PRESS RELEASE: Sevenoaks Town Council supports District Council's Local Plan in meeting housing targets, while withholding vote on Options 1-3
Published: 09 January 2024
The decision not to vote on any of the 3 options currently being proposed to fill the District Council’s housing requirements in its Local Plan 2040 Public Consultation was made by Sevenoaks Town Council’s Planning Committee on 8th January 2024.
The three options, presented to residents, organisations and businesses to respond via the District Council’s public consultation, consist of the following choices:
- Option 1 – Baseline sites plus Multiple Sites on the edge of higher tier settlements (including Sevenoaks) which are located in both the Green Belt and AONB
- Option 2 – Baseline sites plus Stand-alone Settlement in a single location
- Option 3 – Baseline sites plus Combined AONB/Green Belt sites on the edge of higher tier settlements, plus stand-alone settlement.
Although supportive of the Option 2 sites proposed within Sevenoaks Town, and mindful of the urgency and importance of having a Local Plan which meets the governmental housing targets, the Town Council considered that, as a local authority, it should not vote on an outcome that so significantly affects and proposes development within other Towns and Parishes.
A number of potential sites within the Town were supported by the Planning Committee, with the following sites also having the benefit of having been identified – alongside policy-protected infrastructure requirements – in the Sevenoaks Town Neighbourhood Plan:
- Land at Cramptons Road (HO5)
- Sevenoaks Station and Car Park, Morewood Close (MX1)
- Land East of High Street, Sevenoaks (MX2)
- South Park, Sevenoaks (MX3)
These sites, as well as others which are currently in the planning process such as the Farmers Site and 136 High Street, are considered by the Town Council to meet the development needs for the Town, thus eliminating the need for further Green Belt release. This is especially important, as Options 1 and 3 have also proposed the following two sites which would require the release of both Green Belt land and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These have been strongly opposed in the Town Council’s response to the Consultation:
In addition to providing comment on 12 of the proposed sites, other significant policies relating to Infrastructure were commented on, including recommendation for:
- The Health and Wellbeing Policy HW1 to include recognition of co-housing developments for older residents,
- Strengthening of the Sustainable Drainage Policy W2, in order to ensure that future developments do not impact local water supplies, sewerage, sewage treatment and waste disposal
- Addition of a waste management policy, in order to reduce the high level of unrecycled waste and subsequent CO2 emissions related to their incineration within Sevenoaks.
- Addition of a policy which ensures delivery of local retail outside of the traditional Town Centre, in order to cater for the new neighbourhood due to be delivered via the Sevenoaks Quarry development site
- Amendment to the Infrastructure Delivery Plan, to include the rebuilding of the Bat & Ball junction where the A25 and A225 meet. This has been conditioned as part of the Outline planning permission for Sevenoaks Quarry, and should therefore be included in the Delivery Plan.
Full copy of the Town Council’s response to the Local Plan 2040 Public Consultation will be published on the District Council’s website, as well as via the Planning Committee Agenda for 22nd January 2024. The 8th January 2024 meeting will be available to watch on Youtube via the below link, until the Minutes are approved by the Town Council meeting to be held on 26th February 2024: https://youtube.com/live/FTNmrHm3D6A
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