PRESS RELEASE: Sevenoaks Town Council Planning Committee adopts Planning Application Recommendation Policy document
Published: 30 June 2022
On 27th June 2022, Sevenoaks Town Council’s Planning Committee received and adopted a Planning Application Policy document which provides a reference point of preferred practices and key considerations that Sevenoaks Town Council considers important when making recommendations on proposed developments. Consisting of the below six policies, the document also provides an overview of the wider context of Local Planning and Sevenoaks Town Council’s role within this.
Sevenoaks Town Council is a Statutory Consultee to the Local Planning Authority (Sevenoaks District Council, henceforth SDC), and as part of its capacity of this role, receives consultations on planning applications that SDC has received within Sevenoaks Town.
Meeting every two weeks, the Planning Committee considers and makes recommendations on individual applications, taking into consideration a number of factors including material considerations and local planning policy, but also using its local members’ relevant and valuable knowledge of their respective wards to inform its decisions. Each application, including amended applications, are considered as individual and by their own merits as per 7c of Sevenoaks Town Council’s Standing Orders, although previous recommendations or decisions by the LPA may be taken into account:
Standing Order 7.c: “Every plan/amended plan which is validated by Sevenoaks District Council is considered by Sevenoaks Town Council on its own merits and does not recommend Approval or Refusal based on prior recommendations to previous applications and the recommendations which were provided”
The purpose of this document is for use of the Planning Committee and is to create a coherent and transparent outline of some of Sevenoaks Town Council’s practices and values when considering its recommendations on planning applications, in order to increase and maintain quality and consistency of recommendations.
Whilst these policies are guidelines which the Town Council believes will improve the quality of future developments, it is important to clarify that they are not material planning considerations. Instead, they simply outline and summarise the Town Council’s treatment of particular planning features in a way that is transparent to all interested parties, who may not be aware of, for instance, its opposition of internally illuminated signs.
It is also worth noting however, that policies PC1, PC2 and PC3 (indicated with an asterisk) are supported by policies within Sevenoaks Town Council’s recently submitted Neighbourhood Development Plan, which will have legal weight in the consideration of planning considerations should it be successful at referendum. More information on the recent submission of the NDP and its contents available here.
Planning Committee Policy PC1 – Sustainable boundaries*:
To promote sustainable boundaries such as hedgegrows in preference to fences to encourage wildlife.
a) To provide green screens which can screen houses from roads, and from each other, as well as creating shade and absorb CO2
b) To create boundaries which are porous to wildlife, allowing creatures to pass through where fences would stop them, as well as habitat for birds and insects
Planning Committee Policy PC2 – Porous Drives*:
To require planning applications to incorporate porous surfaces and/or rain collectors into their plans in order for STC to approve of the application.
a) To allow most of the water falling on paved surfaces to pass onto the ground beneath
b) To avoid runoff into the street where this would increase the possibility of flooding
Planning Committee Policy PC3 – Tree Planting*:
To promote/require the planting of 2 replacement trees for every 1 tree that a planning application proposes to remove.
a) To mitigate the loss of air quality, biodiversity, wildlife homes and insect food caused by tree felling.
b) To contribute to the Green Community Investment Plan’s goal of making Sevenoaks greener.
Planning Committee Policy PC4 – Internally Illuminated Signs:
To object to and discourage planning applications with proposals for internally illuminated signs.
Planning Committee Policy PC5 – 1m boundary minimum:
To support development where it is set back at a minimum of 1m from the boundary line.
Planning Committee Policy PC6 – Protocol for an alternative Development Control Speakers to be booked:
To outline circumstances in which an alternative Town Councillor may be registered to speak on behalf of the Planning Committee at Development Control Committee, following a Planning Committee resolution.
Circumstances in which a resolution for a speaker may be overturned:
a) Unexpected Councillor illness or unavailability
b) At the discretion of the Chairman
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