Proposed Submission Version of the Local Plan

Sevenoaks District Local Plan Proposed Submission Version Regulation 19 Consultation (including Appendices 1-4)

Sevenoaks Vision 2015-2035 and Objectives of the Local Plan

Spatial Vision

By 2035

Sevenoaks is striving to meet its housing and employment needs, without compromising the natural environment. Sustainable growth is being delivered by working with our partners to deliver supporting infrastructure, particularly education, health, transport and open spaces. The district continues to be a desirable place for people to lead their lives.

People and Housing

The patchwork of distinct communities in the district has been maintained to protect strong local identity and character. People are safe, healthy and proud of the area in which they live and work. There is a choice of accommodation to meet residents’ needs including affordable homes and homes for older people.

New homes have been delivered in a sustainable manner through the effective use of urban land within existing settlements and other brownfield sites. Green Belt land has only been released exceptional circumstances exist, however the general extent of the Green Belt remains unchanged.

Jobs and the Economy

The potential of the District’s accessible location on main transport routes has been maximised, to ensure a dynamic urban and rural economy.

There is a wide range of employment opportunities and town centres continue to be the main focus for retail and leisure uses. Broadband connectivity is widely established, particularly in support of rural areas and the visitor economy is thriving.

Challenges associated with air quality and infrastructure, particularly those related to the M25 are recognised. These issues are being addressed though on-going work with partners to facilitate improvements.

Nature and the Environment

All of the District’s landscapes, habitats and heritage assets, including the two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, continue to be conserved and enhanced to protect local identity and distinctiveness. High quality new development responds and contributes to local character.

Objectives

Topic

Objective

'Housing'

1. Promote housing choice for all

'Natural and Built Environment'

2. Promote well designed, safe places and safeguard and enhance the District's distinctive high quality natural and built environments

'Economy'

3. Support a vibrant local economy both urban and rural

'Infrastructure'

4. Support lively communities with well performing town and village centres which provide a range of services, facilities and infrastructure

'Health'

5. Promote healthy living opportunities

'Green Future'

6. Promote a greener future

 
These six objectives, which were established at the outset of the Local Plan process, and consulted on as part of the Issues and Options consultation in 2017, set out a way of achieving the Vision. They help to focus priorities for future work and investment but also provide structure and easily understood headings against which Local Plan progress can be monitored each year.

The objectives for the Local Plan come from the key issues which have been derived from evidence gathering and other plans and strategies. These include our Corporate Plan, Community Plan, the current adopted Core Strategy, the Sustainability Appraisal that accompanies this Plan, together with the new Housing Strategy and Economic Development Strategy.

The objectives are also mindful of changing Government priorities around areas such as health, economic development, technology and infrastructure.

Prevoiusly Adopted Policies

The Core Strategy was adopted in 2011 and the associated Allocations and Development Management Plan (ADMP) was adopted in 2015. However, because the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was adopted in 2012 and, amongst other alterations, changed the way housing need was calculated, there is a requirement to update our Plan. Many of the policies contained in these previous documents remain relevant and have been carried over into the new Local Plan, particularly in relation to Development Management policies. Over the past ten years, 2,626 homes have been completed (or approximately 250 homes per year) against a target of 165 homes per year and last year 48 affordable homes were completed (against a target of 66 pa). In addition, our planning department is the busiest in Kent, with 2,269 planning applications received in 2017/18.

The Authority Monitoring Report (AMR) has been used since 2006 to report on how successful the adopted policies in the Core Strategy and Allocations and Development Management Plan have been in achieving sustainable development that meets local needs and national priorities. The AMR is used to track progress against the performance indicators set out in the policies in the Council's adopted planning documents.

There have been a number of key issues which have been identified during this time as set out in the table below. The Local Plan addresses these issues as set out in the following table.

Key Issue

Findings from the AMR

Local Plan Approach

Successes  

Housing density

The average density of completed housing units was approximately 60 DPH over the last five years, compared to the Core Strategy target of 40 DPH.

A new flexible approach to higher density to make the most efficient use of land.

Design - Building for Life

The AMR reports that the majority of schemes assessed generally scored 'very good' or 'good'

Integrated more widely in design policy to ensure high quality development across smaller sites.

Town Centres

The number of retail units within the three main town centres (Sevenoaks town, Swanley and Edenbridge) were consistent with monitoring targets reported in 2016/2017 with Sevenoaks just under the target of 70% at 69%, although still successful.

New policy supports a varied mix of town centre uses which better meet the needs of the town centre whilst encouraging reuse of existing retail units.

Challenges  

Affordable housing

The affordable housing target of 40% has not been met almost every year since the introduction of the target.

The Local Plan promotes innovative ways of providing affordable housing and includes a new, more flexible policy.

 

Key Issue

Findings from the AMR

Local Plan Approach

Change of use from office accommodation to residential under permitted development

As at 31st March 2016, the District had lost approximately 17,000 m² of office floorspace within 12 buildings. A further 4900 m² could be lost from schemes yet to be implemented following the introduction of permitted development in 2013 to allow for change of use from office accommodation to residential without planning permission.

Article 4 directions will be served on all office accommodation on allocated sites to prevent change of use without the requirement of planning permission.

 
The Local Plan encompasses a wide range of objectives including social, environmental and economic issues; its policies establish the relationship between these objectives and the use of land. The AMR will continue to monitor progress against new performance indicators.

The following chart explains how the chapters in this Plan relate to the six key objectives above and outlines how these objectives will be delivered by addressing the following key issues:

Chapter

Issues Addressed within this Chapter

Link to Objectives

1. A Balanced Strategy for Sustainable Growth in a Constrained District

Sustainability
Headline needs
Duty to Co-operate
Place-making
Housing Supply

1-'Housing'
3-'Economy'

2. Providing Housing Choices

Affordable Housing, incl. older people
Housing mix, size, type, and density
Gypsies and travellers

1-'Housing'

3. Supporting a Vibrant and Balanced Economy

Employment needs and supply
Rural and visitor economy
Retail and town centres
Tourism

3-'Economy'
4-'Infrastructure'

 

Chapter

Issues Addressed within this Chapter

Link to Objectives

4. Ensuring Well-Connected Communities are Supported by Appropriate Infrastructure

Infrastructure priorities, particularly transport, health, education & broadband
Developer contributions
Viability

4-'Infrastructure'

5. Protecting, Conserving and Enhancing Green Belt, Landscape and the Natural Environment

Natural environment and Landscape
Green Belt

2-'Natural and Built Environment'

6. Safeguarding places for Wildlife and Nature

Biodiversity and Ecology

2-'Natural and Built Environment'
6- 'Green Future'

7. Ensuring New Development Respects Local Distinctiveness

Design

2-'Natural and Built Environment'
6-'Green Future'

8. The Historic Environment

Heritage and Conservation

2-'Natural and Built Environment'

9. Climate Change, Flooding and Healthy Communities

Health and wellbeing
Air quality
Climate Change and flood risk

5-'Health'
6-'Green Future'

10. Leisure and Open Space

Leisure
Open Space and Recreation

5-'Health'
6-'Green Future'

 
Equalities and Health Impact Assessments

This Local Plan will have a positive impact on equality by creating housing choice for all, providing green spaces for all to enjoy, seeking high quality development and providing a range of facilities to serve local need. A full Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) has been carried out alongside the Local Plan for submission to the Secretary of State for Proposed Submission Version Consultation (Regulation 19).

The Local Plan has the potential to positively influence the general health of the District by identifying sustainable transport (ie. Walking and cycling) as opportunities to improve physical activity, provision of housing to suit peoples needs and accessibility to green infrastructure, open space and sports facilities. The Health Impact Assessment (HIA) has been updated alongside the Local Plan for submission to the Secretary of State for Proposed Submission Version Consultation (Regulation 19).