has tried to make unauthorised access.

The Council consider that the site 'is a special amenity' but do not explain or evidence what that amenity is or may be. This is a completely unjustified statement. The assessment then goes on to say that it 'may become a protected species habitat'. The guidance does suggest that Local Green Space designation may be appropriate for 'richness of wildlife' but the Council has not undertaken any surveys to identify or justify this. In addition, the survey work relating to the Rydon scheme identified and included appropriate mitigation by way of an ecological mitigation area. It is clear from the surveys undertaken that whilst there is wildlife on the site it is not anything unusual or unexpected, indeed the fact that appropriate mitigation can be accommodated rather supports the view that there is an ordinariness to the wildlife on site rather than a richness.

Summary

30. Allocations of LGS in a Local Plan must complement investment in sufficient homes are to be seen as enduring beyond the end of the plan period (NPPF Para 99). The proposed designation of this site as an LGS would conflict with Governnment guidance because:-

  • Matfield is a sustainable settlemtn which is identified as having the ability to accomodate a level of planned growth. This site adjoins the Limits of Built Development, it has been promoted through the Council's Call for Sites as a potential candidate for development, it has been considered as one of only two potential sites for a replacement Primary School and, as such, could in the future be a site for a sustainable expansion of the village.
  • The site is peripheral to the village with no public access. Whilst there is a public footpath along the western boundary this is not heavily used and is only for occasional recreational purposes. As such, the site's designation fails the test of proximity.
  • It is not local in character. It is quite at odds with the typical local character.
  • The Council's benchmark for judgement on the extent of the land is at odds with Examiner's decisions on this matter in NP Examinations. The land sought to be designated is an extensive tract of land.
  • The Council has provided no evidence that the site is special in any way to the local community.
  • The special amenity point overstates the wildlife richness on the site and in any event is not evidence based by any studies.
  • For these reasons it is considered that the land fails to meet any of the required criteria with any material degree of robustness or soundness. A case for designation as LGS in the context of the NPPF and PPG has not been demonstrated.

Recommendation: The proposed designation should therefore be deleted from the Plan.

[TWBC: See full representation]

DLP_7389

Andrew Ford

Support with conditions

We recommend that the remains of commons and greens, which are characteristic of small Wealden settlements, are identified and protected under greenspace policies.

DLP_8218

Home Builders Federation

 

Thank you for consulting the Home Builders Federation (HBF) on the draft Local Plan. The HBF is the principal representative body of the housebuilding industry in England and Wales and our representations reflect the views of discussions with our membership of national and multinational corporations through to regional developers and small local housebuilders. Our members account for over 80% of all new housing built in England and Wales in any one year. Outlined below are our comments on the approach taken by the Council to increasing the supply of land for residential development and the policies being proposed with regard to the management of new development in future.

EN17 – Local Green Space

Whilst the HBF does not object to the appropriate application of Local Green Space (LGS) we are concerned that the Council’s approach to the identification of these areas is not consistent with national policy and could have led to inappropriate designations. When considering the designation of LGS the Council have stated in their evidence the need to consider paragraph 99, 100 and 101 of the NPPF. These paragraphs set out not only the criteria as to what can be considered LGS but also that such sites:

  • should be identified by the community as areas of particular importance too them; and
  • be consistent with sustainable development and complement investment in sufficient homes, jobs, and other services.

We are concerned that the Council’s approach to designating LGS is not consistent with these aspects of national policy. Firstly, it is apparent from the Council’s evidence the Council have identified sites for potential designation on the basis of “in office suggestions”. This would imply that it is not the community that has put these areas forward but that they have been suggested by officers and as such is inconsistent with paragraph 99 of the NPPF. It is not for Council officers to consider what they think to be areas of important green space but for the community to request their inclusion.

Secondly, there would appear to be no consideration as to whether any of the proposed designations are consistent with the delivery of sufficient homes, jobs and other essential services. Given the need for affordable homes and the unmet need for housing in neighbouring areas the Council should be giving substantial consideration to such matters for each proposed LGS designation and whether they are available for development and could be allocated within the local plan. At present the Council has only considered sites that have a planning permission or are proposed for allocation by the Council with regard to this element of national policy as it relates to LGS.

Finally, we are surprised that the designation appears to have been applied to land that is already designated as Green Belt. Given that the LGS designation provides no additional protection it would seem pointless to designate LGS in Green Belt.

We would therefore recommend that the Council revisits its LGS designations and remove sites that have either not been put forward by the community, which are being proposed for development or where they are located in the Green Belt.

DLP_8252

Brenchley War Memorial Hall and Recreation Ground Charity

 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the draft Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan.  The Brenchley War Memorial Hall and Recreation Ground Charity would like to comment upon the proposed designation of part of its land as both a Local Green Space and an Open Space.  It would also like to make some general comments about the provision of sports, leisure and recreation facilities in Brenchley and Matfield Parish, of which it is a major provider.

The Charity’s comments on policies OSSR1, OSSR2, EN17 and STR/BM 1 are included on the following pages.

Policy OSSR1 and Policy EN17

Brenchley War Memorial and Recreation Ground Charity welcomes policies EN17 and OSSR1 in the Draft Local Plan, which propose to protect part of its land from development by designating it as both a Local Green Space and an Open Space.  The Charity provides a major contribution to the leisure and recreation facilities in the parish, with a football pitch, cricket field (also providing two junior soccer pitches and a croquet lawn), tennis courts, bowls green and squash court.  The Charity’s premises also include a village hall, meeting room (hosting the Parish Archive), snooker room, popular community café and day nursery.  The Charity’s facilities are available to a wide range of ages and interests, making an enormous contribution to the health and well-being of the community.  The cricket field has been landscaped and furnished, improving the biodiversity and creating a welcoming open space that enjoys far-reaching views across the High Weald.

Throughout the borough the towns have attracted financial support from Town and Borough councils to provide a recreation and leisure infrastructure.  In the rural parishes most facilities and activities appear to be privately funded, as is the case in Brenchley and Matfield Parish.  As a self-funding organisation, Brenchley Memorial Hall Charity has needed to develop diverse income streams to fulfil its charitable purpose of providing recreation and leisure-time occupation for the neighbourhood.

The current sports and recreation facilities should be able to meet the needs of the community for the foreseeable future.  There is an increasing demand for activities based within the buildings and the Charity wishes to retain the possibility of an extension to these facilities.  There is an area of land adjacent to the squash court which cannot be used for recreational activities and is difficult to maintain.  The Charity would like to reduce the area designated as Local Green Space and Open Space in the Draft Local Plan to allow the possibility of expansion.  The proposed new boundary is shown in the plan below.  The Charity would like TWBC to consider a reduction in the area of the Charity’s land currently shown in the DLP as a Local Green Space and Open Space.

[TWBC: for map see full representation].

DLP_8411

Paddock Wood Labour Party

Object

Policy EN17.OBJECT. Local Green spaces.

As part of the Draft local plan with the proposed 4,000 houses it is suggested that a number of green open spaces are provided to protect the status of PW and the surrounding villages. Restrictions should be provided to ensure these green open places ( GOP) are protected. The question is who will pay for the maintenance of these GOP?

Policy EN 18: Landscape within the built environment

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/ support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_538

Councillor Frank Williams

EN17 and EN18

Both are welcome reinforcements of the current position. Open space is needed to promote the discrete area of green fields between the settlements of Sherwood (Tunbridge Wells) and Pembury.

DLP_997

Calverley Park Association

Support

The Calverley Park Association supports this policy as a protection against insensitive development within the Calverley Park Conservation Area that is likely to impact on the historic park and garden comprising Calverley Park, an important landscape feature within the centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells.

DLP_1601

Maggie Fenton

Object

Policy EN18 landscape within the built environment

6.195 One of the attractive environmental features of the borough is the character & high visual quality of the approach routes outside & within the built up areas

6.196 Important landscape approaches are stretches of landscape areas that are along access routes leading to settlements that are principally lined with mature hedges & native trees that partly conceal built development. They give the impression of the countryside extending into built up areas.

Identified in Brenchley & Pembury but not FOG or PW, Whetsted, Crockhurst St or Capel. Capel is probably one of the most rural areas of the borough. TWBC will be losing some of its finest countryside. The countryside between Paddock Wood and Capel is highly valued for footpaths, ancient woodland & general enjoyment by the existing settlements. IT is MGB at its best separating the two settlements & highlighting the countryside nature of this area of the borough. Equally leaving Tonbridge and entering Capel into an extremely rural setting is highly valuable.

DLP_1848

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

 

Policy Number:  EN18 Landscape 

We strongly support this policy. So far as Important Landscape Approaches are concerned, we believe a case exists for widening their application to include approaches to settlements along railway lines where the quality of the landscape clearly merits protection. It is arguable that visitors to a settlement arriving by train will be far more aware of a landscape approach than those arriving on a motor road. Such landscapes may constitute a significant feature and create a lasting impression in the minds of visitors and tourists.

A significant case in point exists  in the approach to Royal Tunbridge Wells along the Tonbridge to High Brooms section of the Hastings Line between the exit from Somerhill Tunnel and the railway viaduct preceding the former refuse tip, including long views on the western side of the whole of the undulating and rising open AONB farmland with its isolated farm cottages and Vauxhall Rural Lane meandering along broadly in parallel, while the eastern side mainly consists of ancient woodland with extensive tracts of Bluebells in the spring.

This is a key landscape approach to RTW from the north and is visible not only from the railway line but also from the Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk. It is Town Forum policy to maintain the integrity of this particularly high quality AONB and Green Belt landscape as the most significant green gateway to the urban area and a clearly visible barrier to coalescence of RTW with Tonbridge . A way should be found of permanently protecting it. We therefore support the conclusions drawn by TWBC on Capel submitted sites 49, 62, 77   that the sites are unsuitable for development.

We are also concerned that the proposed allocation in Southborough of submitted site 445 in the AONB and Green Belt (Mabledon and Nightingale) would also affect this landscape approach to Royal Tunbridge Wells and we urge that those parts of this very large site which are visible from the railway line or the Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk should be excluded from allocation, if such is proved to be justified on exceptional circumstances, or made subject to enforceable long term protection.

We consider that the whole of the above Important Landscape Approach should be defined and included on the draft Policies Map.

DLP_2810

Mrs Kate Sims

Support with conditions

Policy Number: EN 18 (Page 409)

I agree that it is important to recognise the significance of maintaining the landscape amenity that certain areas contribute to Tunbridge Wells and which this policy is designed to protect. However as stated in the draft Local Plan, evidence to support designations need updating regularly to reflect changes. I would refer you to section 6.182 which states “that the Landscape designations are now somewhat dated”.

The garden of No 28 Madeira Park was designated as an area of Landscape importance (EN22) back in 2006 when there were many large trees. Sadly since then, two of the trees (Silver Birch) were uprooted in a storm, and two others (large Lombardi Poplar and Douglas Fir) were removed due to disease and for safety reasons, both with the Tree Conservation officers’ agreement.

I would therefore request that the current designation of EN 18 is reviewed prior to approval of this local plan as I believe this designation is no longer appropriate.

DLP_3504

High Weald AONB Unit

Support with conditions

Policy Number:  EN17 and EN18 

We recommend that the remains of commons and greens, which are characteristic of small Wealden settlements, are identified and protected under greenspace policies.  

DLP_3706

Capel Parish Council

Object

Capel Parish Council objects to this Policy and to the following paragraphs of the accompanying commentary, for the reasons stated.

Paragraph 6.195 (p.408) states “One of the attractive environmental features of the borough is the character and high visual quality of the approach routes outside, and within, the built up areas”

Paragraph 6.196 (p.408) states “Important Landscape Approaches are stretches of landscape areas that are along access routes leading to settlements that are principally lined with mature hedges and native trees that partly conceal built development. They give the impression of the countryside extending well into the built up area”.

‘Important Landscape Approaches’ have been Identified in Brenchley & Pembury but not Five Oak Green or Paddock Wood, Whetsted, Crockhurst Street or Capel. Capel is probably one of the most rural areas of the borough. TWBC will be losing some of its finest countryside. The countryside between Paddock Wood and Capel is highly valued for footpaths, ancient woodland and general enjoyment by the existing settlements. It is MGB at its best separating the two settlements and highlighting the countryside nature of this area of the borough. Equally leaving Tonbridge and entering Capel into an extremely rural setting is highly valuable.

DLP_4170

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support

CPRE supports this policy

DLP_4330

Environment Agency

 

Fisheries, Biodiversity and Geomorphology

General Maps

A Geographic Information System layer on the Council’s website would have enabled a better review of the allocations and distribution of sites associated with different policies.

Using three similar pale blues to denote Landscape within the Built Environment EN 18, Safeguarded Railways TP 5 and Safeguarded Routes TP 6 makes it more difficult to work out what might be watercourses, other aquatic features or other things altogether.

DLP_5211

Culverden Residents Association

Support

We support this policy which will help to protect the special characteristics of important green spaces and landscapes within and on the edge of the town to the benefit of residents and visitors to the area.

DLP_5244

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support

Areas of Landscape Importance

6.187 We would like to have flood mitigation and air quality included in this paragraph as these are important eco services delivered by trees in urban areas.

Neighbourhood Edges

6.192 We agree it is important to maintain the integrity of villages by protecting trees and shrubs that form natural barriers.

Important Landscape Approaches

6.198 It would be useful to have specified what ‘limited circumstances’ are.

DLP_7391

Andrew Ford

Support with conditions

We recommend that the remains of commons and greens, which are characteristic of small Wealden settlements, are identified and protected under greenspace policies.

DLP_8128

Ashley Saunders

Object

I objects to this Policy and to the following paragraphs of the accompanying commentary, for the reasons stated.

Paragraph 6.195 (p.408) states “One of the attractive environmental features of the borough is the character and high visual quality of the approach routes outside, and within, the built up areas”

Paragraph 6.196 (p.408) states “Important Landscape Approaches are stretches of landscape areas that are along access routes leading to settlements that are principally lined with mature hedges and native trees that partly conceal built development. They give the impression of the countryside extending well into the built up area”.

‘Important Landscape Approaches’ have been Identified in Brenchley & Pembury but not Five Oak Green or Paddock Wood, Whetsted, Crockhurst Street or Capel. Capel is probably one of the most rural areas of the borough. TWBC will be losing some of its finest countryside. The countryside between Paddock Wood and Capel is highly valued for footpaths, ancient woodland and general enjoyment by the existing settlements. It is MGB at its best separating the two settlements and highlighting the countryside nature of this area of the borough. Equally leaving Tonbridge and entering Capel into an extremely rural setting is highly valuable.

Policy EN 19: Arcadian Areas

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_998

Calverley Park Association

Support

The Calverley Park Association supports this policy as a protection against insensitive development within the Calverley Park Conservation Area that is likely to impact on the listed buildings and historic park and garden comprising Calverley Park.

DLP_1849

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Policy Number: EN 19 Arcadian Areas

Support + General Observation

We strongly support this policy. Arcadian areas are one of the defining features of Royal Tunbridge Wells and should be protected. In the case of Hungershall and Nevill Parks they look out at one another across a large open green space which should be considered an integral feature of their combined Arcadian Area. It would be worth considering whether any further new areas within the urban fabric would warrant Arcadian Area status.

We believe that a greater enforcement effort should be directed to prevention of any loss to the character of Arcadian Areas from the actions of individual landowners.

DLP_2566

Ms S Daniels

All the parks and open spaces within the town of Tunbridge Wells should be included in this designation eg Calverley Park Grounds, Dunorlan Park, The Grove, Grosvenor & Hilbert Recreation Grounds, TW & Rusthall Commons. We cannot assume that developers in the future will not attempt to build at the edges of these historic areas - after all the Council itself was willing to steal part of Calverley Park Grounds for the Calverley Square project. They therefore need future protection.

DLP_4171

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support

CPRE supports this policy

DLP_5212

Culverden Residents Association

Support

Support + General Observation

We support this policy and would like TWBC to consider creating a further Arcadian Area on Culverden Down between the corner of Reynolds Lane and the entrance to The White House, along which stretch there is substantial surviving tree cover from the original sandy downland and hedge cover, an apparent sandstone outcrop and rocks and historic survivals such as the monumental entrance to the former Culverden Castle and  the adjacent  lodge to a former Salomons estate entrance, now leading to Bennett Memorial School.

DLP_5261

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support

DLP_6284

Susan Heather McAuley

Object

Arcadian Areas  Para 6.200-6.210

Is this a policy or a paragraph?  I have put my comment under both.

Sissinghurst also has several Arcadian areas such as the setting of Camden House and Camden Lodge on the west side of Mill Lane. This area meets all the characteristics of an Arcadian area listed by the Local Plan.  AL/CRS13 would put unsuitable intensive development on this setting.

DLP_6594

Myrtle Newsom

 

Policy Number: Section 6 Arcadian Areas Para 6.200

Sissinghurst also has several Arcadian areas such as the setting of Camden House and Camden Lodge on the west side of Mill Lane. AL/CRS13 would put unsuitable intensive development on this setting.

Policy EN 20: Rural Landscape

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1602

Maggie Fenton

Object

EN20 Landscape Policy for Rural Areas

6.213 The character & attractive appearance of the countryside is one of the principal assets of the Borough & its protection will be an important consideration …. Features such as routeways ….hedges & farmsteads have a vital role in defining the character of the countryside. Proposals should be capable of being easily assimilated without detracting from these features, which contribute to the character of the locality.

6.216 The landscape presents a peaceful & tranquil character, often with a sense of remoteness which belies its location in the populous SE.

  1. Not cause significant harm to the landscape setting of settlements including historic farmsteads & hamlets

The proposals for Capel Parish will cause significant harm to all the hamlets. Historically settlements, including hamlets, occur on existing routeways. Any road widening of these routeways or increase in traffic will do irreparable damage.

  1. Preserve intrinsically dark landscapes

As with Policy EN10, dark landscape will not be preserved with a proposal to site at least 4,00 dwellings in on area. From street lighting, to headlights on traffic’ homes & garden lighting, you have to be kidding TWBC!

DLP_1850

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

Policy Number:  EN 20 Rural Landscape 

We support this policy for the reasons set out in our comments on Paragraphs 6.211-6.223 ante, particularly with regard to protection of historic farmsteads and Rural Lanes.

DLP_3488

Ms Claire Tester

Support with conditions

Policy Number: EN5 and EN20 Farming and forestry

We welcome TWBC’s support for ‘resilient forestry and agricultural practices’ (EN5), but are concerned about the lack of consideration given to this vital issue in the Local Plan. Thriving smallscale farming and forestry businesses including family farms underpin the conservation and enhancement of the AONB landscape, are essential to retaining the rural nature of the area and to achieve significant reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. The needs of these businesses do not appear to have been adequately considered in the Plan.

In our view, Policy EN5 and EN20 should be expanded to recognise and support the infrastructure needs required to ensure ‘resilient forestry and agricultural practices’, including suitable affordable housing for rural workers, improved capacity for land-use training, and support for local small-scale growing enterprises. These actions are consistent with TWBC’s policy for the AONB set out in their AONB Management Plan 2019 (Land-based Economy and related Rural Life).

DLP_3707

Capel Parish Council

Object

Capel Parish Council objects to this Policy and to the following paragraphs of the accompanying commentary, for the reasons stated.

Paragraph 6.213 (p.413) states “The character & attractive appearance of the countryside is one of the principal assets of the borough, and its  protection will be an important consideration […] Features such as routeways, wooded shaws, earth banks and hedges, marl pits, iron workings, and farmsteads have a vital role in defining the character of the countryside […]. Proposals should be capable of being easily assimilated without detracting from these features, which contribute to the character of the locality

Paragraph 6.216 (p.411) states “The landscape presents a peaceful and tranquil character, often with a sense of remoteness, which belies its location in the populous south east of England

Point 2 of Policy EN 20 (p.413) states that development will be required to “Not cause significant harm to the landscape setting of settlements, including historic farmsteads and hamlets

The Strategy for Capel Parish Council (STR/CA 1) in its current form will cause significant harm to all the hamlets. Historically settlements, including hamlets, occur on existing routeways. Any road widening of these routeways or increase in traffic will do irreparable damage.

Point 5 of Policy EN 20 (p.413) states that development will be required to “Preserve intrinsically dark landscapes in accordance with Policy EN 10: Outdoor Lighting and Dark Skies”.

As with Policy EN 10, dark landscape cannot possibly be preserved if a proposal to site at least 4,000 dwellings in Capel Parish.

DLP_4172

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support

CPRE strongly supports this policy

DLP_4698

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support with conditions

Dandara Comment 

Dandara support the principle of the policy but consider amendments are needed to ensure that it does not result in a blanket reason to refusal otherwise sustainable greenfield development.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

Suggested policy rewording:

“Development will be required to:

  1. Conserve and enhance the unique and diverse variety and juxtaposition of the borough’s landscape and the special features that contribute positively to the local sense of place; and
  2. Not cause Include appropriate mitigation to ensure against significant harm to the landscape setting of settlements, including historic farmsteads and hamlets; and
  3. Not result in unsympathetic change to the character of a rural lane, which is of landscape, amenity, nature conservation, or historic or archaeological importance; and
  4. RestoreEnhance landscape character where it has been eroded; and

Preserve intrinsically dark landscapes in accordance with Policy EN10: Outdoor Lighting and Dark Skies.

DLP_4773

DHA Planning Ltd for Caenwood Estates and Dandara

 

Comments on Policy EN20

3.4.6 In respect of the natural environment, policy EN20 seeks to protect the rural landscape. It states that development will be required to:

  1. Conserve and enhance the unique and diverse variety and juxtaposition of the borough’s landscape and the special features that contribute positively to the local sense of place; and
  2. Not cause significant harm to the landscape setting of settlements, including historic farmsteads and hamlets; and
  3. Not result in unsympathetic change to the character of a rural lane, which is of landscape, amenity, nature conservation, or historic or archaeological importance; and
  4. Restore landscape character where it has been eroded; and
  5. Preserve intrinsically dark landscapes in accordance with Policy EN 10: Outdoor Lighting and Dark Skies.

3.4.7 We support the principle of the policy but consider amendments are needed to ensure that it does not result in a blanket reason to refusal otherwise sustainable greenfield development. We suggest it be amended to read:

  1. Conserve and enhance the unique and diverse variety and juxtaposition of the borough’s landscape and the special features that contribute positively to the local sense of place; and
  2. Not cause Include appropriate mitigation to ensure against significant harm to the landscape setting of settlements, including historic farmsteads and hamlets; and
  3. Not result in unsympathetic change to the character of a rural lane, which is of landscape, amenity, nature conservation, or historic or archaeological importance; and
  4. Restore Enhance landscape character where it has been eroded; and
  5. Preserve intrinsically dark landscapes in accordance with Policy EN 10: Outdoor Lighting and Dark Skies.

[TWBC: seefull representation].

DLP_5213

Culverden Residents Association

Support

We support this policy as it is relevant to protection of our local historic farmsteads at Smockham and Caenwood Farms and Reynolds Rural Lane.

DLP_5262

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support

Support

DLP_5517

Peter Bourne

Support with conditions

RURAL LANES:

These are precious to the Borough and are at grave risk of being destroyed. Policy

TWBC Planning Policy on “Rural Lanes” dates back to 1998. Traffic volumes have hugely increased since then (and that is before the impact of additional traffic created by the proposed new developments). The guidance must be updated in order to protect and enhance a key element of the character of the Borough rural areas. The current policy has been totally ineffective in this respect and cannot be relied upon to support the policy for the future. Verges are given no protection or respect, and no effort is being made to slow traffic speeds on rural lanes for wildlife, walkers, riders and cyclists.

The draft does not recognise the link that Rural Lanes provide for walkers and cyclists. Unless an effective means of limiting vehicle movements on Rural Lanes, they will often be deemed unsafe for other users.

It is insufficient to suggest that the Policy will be reviewed in future. It is essential that the policy be revised before the Local Plan is adopted.

DLP_5813

Weald of Kent Protection Society

Object

Policy EN 20 Rural Landscape  WKPS supports this policy. However, this policy is contradicted by Policy EN 21, see below [TWBC: See comment 5814].

DLP_6408

Hawkhurst Parish Council

Support with conditions

We fully support the aims of this policy, but feel that it has been undermined by STR1.

DLP_6467

DHA Planning for Cedardrive Ltd

 

Comments on Policy EN20

3.5.6 In respect of the natural environment, policy EN20 seeks to protect the rural landscape. It states that development will be required to:

1. Conserve and enhance the unique and diverse variety and juxtaposition of the borough’s landscape and the special features that contribute positively to the local sense of place; and

2. Not cause significant harm to the landscape setting of settlements, including historic farmsteads and hamlets; and

3. Not result in unsympathetic change to the character of a rural lane, which is of landscape, amenity, nature conservation, or historic or archaeological importance; and

4. Restore landscape character where it has been eroded; and

5. Preserve intrinsically dark landscapes in accordance with Policy EN 10: Outdoor Lighting and Dark Skies.

3.5.7 We support the principle of the policy but consider amendments are needed to ensure that it does not result in a blanket reason to refusal otherwise sustainable greenfield development. We suggest it be amended to read:

1. Conserve and enhance the unique and diverse variety and juxtaposition of the borough’s landscape and the special features that contribute positively to the local sense of place; and

2. Not cause Include appropriate mitigation to ensure against significant harm to the landscape setting of settlements, including historic farmsteads and hamlets; and

3. Not result in unsympathetic change to the character of a rural lane, which is of landscape, amenity, nature conservation, or historic or archaeological importance; and

4. RestoreEnhance landscape character where it has been eroded; and

5. Preserve intrinsically dark landscapes in accordance with Policy EN 10: Outdoor Lighting and Dark Skies.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Numbers DLP_6461-6472].

DLP_6595

Myrtle Newsom

 

Policy Number: EN20 Rural Landscapes

Proposed developments AL/CR12 & AL/CR13 would contravene all parts of this policy – it will damage the unique and diverse variety of the sense of place currently enjoyed by residents, it will cause significant harm to the landscape setting, it will damage the character of the rural lane which is of great nature conservation and historical importance in the village of Sissinghurst. It is alongside the main entry point to the village from the busy western side and presents Sissinghurst as a typical small Wealden village. These proposals also contravene the outdoor lighting and dark skies policy EN10.

DLP_6683

Gladman

 

6.8 Policy EN20: Rural Landscape

6.8.1 The policy sets out how development proposed beyond built settlement limits should respond to the landscape. Gladman do not believe that sufficient consideration is given to development proposals at the settlement edge which are often faced by different circumstances to those within a more rural setting. Gladman consider that the transitory character of urban fringe sites must also be recognised by the policy and how a site contributes to this. Where there is a potential for the development to soften the effect on the existing urban landscape (through urban design and landscaping) on a wider rural area this should be considered in the planning balance.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6656-6695]

DLP_6919

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

Support with conditions

7.16 Policy EN 20 requires that development conserve and enhance the Borough’s landscape and the special features that contribute positively to the local sense of place; not cause significant harm to the landscape setting of settlements; and restore landscape character where it has been eroded. The use of the term ‘conserve and enhance’ in item 1 of this policy is inconsistent with Paragraph 170 of the NPPF, which states that “Planning policies and decisions should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment...”. Whilst we support the general thrust of the policy, it goes beyond National policy requirements and is considered to be unsound. It is recommended that the word ‘conserve’ is replaced in item 1 of Policy EN20 by the term ‘contribute to’, to better align with Paragraph 170 of the NPPF.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1, Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_7020

Turnberry for Hadlow Estate

Support with conditions

[TWBC: this comment relates to representation on Policy AL/SO 3].

5.5. Other policies

5.5.1. Landscape Policy for the rural areas of the borough and the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

We have proposed some minor modifications to make the policy more precise and effective:

Policy EN 20 Rural Landscape

Development will be required to:

1. Conserve and enhance the unique and diverse variety and juxtaposition of the borough’s landscape and the special features that contribute positively to the local sense of place; and

2. Not cause significant harm to the landscape setting of settlements, including historic farmsteads and hamlets; and

3. Not result in unsympathetic change to the character of a rural lane, which is of landscape, amenity, nature conservation, or historic or archaeological importance; and

4. Restore landscape character where it has been eroded; and

5. Preserve intrinsically dark landscapes in accordance with Policy EN 10: Outdoor Lighting and Dark Skies.

[TWBC: see full representation. Also see Comment Numbers DLP_7018, 7020 and SA_129].

DLP_7336

Campaign to Protect Hawkhurst Village

Object

Paragraph 2 should be explicit that development must nor result in the coalescence of individual settlements within the rural part of the borough.

DLP_7382

Andrew Ford

Support with conditions

We welcome TWBC’s support for ‘resilient forestry and agricultural practices’ (EN5), but are concerned about the lack of consideration given to this vital issue in the Local Plan. Thriving small-scale farming and forestry businesses including family farms underpin the conservation and enhancement of the AONB landscape, are essential to retaining the rural nature of the area and to achieve significant reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. The needs of these businesses do not appear to have been adequately considered in the Plan.

In our view, Policy EN5 and EN20 should be expanded to recognise and support the infrastructure needs required to ensure ‘resilient forestry and agricultural practices’, including suitable affordable housing for rural workers, improved capacity for land-use training, and support for local small-scale growing enterprises. These actions are consistent with TWBC’s policy for the AONB set out in their AONB Management Plan 2019 (Land-based Economy and related Rural Life).

DLP_7950

Wendy Owen

Object

Point 2 says “The development will be required to:… not cause significant harm to the landscape setting”. Any development of site 137 would cause irreparable harm to the landscape as shown in the sustainability assessment and therefore development of this site cannot be compatible with this policy.

DLP_8129

Ashley Saunders

Object

I objects to this Policy and to the following paragraphs of the accompanying commentary, for the reasons stated.

Paragraph 6.213 (p.413) states “The character & attractive appearance of the countryside is one of the principal assets of the borough, and its  protection will be an important consideration […] Features such as routeways, wooded shaws, earth banks and hedges, marl pits, iron workings, and farmsteads have a vital role in defining the character of the countryside […]. Proposals should be capable of being easily assimilated without detracting from these features, which contribute to the character of the locality

Paragraph 6.216 (p.411) states “The landscape presents a peaceful and tranquil character, often with a sense of remoteness, which belies its location in the populous south east of England

Point 2 of Policy EN 20 (p.413) states that development will be required to “Not cause significant harm to the landscape setting of settlements, including historic farmsteads and hamlets

The Strategy for Capel Parish Council (STR/CA 1) in its current form will cause significant harm to all the hamlets. Historically settlements, including hamlets, occur on existing routeways. Any road widening of these routeways or increase in traffic will do irreparable damage.

Point 5 of Policy EN 20 (p.413) states that development will be required to “Preserve intrinsically dark landscapes in accordance with Policy EN 10: Outdoor Lighting and Dark Skies”.

As with Policy EN 10, dark landscape cannot possibly be preserved if a proposal to site at least 4,000 dwellings in Capel Parish.

DLP_8351

DHA Planning for Mr and Mrs B Gear

 

3 Section 6: Development Management Policies

3.1.1 In addition to our comments on the strategy [TWBC: see Comment No. DLP_3001], we have reviewed the proposed replacement development management policies as set out in chapter 6 of the document.

3.1.2 In general terms, we would refer back to paragraph 15 of the NPPF that promotes succinct and up-to-date plans, which provide a positive vision. In contrast, the draft policies currently proposed are of such prescriptive detail that they are neither positively prepared nor flexible enough to allow for a range of different circumstances. Furthermore, many aspirations result in inevitable conflict. On this basis, we would recommend that the majority of proposed policies are simplified and where additional guidance is needed, this be included within secondary Supplementary Planning Documents.

3.1.5 In respect of the natural environment, policy EN20 seeks to protect the rural landscape. It states that development will be required to:

‘1. Conserve and enhance the unique and diverse variety and juxtaposition of the borough’s landscape and the special features that contribute positively to the local sense of place; and

2. Not cause significant harm to the landscape setting of settlements, including historic farmsteads and hamlets; and

3. Not result in unsympathetic change to the character of a rural lane, which is of landscape, amenity, nature conservation, or historic or archaeological importance; and

4. Restore landscape character where it has been eroded; and 

5. Preserve intrinsically dark landscapes in accordance with Policy EN 10: Outdoor Lighting and Dark Skies’.

3.1.6 We support the principle of the policy but consider amendments are needed to ensure that it does not result in a blanket reason to refusal otherwise sustainable greenfield development. We suggest it be amended to read:

‘1. Conserve and enhance the unique and diverse variety and juxtaposition of the borough’s landscape and the special features that contribute positively to the local sense of place; and

2. Not cause Include appropriate mitigation to ensure against significant harm to the landscape setting of settlements, including historic farmsteads and hamlets; and

3. Not result in unsympathetic change to the character of a rural lane, which is of landscape, amenity, nature conservation, or historic or archaeological importance; and

4. Restore Enhance landscape character where it has been eroded; and 

5. Preserve intrinsically dark landscapes in accordance with Policy EN 10: Outdoor Lighting and Dark Skies’.

[TWBC: see the following comments on development management policies:

DLP_8348-8349: Policy EN1 and Policy EN4
DLP_8350: Policy EN6
DLP_8351: Policy EN20
DLP_8352: Policy H1
DLP_8353: Policy H2
DLP_8354-8355: Policies H3 and H4
DLP_8356: Policy H5
DLP_8357: Policy H8].

Policy EN 21: High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_479

Katie Goldfinch

Object

Re: AL/CRS 6 Gate Farm, adjacent to Hartley Road and Glassenbury Road, Hartley (plus Bull Farm)

I would like to register my objection to the above proposed sites. I have read your Sustainability Appraisal  in which your own findings show that the sites in Hartley score mostly negatively  due to the loss of sensitive greenfield site in the AONB and and close proximity of a a SSSI. The only positive benefit TWBC stated  is the area could provide a significant amount  of housing. However my understanding is an AONB is not required to provide housing other than for the residents of the area ( in this  case Hartley Dyke).  Therefore I would like to know :

What research has been carried out to assess the needs of housing for Hartley Dyke residents because presumably this has to form the basis of any  development proposal? 

What evidence is there to show that Hartley Dyke needs this large number of houses proposed ? 

I am also objecting on the grounds of policy  EN21

In the Sustainability Appraisal no consideration is given to this policy which is key to any development in an ANOB .

Having looked at the proposed development I cannot see how  this  proposed site could be achieved in accordance with  Policy EN21.

Therefore I would like to know what  evidence has been put forward to suggest this is a potential development site where by the requirements of EN21 can be met? (The TWBC Sustainability Appraisal suggests by its own findings this cannot be done) 

Finally I would really  appreciate knowing how these questions will be considered and addressed  in the next step of the consultation process.

DLP_1603

Maggie Fenton

Policy EN21 AONB

All development within, or affecting the setting of the AONB shall seek to conserve and enhance its landscape & scenic beauty

  1. Be sensitive to its topography & landscape features of the location

In particular CA1 will impact on the setting of the AONB. Views in particular from the High Weald looking over the Low Weald will be seriously compromised

DLP_1704

Brenchley and Matfield Parish Council

b. From the large number of policies in the DLP, the Council wishes to comment on the following, the aims of which relate to policies that will be included in the Brenchley and Matfield NDP.

iii. EN21 (High Weald AONB). The defence of the AONB must be at the forefront of all planning decisions. TWBC should resist the temptation to encroach upon the protections provided by the NPPF and keep faith with the passion within the community for safeguarding this precious landscape.

[TWBC: part of whole comment number DLP_1683].

DLP_1759

Horsmonden Parish Council

However, in Policy EN21 on the High Weald AONB, land immediately beyond AONB boundaries also needs to be considered in terms of its unique and intrinsic character and qualities, rather than solely as an appendage to the AONB.

DLP_1851

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support with conditions

Policy Number:  EN 21 High Weald AONB 

We feel it would be useful at the opening of the policy, rather than almost as a footnote at the end, to state that any significant development in the AONB will only be permitted if exceptional circumstances justify it.

There also seems no sufficient reason why any sites within the AONB which it is proposed to allocate under this Draft should not be subject to the same 7 requirements in the policy as those expected of limited scale incursions.

DLP_1962

Ms Jacqueline Stanton

Support with conditions

Policy EN 21

Much of the Horsmonden parish is very close to the AONB and should be included because it has relevant qualities and characteristics to the AONB.

DLP_2539

Mr Guy Dagger

Object

The AONB policy and especially the recognition that development sites need to be limited in size and demonstrate a positive contribution to the objectives of the AONB Management Plan is welcomed. The need for development sites to be limited in size reflects agreed policy in the AONB Management Plan adopted by TWBC in March 2019. The policy sets out to conserve the small scale nature of the AONB landscape, which was created by people by hand and has changed very little in 700 years. As policy EN21 states, the High Weald AONB ‘is considered one of the best surviving medieval landscapes in Northern Europe’.

TWBC have recognised in this policy that development in the AONB should be limited in size. The allocation of a number of large sites in the AONB set out in the allocation policies of this Plan are, therefore, contrary to policy EN21. How has this been justified?

DLP_2657

Benenden Parish Council

Support with conditions

Policy EN 21 - Benenden Parish Council believes that this policy should be for the whole AONB, and should not be specific to sites not allocated in the Local Plan. As it is written, the policy does not comply with NPPF. TWBC must carry out its statutory duty in the protection of the AONB and we seek that the words "on sites not allocated in the Local Plan" are deleted. This will serve to protect land within the whole AONB, and the policy will comply with the NPPF

DLP_3486

Sally Marsh

Support with conditions

The AONB policy and especially the recognition that development sites need to be limited in size and demonstrate a positive contribution to the objectives of the AONB Management Plan is welcomed. The need for development sites to be limited in size reflects agreed policy in the AONB Management Plan adopted by TWBC in March 2019. The policy sets out to conserve the small scale nature of the AONB landscape, which was created by people by hand and has changed very little in 700 years. As policy EN21 states, the High Weald AONB ‘is considered one of the best surviving medieval landscapes in Northern Europe’.

TWBC have recognised in this policy that development in the AONB should be limited in size. The allocation of a number of large sites in the AONB set out in the allocation policies of this Plan are, therefore, contrary to policy EN21. How has this been justified?

DLP_3505

High Weald AONB Unit

Support with conditions

We welcome the AONB policy and especially the recognition that development sites need to be limited in size and demonstrate a positive contribution to the objectives of the AONB Management Plan. The need for development sites to be limited in size reflects agreed policy in the AONB Management Plan adopted by TWBC in March 2019. The policy was set out in order to conserve the small scale nature of the AONB landscape, which was created by people by hand and has changed very little in 700 years. As policy EN21 states, the High Weald AONB ‘is considered one of the best surviving medieval landscapes in Northern Europe’.

TWBC have recognised in this policy that development in the AONB should be limited in size. The allocation of a number of large sites in the AONB set out in the allocation policies of this Plan are, therefore, contrary to policy EN21. How has this been justified?

The text of policy EN21 describes the unique nature of the High Weald’s dispersed historic settlement of farmsteads and hamlets. Critical to the beauty and character of the AONB are the key characteristics of settlement and routeways set out on pages 31 and 37 of the AONB Management Plan, including the nature of individual fields forming the separation between settlements.

We recommend that:

  • The words “on sites not allocated in the Local Plan” be deleted from the second paragraph.
  • That the wording of policy EN21 specifically refers to key characteristics

o Point 3 – Protect, enhance and restore the key characteristics of historic routeways

o Point 4 – Retain and support the distinctiveness of individual settlements and their key characteristics.

  • The wording of policy EN21 be revised to include protection for the fields associated with individual farmsteads that form the separation between settlements, as set out in the AONB Management Plan Objective S2 (p.33).
  • The reference to the Management Plan be amended to include ‘and its associated guidance”.

NB. The quote included in paragraph 6.224 is taken from the AONB Management Plan 20142019, rather than the current plan 2019-2024. This needs to be changed. 

DLP_3708

Capel Parish Council

Object

Capel Parish Council objects to this Policy for the reasons stated.

Policy EN 21 (p.414) states “All development within, or affecting the setting of, the High Weald AONB shall seek to conserve and enhance its landscape and scenic beauty, having particular regard to the impacts on its character components, as set out in the High Weald AONB Management Plan”. It goes on to state that “Development in the AONB on sites not allocated in the Local Plan will need to be of a limited scale appropriate in terms of its nature and location, and demonstrate a positive contribution to the objectives of the AONB Management Plan, and will need to:

  1. Be sensitive to the topography and landscape features of the location

The above statement should apply to development on sites that are proposed to be allocated in the Local Plan, not just reserved for later development. In particular the development proposed at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) will impact on the setting of the AONB. Views in particular from the High Weald looking over the Low Weald will be seriously compromised.

DLP_3821

Natural England

 

The policy wording does not clearly reflect NPPF Paragraph 175, which states (with emphasis added) that major development in the AONB should not be permitted other than in exceptional circumstances. Whilst major development is mentioned within the policy, greater weight should be given by this local plan to locating major development outside of the AONB and highlighting the importance of looking first to avoiding major development in the AONB. Policy wording should be updated to reflect the importance of this issue and the level of protection the NPPF affords protected landscapes.

We note the policy reference to ‘sites not allocated in the local plan’. The NPPF clearly states that protected landscapes should be afforded the highest level of protection, and the allocation of sites through the local plan process to not exempt sites from the requirements of the NPPF. Aside from the issue of major development, the provisions of this policy are largely welcomed, however to be effective and compliant with the NPPF, the policy needs to be applicable to all sites, and it should not be the case (as it can currently be interpreted) that this policy does not apply to allocated sites.

It may aid the application of this policy to include reference to your authority’s consideration of what constitutes major development, as included in the Topic paper.

In accordance with the above recommendations, large development proposals or proposals considered likely to impact the AONB or its setting should be informed by a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) in line with the Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (GLVIA 3rd edition).

DLP_4009

Lamberhurst Parish Council

Support

EN21 High Weald Area of Outstanding natural Beauty

This policy is vital and should be taken into consideration to the extent that no major developments should be allowed within and effect the setting of the AONB. Great weight should be given not only to conserving and enhancing landscape but also restoring nature.

DLP_4173

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Object

CPRE strongly objects to the words in the second paragraph “on sites not allocated in the Local Plan”.  This phrase should be deleted, in order to bring this policy into line with the NPPF and the AONB Management Plan 2019.

At the end of the first sentence, after “Management Plan” we recommend that “and its associated guidance” be added.

Protection of the fields associated with the individual farmsteads that often form the separation between settlements should be included in the numbered list.

Subject to those amendments, we would support this policy.

DLP_4251

Rother District Council

Support

The general approach to development in the High Weald AONB, with a focus on small scale development is supported.

DLP_4927

Woodland Trust

 

We would support including key requirements from the High Weald AONB Management Plan, in particular the vision for woodland set in objectives W1-W4, to ensure that the nationallyimportant assemblage of ancient woodland in the High Weald is managed in a sustainable way to maximise its wildlife, landscape and historical value.

DLP_5245

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support with conditions

Landscape Policy for the rural areas of the borough and the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

6.211 and 6.223 We support the concept of applying rural landscape policy to land inside, adjacent to or in close proximity to the boundary of LBDs where there is a strong relationship to the countryside. This is relevant to Royal Tunbridge Wells where, on a number of boundaries, the town ‘melts’ almost imperceptibly into a semi-rural and then fully rural state and the semi-rural areas are very vulnerable to suburbanisation without adequate development control. For the same reason we support the concept of regarding AONB policies as relevant to adjacent or close land buffers.

6.219 We strongly support the intention to view the landscape as a resource that will be protected as a whole.

6.224 We assume that this paragraph implies there will be no major building works allowed within The High Weald AONB given it enjoys the “highest status of protection nationally.”

Policy Number:  EN 21 High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

We support the policy in that it seems to offer strong protection to safeguard the AONB from inappropriate development. However, we do not see how ‘major development’ could be done without causing harm to the status of the AONB and it should be made abundantly clear that this would be wholly exceptional. We believe that all proposals should equally comply with the seven stipulations as set out in this policy to protect the AONB.

DLP_5815

Weald of Kent Protection Society

Object

This policy should relate to the whole AONB, not just sites that have not been allocated. As it is written, the policy does not comply with the NPPF. It also contradicts the Landscape Policy for Rural Areas of the borough and the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) under Policy EN 20 Rural Landscape.

TWBC must carry out its statutory duty in the protection of the AONB and we strongly propose that the words ‘on sites not allocated in the Local Plan’ in the second paragraph of Policy EN 21 are DELETED. This will serve to protect land within the whole AONB and the policy will comply with the NPPF.

DLP_6409

Hawkhurst Parish Council

Support

We support this policy, but as stated above there should be an expectation that the objectives of the AONB Management Plan are met, not just that there is a positive contribution.

DLP_6501
DLP_6519
DLP_6551
DLP_6657
DLP_6713
DLP_6735

Clare Govan
Philip Govan
Rory Govan
Stephanie Govan
Edward Govan
James Govan

Object

TWBC: the standard response was submitted by the list of responders on the left:

Policy Number:  EN21 High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

It is incorrect to say “Major development in the AONB is defined in the NPPF paragraph 172 and footnote 55 (or subsequent revision)”.

There is no definition of “Major development in the AONB” in paragraph 172 nor elsewhere in the NPPF.  Footnote 55 only says:

“For the purposes of paragraphs 172 and 173, whether a proposal is ‘major development’ is a matter for the decision maker, taking into account its nature, scale and setting, and whether it could have a significant adverse impact on the purposes for which the area has been designated or defined.”

The Council, as decision maker, should state how it will take these factors into account, giving examples of circumstances where the factor concerned might (whether or not in conjunction with other factors) might cause the development to be regarded as ‘major’.

DLP_6796

G M Whitehead

Object

Section 6 EN 21 

Major development in the AONB is defined in the NPPF paragraph 172 and footnote 55 (or subsequent revision). Proposals for major development in the AONB will need to demonstrate exceptional circumstances and be assessed against the three tests in the NPPF (or subsequent revisions), including the possibility of alternatives to meet the identified need.

I don’t know what exceptional circumstances allow TWBC to destroy part of the HWAONB in Cranbrook. Future generations will not believe the legacy you will leave behind.

DLP_7081

Brown & Co Planning Ltd for The Hendy Group

Support with conditions

Policy Number: Policy EN 21 (High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB))

Comments; Support with conditions

1.90 The policy wording does not recognise that sites allocated for development in the Local Plan have already been considered with respect to the AONB. This assessment is set out in the Council’s evidence base [10 Distribution of Development Topic Paper for Draft Local Plan, Regulation 18: Appendix 3 - Assessment of AONB sites].

1.91 In order to ensure that allocations are brought forward in line with the Local Plan, allocated sites should not have to go through the process of demonstrating that the proposal will make a positive contribution toward achieving the AONB Management Plan objectives.

1.92 To ensure that these areas can be effectively protected whilst still ensuring that the Council meet their growth targets it is essential that full and proper use is made of all other potential locations for growth. The identification of Site Allocations RTW 8 and PE 7 support this policy objective and the Council are urged to ensure that maximum productive use is made of these sites.

Support subject to the following amendments:

* So as not to prejudice the delivery of allocations, the policy should be reworded to only relate to unallocated sites.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents; Park and Ride Feasibility Review and Site Location Plan].

DLP_7337

Campaign to Protect Hawkhurst Village

Object

This policy should again make clear that the Council considers that there is no capacity within the AONB to accommodate additional development beyond that contemplated in the allocations – as set out in the conclusions of the Development Distribution Study para 6.48.

DLP_7392

Andrew Ford

Support with conditions

We welcome the AONB policy and especially the recognition that development sites need to be limited in size and demonstrate a positive contribution to the objectives of the AONB Management Plan. The need for development sites to be limited in size reflects agreed policy in the AONB Management Plan adopted by TWBC in March 2019. The policy was set out in order to conserve the small scale nature of the AONB landscape, which was created by people by hand and has changed very little in 700 years. As policy EN21 states, the High Weald AONB ‘is considered one of the best surviving medieval landscapes in Northern Europe’.

TWBC have recognised in this policy that development in the AONB should be limited in size. The allocation of a number of large sites in the AONB set out in the allocation policies of this Plan are, therefore, contrary to policy EN21. How has this been justified?

The text of policy EN21 describes the unique nature of the High Weald’s dispersed historic settlement of farmsteads and hamlets. Critical to the beauty and character of the AONB are the key characteristics of settlement and routeways set out on pages 31 and 37 of the AONB Management Plan, including the nature of individual fields forming the separation between settlements.

We recommend that:

  • The key characteristics of settlement and routeways (pages 31 and 37) are highlighted in EN 21 with developers required to consider and enhance these in their proposals.
  • The wording of policy EN21 be revised to include protection for the fields associated with individual farmsteads that form the separation between settlements, as set out in the AONB Management Plan Objective S2 (p.33)

NB. The quote included in policy EN21 is taken from the AONB Management Plan 2014-2019, rather than the current plan 2019-2024. This needs to be changed.

DLP_7682

Joe Hughes

Object

Policy Number:  EN21 High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

It is incorrect to say “Major development in the AONB is defined in the NPPF paragraph 172 and footnote 55 (or subsequent revision)”.

There is no definition of “Major development in the AONB” in paragraph 172 nor elsewhere in the NPPF.  Footnote 55 only says:

“For the purposes of paragraphs 172 and 173, whether a proposal is ‘major development’ is a matter for the decision maker, taking into account its nature, scale and setting, and whether it could have a significant adverse impact on the purposes for which the area has been designated or defined.”

The Council, as decision maker, should state how it will take these factors into account, giving examples of circumstances where the factor concerned might (whether or not in conjunction with other factors) might cause the development to be regarded as ‘major’.

DLP_7927

Fiona Dagger

Object

The AONB policy and especially the recognition that development sites need to be limited in size and demonstrate a positive contribution to the objectives of the AONB Management Plan is welcomed. The need for development sites to be limited in size reflects agreed policy in the AONB Management Plan adopted by TWBC in March 2019. The policy sets out to conserve the small scale nature of the AONB landscape, which was created by people by hand and has changed very little in 700 years. As policy EN21 states, the High Weald AONB ‘is considered one of the best surviving medieval landscapes in Northern Europe’.

TWBC have recognised in this policy that development in the AONB should be limited in size. The allocation of a number of large sites in the AONB set out in the allocation policies of this Plan are, therefore, contrary to policy EN21. How has this been justified?

DLP_7952

Wendy Owen

Object

Any development of site 137 would not be compatible with this policy because it simply cannot “conserve and enhance its landscape and scenic beauty”. In addition, as set out elsewhere in this response, sites have been dismissed that are outside of the HW AONB that would meet the need, and so compliance with the NPPF would not be achieved.

DLP_8056

Sophie Foster

Object

It is incorrect to say “Major development in the AONB is defined in the NPPF paragraph 172 and footnote 55 (or subsequent revision)”.

There is no definition of “Major development in the AONB” in paragraph 172 nor elsewhere in the NPPF.  Footnote 55 only says:

“For the purposes of paragraphs 172 and 173, whether a proposal is ‘major development’ is a matter for the decision maker, taking into account its nature, scale and setting, and whether it could have a significant adverse impact on the purposes for which the area has been designated or defined.”

The Council, as decision maker, should state how it will take these factors into account, giving examples of circumstances where the factor concerned might (whether or not in conjunction with other factors) might cause the development to be regarded as ‘major’.

DLP_8130

Ashley Saunders

Object

I objects to this Policy for the reasons stated.

Policy EN 21 (p.414) states “All development within, or affecting the setting of, the High Weald AONB shall seek to conserve and enhance its landscape and scenic beauty, having particular regard to the impacts on its character components, as set out in the High Weald AONB Management Plan”. It goes on to state that “Development in the AONB on sites not allocated in the Local Plan will need to be of a limited scale appropriate in terms of its nature and location, and demonstrate a positive contribution to the objectives of the AONB Management Plan, and will need to:

  1. Be sensitive to the topography and landscape features of the location

The above statement should apply to development on sites that are proposed to be allocated in the Local Plan, not just reserved for later development. In particular the development proposed at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) will impact on the setting of the AONB. Views in particular from the High Weald looking over the Low Weald will be seriously compromised.

Policy EN 22: Agricultural Land

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1604

Maggie Fenton

Policy EN22 Agricultural Land

6.228 Soils in the borough are generally considered poor …….mostly Grade 3A or 3B & a few extensive tracts of Grade 2 (BMV G1, G2 & G3A)

The Local plan seeks to protect BMV from significant, inappropriate or unsustainable development. Should seek to use areas of poorer quality Agricultural Land ….except where this would be inconsistent with other sustainability objectives

This Policy is ever more vital with climate change. The proposals for Capel do not accord with this policy as the area is predominately comprised of BMV land, hence its importance historically for fruit and hop growing. As the Policy recognizes there are few areas of Grade 2, one being in the area of CA1, so it would be scandalous to lose it to concrete

DLP_2761

Tracy Belton

Support

I agree that agricultural land should not be lost to development. We may need this land to provide food for the Country should we ever exit the EU!

DLP_3507

High Weald AONB Unit

Support with conditions

We welcome the protection for the best and most versatile agricultural land and the recognition that the Agricultural Land Classifications do not accommodate the important contribution all agricultural land makes to biodiversity. We are concerned that policy EN22 provides insufficient guidance to ensure development is not permitted on valuable grassland habitats, particularly semi-natural grassland and other grassland of high wildlife value that research by the AONB Unit and Natural England have demonstrated makes a significant contribution to conservation in the AONB. This research suggests that up to 40% of grasslands in the AONB are not properly identified as species rich and, therefore, their value is under-recognised in planning decisions. These grasslands are vital to a nature recovery plan for the AONB. They provide vital core areas, buffers to known unimproved grassland and connectivity between these areas.

In view of the under-recording of valuable grassland, we recommend that policy EN22 is revised to require applicants to demonstrate that development on poorer agricultural land will not compromise the biodiversity objectives of the local plan, and that a survey by a reputable ecologist is likely to be required.

DLP_3709

Capel Parish Council

Object

Capel Parish Council objects to this Policy and to the following paragraphs of the accompanying commentary, for the reasons stated.

Paragraph 6.229 (p.414) states “The National Planning Policy Framework expects local planning authorities to take into account the economic and other benefits of the best and most versatile (BMV) agricultural land which is land in Grades 1, 2 and 3a of the Agricultural Land Classification (ALC), Grade 1 being the highest

Paragraph 6.228 (p.414) states “Soils in the borough […] are generally considered to be poor, are mostly within Grade 3a or 3b with few extensive areas of Grade 2 and above”

Policy EN 22 (p.415) states that “The Local Planning Authority seeks to protect best and most versatile agricultural land from significant, inappropriate or unsustainable development. Where development of agricultural land is required, applicants should seek to use areas of poorer quality agricultural land in preference to that of higher quality except where this would be inconsistent with other sustainability objectives

This Policy is ever more vital with climate change. The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1) is inconsistent with this policy as the area is predominately comprised of BMV agricultural land, hence its importance historically for fruit and hop growing. As the Policy recognizes there are few areas of Grade 2, one being in the area of AL/CA 1, so it would be scandalous to lose it to concrete.

DLP_3822

Natural England

Support

Natural England supports this policy which provides protection for the best and most valued agricultural land from significant, inappropriate or unsustainable development. The policy falls in line with NPPF footnote 53 and para 170.

DLP_4174

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

CPRE supports this policy, subject to the deletion of the words “except where this would be inconsistent with other sustainability objectives”.  These words are redundant as the policy already only requires a preference, and they weaken the policy.

In order to protect the grassland habitats in the AONB and its setting whose value is currently under-recorded, and to ensure that there will be no net loss of biodiversity, we recommend that a sentence be added requiring applicants to supply a survey by a reputable grassland ecologist to establish the biodiversity value of grassland proposed for development in these areas.

DLP_5246

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support

6.230 Is there more recent documentation available to identify the grade of farmland?

Policy Number:  EN 22 Agricultural Land

Support, General Observation

Is it possible to mention specifically the eco services provided by soils as you set out in §6.227 above (“...soils are considered a finite resource that provide other important ‘ecosystem services’, for example, as a store for carbon and water, as a reservoir of biodiversity and as a buffer against pollution.”)

DLP_6410

Hawkhurst Parish Council

General Observation

What definition will be used to determine best and most versatile - the DEFRA definition?

DLP_6623

AAH Planning for Future Habitat Ltd

Object

Natural Environment

Policy EN 22 – Agricultural Land

Policy EN 22 provides protection for the best and most versatile agricultural land. It goes on to state that where site specific ALC studies are not available the Local Planning Authority will assume that the site is classified as best and most versatile.

Whilst our Client is generally supportive of this policy, we do not consider that a blanket approach of assuming all agricultural land is the best and most versatile is appropriate and a more flexible approach should be taken.

Agricultural land is classified into five grades, with grade 1 being the best quality and grade 5 is poorest quality. The best and most versatile agricultural land comprises land in grades 1, 2 and 3a of the Agricultural Land Classification. Natural England has published maps which show agricultural land classifications at a regional level which should be used to inform the likelihood of land being classified as the best and most versatile, rather than automatically requiring full ALC surveys.

Our Client therefore objects to this policy on the basis that it is unjustified, ineffective, not positively planned and therefore unsound.

[TWBC: see full representation and site plan].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6606-6620, 6622-6627].

DLP_6684

Gladman

 

6.9 Policy EN22: Agricultural Land

6.9.1 This policy seeks to protect against the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land and requires the loss of agricultural land on wider farming resource and ecosystem to be assessed. Gladman consider that the policy goes beyond the requirements of national planning policy, which at Paragraph 170 sets out that planning policies (and decisions) should recognise the economic and other benefits of best and most versatile land. As such, the loss of best and most versatile land should be considered in the context of the overall planning balance.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6656-6695]

DLP_7005

Turnberry for Hadlow Estate

Support with conditions

[TWBC: this comment relates to representations on AL/CA 1: Tudeley Village].

5.4.1. Policy EN22 - Agricultural Land

Small adjustments are necessary to ensure that issues of principle are not left to resolve following adoption of the Plan.

Policy EN 22 Agricultural Land

The Local Planning Authority seeks to protect best and most versatile agricultural land from significant, inappropriate or unsustainable development. Where development of agricultural land is required, applicants should seek to use areas of poorer quality agricultural land in preference to that of higher quality except where this would be inconsistent with other sustainability objectives or other policies within this Plan.

Planning applications that would result in the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land will need to justify why the loss of the agricultural land is acceptable and also assess the impact of the loss of the agricultural land on the wider farming resource and ecosystem services. Where site specific ALC studies are not available the Local Planning Authority will assume that the site is classified as best and most versatile.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Numbers DLP_6996, 7003-7009, 7013-7017 and SA_128]

DLP_7393

Andrew Ford

Support with conditions

We welcome the protection for the best and most versatile agricultural land and the recognition that the Agricultural Land Classifications do not accommodate the important contribution all agricultural land makes to biodiversity. We are concerned that policy EN22 provides insufficient guidance to ensure development is not permitted on valuable grassland habitats, particularly semi-natural grassland and other grassland of high wildlife value that research by the AONB Unit and Natural England have demonstrated makes a significant contribution to conservation in the AONB. This research suggests that up to 40% of grasslands in the AONB are not properly identified as species rich and, therefore, their value is under-recognised in planning decisions. These grasslands are vital to a nature recovery plan for the AONB. They provide vital core areas, buffers to known unimproved grassland and connectivity between these areas.

In view of the under-recording of valuable grassland, we recommend that policy EN22 is revised to require a grassland survey undertaken by a reputable grassland ecologist to inform planning decisions.

DLP_7953

Wendy Owen

Object

This policy requires a presumption of development in favour of poorer land. Site 137 is a mix of ALC 3a and 3b and therefore its development would not be compatible with this policy.

DLP_8131

Ashley Saunders

Object

I objects to this Policy and to the following paragraphs of the accompanying commentary, for the reasons stated.

Paragraph 6.229 (p.414) states “The National Planning Policy Framework expects local planning authorities to take into account the economic and other benefits of the best and most versatile (BMV) agricultural land which is land in Grades 1, 2 and 3a of the Agricultural Land Classification (ALC), Grade 1 being the highest

Paragraph 6.228 (p.414) states “Soils in the borough […] are generally considered to be poor, are mostly within Grade 3a or 3b with few extensive areas of Grade 2 and above”

Policy EN 22 (p.415) states that “The Local Planning Authority seeks to protect best and most versatile agricultural land from significant, inappropriate or unsustainable development. Where development of agricultural land is required, applicants should seek to use areas of poorer quality agricultural land in preference to that of higher quality except where this would be inconsistent with other sustainability objectives

This Policy is ever more vital with climate change. The Strategy for Capel (STR/CA1) is inconsistent with this policy as the area is predominately comprised of BMV agricultural land, hence its importance historically for fruit and hop growing. As the Policy recognizes there are few areas of Grade 2, one being in the area of AL/CA 1, so it would be scandalous to lose it to concrete.

Policy EN 23: Air Quality

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1605

Maggie Fenton

Development will not be permitted when it is considered that unacceptable effects will be imposed on the health, amenity or natural environment of the surrounding area, taking into account the cumulative effects of any other proposed and existing sources of air pollution in the locality

The possibility of thousands of cars attached to the proposals for Capel will cause significant detrimental effects on the health & amenity of the existing settlements. The Transport Assessment indicates that most households in the area have access to 2 or more cars (well above the average for England). If some 4,000 dwellings (conservative figure) mean another 8,000 vehicles minimum even with an optimistic 10% reduction moving to public transport/cycling, that together with the cumulative effect of the existing excessive vehicle movement in the area will mean that these proposals must be scrapped in line with this policy.

DLP_1852

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support with conditions

The policy is acceptable as far as it goes, but it does not go very far in seeking to improve air quality. Air quality is a major health issue in Royal Tunbridge Wells and not only within the AQMA. In view of the climate emergency, all future developments should be expected to be air quality positive through building design, Sec 106 contributions or technological solutions and this should take specifically into account mitigation of the impact of all projected motorised transport to and from the site, including delivery vehicles and vehicles of statutory undertakers and other service providers.

DLP_3710

Capel Parish Council

Object

Capel Parish Council objects to this Policy and to the following paragraphs of the accompanying commentary, for the reasons stated.

Policy EN 23 states (p.415) that “Development will not be permitted when it is considered that unacceptable effects will be imposed (that are incapable of being overcome by a condition or planning obligation) on the health, amenity, or natural environment of the surrounding area, taking into account the cumulative effects of other proposed or existing sources of air pollution in the locality

The possibility of thousands of cars attached to the proposed development within Capel Parish under AL/CA 1, and AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1 will cause significant and unacceptable detrimental effects on the health & amenity of the existing settlements. The SWECO Local Plan Transport Evidence Base indicates that most households in the area have access to 2 or more cars (well above the average for England). If some 4,000 dwellings (conservative figure) mean another 8,000 vehicles minimum even with an optimistic 10% reduction moving to public transport/cycling, that together with the cumulative effect of the existing excessive vehicle movement in the area will mean that these proposals must be scrapped in line with this policy.

DLP_3962

Ide Planning for Paddock Wood Town Council

Object

There is little consideration of air pollution and the impact this will have on residents of a town which will more than double in size if these developments go ahead. It is unclear how some measures proposed in the policy can be achieved through the statutory planning process. The need for hedgerows and trees along roads will be more important than ever.

Comment is made elsewhere regarding a worsening of air quality due to increased traffic flows and congestion. Any further development of the town on any of the suggested sites should provide for improvements to the road network and connectivity as described (new route to the east of the town and the bridle way leading from Maidstone Road at Eastlands should be upgraded and extended to connect with the A228 north of the Badsel roundabout).

DLP_4175

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Object

While CPRE generally welcomes the proposals in these policies we are not convinced that they go far enough.

CPRE are concerned that according to the Borough Council’s Air Quality Report 2018 there appears to be no longer any monitoring at Hawkhurst, and it appears that air quality at Highgate Hill has not been monitored.  Nor, it seems, has there been any monitoring at Cranbrook, or in the villages such as Matfield and Brenchley where there is no mains gas supply and consequently many households have oil-fired heating and woodburning stoves which may lead to more air pollution than would normally be the case in a small rural settlement.  These areas can expect major traffic increases from the development already underway and especially from that proposed in the new Local Plan (in the case of Matfield and Brenchley the scale of proposed development at Paddock Wood and Horsmonden will massively increase traffic through the villages) and base line monitoring should be taking place before the developments start.  We also consider that some of the thresholds set out in Table 8 for developments requiring travel plans are set far too high, for example hotels and stadia, which are capable of generating very high numbers of vehicular trips at certain times.  Perhaps the KCC and Highways England guidance has failed to keep pace with increasing concerns about air quality.  The Government has been repeatedly defeated in court over its failure adequately to address air quality and the Borough Council should consider requiring higher standards.

DLP_4310

White Young Green Planning for Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund

Object

Policy EN 23 – Air Quality

Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund object to the current wording of Policy EN 23 (Air Quality).

The policy requires; “… all major and minor development* in the borough is required to install the following small-scale mitigation measures: 1. Low NOx boilers, i.e. those emitting less than 40mg NOx per kWh; and 2. Electric vehicle charging infrastructure (points and cabling; or any new 

technology requirements); and 3. Cycle storage that is sufficient and convenient”. The policy wording is considered to be unreasonable, ‘unjustified’ and not ‘consistent with national policy’ given that it would require all development, regardless of what is proposed, to install a low NOx boiler, provide electric charging infrastructure and cycle storage. It remains disproportionate to place such a requirement on all development (for example: minor extensions to existing buildings, new shopfronts, engineering operations, changes of use etc).

References to / and repetition of the need to submit Transport Assessments and Travel Plans is not deemed necessarily within this policy. It is also indicated that continued cross-referencing to all associated policies is not needed and merely results in a Plan which is bewildering to read. Cross- referencing should be used only where directly targeted to the specific matter being discussed to ensure the Plan is “…clearly written and unambiguous…” (NPPF, para 16(d)).

To address the above concerns, the following revised policy wording is suggested:

“In the interests of improving air quality borough-wide, all major and minor development* in the borough is required to install the following small-scale mitigation measures where applicable:

  1. Low NOx boilers, e. those emitting less than 40mg NOx per kWh; and
  2. Electric vehicle charging infrastructure (points and cabling; or any new technology requirements); and
  3. Cycle storage that is sufficient and convenient (see Policy TP 3: Parking Standards).

In accordance with Policy TP 1: Transport Assessments and Travel Plans, transport assessments and travel plans are required for proposals above the limits set out in Table 8. Policies STR 6: Transport and Parking, TP 1: Transport Assessments and Travel Plans, and TP 2: Transport Design and Accessibility, also set out that contributions towards mitigation measures may be considered necessary

Early (pre-application) engagement with the Local Planning Authority is required: at this stage, sensitive receptors will be considered and the Local Planning Authority will decide if the application needs to be accompanied by a full and detailed assessment of the likely impact of airborne emissions predicted to result from the development.

In instances where the proposed development gives rise to concerns regarding air quality, the proposed is to be supported by an Air Quality Impact Assessment (AQIA). Where detailed assessments are required, developers should liaise with the Local Planning Authority to consider 

cumulative impacts. Developments are expected to be at least air quality neutral, with air quality positive proposals strongly encouraged.

Development will not be permitted when it is considered that unacceptable effects will be imposed (that are incapable of being overcome by a condition or planning obligation mitigation) on the health, amenity, or natural environment of the surrounding area, taking into account the cumulative effects of other proposed or existing sources of air pollution in the locality. Sensitive receptors will be considered at all times.

The use of sustainable transport measures, such as supporting sustainable public transport, shared transport initiatives, cycle/footways, improved connectivity and green infrastructure (for example, green roofs, hedges, and street trees) to reduce air pollution concentrations and exposure, are strongly encouraged (see Policies STR 5: Essential Infrastructure and Connectivity, STR 6: Transport and Parking, and Policies TP 2: Transport Design and Accessibility, TP 3: Parking Standards, OSSR 1: Retention of Open Space, OSSR 2: The Provision of Publicly Accessible Open Space and Recreation, and EN 16: Green, Grey, and Blue Infrastructure).”.

The current wording of Policy EN 23 is not deemed to be ‘effective’ nor ‘consistent with national policy’ and therefore should be revised as outlined above to be ‘sound’.

DLP_4490

Paddock Wood Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

 

There is little consideration of air pollution and the impact this will have on residents of a town which will more than double in size if these developments go ahead.  The need for hedgerows and trees along road will be more important than ever.

DLP_4699

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support

Dandara Comment 

The Policy requires for small scale mitigation measures such as electric vehicle charging and for developments to be air quality neutral. We would support a policy which allows for negotiation with the Council in terms of level of provision and offsetting.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

No revised wording proposed

DLP_4928

Woodland Trust

 

Policy EN23 Air quality

We welcome the principle that development will not be permitted when it is considered that unacceptable effects will be imposed on the health, amenity, or natural environment of the surrounding area, taking into account the cumulative effects of other proposed or existing sources of air pollution in the locality.

Ancient woodland is greatly at risk from ammonia pollution. We recommend therefore adding specific requirements that additional screening will be required of all ammonia-emitting developments, such as intensive livestock units, within 5km of an ancient woodland site, with a detailed ‘Ancient Woodland Nitrogen Impact Assessment’ of the ancient woodland of concern. This will need to demonstrate that there will be no deterioration or impacts as a result of the contributions from this development.

DLP_5214

Culverden Residents Association

Support with conditions

We support this Policy but, in view of the climate emergency, it should really go much further if TWBC has the necessary powers.

DLP_5247

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support with conditions

6.237 Is there any intention of adhering to stricter, recent WHO limits?

Policy Number:  EN 23 Air Quality

Support but would like to see that peak time emissions are given greater consideration. Too often yearly averages of measurements of air pollution are used to justify not taking more stringent measures. Current measurements include traffic movement at non-peak times such as at night, weekends and holidays. What is therefore allowed in this scenario, for example, is school children walking to and from schools being exposed to illegally high pollution based on those peak time emissions. Hence, the policy as it is does nothing to protect vulnerable people from being exposed to damaging air pollution.

DLP_6252

Claire Penney

Object

* A26 congestion & pollution: I could not see that the points made in the attached response re existing congestion and pollution from the A26 had been considered in the draft local plan. How can this not have been factored in? As you should be well aware, this road is already over-congested, generating unacceptable levels of pollution, as does St John’s road, its continuation into Tunbridge Wells town centre. Do you currently have any plans to take action on this to reduce pollution levels? E.g. limiting access by large goods vehicles, increased monitoring etc? My son goes to nursery on St John’s Road, and we live one road away from the A26 running through Southborough. We are seriously considering moving due to these issues. Given the recognised climate emergency, TW council is not taking the wellbeing of its constituents seriously, and you must take steps to correct this failing immediately.

DLP_6411

Hawkhurst Parish Council

 

This needs to be a higher priority. Developments must be at least air quality neutral and that should apply to all developments. Hawkhurst has significant concerns over current air quality. This will continue to worsen with additional development.

DLP_6920

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

General Observation

7.17 Policy EN23 sets out the necessary mitigation to be required for all new development. The policy contains a significant amount of information that would be best contained in the supporting text not of relevance for the policy itself. In order to ensure it is sufficiently precise as required by (NPPF Para 16), this text should be relocated to the supporting text.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1, Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3].]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_7006

Turnberry for Hadlow Estate

Support with conditions

[TWBC: this comment relates to representations on AL/CA 1: Tudeley Village].

5.4.2. Policy EN23 - Air, Water, Noise, and Land Air Quality

Although we are not opposed in principle to new standards in respect of these matters, the Council will need to bring forward evidence to support its policy to ensure these are viable and deliverable. At present, this policy is not fully Justified.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Numbers DLP_6996, 7003-7009, 7013-7017 and SA_128]

DLP_7082

Brown & Co Planning Ltd for The Hendy Group

Object

Policy Number: Policy EN 23 - Air Quality and Policy EN 24 - Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA)

Comments; Object

1.93 Although our Client recognises the importance of managing air quality, the wording of these policies goes beyond national guidance and risks overburdening development, which will impact the viability and deliverability of providing allocations.

1.94 Moreover, our Client is concerned that there is no evidence base work to support these policies.

UNSOUND: Lack of evidence base to justify these policies.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents; Park and Ride Feasibility Review and Site Location Plan].

DLP_7109

Williams Gallagher for Canada Life Ltd

 

Policy EN23 – Air Quality

The policy is prescriptive in its requirement for installation of specific low NOx boilers. This is overly prescriptive and developers should have opportunity to consider other appropriate methods of achieving air quality mitigation.

The extent of requirement for EV charging points is unclear in the policy or supporting text. We note however, the Policy TP2 also refers to EV charging provision and cross refers to the Council’s Guidance Note on Electric Vehicle Charging Points for New Development. This guidance does not have any formal planning status.

In addition, we enclose the REVO EV Charging Guidance which advises on the need to not be prescriptive on EV provision whilst the relevant technology is evolving.

We would suggest that if the Council wishes to secure appropriate EV technologies, then Policy EN23 should cross refer to Policy TP2 in this regard.

We trust that you find these comments constructive and look forward to on-going dialogue with the Council. Please keep us informed of progress with the local plan preparation.

Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_7102-7117].

DLP_7954

Wendy Owen

Object

Any development of site 137, especially the siting of a new secondary school at the extreme edge of the borough, will result in significant additional traffic along an already very busy road, likely further reducing the air quality to unacceptable levels in that area.

DLP_8132

Ashley Saunders

Object

I objects to this Policy and to the following paragraphs of the accompanying commentary, for the reasons stated.

Policy EN 23 states (p.415) that “Development will not be permitted when it is considered that unacceptable effects will be imposed (that are incapable of being overcome by a condition or planning obligation) on the health, amenity, or natural environment of the surrounding area, taking into account the cumulative effects of other proposed or existing sources of air pollution in the locality

The possibility of thousands of cars attached to the proposed development within Capel Parish under AL/CA 1, and AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1 will cause significant and unacceptable detrimental effects on the health & amenity of the existing settlements. The SWECO Local Plan Transport Evidence Base indicates that most households in the area have access to 2 or more cars (well above the average for England). If some 4,000 dwellings (conservative figure) mean another 8,000 vehicles minimum even with an optimistic 10% reduction moving to public transport/cycling, that together with the cumulative effect of the existing excessive vehicle movement in the area will mean that these proposals must be scrapped in line with this policy.

DLP_8203

Mrs Suzi Rich

Object

See Policy STR 5

I object to this Policy for the following reasons:

Policy EN 23 states (p.415) that “Development will not be permitted when it is considered that unacceptable effects will be imposed (that are incapable of being overcome by a condition or planning obligation) on the health, amenity, or natural environment of the surrounding area, taking into account the cumulative effects of other proposed or existing sources of air pollution in the locality”

The possibility of thousands of cars attached to the proposed development within Capel Parish under AL/CA 1, and AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1 will cause significant and unacceptable detrimental effects on the health & amenity of the existing settlements. The SWECO Local Plan Transport Evidence Base indicates that most households in the area have access to 2 or more cars (well above the average for England). If some 4,000 dwellings (conservative figure) mean another 8,000 vehicles minimum even with an optimistic 10% reduction moving to public transport/cycling, that together with the cumulative effect of the existing excessive vehicle movement in the area will mean that these proposals must be scrapped in line with this policy.

The following policies should be removed from the Draft Local Plan to enable this Policy to be complied with: AL/CA 1; AL/CA 2: AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1; TP 6

[TWBC: See comments DLP_8189-8214 for full representation]

DLP_8397

Mr Raymond Moon

Object

Policy EN23.OBJECT.Air Quality.

As we take on the challenges of Climate change and the protection of the environment the impact of air pollution has a major impact on the health of the population. Increased traffic movements around the town and the town centre will pose a serious threat and the Draft Plan fails to give details of mitigation to solve this problem. Pedestrianisation of Commercial Road between the two existing car parks to the War Memorial and the new development of the Town centre should be an option.

DLP_8412

Paddock Wood Labour Party

Object

Policy EN23.OBJECT.Air Quality.

As we take on the challenges of Climate change and the protection of the environment the impact of air pollution has a major impact on the health of the population. Increased traffic movements around the town and the town centre will pose a serious threat and the Draft Plan fails to give details of mitigation to solve this problem. Pedestrianisation of Commercial Road between the two existing car parks to the War Memorial and the new development of the Town centre should be an option.

Policy EN 24: Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA)

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1853

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support with conditions

Policy Number:  EN 24 Air Quality Management Areas 

While we support the requirement for an emission mitigation assessment on relevant planning applications, we are very dubious about the likely efficacy of mitigation measures which may become both nebulous and tokenistic, while the likely harm will remain very real. We are very concerned that a tick-box approach may arise as in other areas of the planning process, but in this case individual lives are known to be at risk if policies are not effective in practice.

Given the disproportionately high number of large-engined diesel cars (many now ageing and not optimally maintained) observable in Royal Tunbridge Wells  which commuter rat-run through residential streets or are involved in the “school run”, a case can be made for already declaring some parts of the urban road network an Air Quality Protection Zone.

DLP_4176

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Object

While CPRE generally welcomes the proposals in these policies we are not convinced that they go far enough.

CPRE are concerned that according to the Borough Council’s Air Quality Report 2018 there appears to be no longer any monitoring at Hawkhurst, and it appears that air quality at Highgate Hill has not been monitored.  Nor, it seems, has there been any monitoring at Cranbrook, or in the villages such as Matfield and Brenchley where there is no mains gas supply and consequently many households have oil-fired heating and woodburning stoves which may lead to more air pollution than would normally be the case in a small rural settlement.  These areas can expect major traffic increases from the development already underway and especially from that proposed in the new Local Plan (in the case of Matfield and Brenchley the scale of proposed development at Paddock Wood and Horsmonden will massively increase traffic through the villages) and base line monitoring should be taking place before the developments start.  We also consider that some of the thresholds set out in Table 8 for developments requiring travel plans are set far too high, for example hotels and stadia, which are capable of generating very high numbers of vehicular trips at certain times.  Perhaps the KCC and Highways England guidance has failed to keep pace with increasing concerns about air quality.  The Government has been repeatedly defeated in court over its failure adequately to address air quality and the Borough Council should consider requiring higher standards.

DLP_4311

White Young Green Planning for Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund

Object

Policy EN 24 – Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA)

Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund object to Policy EN 24. The current wording of the AQMA policy is difficult to follow (therefore contrary to paragraph 16(d) of the NPPF) and it is proposed that the policy should be re-worded as follows:

“Development in Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) should take account of existing air pollution levels and consider measures to mitigate its impact on future occupiers, consistent with Policy EN 23

Development which is identified to have potential to result in a significant increase in emissions to the detriment of air quality in an AQMA, should include an appropriate scheme of mitigation which may take the form of on-site measures, or where appropriate planning contributions towards off-site measures, based on an emissions mitigation assessment and cost calculation”.

The current wording of Policy EN 24 is not deemed to be ‘effective’ nor ‘consistent with national policy’ and therefore should be revised as outlined above to be ‘sound’.

DLP_5215

Culverden Residents Association

Support with conditions

We support the policy but it does not go far enough in dealing with pollution experienced in our area from rat-running and the school run. Please see our constructive suggestions for solutions set out in comments on the transport strategy document in Appendix 5.

DLP_5248

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support with conditions

6.240 We welcome the statement that even if NO2 levels drop on the A26 AQMA, an Air Quality Protection Zone would be introduced. We believe that such a zone should be considered for a wider network of residential streets which are subject to excessive traffic movements. It is especially important to include roads around schools and where large numbers of children walk to and from school during rush hour.

Policy Number:  EN 24 Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) 

Following on from our comments on policy EN 23 above, we would like to see many more zones designated as AQMAs with the implementation of (ultra) low emissions zones to reduce traffic, especially at peak times.

Policy EN 25: Biomass Technology

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1854

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Policy Number:  EN 25 Biomass Technology

Object and seek much stronger alternative policy        

For a number of reasons, we do not consider Biomass to be a sustainable technology for use in the urban area of Royal Tunbridge Wells and therefore OBJECT to this policy while recognising that the council is probably attempting to mitigate problems which would arise through its use in large installations. We do not object to anaerobic digesters processing local waste or methane capture from former refuse sites.

Biomass use in domestic installations in RTW should be discouraged by every means available to a Local Authority because there is increasing evidence that its use, particularly in wood burning stoves, is damaging to human health at least to the same extent as substantial diesel emissions. Experience with existing installations shows that it is a pious hope to expect residents to comply with Defra guidance on appropriate use. The solution to what is a growing problem is to aim to prevent the use of wood burning stoves in urban areas altogether and certainly to outlaw any new installations.  The Draft Policy should be redrawn to differentiate between urban and rural areas where, in the latter case, it may be felt that the health risks remain at an acceptable level.

Rather than encouraging biomass technology we should like to see a specific encouragement of heat pumps in domestic installations, which seem to offer a genuinely sustainable technology for the future and would also offer a better solution in outlying districts than extending the gas mains network within only a few years of the time when new gas boilers will be outlawed.

DLP_4177

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

CPRE has some reservations about this policy.

We appreciate the attempt to limit the highly damaging effect on air quality and carbon production that some biomass technologies can have.  However, if biomass includes anaerobic digesters and the use of methane from landfill sites, the use of these could in some cases be beneficial for the environment.

We recognise that the Council’s powers to control the installation of woodburning stoves are limited, particularly given permitted development rights, but we would like to see the policy require woodburners in any new development for which planning permission is required to be the type described in point 3 of paragraph 6.245, rather than the Council merely issuing an informative.

DLP_5216

Culverden Residents Association

Object

We OBJECT to this policy. We do not think that Biomass is a genuinely sustainable technology in any shape or form and that it should not be encouraged, except perhaps in the case of isolated rural settlements. Burning biomass is certainly not desirable in densely populated urban areas like Tunbridge Wells, particularly in an uncontrolled way in small domestic installations. The noxious fumes from biomass burning are particularly dangerous to the health of children, the elderly and anyone with a cardio-vascular or breathing problem.

DLP_5249

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Object

Biomass Technology: Please, see document on biomass research attached.

We suggest deleting all recommendations and referrals to biomass technology in the Local Draft Plan as a clean renewable energy source based on recent research and increasing reports on the damaging consequences of biomass burning to public health and through increased CO2 emissions.

6.242 We maintain that if the aim of Policy EN 25 is to improve and maintain good air quality, then biomass technology is the opposite of what the LPA should be promoting.

6.243 We strongly disagree with biomass burning being presented as low carbon technology. Regardless of what is stated in the NPPF, biomass burning is subject to serious contrary expert opinion and the notices mentioned in §6.245 about the significant dangers to health of residents of wood burning stoves is evidence that the NPPF may be regarded as flawed.

6.245 The adverse consequences of biomass burning on a small scale should be considered a warning to expanding the scope of biomass burning.

Policy Number:  EN 25 Biomass Technology 

We very strongly object to biomass technology being promoted as a low carbon technology, which it is not. It is wrong to talk about “potential air quality impacts” as it gives the false impression that it is only ‘potential’, whereas in actual fact air pollution will always occur with biomass burning. In addition, it is highly unlikely that biofuel can be locally sourced to provide enough capacity.

Altogether, it is clear that biomass technology cannot be considered ‘sustainable’ in any sense of the word. Emissions from biomass burning negatively impact on people’s health and contribute to increased CO2 emissions, which exacerbates existing problems of climate change. It goes directly against the commitment to reaching carbon neutrality by 2030 as made by TWBC in their Climate Emergency Declaration. [For further details, please see document on biomass research attached].

DLP_6211

Amanda Wells

Object

6.242 In the draft Local Plan Biomass is mentioned in several places and in particular Policy EN 25 and paragraphs §6.242 - §6.245

This entire policy should be scrapped and any reference to biomass as carbon neutral as this is simply untrue.  According to Chatham House, biomass, when burnt, emits more carbon per unit of energy than most fossil fuels. The exact amount varies with the type of biomass and the type and age of the power plant, but figures from the Drax power station, Europe’s largest consumer of wood pellets, show that in 2013 it emitted about 13 per cent more carbon dioxide per unit of energy generated from biomass than from coal.

Policy EN 26: Water Quality, Supply, and Treatment

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_76

The Access Group

Kent like most of the South East has a limited water resource the proposed LDP along with those imposed upon other kent local authorities will place an unwelcome demand upon the use of water. New housing should as a condition of the build include means to reduce water use and have means to recycle used water to flush toilets etc. It should be noted that the immediate south east of England has less rainfall than southern France and southern Italy. The proposed LDP housing build will put a major pressure on limited water supplies

DLP_967

Mrs A Marley

General Observation

Regarding water supply, we need evidence of forward planning to provide Adequate Drinking Water for new housing developments in Cranbrook and Sissinghurst

DLP_1606

Maggie Fenton

 

EN26 Water Quality, supply & Treatment

6.265 The council will also apply a sequential test to new development ……to direct development away from areas at highest risk of flooding. These will include all proposed areas that are within Flood Zones 2 & 3 as well as sites in Flood Zone 1 that are larger than 1ha &/or have critical drainage problems as identified by the EA and within the Councils latest Flood Risk Assessment such as Paddock Wood and Five Oak Green & Capel.

6.264 It is essential that new development does not increase flood risk and that any new development proposed in areas that are vulnerable to flood risk “build in “ additional capacity in terms of flood mitigation and provide “betterment” where possible: (see Policies STR/PW1 &STR/CA1 for the FR Strategy proposed alongside development in this area)

These paragraphs contradict each other. It makes absolute sense to direct new development away from flood risk areas. However, the second paragraph is just a get out clause for planning!

DLP_1855

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

 

Policy Number:  EN 26 Water Quality, Supply and Treatment

Support + General Observation

We strongly support this policy. However, even without taking into account the apparent acceleration of climate change on our region, Paragraphs 6.250, 6.252 and 6.260 already raise major concerns as to whether the scale of proposed residential development in the Borough is compatible with the objective of maintaining adequate water resources and water quality.

How and under what legal powers is TWBC going to be able to ensure that major developments do not take place before the appropriate infrastructure is financed and put in place? Once a site allocation is made on a site which was promoted for development, it must be assumed that a developer will come forward rapidly with a planning application. How will TWBC be able to reject such an application possibly for many years? How will its obligation to deliver housing numbers sit against the need to enforce this policy?

There is also an issue raised for Royal Tunbridge Wells by the requirement that all development must provide a connection to the sewerage system at the nearest point of adequate capacity. Such spare capacity does not presently exist in some parts of the town, notably at Warwick Park and the Pantiles area nor does the service provider seem minded to provide it.

The current situation suggests that EN 26 Draft Policy should properly act as a significant constraint on development in the Borough to a similar extent as AONB and Green Belt, yet it does not seem to have been taken much into account in assessing the extent to which government imposed housing targets could or should be delivered or opposed.

DLP_3628

Southern Water Services Plc

Support with conditions

Southern Water welcomes the inclusion of a policy aimed at supporting the delivery of the utilities infrastructure required to meet the needs of current and future residents and businesses within Tunbridge Wells Borough. Whilst it’s essential to ensure that development occurs in tandem with infrastructure delivery, we would also seek support for strategic infrastructure delivery where this is required.

Proposed amendment to paragraph 1

We propose the following amendment (new text underlined) to Policy EN 26;

Improvements to supply and treatment facilities will be supported, as the timing of their provision, and funding sources will be critical to the delivery of development.

Paragraph 2

We appreciate the inclusion of the following in paragraph 2 of policy EN 26 The assessment reveals that existing local sewerage infrastructure to the site has limited capacity to accommodate the proposed development. Limited capacity is not a constraint to development provided that planning policy and subsequent conditions ensure that occupation of the development is phased to align with the delivery of new wastewater infrastructure; All development must provide a connection to the sewerage system at the nearest point of adequate capacity and follow advice from the service provider. However since OFWAT's new approach to water and wastewater connections charging was implemented from 1 April 2018, we have adjusted our approach in line with the new requirements, and whilst the above referenced sentence is no longer effective. The assessment reveals that existing local sewerage infrastructure to the site has limited capacity to accommodate the proposed development. Limited capacity is not a constraint to development provided that planning policy and subsequent conditions ensure that occupation of the development is phased to align with the delivery of new wastewater infrastructure as a result of the changes, the need remains for recognition that on certain sites, network reinforcement will need to be undertaken before new dwellings are occupied, in order to avoid an increased risk of flooding.

We have assessed all housing allocation sites in the Draft Tunbridge Wells Local Plan and commented on those sites where network reinforcement would be required. This reinforcement will be provided through the New Infrastructure charge but Southern Water will need to work with site promoters to understand the development program and to review whether the delivery of network reinforcement aligns with the occupation of the development.

This is not a constraint to development provided that planning policy and subsequent conditions ensure that occupation of the development is phased to align with the delivery of wastewater infrastructure.

Southern Water has limited powers to prevent connections to the sewerage network, even when capacity is limited. Planning policies and planning conditions, therefore, play an important role in ensuring that development is coordinated with the provision of necessary infrastructure, and does not contribute to pollution of the environment, in line with paragraph 170(e) of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2018).

Proposed amendment paragraph 2

Accordingly, we propose the following amendment (new text underlined) to Policy EN 26;

Where necessary, occupation of development is to be phased to align with the delivery of sewerage infrastructure, in liaison with the service provider. All development must provide a connection to the sewerage system at the nearest point of adequate capacity and follow advice from the service provider.

DLP_3823

Natural England

Support with conditions

Natural England largely welcomes this policy which aligns closely with paragraph 170 (e) of the NPPF, requiring that development will not be permitted if there is unacceptable risk to the quality or quantity of surface and ground water resources. We provide the following advice in relation to surface water drainage.

Larger developments should be supported and encouraged to replace antiquated surface drainage systems such as gully pots with sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS). SuDS can significantly reduce impacts on surrounding water quality and also contribute to Green Infrastructure and natural capital provision.

DLP_4178

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

CPRE supports this policy, which is long overdue.  If it had been in place, and if local residents’ knowledge and concerns had been properly taken into account, perhaps we would not now be in the situation where hundreds of dwellings have planning permission at Paddock Wood but construction work has been suspended because only a limited number can be connected to the sewerage system. We would, however, like to see the policy strengthened further by a reference to applicants for new development having to demonstrate that it will not result in any deterioration in foul drainage for existing residents, and by  a clear requirement for any necessary improvements to sewers and wastewater treatment facilities to be in place before any of the new dwellings are occupied.

DLP_4328

Environment Agency

Support

Groundwater and Contaminated Land

We do not have any comments to make on polices EN 26 and 31 and support them as currently drafted.

For site allocations on land with previous use, detailed comments will be provided at site application stage, to ensure adequate investigation and if necessary remediation is carried out to address any contamination and risks to controlled waters in accordance with policy EN31. This includes green belt land that may have been subject to mineral extraction and backfilling. We would advise against any residential development on deep landfill with putrescible wastes.

In addition any new proposals should ensure that sustainable drainage design will achieve the protection of ground and surface waters in accordance with the relevant policy, which we support. There is no objection in principle from a groundwater protection point of view, providing applications accord with the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework on protecting groundwater resources; the plan policy EN26 and meet building regulation requirements.

In the case of mains sewer provision, we would object to any major development sites that do not tie into upgrade of sewer capacity in the area. This is for the local planning authority and utility company to manage in terms of timing for release of permissions for sites being developed. This is particularly important in stressed groundwater catchments and where sensitive aquatic habitat is evident.

DLP_5250

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support with conditions

6.247 It may be useful to mention Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) in this paragraph.

6.250 Is it merely accepted that at times extra effluent discharged into the environment will not be sufficiently clean? What solutions can be proposed? Or if no solution is possible, development in those specific locations should not be permitted.

Policy Number:  EN 26 Water Quality, Supply, and Treatment

Given the serious concerns expressed in the preceding paragraphs: “Constraints in existing available technology mean that it will not always be possible to carry out the improvements needed to ensure that the extra effluent discharged into the environment is sufficiently clean.” (§6.250) and “... water bodies were under pressure from agriculture, water industry, and rural land management activities, and many were not achieving ‘good’ status for ecology. Furthermore, the ground water quality was defined as failing in Tunbridge Wells borough.” (§6.252) how will this policy guarantee that (major) new development will not further exacerbate these problems?

It is one of the reasons we would discourage TWBC to comply with the required number of new houses / large developments

DLP_6412

Hawkhurst Parish Council

 

This should apply to all development not only major development. There are so many areas in the borough that currently have serious issues that this needs to be taken far more seriously.

DLP_7397

South East Water

Support

South East Water would like to thank Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for bringing the Tunbridge Wells Borough draft Local Plan to our attention.

Each water company is legally required to prepare a Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP) every five years. South East Water published our WRMP19 in August 2019. This plan sets out how we intend to maintain the balance between increasing demand for water and available supplies over the next 60 years up to 2080. The plan takes into account planned housing growth as well as the potential impact of climate change and includes our ambitious water efficiency programme. For more information please visit our website: https://corporate.southeastwater.co.uk/about-us/our-plans/water-resources-managementplan-2019/

In South East Water’s most recent business plan we have committed to play an active role regionally in relation to the impact of housing growth on water. We will develop a policy together with local stakeholders – appreciating the balance of supplying water, the need for society to ensure environmentally sustainable future water resources, and also the ongoing support of the south east region and its economic development. South East Water aims to respond to 100 per cent of all national, local and regional authority consultations and seeks to co-operate and maintain a good working relationship with local planning authorities in its area and to provide the support they need with regards to the provision of water supply infrastructure. Please see our business plan: https://corporate.southeastwater.co.uk/media/2901/sew_five_year_business_plan_20202025.pdf

We are also committed partners in the Water Resources in the South East (WRSE) Group that works for the collective good of customers and the environment in the wider south east region and are nationally represented in the Water UK water resources long-term planning framework.

Our aim of reducing demand requires the use of new approaches and technology. Although there is some uncertainty on the level of savings that can be achieved we are seeing a development of new technologies and we are committed to reduce personal water usage and leakage levels in order to be more sustainable for next generations.

Our preferred plan for the period 2020 to 2025 includes a mix of demand management initiatives such as leakage reductions and an ambitious water efficiency programme. During the period 2025 to 2045 we will continue our demand management initiatives to achieve further leakage and water efficiency savings. However, by this stage we will need additional water supply options to meet the increase in shortfall of our supply demand balance.

Several of the options within our preferred plan come directly from our engagement with third parties, for instance the regional transfers that resulted from our participation in WRSE. Other options, such as catchment management, rely upon our ability to work with stakeholders, or as with our water efficiency option, we rely on our ability to engage and influence customers’ water use behaviour.

In your area we are developing regional water transfer schemes such as importing water from Sutton and East Surrey Water (2042) to our WRZ1 area (Tunbridge Wells) and a targeted catchment management interventions programme in the Pembury area (2034).

South East Water have now reviewed the plan and would like to comment that:

Policy EN 26 - Water Quality, Supply, and Treatment

South East Water consider this policy appropriate and advise that it is important that the Council and developers liaise with South East Water to ensure the timely delivery of water supply infrastructure that is adequate to meet future demand.

DLP_8398

Raymond Moon

Object

Policy EN 26 OBJECT.

Water Quality, Supply, and Treatment

There appears to be no mention of how the 4,000 new houses will be supplied with fresh water by South East Water. SEW should provide details ie of new reservoirs etc and have in place as part of the Masterplan the infrastructure to provide this water before any more new houses are built in PW.

DLP_8413

Paddock Wood Labour Party

Object

Policy EN 26 OBJECT.

Water Quality, Supply, and Treatment

There appears to be no mention of how the 4,000 new houses will be supplied with fresh water by South East Water. SEW should provide details ie of new reservoirs etc and have in place as part of the Masterplan the infrastructure to provide this water before any more new houses are built in PW.

Policy EN 27: Conservation of water resources

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1856

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Policy Number:  EN 27 Conservation of Water Resources

Support with conditions + General Observation

While we support TWBC’s aspiration of reducing daily water consumption per person to 110 litres per day on new developments, this may turn out more pious hope than reality against a background of “Serious water stress” mentioned in Paragraph 6.260. TWBC does not seem to have the power to dictate the type of water appliance purchased in the retrofit market, nor to dictate how much water individuals will actually consume even though the Water Authority may be able to give some nudges through pricing policies.

If the situation is already one of serious water stress, it is hard to see how sufficient mitigation can be ensured to cope with the government imposed housing targets. The Council and the water companies should therefore be required to produce evidence at Examination stage of what the effect will be, of development on the overall scale proposed and how this will be mitigated.

DLP_3373

Kent County Council (Growth, Environment and Transport)

Support

Sustainable Business and Community

Paragraph 6.261 - KCC fully supports the inclusion of an optional technical standard for water efficiency, which will support delivery of the Kent Environment Strategy.

DLP_3824

Natural England

Support

Natural England supports this policy which provides a strategy to protect water resource and limit dwelling consumption to 110 litres. This is coupled with a commitment to support development that meets South East Water’s Resource Management Plan, and meets national standards set for water efficiency and consumption per household.

DLP_4179

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

CPRE supports this policy.  We question, however, whether it will be sufficient to avoid the increased water stress in an already severely water stressed area that will be caused by building over 14,000 new dwellings.  The Council and the water companies should produce evidence at Examination stage of what the effect will be, with this policy in place, of development on this scale.

Paragraph 6.262 should form part of the policy, rather than merely being in the supporting text where it will have minimal force

DLP_4252

Rother District Council

Support

Support

The adoption of the optional, higher water efficiency standard is wholly consistent with the identification of the south-east region as a ‘water stress area’. This Council has similarly proposed this policy measure.

DLP_4341

Environment Agency

 

Hydrology

Para 6.261, Policy EN 27

We welcome the requirement for the optional higher water efficiency standard in new homes, and the encouragement of water efficiency measures such as greywater recycling and rainwater harvesting. Where incorporated these should allow a still higher degree of water efficiency than the 110 litres/person/day requirement.

It is disappointing that there is no mention of water efficiency in non-residential developments. We would like to see the council requiring at least larger developments to meet BREEAM Very Good or Excellent standards, as do many other Kent Councils.

In the Sustainability Appraisal Interim Report, is it true that in Option 3 (Dispersed growth) "This strategy concentrates development around Royal Tunbridge Wells and Southborough and thus exacerbates some of the existing problems in these areas (e.g. air quality)?" The text is identical to Options 1 and 2 and looks inappropriate.

DLP_4700

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support

Dandara Comment 

Dandara supports the conservation of water resources and are satisfied with the proposed maximum water consumption rates.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

No revised wording proposed

DLP_5251

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support with conditions

6.260 - §6.261 It appears that despite TWBC being subject to ‘serious water stress’ and admitting this will only be exacerbated by climate change (§6.256), water conservation is not regarded of primary importance. We are very sceptical as to whether the water consumption targets for new developments can be practically enforced against this background.

Policy Number:  EN 27 Conservation of Water Resources 

We are concerned that this policy is not strong enough to protect water resources in the borough given that “the supply for much of Kent, and all of Tunbridge Wells borough, was classified as being under ‘Serious Water Stress’ [and] that consumption rates within the borough are higher than both the national and regional averages.” (§6.260).

The policy does not make sufficiently clear how water use will be minimised. For example, it does not require consumers to have water meters installed, which is generally an incentive for consumers to reduce water use.

DLP_6921

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

Support

7.18 We support that TWBC is taking a proactive approach to water conservation which accords with the NPPF (para 149), and note that Part G2 of the Building Regulations introduced the optional requirement for 110 litres consumption of water per person per day. The policy accords with the NPPF and is therefore considered ‘sound’.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1, Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3].. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_7110

Williams Gallagher for Canada Life Ltd

 

Policy EN27 – Conservation of Water Resources

We note the policy aspirations but consider that developments should not be required to meet standards that are greater than that required through the Building Regulations.

We trust that you find these comments constructive and look forward to on-going dialogue with the Council. Please keep us informed of progress with the local plan preparation.

Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_7102-7117].

DLP_7398

South East Water

Support

South East Water would like to thank Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for bringing the Tunbridge Wells Borough draft Local Plan to our attention.

Each water company is legally required to prepare a Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP) every five years. South East Water published our WRMP19 in August 2019. This plan sets out how we intend to maintain the balance between increasing demand for water and available supplies over the next 60 years up to 2080. The plan takes into account planned housing growth as well as the potential impact of climate change and includes our ambitious water efficiency programme. For more information please visit our website: https://corporate.southeastwater.co.uk/about-us/our-plans/water-resources-managementplan-2019/

In South East Water’s most recent business plan we have committed to play an active role regionally in relation to the impact of housing growth on water. We will develop a policy together with local stakeholders – appreciating the balance of supplying water, the need for society to ensure environmentally sustainable future water resources, and also the ongoing support of the south east region and its economic development. South East Water aims to respond to 100 per cent of all national, local and regional authority consultations and seeks to co-operate and maintain a good working relationship with local planning authorities in its area and to provide the support they need with regards to the provision of water supply infrastructure. Please see our business plan: https://corporate.southeastwater.co.uk/media/2901/sew_five_year_business_plan_20202025.pdf

We are also committed partners in the Water Resources in the South East (WRSE) Group that works for the collective good of customers and the environment in the wider south east region and are nationally represented in the Water UK water resources long-term planning framework.

Our aim of reducing demand requires the use of new approaches and technology. Although there is some uncertainty on the level of savings that can be achieved we are seeing a development of new technologies and we are committed to reduce personal water usage and leakage levels in order to be more sustainable for next generations.

Our preferred plan for the period 2020 to 2025 includes a mix of demand management initiatives such as leakage reductions and an ambitious water efficiency programme. During the period 2025 to 2045 we will continue our demand management initiatives to achieve further leakage and water efficiency savings. However, by this stage we will need additional water supply options to meet the increase in shortfall of our supply demand balance.

Several of the options within our preferred plan come directly from our engagement with third parties, for instance the regional transfers that resulted from our participation in WRSE. Other options, such as catchment management, rely upon our ability to work with stakeholders, or as with our water efficiency option, we rely on our ability to engage and influence customers’ water use behaviour.

In your area we are developing regional water transfer schemes such as importing water from Sutton and East Surrey Water (2042) to our WRZ1 area (Tunbridge Wells) and a targeted catchment management interventions programme in the Pembury area (2034).

South East Water have now reviewed the plan and would like to comment that:

Policy EN 27 - Conservation of Water Resources

“All new residential dwellings must be designed to achieve a maximum water consumption rate of 110 litres per person per day, as measured in accordance with an approved methodology. New development that supports South East Water’s Water Resources Management Plan will be supported.”

South East Water fully support this policy. We are keen to collaborate with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and understand how this policy will be implemented and the benefits measured.

Policy EN 28: Flood Risk

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_965

Mrs A Marley

Support with conditions

We need evidence of forward planning for a sustainable drainage system (Sewage Treatment Plants)

DLP_1857

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

We support this draft policy which is relevant to some low lying land in the south of RTW.

DLP_3374

Kent County Council (Growth, Environment and Transport)

 

Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems

The Policy requires that a Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) is completed for sites that may be subject to other sources of flooding. KCC is supportive this approach as it provides for technical assessment of sites which may have surface water flooding. KCC requires that such an assessment should be carried out if the site is shown within the EA Map for Surface Water Flooding to have areas within an overland surface water flow path.

DLP_3711

Capel Parish Council

Object

Capel Parish Council objects to this Policy and to the following paragraphs of the accompanying commentary, for the reasons stated.

Paragraph 6.265 (p.423) states “The Council will also apply a sequential test to new development, supported by the ‘Flood Risk Assessment: The Sequential Test for Applicants’ Planning Practice Guidance(65) (or subsequent revision), to direct development away from areas that are at the highest risk of floodingThese will include all proposed areas that are within Flood Zones 2 and 3, as well as sites in Flood Zone 1 that are larger than 1ha and/or have critical drainage problems, as identified by the Environment Agency and within the Council’s latest Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, such as in parts of Paddock Wood and Five Oak Green/Capel.

Paragraph 6.264 (p.423) states “It is essential that new development across the borough does not increase flood risk, and that any new development proposed in areas that are vulnerable to flood risk 'build in' additional local capacity in terms of flood mitigation and provide 'betterment' where possible: see Policies STR/PW 1: The Strategy for Paddock Wood and STR/CA 1: The Strategy for Capel for the flood risk strategy proposed alongside development in this area

These paragraphs contradict each other. It makes absolute sense to direct new development away from flood risk areas. However, it appears that the second paragraph has been added to the DLP to provide a ‘get out’ clause for TWBC to include the developments at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1) in the DLP!

In any event, the proposals to reduce ‘(existing) flood risk to areas of Paddock Wood, Capel parish, and Five Oak Green’ are also poorly planned and based on out if date data. The ‘Five Oak Green Flood Alleviation scheme’ outlined in page 57 of the supporting document ‘Level 1 & Level 2 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment’, may well result in a significant worsening for several Capel residents.

DLP_3964

Ide Planning for Paddock Wood Town Council

Object

1. The Plan is confined to the borough’s boundary. The strategy proposes transformational change to Paddock Wood/east Capel, and a new settlement at Tudeley, close to Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge. Paddock Wood would no longer remain a small rural town. The strategy proposed would more sharply divide the borough into an urban west and rural east.

2. There is a Duty to Cooperate in Plan preparation concerning strategic cross boundary matters. Statements of common ground have not yet been agreed with Tonbridge and Malling BC, or for West Kent.

3. In its present form, the Plan should proceed on the basis of a joint Plan that includes Tonbridge and Malling BC (i.e. Tonbridge) and perhaps part of Maidstone BC in order -

i. to ensure cross boundary issues are fully addressed including health, transport, social care and education;

ii. in view of the planned provision of development at Tudeley beyond 2036; and

iii. to consider the possibility that development proposed at Paddock Wood/east Capel could similarly be phased over a longer time frame. This would allow for a reduction to be made in the allocations proposed under AL/PW1 – there is the additional point, in light of the physical constraints referred to elsewhere in Paddock Wood/east Capel, whether any unmet need in the borough could be more sustainably located within the Tonbridge and Malling and Maidstone boroughs under a jointly prepared Plan?

4. For development to be sustainable there is a need to identify land for the right type of development, sites must be in the right place, and development must be supported by infrastructure. 

Borough wide, the allocations proposed for Paddock Wood/east Capel and Tudeley have been determined substantially on the basis of minimising the release of green belt and minimising the impact of development upon the AONB. 

Objection is made to the loss of green belt to the west of Paddock Wood to accommodate development at parcels 1, 2 and part of 3 under AL/PW1. 

All the housing sites identified in the Key Diagram and under AL/PW1 require flood compensation. Bringing forward development sites presently prone to flooding is arguably more contentious than releasing sites in the green belt or AONB given the costs involved (including the opportunity cost) and environmental impact i.e. given that with climate change the prospect is storage, attenuation and mitigation measures will need to be ‘topped up’ in future. Building upon the ‘wrong’ sites if, indeed, is what is proposed, is not sustainable - it absorbs developer contributions better put elsewhere and compromises the garden village ideal that underpins the strategy for Paddock Wood/east Capel. 

A Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) 2019 underpins much of what is proposed for Paddock Wood/east Capel but this is considered to be an unreliable basis for doing so. An initial review of the SFRA raises questions concerning the period over which the SFRA was undertaken, how it tied in with the Sustainability Appraisal (in particular, in assessing alternative strategies), and how robust the SFRA is in terms of the data it has relied upon and the modelling undertaken. The absence of detail concerning flood storage, alleviation and mitigation measures raises fundamental doubts about the viability and deliverability of the strategy proposed for Paddock Wood/east Capel –

a. the SFRA has been carried out on a borough wide basis. As the Plan has evolved, cross boundary issues have become more prominent. The impact of the strategy proposed at this stage, beyond the boroughs boundary, in flood risk terms, appears not to have been assessed; 

b. the SFRA has not carried out a Sequential Test (ST) of potential development sites (para. 13.2, Level 1 Report). If an ST has not been carried out borough wide, it cannot be said there are not other sites that are less prone to flooding, and which may be more suitable for development; 

c. further to ‘b’, it is unclear at the moment what this means for the individual parcels identified for development under AL/PW1. For example, in the Level 2 Report, for parcel 1, it was noted by the borough council’s consultants ‘Parcel 1a is located in the path of an easterly flood flow route, which continues into Paddock Wood. During initial discussions with the council, it was agreed to position the residential area in this location (and therefore not following the sequential approach for placement of development)…’ (Appendix I). 

d. Information in the SFRA provides insufficient detail to satisfy the requirements of the Exceptions Test (ET) for ‘individual developments or groups of developments as part of a masterplanned or comprehensive development approach’ (para. 1.4.1, Level 2);

e. the Stage 2 SWMP for Paddock Wood noted that the town’s susceptibility to flooding is influenced by the existing surface water network being at capacity (para. 2.4.2, Level 1 Report); 

f. the SFRA appears to have mixed up the Beult and the Bewl (Table 6-1, Level 1 Report). It is unclear if this is a typing error or, if intended, how this might affect the modelling undertaken by the consultants; 

g. It appears that the UMIDB has, at best, had only limited involvement in the preparation of the strategy; 

h. it is unclear as to how the existing/planned developments at Mascalls Farm, Mascalls Court Farm and Church Farm, and the proposed development of certain of the individual parcels under AL/PW1 will relate to one another. 

Detailed comment on the SFRA is supplied under separate cover.

Comment on individual parcels under AL/PW1 follow. PWTC’s concern is the extent to which the allocations made under that policy accord with the NPPF/PPG. 

5. Whilst the LPA subscribes to garden settlement principles in guiding development at Paddock Wood/east Capel and Tudeley, it is unclear whether both places could be designated as garden villages and so benefit from assistance that the government’s programme can provide.

The Plan proposes masterplanning and betterment as a cure-all. When the planning, resource and coordination that is implied by this is compared, to take one example, with Homes England’s garden community initiative in West Ifield (West Sussex), PWTC remains unconvinced that the borough council, despite its best intentions, has the capacity to deliver its strategy in its present form.

6. Homes England suggests ‘given its complexity, potential for infrastructure provision needed up front and long timeframe for delivery, CIL may not always be feasible or appropriate for a garden community scheme’ (MHCLG Land Value Capture and Funding Delivery, 27th September 2019).

7. The LPA’s assessment of housing need/provision inflates housing numbers required over the Plan period which has a bearing upon the allocations proposed for Paddock Wood/east Capel.

8. With regard the distribution of housing development, objection is made above under ‘4’ above to the loss of green belt.

It is considered there is more scope for development to be allocated elsewhere within the borough. For example, Cranbrook has escaped the development allocated in the SALP, whilst Hawkhurst (a smaller town in the Borough & the AONB) has seen considerable house building and is taking more houses than Cranbrook in the draft Local Plan. Why has Cranbrook not been allocated an increased share, when flooding is not a problem and the town centre is well established with schools that have capacity for increased student numbers? It is possible to build sympathetically within the AONB – other Boroughs have done this. It is also unclear whether some of the development proposed at Paddock Wood/east Capel could be more sustainably located at Tudeley.

9. Questions arise concerning the identification, prioritisation and phasing of specific infrastructure schemes and hence the deliverability of the strategy. In respect of their prioritisation, more infrastructure may be critical and essential than desirable. Of particular concern is how critical many of the projects are, the magnitude of cost, the uncertainty concerning their phasing and the funding position overall. For example, the IDP lists the new Colts Hill bypass as being critical (p94), as needing to be in place before sites come forward for development, yet the all-important policy STR1(2) refers to the bypass in terms of it being a potential scheme.

Comment follows [below] on improvements required to the highway network to accommodate the development proposed. These improvements are needed to add to capacity locally and to mitigate impacts upon air quality.

10. The viability of the Plan is unconfirmed – whilst the Stage 1 Viability Assessment says the consultant’s find reasonable viability prospects available borough-wide to support the Plan’s delivery, the viability of the larger/strategic site allocations has yet to be addressed in a Stage 2 assessment.

See also specific flood risk comments in relation to individual parcels under AL/PW1 above.

DLP_4180

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

CPRE generally supports these policies.  However, Policy EN28 should be more precise than referring to “unacceptable risk of flooding”.  The policy should also require submission of Flood Risk Emergency Plans as in the September 2019 joint guidance from the Environment Agency and ADEPT, see https://www.adeptnet.org.uk/floodriskemergencyplan .

DLP_4253

Rother District Council

Support

The general approach to flood risk and drainage accords with this Council’s policies and the NPPF.

DLP_4324

Environment Agency

Support

Flood Risk

It is considered that policy EN 28 Flood Risk sufficiently details our requirements for assessing the suitability of new development in flood risk areas.

DLP_4491

Paddock Wood Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

 

Paddock Wood would no longer remain a small rural town. The strategy proposed would more sharply divide the borough into an urban west and rural east.

For development to be sustainable there is a need to identify land for the right type of development, sites must be in the right place, and development must be supported by infrastructure that is reasonably necessary.

Building upon certain sites does not appear to be sustainable - it absorbs developer contributions better put elsewhere and compromises the garden village ideal that underpins the strategy for Paddock Wood/east Capel.

Questions arise concerning the identification, prioritisation and phasing of specific infrastructure schemes and hence the deliverability of the strategy. In respect of their prioritisation, more infrastructure may be critical and essential than desirable. Of particular concern is how critical many of the projects are, the magnitude of cost and the uncertainty concerning their phasing, and the funding position overall. For example, the IDP lists the new Colts Hill bypass as being critical (p94), as needing to be in place before sites come forward for development, yet the all-important policy STR1(2) refers to the bypass in terms of it being a potential scheme.

DLP_5252

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

 

Development and Flood Risk

We would not allow any development in any areas identified as prone to flooding.

6.264 We disagree any building should take place in flood areas under any circumstances.

6.266 Partly agree, but we would replace ‘discourage inappropriate’ with ‘reject any’

Policy Number:  EN 28 Flood Risk

Object, Support with conditions

We are concerned about how the following sentence is formulated: “... development will only be permitted where it would not be at an unacceptable risk of flooding on the site itself...” (underlining mine). We cannot think of a situation where development is at an acceptable risk of flooding. Therefore, we would suggest removing the word ‘unacceptable’ so that new development will not be built on flood plains.

DLP_6158

Turley for Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd

 

The aim for run off to be reduced below existing greenfield rates may be laudable, but equally may be undeliverable in all situations, particularly on brownfield sites. In such instances, it may be more appropriate to seek net improvement over existing run off rates as close as possible to or preferably in excess of greenfield rates where this is proven capable of being achieved in a viable manner.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting document A, supporting document B, supporting document C, and supporting document D]. 

DLP_6922

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

Support

7.19 Policy EN28 requires that proposals for new development should contribute to an overall flood risk reduction, and development will only be permitted where it would not be at an unacceptable risk of flooding on the site itself, and there would be no increase to flood risk elsewhere. Policy 28 accords with the NPPF (paras 155-163) and is considered sound.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1, Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_8133

Ashley Saunders

Object

I objects to this Policy and to the following paragraphs of the accompanying commentary, for the reasons stated.

Paragraph 6.265 (p.423) states “The Council will also apply a sequential test to new development, supported by the ‘Flood Risk Assessment: The Sequential Test for Applicants’ Planning Practice Guidance(65) (or subsequent revision), to direct development away from areas that are at the highest risk of floodingThese will include all proposed areas that are within Flood Zones 2 and 3, as well as sites in Flood Zone 1 that are larger than 1ha and/or have critical drainage problems, as identified by the Environment Agency and within the Council’s latest Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, such as in parts of Paddock Wood and Five Oak Green/Capel.

Paragraph 6.264 (p.423) states “It is essential that new development across the borough does not increase flood risk, and that any new development proposed in areas that are vulnerable to flood risk 'build in' additional local capacity in terms of flood mitigation and provide 'betterment' where possible: see Policies STR/PW 1: The Strategy for Paddock Wood and STR/CA 1: The Strategy for Capel for the flood risk strategy proposed alongside development in this area

These paragraphs contradict each other. It makes absolute sense to direct new development away from flood risk areas. However, it appears that the second paragraph has been added to the DLP to provide a ‘get out’ clause for TWBC to include the developments at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1) in the DLP!

In any event, the proposals to reduce ‘(existing) flood risk to areas of Paddock Wood, Capel parish, and Five Oak Green’ are also poorly planned and based on out if date data. The ‘Five Oak Green Flood Alleviation scheme’ outlined in page 57 of the supporting document ‘Level 1 & Level 2 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment’, may well result in a significant worsening for several Capel residents.

DLP_8205

Mrs Suzi Rich

Object

I object to this Policy for the following reasons:

Paragraph 6.265 (p.423) states “The Council will also apply a sequential test to new development, supported by the ‘Flood Risk Assessment: The Sequential Test for Applicants’ Planning Practice Guidance(65) (or subsequent revision), to direct development away from areas that are at the highest risk of flooding. These will include all proposed areas that are within Flood Zones 2 and 3, as well as sites in Flood Zone 1 that are larger than 1ha and/or have critical drainage problems, as identified by the Environment Agency and within the Council’s latest Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, such as in parts of Paddock Wood and Five Oak Green/Capel.”

Paragraph 6.264 (p.423) states “It is essential that new development across the borough does not increase flood risk, and that any new development proposed in areas that are vulnerable to flood risk 'build in' additional local capacity in terms of flood mitigation and provide 'betterment' where possible.”

These paragraphs contradict each other. It makes absolute sense to direct new development away from flood risk areas. So why propose development in areas that are vulnerable to flood risk at all? The developments at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and East Capel (AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1) are on the most vulnerable land in the borough and these policies should be removed from the DLP.

The proposals to reduce ‘(existing) flood risk to areas of Paddock Wood, Capel parish, and Five Oak Green’ are also poorly planned and based on out if date data. The ‘Five Oak Green Flood Alleviation scheme’ outlined in page 57 of the supporting document ‘Level 1 & Level 2 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment’, will result in a significant worsening for residents living in the immediate vicinity of the scheme.

The following policies should be removed from the Draft Local Plan to enable this Policy to be complied with: AL/CA 1; AL/CA 2: AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1; TP 6

[TWBC: See comments DLP_8189-8214 for full representation]

DLP_8399

Mr Raymond Moon

Object

Policy EN 28 OBJECT.

Flood Risk

The present infrastructure in place cannot even cope with the existing and already agreed 900 new houses in PW. Surface Water flooding and Foul Water flooding in PW is already serious and as part of the Masterplan adequate infrastructure must be in place before any more houses are built. Data supplied by Southern Water is inconsistent and flawed with many contradictions. Existing documents such as the SFRA and the SWMP are unclear in the approach to this problem in PW. There needs to be a “joined up” strategy as part of the Masterplan to ensure the required infrastructure is in place before any new houses are built in PW.

DLP_8414

Paddock Wood Labour Party

Object

Policy EN 28 OBJECT.

Flood Risk

The present infrastructure in place cannot even cope with the existing and already agreed 900 new houses in PW. Surface Water flooding and Foul Water flooding in PW is already serious and as part of the Masterplan adequate infrastructure must be in place before any more houses are built. Data supplied by Southern Water is inconsistent and flawed with many contradictions. Existing documents such as the SFRA and the SWMP are unclear in the approach to this problem in PW. There needs to be a “joined up” strategy as part of the Masterplan to ensure the required infrastructure is in place before any new houses are built in PW.

Policy EN 29: Sustainable Drainage

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1858

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

We support this draft policy which is relevant to developments affecting some low lying land in the south of RTW and strongly support the target of 50% betterment on pre-development discharge levels in those cases.

DLP_3375

Kent County Council (Growth, Environment and Transport)

Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems

This Policy provides detailed requirements for sustainable drainage provision. Therefore, KCC has no further comments on this policy.

Heritage Conservation

Please see KCC’s comments on Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems made in relation to Policy EN 1.

DLP_4254

Rother District Council

Support

The general approach to flood risk and drainage accords with this Council’s policies and the NPPF.

DLP_4701

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support

Dandara Comment 

Dandara support the promotion of sustainable drainage. It is suggested a caveat is used for the conversion or change of use existing buildings where it is not feasible to provide SUDs / alter existing volume of hardstanding.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

No revised wording proposed

DLP_5253

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support

Sustainable Drainage Systems

We welcome to use of SUDs in new developments.

§6.275 could be worded more strongly to reflect the intention of the previous paragraphs and not use words such as ‘normally’ if ‘practical’ as this gives too much scope for not using SUDs

DLP_6333

Persimmon Homes South East

 

5. Development Management Policies

The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

EN29 – Sustainable Drainage

We would expect a development to deliver a net reduction in in runoff but it would seem that the Council are expecting, in some cases, significant improvements which may see developments having to reduce run off to rates below those on green fields. This would appear to be inconsistent with current guidance produced by Defra  on this matter which suggests that a brownfield development must be as close as practicable to greenfield run off rates. This recognises that in some situations a development will not be able to deliver green field run off rates and that in such a situation it should seek an improvement over the existing run off rates on any previously developed site. Given the Government’s focus on delivering more development on brownfield sites we would suggest it is essential that greater flexibility is provided in this policy. We would suggest that the policy is amended to require an applicant to show a net reduction that is as close as practicable to green field run off rates.

[TWBC: see full representation. Also see Comment Nos. DLP_6319, 6323-6326, 6328, 6830-6835, 6837-6839].

DLP_6685

Gladman

 

6.10 Policy EN29: Sustainable Drainage

6.10.1 The policy sets out the Council’s approach to drainage from a new development. This includes a requirement to secure a betterment in drainage from a development with a requirement to exceed greenfield run-off rates. This exceeds current standards and will not always be possible for developments submitted in the area owing to site constraints/conditions. Gladman consider that the policy requirement should be limited to greenfield run-off rates, with any betterment achieved exceeding this rate, considered positively in the overall planning balance.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6656-6695]

DLP_6891

Persimmon Homes South East

 

7.0 DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT POLICIES 

7.1 The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

EN29 – Sustainable Drainage

7.12 We would expect a development to deliver a net reduction in in runoff but it would seem that the Council are expecting, in some cases, significant improvements which may see developments having to reduce run off to rates below those on green fields. This would appear to be inconsistent with current guidance produced by Defra on this matter which suggests that a brownfield development must be as close as practicable to greenfield run off rates. This recognises that in some situations a development will not be able to deliver green field run off rates and that in such a situation it should seek an improvement over the existing run off rates on any previously developed site. Given the Government’s focus on delivering more development on brownfield sites we would suggest it is essential that greater flexibility is provided in this policy. We would suggest that the policy is amended to require an applicant to show a net reduction that is as close as practicable to green field run off rates.

DLP_6923

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

Support

7.20 EN29 sets out the requirements for drainage, and requires that new major development SuDS should, in addition to providing suitable drainage, deliver a range of benefits. We support the approach to sustainable drainage as set out in the policy, which broadly accords with the NPPF (Para 165).

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1, Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_8171

Highways England

 

Policy EN 29 states that the DLP will ‘ensure that surface water runoff is managed as close to its source as possible and….3. Discharge to a surface water sewer, highway drain, or other drainage system.’.

DfT C2/13 para 55 states that ‘ Water run-off that may arise due to any change of land use will not be accepted into the highway drainage systems, and there shall be no new connections into those systems from third party development or drainage systems. The DMRB should be consulted further in such cases’.

Therefore, policy EN29 should be amended to reflect national policy regarding the strategic road network.

TWBC: see Technical Note. See also full representation].

DLP_8219

Home Builders Federation

 

Thank you for consulting the Home Builders Federation (HBF) on the draft Local Plan. The HBF is the principal representative body of the housebuilding industry in England and Wales and our representations reflect the views of discussions with our membership of national and multinational corporations through to regional developers and small local housebuilders. Our members account for over 80% of all new housing built in England and Wales in any one year. Outlined below are our comments on the approach taken by the Council to increasing the supply of land for residential development and the policies being proposed with regard to the management of new development in future.

EN29 – Sustainable Drainage

We would expect a development to deliver a net reduction in runoff but it would seem that the Council are expecting, in some cases, significant improvements which may see developments having to reduce run off to rates below those on green fields. This would appear to be inconsistent with current guidance produced by Defra [1 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/415773/sustai nabl e-drainage-technical-standards.pdf ] on this matter which suggests that a brownfield development must be as close as practicable to greenfield run off rates. This recognises that in some situations a development will not be able to deliver green field run off rates and that in such a situation it should seek an improvement over the existing run off rates on any previously developed site. Given the Government’s focus on delivering more development on brownfield sites we would suggest it is essential that greater flexibility is provided in this policy. We would suggest that the policy is amended to require an applicant to show a net reduction that is as close as practicable to green field run off rates.

Policy EN 30: Noise

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1607

Maggie Fenton

Object

Policy EN 30 Noise

6.281 NPPF requires new development is appropriate for its location taking into account the likely effects (including cumulative effects) of pollution on health, living conditions and the natural environment

6.286 The Environmental Noise Directive requires every 5 years DEFRA adopts noise maps which show exposure to environmental noise, adopts action plans based on the results of noise mapping: aims to preserve environmental noise quality where it is good. Developments are advised to check with DEFRA…. if any noise sensitive development (houses & schools) are close to areas/roads with high level reading

The proposals for Capel do not accord with the first paragraph. The locations are completely inappropriate as the health and living conditions of existing residents will be seriously impacted, driving new roads through the area with additional air pollution and noise pollution.  The natural environment in Capel will not recover its

DLP_1859

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support with conditions

We support this condition but feel it would be usefully strengthened by importing into it a reference to the matters taken into consideration in Paragraph 6.277. In Royal Tunbridge Wells the main risks are from road noise arising from new development and aircraft noise arising from flight paths on the approach to Gatwick Airport which are an increasing problem in the western parts of the town even before any proposed expansion of Gatwick services takes effect.

DLP_3712

Capel Parish Council

Object

Capel Parish Council objects to this Policy and to the following paragraphs of the accompanying commentary, for the reasons stated.

Paragraph 6.281 (p.427) states “The NPPF requires planning policies and decisions to ensure that new development is appropriate for its location taking into account the likely effects (including cumulative effects) of pollution on health, living conditions, and the natural environment

The Strategy for Capel Parish (STR/CA1) is not consistent with this paragraph. The locations are completely inappropriate as the health and living conditions of existing residents will be seriously impacted, driving new roads through the area with additional air pollution and noise pollution. The natural environment in Capel will not recover its loss of biodiversity nor Greenfield sites, with serious harm to both the MGB and AONB

Paragraph 6.286 (p.428) states “The Environmental Noise Directive (END) requires that, every five years, Defra adopts noise maps, known as ‘Important Areas for Road Noise Mapping’, which show exposure to environmental noise; adopts action plans based on the results of noise mapping; aims to preserve environmental noise quality where it is good; and provides information to the public on environmental noise and its effects. Therefore, developers are advised to check with Defra whether any proposed development sites for noise sensitive development (such as housing and schools) are located within, or close to, areas/roads which indicate a high noise level reading. Appropriate mitigation measures will need to be applied where this is found to be the case

The sites for the proposed developments at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and the new secondary school (AL/CA 2) are both located either side of the main railway line from the South Coast to London. This is despite no new railway station being possible at the site. There is however, no mention on noise attenuation in these Policies or the associated commentary (although the noise impacts of the railway are recognised in relation to the South West parcel of the sites proposed under AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1). Have these assessments / considerations been omitted due to the mystery surrounding when the land was actually submitted to TWBC and the lack of proper SHELAA assessment? The Defra data at http://www.extrium.co.uk/noiseviewer.html shows that both locations have high noise level readings from railways and that the AL/CA 2 site is also affected by the A21. What mitigation measures will be applied to what will clearly be noise sensitive developments at these locations?

DLP_4181

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support

CPRE supports this policy

DLP_5217

Culverden Residents Association

Support with conditions

We support this condition but it really needs to be extended because the main noise risks in the town are from road noise and aircraft noise from the flight paths to Gatwick Airport which is only set to get worse.

DLP_5254

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support

Noise

6.283 We support the reference to areas of tranquillity which should generally be protected from noise-generating developments.

DLP_7338

Campaign to Protect Hawkhurst Village

Object

The policy should be explicit that development which generates noise as a result of additional traffic constitutes “Noise-generating development” and therefore should only be permitted where it has been demonstrated that it will not adversely impact upon amenity.

DLP_8134

Ashley Saunders

Object

I objects to this Policy and to the following paragraphs of the accompanying commentary, for the reasons stated.

Paragraph 6.281 (p.427) states “The NPPF requires planning policies and decisions to ensure that new development is appropriate for its location taking into account the likely effects (including cumulative effects) of pollution on health, living conditions, and the natural environment

The Strategy for Capel Parish (STR/CA1) is not consistent with this paragraph. The locations are completely inappropriate as the health and living conditions of existing residents will be seriously impacted, driving new roads through the area with additional air pollution and noise pollution. The natural environment in Capel will not recover its loss of biodiversity nor Greenfield sites, with serious harm to both the MGB and AONB

Paragraph 6.286 (p.428) states “The Environmental Noise Directive (END) requires that, every five years, Defra adopts noise maps, known as ‘Important Areas for Road Noise Mapping’, which show exposure to environmental noise; adopts action plans based on the results of noise mapping; aims to preserve environmental noise quality where it is good; and provides information to the public on environmental noise and its effects. Therefore, developers are advised to check with Defra whether any proposed development sites for noise sensitive development (such as housing and schools) are located within, or close to, areas/roads which indicate a high noise level reading. Appropriate mitigation measures will need to be applied where this is found to be the case

The sites for the proposed developments at Tudeley (AL/CA 1) and the new secondary school (AL/CA 2) are both located either side of the main railway line from the South Coast to London. This is despite no new railway station being possible at the site. There is however, no mention on noise attenuation in these Policies or the associated commentary (although the noise impacts of the railway are recognised in relation to the South West parcel of the sites proposed under AL/CA 3 & AL/PW 1). Have these assessments / considerations been omitted due to the mystery surrounding when the land was actually submitted to TWBC and the lack of proper SHELAA assessment? The Defra data at http://www.extrium.co.uk/noiseviewer.html shows that both locations have high noise level readings from railways and that the AL/CA 2 site is also affected by the A21. What mitigation measures will be applied to what will clearly be noise sensitive developments at these locations?

Policy EN 31: Land Contamination

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1860

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Policy Number:  EN 31 Land Contamination

Support + General Observation

We support this policy as it is relevant to Brownfield sites in RTW. The Policy might usefully also deal with public health/health and safety issues affecting existing residents while works are undertaken to deal with land contamination prior to development.

DLP_4182

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

CPRE supports this policy but recommends that it be expanded to also protect people in the locality from contamination that could arise during development (see for example the case concerning the redevelopment of Corby steelworks, http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/TCC/2009/1944.html ).  Therefore we suggest that point 1 of this policy should have “or people in the locality” added after “development” and that point 4 should be amended to read “Causing the contamination of adjoining land, its residents or users, or allowing such contamination to continue; and”.

DLP_4329

Environment Agency

Support

Groundwater and Contaminated Land

We do not have any comments to make on polices EN 26 and 31 and support them as currently drafted.

For site allocations on land with previous use, detailed comments will be provided at site application stage, to ensure adequate investigation and if necessary remediation is carried out to address any contamination and risks to controlled waters in accordance with policy EN31. This includes green belt land that may have been subject to mineral extraction and backfilling. We would advise against any residential development on deep landfill with putrescible wastes.

In addition any new proposals should ensure that sustainable drainage design will achieve the protection of ground and surface waters in accordance with the relevant policy, which we support. There is no objection in principle from a groundwater protection point of view, providing applications accord with the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework on protecting groundwater resources; the plan policy EN26 and meet building regulation requirements.

In the case of mains sewer provision, we would object to any major development sites that do not tie into upgrade of sewer capacity in the area. This is for the local planning authority and utility company to manage in terms of timing for release of permissions for sites being developed. This is particularly important in stressed groundwater catchments and where sensitive aquatic habitat is evident.

DLP_5255

Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth

Support

Land contamination

6.291 We welcome the advice by NPPF on this matter.

Policy EN 32: Minerals and Waste

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_3376

Kent County Council (Growth, Environment and Transport)

Following a review of the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan Tunbridge Wells Borough-Mineral Safeguarding Areas (that are based on the British Geological survey economic geology data) KCC confirm that there are economic mineral deposits that are potentially threatened with sterilisation by the allocations in the Draft Plan. The relevant potentially economically important mineral deposits are as follows:

  • Superficial Sub-Alluvial River Terrace deposits (river valley terrace sands and gravels) [SARTSSG] * Sandstone-Tunbridge Wells Sand Formation [TWSS]
  • Sandstone -Ardingly Sandstone Formation [ASS]
  • Sandstone -Ashdown Formation [ASH]
  • Limestone- Pauldina Limestone, Weald Clay Formation [PLS]

The following proposed development allocations in the Plan have coincidence with one or more of the above safeguarded minerals. They are;

[TWBC: for list showing colour categories, see pages 49-52 of KCC's full response

Land adjacent to Longfield Road
* RTW12 TWSS
Land at Colebrook House
* RTW13 TWSS
Land at Wyevale Garden Centre, Eridge Road
* RTW16 TWSS SARTSSG
Land to the west of Eridge Road at Spratsbrook Farm
* RTW18 TWSS ASS
Land at Culverden Stadium, Culverden Down
* RTW21 ASS
Land at Bayham Sports Field West
* RTW22 ASH
Land at Hawkenbury, off Hawkenbury Road/Maryland Road
* RTW23 TWSS
Land at Cemetery Depot, Benhall Mill Road
* RTW26 ASH
Land at Hawkenbury, off Hawkenbury Road/Maryland Road
* RTW27 TWSS
Speldhurst Road former allotments (land between Bright Ridge and Speldhurst Road)
* SO2 TWSS
Land at Mabledon and Nightingale
* SO3 ASS
Land at Mabledon House
* SO4 TWSS
Tudeley Village
* CA1 TWSS
Land to east of Tonbridge/west of site for Tudeley Village (strategy Policy STR/CA1 does recognises the proximity of Mineral Site Plan allocations at Moat Farm and Stonecastle Farm)
* CA2 TWSS SARTSSG 
Land at Capel and Paddock Wood
* PW1-1 TWSS
* PW1-2 TWSS
* PW1-7 SARTSSG 
* PW1-12 SARTSSG 
Land adjoining Wisley Farm, adjacent to Angley Road/Whitewell Road 
* CRS1 TWSS
Playing field adjacent Quakers Lane/Waterloo Road
* CRS2 TWSS
Jaegers Field, Angley Road
* CRS4 TWSS
Turnden Farm, Hartley Road
* CRS4 TWSS (limited) Land Adjoining Cranbrook Primary School, Quaker Lane
* CRS5 TWSS
Land at Gate farm, adjacent to Hartley Road and Glassenbury Road, Hartley
* CRS6 TWSS
Land at Golford Road
* CRS7 TWSS
Land adjacent to the Crane Valley
* CRS9 TWSS and SARTSSG (minor impact)
Land at Mill lane
* CRS 12 TWSS
Land at Camden Lodge, adjacent to Mill Lane
* CRS13 TWSS
Land South of the Street
* CRS14 TWSS
Wilsley Road
* CRS15 TWSS
Land at Boycourt Orchards, Wilsely Road
* CRS16 TWSS
Land adjacent to Orchard Cottage
* CRS17 TWSS
Hawkhurst Golf Course
* HA1 TWSS and SARTSSG (minor impact)
Land east of Heartenoak
* HA2 TWSS 
Land at Fowlers Park
* HA4 TWSS
Slip Hill Road
* HA8 TWSS
Land at Santers Yard, Gills Green Farm 
* HA9 TWSS
Land at Limes Grove, Hawkhurst
* HA10 TWSS
Beneden Hospital
* BE4 TWSS
Land between Brenchley Road, Coppers Road, Maidstone Road
* BM1 TWSS
Matfield House, the Green
* BM2 TWSS
Ashes Plantation, Matfield
* BM3 TWSS
Land at Maidstone Road
* BM4 TWSS
Land at Cranbrook Road
* FR1 PLS
Land adjacent to Balcombes Hill and adjacent to Tiddymotts Lane 
* GO1 TWSS
Land at Triggs Farm, Cranbrook Road
* GO2 TWSS
Land at Furnace Lane/Gibbet Lane
* HO1 TWSS
Land East of Horsmonden
* HO3 TWSS
Land to the west of Spray Hill
* LA1 TWSS
Land at Misty Meadow/Furnace lane
* LA2 TWSS
Land at Chalket Lane
* PE1 TWSS
Hubbles Farm, Hastings Road
* PE2 TWSS Land North of the A21, Hastings Road
* PE3 TWSS
Downingbury farm, Maidstone Road
* PE4 TWSS
Land at Sturgeons front, Henwood Green Road
* PE5 ASS
Tunbridge Wells Hospital
* PE6 ASS 
Woodgate Corner (partly within urban area that is exempt)
* PE7 ASS
Land south of Sayville Road, Rye Road and west of Marsh Quarter Lane
* SA1 TWSS
Land at Old Orchard and Stream Pit lane
* SA2 TWSS
Land west of Speldhurst Road and south of Ferbies 
* SP1 ASS
Land north of Langton House 
* SP2 ASS
Land adjacent to Rusthall recreation ground, Southwood Road
* SP3 ASS

The safeguarding of these potentially economic minerals is required by Policy CSM 5 of the adopted KMWLP 2013-30. The County Council recognises the inclusion of paragraph 6.295 and Policy EN 32 -Minerals and Waste.

The Draft Local Plan does not evidence that any assessments against the criteria of Policy DM 7, have been carried out to determine if there are grounds for exemption from the presumption to safeguard the potentially affected minerals. It could, be argued that this makes the Draft Plan deficient against the adopted policies of the Development Plan (that includes the KMWLP). However, given the economic resources affected, it is possible that an argument could potentially be advanced that the sandstone formations, as listed below are not threatened with sterilisation in any meaningful manner as they are massive crustal sedimentary units that do not require a maintained landbank in the County as do aggregate minerals:

  • Sandstone-Tunbridge Wells Sand Formation [TWSS]
  • Sandstone - Ardingly Sandstone Formation [ASS]
  • Sandstone Ashdown Formation [ASH]

These minerals were used historically as a local building material. There are no modern planning permissions for the quarrying of these materials in Kent and there are two quarrying operation in West Sussex that produce specialist building materials from these sandstone formations. It is known that these operators supply sandstone construction materials (paving slabs, blocks, and other specialist building components) for specialist bespoke building projects and historic building restoration. Given that the demand is probably being met from these operators in West Sussex and that the amount of sterilisation in Kent in comparison to the geographical extent of these massive crustal geologies, it is not considered that supply of specialist building stone, of this type, is likely to be compromised in the future. The Draft Plan should make reference to this to ensure it demonstrates that it has considered the matter.

With regard to the superficial Sub-Alluvial River Terrace deposits (river valley sands and gravels), again the Draft Plan is silent on their safeguarding. Though the coincidence of this aggregate mineral with the number of proposed allocations is not significant, the sites where it occurs should reference the need for Mineral Assessments to determine if the mineral is indeed of economic character and can potentially be prior extracted ahead of any development of the site. Essentially the tests of Policy DM 7 should be referenced in this regard.

Only one allocation is coincident with the safeguarded Pauldina Limestone, Weald Clay Formation ( Land at Cranbrook Road, Allocation FR1). This is a specialist building material that is of importance due to its use in historic ecclesiastical buildings. The geological unit is not widespread, unlike the sandstones, though not in high demand due to its use in historic restoration. There is no requirement to maintain a landbank and there are limited or no records of where, historically, this material was extracted in Kent. It is considered that the allocation, in all probability, does not threaten the supply of this material. However, the Draft Plan should make reference to this safeguarded geology in this context.

With regard to safeguard waste management and mineral processing and transportation infrastructure (safeguarded by Policies CSW 16, CSM 7 of the adopted KMWLP) the Draft Plan is essentially silent (apart from Policy EN 32 above). KCC confirms that proposed allocation RTW 12 North Farm/Longfield Road is within 250 metres of Mid Kent Metal Recycling Ltd, Skip Hire/Omni Recycling, North Farm Waste Recycling Facility (adjacent to the former North farm Landfill Site) and the waste water treatment works at North Farm Lane. The allocation is for B1 (a) B2 (b) and B8 Use Classes, not residential. However, there still may be a degree of impact of these lawfully operating waste uses on the proposed allocation. The Draft Plan should identify that an Infrastructure Assessment should be undertaken to stablish whether or not the proposed uses are compatible with the established lawful and safeguarded waste activities. This is set out in Policy DM 8 of the KMWLP.

The County Council has submitted a Mineral Sites Local Plan to the Secretary of State, the examination of which is currently undergoing. This Plan identifies two allocations in the vicinity of the proposed Tudeley Village allocation (CA1). While it is noted that the strategic policy STR/CA1 of the Draft Plan does make the point that this allocation is in the vicinity of the mineral site allocations, and should have regard to them, it is unclear as to whether there may be any conflict with these mineral site allocations and/or their accessibility in the future (assuming all are adopted in the respective plans). Or whether it is considered that there is any significant potential for adverse impacts on their future potential to supply mineral to the market in a steady and adequate way, as required by the NPPF (see para. 207). Given the implications for mineral and waste safeguarding and the need for both local planning authorities to work together on this strategic matter, KCC would welcome the Borough Council keeping the County Council as Minerals and Waste Planning Authority informed of the Local Plan progress.

DLP_6924

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

Object

7.21 The Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan forms part of the development plan for Tunbridge Wells and any planning applications have to be determined in accordance with that plan. It is therefore not necessary to repeat minerals and waste policy by including an additional policy in the Tunbridge Wells Local Plan and so EN32 should be deleted.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1, Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].