PRESS RELEASE: Sevenoaks Town Neighbourhood Plan influences Planning Inspector's DISMISSAL of Green Belt Development
Published: 27 July 2023
The Sevenoaks Town Neighbourhood Plan (STNP), which was voted in by Sevenoaks Town residents via a Referendum on 4th May 2023 and subsequently adopted by Sevenoaks District Council, achieved its first significant success recently, when the Planning Inspector used it to inform her decision to DISMISS an Appeal against a refused planning permission on the Green Belt site known as Land South of Little Brittains, Brittains Lane.
This marks a significant first achievement of the STNP due to the fact that, at the time of the Inspector’s consideration of the Appeal in February 2023, the Plan had not yet been voted on by residents or adopted by the District Council. It’s a promising start to the Plan’s life and demonstrates the importance of having a neighbourhood development plan in place which provides policy protection to the character and heritage of Sevenoaks Town.
Indeed, at the time of publishing this Press Release, the STNP has since been used to defend and strengthen the District Council’s refusal of five other planning applications in Sevenoaks Town, with the following policies having been successfully applied:
Policy C1 – Which requires new development to preserve, and where possible, enhance the character or appearance of Conservation Areas. This has been used by the District Council to protect designated and non designated heritage assets within the Town and Conservation Areas, with consideration to their character, appearance, and harm to their setting
Policy C4 – New developments in residential areas will be of a high quality and take into account of the Sevenoaks Residential Character Area Assessment. This has been applied where a proposed development was out of keeping with the existing size, scale and massing of the existing surrounding buildings, and would cause harm to the appearance and uniformity of the street scene.
That is not to say that the STNP discourages or is against development in Sevenoaks Town; rather, the purpose of the STNP is to be used to protect the existing character and heritage of the Town from developments which would cause harm to its setting, as well as to neighbouring residents. Indeed, although Sevenoaks Town Council has so far counted five cases where the STNP has been used to support a refusal, it has also counted thirty-nine other cases where the Plan has supported development in the Town. This is via the Case Officer, who will have been assigned to consider the application, having used policies from the STNP to measure and confirm that they would make an acceptable and positive impact on the Town, thereby influencing the subsequent granting of planning permission.
This truly demonstrates how valuable the STNP is, and how important it is that residents and Case Officers continue to use it to defend against large and unwanted developments that would cause harm to the character, heritage and identity of Sevenoaks Town. The Town Council urges residents and residents associations, as well as developers who are considering submitting a planning application to pick up a free copy of the STNP, and use it to inform their understanding of exactly what local policies are now in place.
Copies of the STNP are FREE from the Town Council Offices at Bradbourne Vale Road, Sevenoaks, TN13 3QG. Visitors may take as many copies as they like for distribution to colleagues, neighbours and friends. You can also view the STNP and its Summary document online, or download them via the following link: https://sevenoaksndp.wordpress.com/
For more information about the STNP, including history of its progression, previous public consultations, and its supporting documents, please visit: https://sevenoaksndp.wordpress.com/
If you have any queries, please contact: